Ian Pickarski, CMF Metalworks – The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 348)

CMF Metalworks’ Ian Pickarski joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on episode 348 of The Knife Junkie Podcast.

CMF MetalworksA “PHD-level Redneck Engineer” — a moniker given to him by one of his Facebook group admins — Ian specializes in high performance folders using high-end and exotic materials.

Ian and CMF Metalworks now has a production knife called the Print, made by Reate, in addition to his customs, the Icarus, Paladin, Crusade, Mistress/R, Elkin, Omega and Daedalus.

CMF Metalworks also offers an all-USA made mid-tech called the MAC Crusade, based on the Crusade custom model. Parts for the MAC Crusade are made by small manufacturers all over the nation, and then sent to Pennsylvania, where Ian assembles, grinds and finishes each knife by hand.

Find CMF Metalworks online at www.cmfmetalworks.com as well as on Instagram at www.instagram.com/cmfmetalworks. Ian and CMF Metalworks has been featured on two previous podcasts – Episode #40 and Episode #194.

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Ian Pickarski of CMF Metalworks is my guest this week on #theknifejunkie #Podcast (Episode 348). Ian now has a production knife -- the Print, made by Reate -- in addition to his customs and an all-USA made mid-tech called the MAC… Click To Tweet
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Automaged Transcript
Ian Pickarski, CMF Metalworks
The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 348)

00:07
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast.
Your weekly dose of knife news and information about knives and knife collecting.
Here's your host, Bob the knife junkie DeMarco.
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast.
I'm Bob DeMarco.
On this edition of the show, I'm speaking with Ian Pikarski of CMF Metalworks he isn't.
Ian is an old friend of the show, but if you're not familiar, he's known in the custom knife circles for his organic designs, his finesse with fine materials, his thinly ground, beautifully profiled blades melt in the hand, ergonomics, and a barely there flipper tab that works like a charm.

00:48
CMF Metalworks knives are coveted among collectors, but not the easiest to acquire, so Ian has set out to change that.
We're going to catch up with Ian and talk all about it, but first.
Excuse me?
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01:19
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01:54
And welcome back to the Knife Junkie podcast.
It's good to see you, Sir.
Thank you for having me.
Oh, it's my pleasure.
I wanted to get in touch and congratulate you on your market penetration, shall we say.
You've been making these beautiful custom knives, handmade each one one at a time for a number of years.
And you've really built up a head of Steam with with a fan base and collectors.

02:20
And and then there are people like me who who admire your designs from afar.
Well, you've made it.
Possible for people like me to own your knives and I wanna talk about it, so tell me a bit about the print.
So I I am particular about the the knives that I'll put into production.
I think we talked about that last time.
I don't want to do any of my like main lineup custom designs.
And it's just a personal thing.

02:49
So I spent, I spent months designing.
And refining and talking to people.
A model that I would make you know in the production.
Sorry, this one's pretty.
I have.
I used it to fix some stuff, but this is what came out and it's I think it's got, you know, it's kind of a mixture of that data list that you had on the last podcast as well as a little bit of the crusade and then a model that I don't know that a lot of people know about called the affair.
It was one of my models from 2019, kind of my first dive into like the really curvy handles and kind of trying to get more slim and I wanted to make.

03:31
Something, you know, that was mine.
But that would only be production.
As well as being a canvas for for modding.
And you know, I wanted it so people could swap out the thumb studs.
I wanted it so people could swap out the pivots, the bearings that they want to.
I mean, it's.
I even got rid of the floating backspacer so it'd be easier for people to take apart.

03:56
I don't want people to take apart, but just, you know, they will know.
Oh, absolutely, they always do.
So the idea behind keeping your custom models custom and your production models production and and they're the twain shall meet.
That's that is a smart idea because it seems like it maintains the value of both.
Yeah, I think so.
I think to me it's more, I just don't want to put my custom designs overseas.
I mean these are being made by Riyadh.

04:31
And then, you know, on the other side of the spectrum, I have the Mac Crusades, which is one of my custom designs, but it's being machined, all the parts being machined by HMC knives in a in Erie, PA, Jim Vanderbilt, Great Guy, great machinist.
But everything is USA made.
The steel is sourced from a company in Texas, especially metals.
The titanium is from a company in Ohio.
All the hardware is made in I want to say Montana by TIE connector.
I get my belts from a company in Ohio.
All of Jim's machining tools I believe are from Lakeshore Carbide, which I'm pretty sure is USA based company, but I know I did as much as I possibly could to make everything about this USA made, which is why I felt comfortable doing my custom designed for it.

