5 From the Grinder

“5 From the Grinder” with Big Chris Custom Knives

big-chris-green-shockwood

Big Chris, aka Christopher Berry, was one of the knifemakers I was most looking forward to meeting at my first BLADE Show. Since our introduction, I have had the pleasure of reviewing his Hiker, and am currently putting the wraps on a review of his Pocket Fighter model (now online here!), and both are excellent displays of precision craftsmanship.

Everyone I have shown the Hiker and Pocket Fighter to has been impressed for good reason. Admiring Chris’ precise grinds and super sharp edges will soon have a smile creeping across your face

big chris pocket fighter carbon fiber

Pocket Fighter in G10/Carbon Fiber composite.

Enough of my blathering, I’ll let Chris introduce himself in his own words. Enjoy!

I have been interested in knives since a very young age.  I grew up in a farming culture where the males always had a folder on them. I have carried and used knives all through Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and on into my adult life. It is now a primary part of me and feel like something is missing without one. My first few ventures into custom knives were not very satisfying. I found that the several hundred dollar knives I bought would not hold an edge very well or were too thick behind the edge to be good at cutting. That was what led me into knifemaking, an attempt at making a better tool.

What knifemaker(s) or designer(s) have had the biggest influence on you? Do you have any mentors?

When I first got started I received some help from local maker Ed Wallace. He gave me pointers to help my fit and finish early on. Phil Wilson has definitely been a huge help and influence in the types of knives I make and steels that I use currently.
big chris woodcraft

What is your favorite knife pattern or style from history?

While I feel that the Kephart is probably the most versatile knife pattern from recent history and was the pattern I modeled my first dozen knives after, the Bowie Knife is my favorite pattern. I have made several variations of the Bowie in size and shape and find all forms very pleasing to look at.

big-chris-bowie-2

What is the next big thing in knifemaking? / What direction do you see the industry going?

This is a tough one to answer.  There are so many levels and themes to the knife market.  I would like to think that the trend will be that everyone stops buying Chinese made and will start supporting their local maker.

Is there a knife from your lineup that you feel best exhibits who you are as a knifemaker/designer in terms of design elements, aesthetic or techniques used?

My Wolverine pattern is the one I think best represents the versatility that I really want in my knives. It is a pattern that is equally comfortable in the field, on the farm, or in the kitchen. The design just seems to lend itself to whatever cutting task is put forth. Add to that high grade steel at high hardness with very thin edge geometry and it is a pleasure to use, because that is what we make these things for — To Use.

Big Chris Wolverine

Big Chris Wolverine

What is your EDC and why?

My EDC is constantly changing as I am using different patterns to ensure usefulness, testing out a new steel, or evaluating a new heat treat protocol. Today I have on me a Wolverine in .065″ CPM 10V at 65 Rc.  Like I said before the usefulness of this knife is really hard to believe without handling one. The super thin 10V at the high hardness makes for an absolutely amazing cutting tool.

big chris caper

I’d like to thank Chris for contributing and for allowing me to review his knives on these pages. Be sure to check out his work on his website, Facebook page, and Instagram accounts. If you happen to see him at BLADE Show, tell him you saw him here on TTAK!

We hope you have enjoyed today’s edition of 5 From The Grinder, a feature that allows us to spotlight knife makers and designers both large and small, from famous names to those just getting started. If you make or design knives (or know someone who does), and would like to submit your own answers to be featured here, please drop us a line at thetruthaboutknives@gmail.com – we welcome your contribution!

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