05:23
The the price point is obviously different, but.
They wanted.
Go ahead.
Sorry, I'm gonna say this is actually really, really exciting because we've had so many conversations on this show with makers trying to do what you're doing or wanting to do what you're doing in OEM ING a. Well, I mean, I guess you're not OEM ING, you're, you are assembling, are you assembling
these these Mac crusades, are you?
Are you?
So he he sends me the way the way that they work is I get finished machine parts with the exception of the pocket clip.

06:00
Which I have to finish myself, but basically.
Sorry, I'm trying to figure out the camera.
There we go.
So this is all machined.
This is all machined.
There's pocketing on the inside.
The pivots are just plain pivots and then the blade is unground.

06:14
The lock isn't cut, there's no detent.
So I, you know, I'm hand grinding these, I'm finishing all the parts myself.
I'm doing lockup detent all all the action is you know my standard action that I have on my knives.
It's not someone else doing it.
As where this is, you know, this comes finished, right?
Right.
Oh, wow.

06:36
OK, yeah.
Alright.
So this is, in a way, it's like a midtech.
You remember we used to talk about mid?
Yeah, a lot.
I think that's such a hard word because everyone has such different definitions.
And I know, I know, I know my definition for it was the correct one, which was exactly what you're doing, you know, having all the parts made.

06:53
But but you're the guy who puts it together.
It's your action, it's your grinding and you know.
I think that is really that's that's great.
You know so that's half of what we've been talking about here like there's there's this idea wouldn't it be great if we could have a robust OEM knife making community here in the United States right now the, the, the the financial end of it doesn't quite work but that's what everyone is would like
to achieve at some point.
And that's not to say anything bad about amazing companies like Riat and Best Tech who who just do amazing work but.
You know, that would be nice to be able to do here.

07:33
So I think Jake has a great thing going.
I mean he's he's doing phenomenal work.
He knows machining, he knows the knife community and I, you know, I can't wait to see what Jim is doing and and even a year's time, I mean the stuff he's doing now is incredible and I can't wait to see him expand and get, you know, more USA made knives.
So he's in Erie, PA. Oh, wow.
Alright, so as that sounds close, but he's actually like he.
It takes more time to drive to him that he does.
My parents in Vermont.

08:05
Oh, wow.
OK yeah, I used to live in Cleveland and Erie was close by.
But what we were talking about before about how Pennsylvania is such a great knife state, you know, have a lot of Bradford and and then just a lot of knife makers kind of sprinkled throughout.
And there's a fair few here, more than I thought, I thought even last year.
OK, so I want to talk some more about the print.
I want to get back to the print for a second because that snuck up on me, frankly.
You know, I follow you on Instagram and for some reason, I don't know, maybe I just wasn't in a in a spending mood and I wasn't seeing new things, but.

08:43
How?
Tell me about that process and and how it differed from from, you know, say doing the Mac crusade or or a full custom.
I mean it was just kind of making the prototypes.
I did a pass around, I made the initial design and then I made the first custom and I brought it with me to.
Oh my goodness.
I made it right in the midst of COVID.
So it would have been 2020 is I didn't bring with me to any shows.

09:13
I did a pass around for it.
That's what it was.
And I had people give me feedback on it.
And then I made a second prototype pass that one around, made a couple changes, and that's the one I ultimately sent out.
And then it was just, you know, waiting, game prototyping.
To come out with.
You know this finished design.

09:33
Umm.
Yeah, I mean, what were the results?
What were you hearing from the pass around groups?
What were the kind of changes you made to the initial prototype?
I mean, sometimes I have to remember that my hands are just made of calluses.
So, you know, it was tampering here and there, slightly larger, like I can never remember the word.
Just like little cutouts for your thumbs to unlock stuff, different different thumb studs we went with.

10:02
I I found that these thumbs, I'm actually trying to go away from them and kind of go more towards towards this style.
Ohh OK, just because I feel like they're a little easier to get a grip on.
Yeah, I mean, nothing major, just some small tweaks changes, small placement, pocket clip type deal just so it's more comfortable in the hand, OK. It's, I mean the reason to me, it's just kind of funny because I had that deadalus you, you loan that that to me, father of Icarus.
I learned, but I oh God, it's so beautiful.
But but it was so refined and it felt so good and hand and it was such a, you know.
Very, very high end piece, you know that I'd ever held, you know, and and to me the idea of of kind of coming back with a criticism of it seemed a little funny because it has its own internal logic, you know?
None of it.

11:03
You know what I mean?
That one on top is just beautiful, by the way.
I didn't get to see which one that was.
I don't remember.
It's that one.
OK yeah, yeah, that's a paladin.
Paladin that is a one of the first like three or four who are your.

11:17
Who are your design?
I'm looking at the palate and when we were just back up there looking at that, it reminds me of A doesn't remind me it.
To me it looks like next generation of a certain movement of knives that came 30 years ago.
Who are your influences?
I I feel like maybe we maybe touch base on this before, but when I got started, tough knives is who initially taught me kind of like the basics of making knives.
And he introduced me to, you know, Rob Carter, I think at that time.
I unfortunately can't remember the guy's name.

11:57
Neil Blackwood.
That's Neil Blackwood.
Think was still making knives at that point.
Jeremy Marsh, dalibor.
Lee Learman, you know these kind of guys I I had no prior.
Influence into the knife.
Into the knife world at all.

12:15
So I mean seeing those over the first couple years and.
Trying to design my own stuff.
And then, I mean, now when I design, I try not to look at anything like, I try not to follow any knifemakers any significant amount on at least on Instagram or whatnot.
Just I don't want their work to influence mine at all.
I I am not self-proclaimed as a PhD level redneck engineer that was actually given to me by one of the admin in my group, Jordan O'Neill and because I he saw that I made most of my parts with a hand drill until I got my late a couple years ago.
Yeah, please don't get me wrong.
I wasn't trying to suggest that your designs are derivative in any way, but I was.

13:00
I was looking at that Paladin and I was thinking, man, that's got the grace of a of a of a master design, like a Ken Onion.
You know it.
It doesn't look like a Ken onion, but it has that same organic flow.
And I see that throughout your designs.
But it's not.
That can often times be a turnoff, because it means immediately that your hand is going to be forced into a certain position.
You're going to have to use this knife the way, you know, just one way.

13:24
And and I I don't get that from this, so you've you've got both of those aspects in there.
I I actually do a bit of my designing based off the curves of your hand.
Where am I going here?
I am like like where your lines are like where you sit?
So for like this knife, I'm not going to show it, but the way I have it is so it sits right where your hand folds in and so the secondary hump, you don't actually feel like your thumb just sits there.
And that curve down towards the pommel nestles right into that muscle of your thumb there.
Yeah, yeah.

13:57
So you're not, you're not catching that at all.
I love it when people get one of these and there's like, I don't even feel that second hop.
Like I thought it was going to be sharp, but you don't feel it at all.
And that's kind of the same deal with the print I I designed it to kind of fit directly.
Where am I going?
Sorry, I'm all over the place today to fit in your hand in between all the you know, where your hand creases.
Yeah, the the ergonomics of it.

14:23
And then the thin, thin blade.
You the one, the the the one that I had the dead dead.
A list that I had short for a short period of time had a very thinly ground hollow.
It was a hollow grind, if I remember correctly.
So I noticed on the print you went with a flat grind.
How?
Well, the final product does have a hologram.

14:45
Oh, it does.
OK, so that's a prototype.
You're holding it OK. Yeah, yeah.
This is one of the prototypes.
OK, so how do you is it always hologram for you and and why?
I. I started off hollow grinding rotten design John Sorensen.
He helped me when I first got started in the modding knives and gave me a lot of pointers on how to hollow grind, how to freehand.

15:09
Hollow grind just had a how to get that wheel to work for me and it's just kind of stuck with me.
I practice flat grinding you know, once every couple of months to make sure I can still do it, but I. I just love holograms.
I think the blade ends up being a little lighter.
You get I think cooler patterns when you use Damascus because you are thinning and out towards the bottom, especially like on the sand.
Mine unfortunately don't have one here to show you.
I I don't know.
I think it's slice pier, I think.

15:41
I just.
I I love him.
I I do too.
I I just love to even look at them.
I mean, they're great to use and you know, you're not going to want to use it to baton wood or anything stupid like, you know, anything over overdone like that.
But I love the way they look.
Honestly, when I got my first cold steel tanto in high school, that was part of it.

16:03
It looked like a big giant straight razor to me with that hollow grind.
And so it's always kind of been, you know, a. An appealing thing to me.
But now in my older age, I realized the practicality of it and how you can sharpen those kind of, you know, for a long time before, you know, before you need to really reprofile it.
It's funny, I I know that each grind kind of has its own place.
And as far as collecting goes, at this point I really only collect.
I can't talk today either.
I really only collect fixed blades.

16:37
And this was actually one of the first knives that I ever got.
Not this one exactly.
Back when I got started I actually the sell the one I had to pay my rent, but I was able to get another one because this knife just meant so much to me.
This was the first like knife that I purchased back in 2015 or 2016. I bought it for $20.00 at a yard sale and it just got me in a fixed blades which got me into knives.
But.
That's this is where I learned like my love of flat grinds.
I I don't love them all my folders.

17:09
I I think that my holograms just work better with my designs, but a good flat grind is.
Just spectacular.
And I, I just love really any fixed rate with a flat grind is going to win my heart.
So, so if you're only listening, Ian just held up a nimmer vis by Benchmade and you got that for 20 bucks at a yard sale.
That's a that's a screaming deal.
I did.
Yeah, with the sheath and everything, the same one, the black coat, black hair coat for anyone who is listening, it's the Benchmade 140. If you want to see what it is made 140. So what what other do you collect?

17:45
Obviously production fixed blades.
Or do you have?
I prefer custom ones.
This is a kid named Will Freeman.
Have you heard of him before?
I don't think so.
So he is like 8 while he was.

17:58
He was I think 13 or 14 when he built this.
I got it.
Blade show of 2019. Oh good Lord, that is beautiful.
Big recurve chopper thing.
It's W2 with a hormone.
And it's it's just perfect.
It's gorgeous.

18:17
It has a feathered Damascus guard here.
I don't remember what the word is, but I mean, the kid is incredibly talented.
If any of you are looking for a fixed blade, I don't know if he's still making, but will Freeman knives will.
I will.
Just will.
OK. Yep.
That is.

18:36
You know, that would fit beautifully on my wall back here.
You know, it kind of reminds me of a Filipino kind of recurve thing.
Love.
It's good.
It's good to go on the belt too.
I mean, no one, no one says anything.
We're walking around Walmart, right?

18:48
Exactly.
Exactly.
Like, yeah, he registers open.
Yeah, seriously, this is Alex Garcia out of New York.
He he made this for sorry, I use all my my fixed blades pretty hard, so they're just kind of covered in tape.
He made this for me at A at a new God.
I cannot talk.

19:12
Get it in New Jersey in 2018, I think, and it's been my shop knife ever since.
But his knives now are are just spectacular.
He's another one you should check out.
Alex Garcia.
Alex Garcia.
I like the look of that too.
I like a I like a nice chisel grind.

19:30
I know people tend not to not to like them as much because they're a little weird, but man.
They can get so sharp and crazy.
Crazy sharp, yeah.
And and if the chisel is on the right side for your handedness, so to speak, it works great.
That's that's something that always stuck in my craw about the Emerson brand, a brand that I love.
I love Ernie Emerson and his designs and everything, and I even love that there are mostly chisel ground.
All the edges are chisel ground anyway.

20:01
And but he puts it on the other side.
He puts it on the on the left.
Appropriate?
Yeah.
Strictly for aesthetics.
I mean, he told me that, and I don't like that it should be the other way around.
No, I've only made two chisel grinds and they've both been for right-handed people so it doesn't bother me having a flat, you know, on the show side and think as long as that side is finished in the same way.

20:23
I think it looks really nice.
Yeah, I do too.
It's a it's a, it's a good look.
So was that where your chisel grinds special requests?
One of them was somewhat out of necessity, and then the other one was a request.
The first one I had a piece of armor core Damascus, that I accidentally had surface ground on the same side twice.
So the core was actually all on one side.

20:50
And it made for a pretty cool knife, because I was able to.
It's own.
It's a lefty, so I lied.
It is on the IT is on the show side.
But this way you have the core all along the back, and then you have the core.
On the show side, but the edge is all core.
There's no, you know, there's no pattern steel and it looked it looked really cool.

21:13
Once the podcast is over, I can try finding it for you.
Yeah, that sounds that sounds pretty cool.
So we're talking about materials and I mentioned in the intro how you know?
How your use of materials, that's not something you're known for because it's it's written all over your knives.
They're they're really beautifully.
Depicted in these exotic materials and you were just showing a couple off.
Before we start started rolling, I want you to show right now how did you go from hand drills to using some of these unbelievable materials it seems I'm still using.

21:50
OK, all right.
Three of them in the shop.
Everything well?
Either that, I mean that that makes things more impressive because the, you know, your knives are so refined and yet they come, you know, they're, they're, they're coming out of something that's a little, that seems a little less so.
So show show off that one with the gold if you don't mind, and let's talk about this.
So this is a full mocha Tai frame lock with a dim steel blade.
The this pivot is gold and meteorite, the backspacer is is gold.

22:28
And then the lock side pivot is gold as well.
Gold caps?
Like not gold threads at all.
That would just mar up and be bad.
This actually also has my ghost Flipper tab.
Oh yeah.
Alright, so that's what I was talking about up front.

22:46
I I forgot that it's called the ghost Flipper tab.
But it's you.
You can't you can't really detect it unless you run your finger over it and then.
You can kind of get a glimpse of it there.
This one is about 1. Like 132nd of an inch tall and see if they're on my forehead.
Oh yeah, yeah.
Man.

23:11
I love that.
How long did that take you to develop?
About a year.
Just trying to figure out the geometry, trying to figure out the detent.
The whole size is how far you pressed the ball and how much tension.
Like this is actually quite a large flipper tab for me at this point.
Which is I I feel like it's silly to say, but no, no, I know, but you can see it more than the other.

23:36
But with the gold knife again, I want to go back to working with gold a little bit now.
What's it like?
What's it like working with gold?
I mean, my my presumption when you said that the pivot was gold was again that the threads were not because it's a soft metal, but but in terms of having it in that spot and in terms of shaping it, isn't it still a soft metal to have on a knife?
It is.
I tend to go for lower carrots this way it is a little bit harder.
We're going with three quarter hard gold.

24:05
I mean it's still going to scar up a bit in the pocket, but luckily gold is so soft.
It's really easy to refinish.
And then you pair it with the material like meteorite, which is also pretty easy to refinish.
And then you have a a pivot that essentially you can wear in as much as you want.
Send it back to me, I'll spin it on the buffer, reach it and you have a brand new pivot again.
That's one of the beauties about about working with gold, in my opinion is that even if you mess up you still have gold and you can sell it and get get more gold.
Are meteorite.

24:36
What's it like?
What?
So what's the meteorite?
Like you said, it's as soft as gold, and that seems like a great strategy to put those together.
It's not.
It's not soft.
It is.

24:45
It is hard.
But the the benefit to it is the finish that you see.
I I have a piece here a little show in a second.
The benefit to it that you see is all that pattern is is caused by etching it.
So as soon as you Polish that echo off you can reach it.
So, like, here is a piece of Gibby and this is like my personal piece.
This is.

25:07
One of the most gorgeous patterns I've ever seen.
On give you a meteorite, I think I have another piece here with a slightly tighter, slightly tighter pattern.
I'm gonna ask a question that sounds like a real noob question, but is that actually cut out of a meteorite or is it somehow recomposed?
And that's amazing, it comes like that out of the sky.
I mean, as you can see, this is the edge here.
That is, that is what was burning up in the atmosphere when it slammed into.
Libya.

25:46
So when you hold that up, that has a bunch of right angles in parallel lines in it, doesn't it?
Or maybe they're just off because they say there are no right angles or parallel lines in nature, but.
That comes close also.
That's not true.
Bismuth is almost exactly perfect right angles.
Well, those.
From what I remember, I could be totally wrong.

26:09
Those people are liars.
It looks like the surface of the Death Star.
I actually used this on a knife and called the pivot the Death star.
Cool.
Yeah.
All right, so I'm not a total iron.
Yeah, no, it's just crystallized iron from being hot molten.

26:25
Iron floating around in space and then slamming into Earth.
It's just slow crystallized iron.
So are any of these crazy materials?
Hard to hard to work with or nerve wracking.
I would imagine gold might be because of the expense.
What's?
Which one is that?

26:44
But so do these giving as well.
Yeah, same as the other one, just a slightly different, slightly different pattern.
It's going to be harder to see because it's not as vibrant.
You made a little bit of it there, but that's like what the outside looks like.
This way it's about a pound and a half.
Yeah, I come back to your question.
Gibian is a pain in the **** to work with.

27:05
It is a it's.
It's it's kind of brittle.
It's not brittle, but it is brittle.
Which sounds ridiculous, but if you hit it in just the right spot, it'll shatter.
But if you take it slow and you do everything with fresh new drill bits and fresh tooling on the lathe and fresh belts, it stays together beautifully.
And it's really quite durable.
With the zirconium is is zirconium the one you have to watch out for in terms of isn't there some sort of flammability issue or spontaneously combusts oh.

27:45
Clean dust, I should say.
Ohh OK OK, so if you have a room full of it, if you're not, if you're not properly, yeah, it's very similar to like a magnesium fire.
If you've ever seen like like a YouTube channel with magnesium fires on it, that first one there on the on the that I just posted, that's their conium bolsters.
Can you click on that first one, Jim?
I believe that's it might be really loud, so I don't know if you have sound on.
But yeah, those bolsters are conium, as is the backspacer.
And you you can tell it's zirconium when you grind it, because the sparks are white hot, whereas titanium sparks are red hot.

28:25
So, oh, gosh.
Look at that so.
The pivot on that, did you sculpt that as well?
Did you?
No, that's a TIE connector pivot.
I just domed it domed, didn't finished it.
But that is a that is a stock tie connector pivot.

28:41
Their stuff is incredible.
Steve is such a nice guy.
I I'm so glad to be able to support him.
His pivots are spectacular.
Normally I try and go and finish my own stuff and they own stuff, but I think I thought this bill just needed something slightly busier for the pivot and you know, Steve had just the right thing for it.
Yeah, I like it.
The the sort of sunburst pattern around it, because the rest of the knife the knife is kind of dark and and the.

29:09
Like a little foreboding, and the blade itself has kind of a web feel, but then you have this sort of little sunshine spot.
I I like that.
It's very mechanical, I think.
And I think it just adds adds a nice little little pop.
So what materials have you not used that you want us, that you want to explore?
I've used platinum just to make a couple back spaces.
I'd love to make a platinum scaled knife.

29:39
It would be unbelievably expensive and it's also a catalyst, so it's not the safest thing to have New Year's Iconium dust.
But I'd love to use that.
There's a a type of meteorite that's kind of like a glass meteorite.
I don't remember the name of it right now, but if you look up meteorites on eBay you'll find it.
It kind of looks like like stained glass windows and it's it's cool looking stuff.
I'd love to use that in some aspect.
I'd love to use some stones like lapis lazuli or jade.

30:15
I don't know I'll use anything.
Hi, I love working on knives and.
Woods are on my list of stuff to use, I just haven't had the chance, but have you used ivory?
Seems like something that would go nicely with your designs.
That old mammoth ivory.
In fact, I have some like right somewhere here.
Sorry, I moved everything for this and now I can't find anything.

30:42
I love the look of natural materials like wood and but especially ivory and stage and that kind of thing on a modern, modern knife like yours.
RJ Martin does that beautifully.
I think there are plenty of plenty others, but that is a that is a thing that always.
I don't know, it just draws me to it, you know, the, the, the.
Color of that ivory next to a blasted titanium.
It just looks so nice.
Yeah, spectacular.

31:12
I'm really nervous to work with it.
I've done one knife with it, but it was just a couple inlays.
I have pieces set aside to do full scales of, but I'm nervous to try it.
Because apparently you can't get it wet.
You can't get it hot.
I'm nervous to thin it out because I don't have a service ground or anything like that.
I'd have to.

31:32
Do some redneck engineering to my mill to get it to to mill correctly so it's just.
It's it's less nerve wracking to work with gold than it is for me to break into my mammoth stash.
Yeah, yeah, I guess so.
And and it's an expensive material.
And and the dust is supposed to be really bad for you.
I mean, the dust of all this stuff is bad for you, but I don't know if it's bad for you.
I'm sure it's not great for you, but it stinks.

31:55
Yeah, yeah.
Heard that it is.
Pearl smells pretty bad.
But, uh, I've ground mammoth before, and it it it smells like petrified teeth.
It's bad.
It's like someone who had it is ohh it is.
It lingers too, like you grind it on a Monday, you still have that smell in here Friday.

32:17
It's it's bad.
Like a mammoth was in there doing burpees, breathing heavy.
Ohh yeah, it's it's rough.
It's rough.
That's probably my least favorite like material as far as smells go.
Like you have to wear full face respirator, but even even that your shops going to smell, it's going to sting.
You need some febreeze.

32:35
You were talking about wanting to to work in titanium and and it sent my mind in a couple of different places.
First of all, I would imagine working with titanium as you mentioned would be nerve wracking in that the expense you know the learning curve would be very expensive platinum, right?
What did I say?
Titanium.
Yeah.
Yes.
I'm sorry.

32:55
That's just wanted to clarify.
Thank you.
Thank you for doing so.
That is what you work with all the time every day.
But yeah, platinum working with platinum making, making platinum scales, man.
You know, you got to learn about each material.
I would imagine each material is different and and that would be an expensive learning curve, but how cool would that be?

33:16
That would be a baller knife right there.
Yes, the initial cost would be crazy expensive.
But even if you messed up, you know, you just sell back the messed up platinum, get a new piece, thankfully.
You know, like I said, it's infinitely recyclable.
That's the really nice thing about working with precious metals.
The thing that I've learned about working with Platinum is it's it's a very gummy.
It's almost like drilling hard aluminum.

33:38
It it just wants to catch.
At at every point, and it is, it gets hot incredibly fast.
All of the precious metals get hot really fast.
They just conduct heat very well.
That's why they're used in electronics.
Umm, it'd be.
It would be a long build just just from the drilling aspect.

33:58
Drilling, cutting.
It's a tough material, but it would be very cool.
Unfortunately, I don't know that most people be able to differentiate it from just like a polished titanium.
At least I'm I'm very colorblind and I have a hard time differentiating them.
But.
It's still be cool, equal project.
So you have these skills and abilities with these materials, and it's not just sculpting, but it's engineering and making them work as a as a tool.

34:28
Are there other things?
Uh, that you would.
I mean these are kind of the skills of a jeweler in a lot of ways.
These these are skills of an engineer, these are skills of a knife maker obviously.
Are there other products or things that you think about building and and kind of bending these skills towards outside of knives?
I don't I don't know at this point.
I mean I'm I'm pretty wrapped up in knives.

34:56
I've invested a lot of time and energy into this and I I really love it and I don't want to stop so trying to you know, I don't want to dilute myself by trying to make new products and.
I'm, I'm.
I'm spread thin as it is.
I don't know.
I don't know that I could go any thinner.
OK, so, so that's well that's what the print and that's what the Mac crusade are about, I would presume, you know, making making your stuff more widely available, not only to get them in the hands of of a wider fanbase, but to make more.
OK. Making 12A month, I mean, it's still more out there than than I can get to in full customs, right?

35:38
You're not making 12 full customs a month, right?
Yeah.
OK. So you're able to get.
So this is a way of growing your company and growing your brand.
Is has this been happening organically?
Does this kind of pop out of necessity or are you, are you, do you have a certain aim about growing your company?
Like as far as why the Matt Crusades came up, no, no, I just, I just mean like it seems like you're expanding and I that's exciting to me because you have these ways of putting out knives that aren't full custom that don't take as long.

36:15
How are you, how are you aiming to to grow further?
The production stuff.
I have another design that I've made for production.
I haven't released it yet, not going to until I have prototypes in hand, but I have another one of those going.
It's just.
You know, I want to get my designs out there.
I I love designing knives, and unfortunately I can't make all of them cost them.

36:37
That would just be unrealistic.
You know?
I can't have 42 different life models, but if I can take some of my designs and make them into production stuff that other people can enjoy while I focus on my custom stuff, I mean, I don't.
I don't see why those design should sit there unused and unseen.
Yeah, yeah I don't either.
Especially if you've got a fertile mind for knife design.
Now when you're designing these knives that that Riyadh builds or that you're having a different parts makers and by the way that that's that's kind of like being a producer, right?

37:10
Having having all those parts made in all these different places and bringing it all together, you're you're orchestrating a production.
But but doing all this, is the design process different?
Do you design these things in CAD and send them out or do you build prototypes and send those out?
It is prototyping.
I I don't know how to use CAD.
I have the program on my computer and I fiddled around with it and can't.
I can't even make a straight line.

37:39
I can't figure out any of it.
I'm a very pen and paper type person, and then it'll it'll look terrible on pen and paper.
But then, you know, I can visualize it in my head and put it in the metal a lot better than I can draw it.
So I'll like both prototypes.
For the print I made in metal, I I made a really rough sketch and immediately put it into metal.
Made the prototypes with the first prototype.
And it turned out so much better than the sketch did.

38:08
Just something about being able to kind of make changes on the fly.
I know my geometry, I know my lines.
So yeah, I I'd much prefer to send send stuff out like physical copies.
It's pretty amazing to me as a pen and paper guy myself, and someone very comfortable drawing that someone else finds it easier to express themselves in steel and titanium.
You know, like I could just draw this down, but why don't?
Why don't I just whip one up over here in the shop to me?
That's amazing, man.

38:39
I'd rather spend 3 days in the shop getting it right than sending you a napkin sketch.
That's not going to work.
And and no doubt the people on the receiving end are awfully psyched to get a working model.
That they can just back engineer.
Yeah, that that makes it a lot easier for the print.
So so so you send them a prototype.
This is what I want the thing to be.

39:01
And then they send you a prototype back, I would imagine.
Yeah, Yep.
So what's that like?
What's that like?
It's like I just sent you the prototype.
Why are you sending me one back?
I mean, obviously it's to see how they make it, but what's that like?

39:16
Honestly, it's a bit weird when when I send a knife out and I'm expecting to get the same knife back essentially and then, you know, you see these small changes they've had to make because they're manufacturing process is different than mine.
I mean, obviously I'm a guy with just a few machines in a garage.
And they have all sorts of capabilities.
So it's just it's it's small stuff that's kind of strange to see.
For instance, one of the one of the things to me that that really stood out when I when I got this prototype is the thumb studs.
I know it sounds insignificant, but I've never seen this before and I wasn't expecting it.
But that's the hole for the thumb stud on the prototype.

40:00
To put that in perspective.
This is the whole for one of my customs.
And this is the hole that comes in all of my customers with thumb studs on them.
Much smaller, yeah.
So that's like a weird because of that, they they just kind of lipped.
They have like a shoulder on their thumb studs.
And just seeing that and having that hole in the blade was kind of strange to see.

40:31
It's just it's weird seeing your your work as not your work.
Like your your work through the through the mind of somebody else slightly.
Yeah.
Yeah.
Now to me you know not being you that seems like so incredibly minor.
I might not even have noticed it.
But of course if remind I would have taken apart completely.

40:51
So you're just talking about the diameter of the hole and the fact that they've shouldered the the OK so so in in your opinion is that a an inferior solution or is that just a different thing done for manufacturing?
Not inferior, it's just the way they do it.
My goal with the with the print model was to be able to have people kind of change out the thumb studs to whatever they're most comfortable with.
They can change out the pivots to whatever they want, and unfortunately this whole doesn't really allow that.
It is just about a 316th hole.
And so I had it changed for the final design so it's just like a #44 hole through just like this this one here.
So basically any tie connector, thumb stud should fit on it.

41:39
Yes, it's not, not in theory, just not.
Yeah yeah yeah, I got you.
And and also not in keeping with the spirit of the design, which is to have it modular.
I I see.
Alright, alright, that makes sense.
That's interesting to get it back because I'm thinking, you know of more structural changes or more more blatantly obvious changes, but that would be, you know, they got it, they got it pretty, pretty bang on.
The only real major change I made was the hollow grind from the flat grind that they provided.

42:10
And I removed the floating backspacer and opted for a solid one just for for ease of taking it apart.
The way that this is manufactured from them and it's even difficult for me to take apart.
So we wanted to make that a bit easier.
OK, so this, this, you've got like, I'm just sitting here thinking about your setup, your operation and you have from my perspective, you've carved out a really cool.
Niche for yourself because you make these very, very fancy for lack of a better term.
High end, beautifully handmade and engineered knives that you have a a collector base for your books are closed kind of always, right because.
Their website, it seems too much going on.

42:56
But you've remained independent.
You're one person doing this, but you've got your, you've got multiple projects going on where you have different tiers of where people can get your work.
And I I really hope that the the print keeps going.
I mean I hope that's something that is self perpetuating.
Because I like that idea of I mean you know you don't have a whole group of employees you have to deal with you you know you're you're kind of low profile but but you've got tendrils out there and I that seems like a really good business model because your exposure is low in terms of you know
negatives but your exposure is high in terms of how much you're out there.
It's a it's a balancing act.

43:45
Just trying to knock out all the projects and fun fact about the name print.
I'm really into photography.
And the reason I called this knife the print was because in photography you take the photo, which would be my custom version of this knife, and then they produced prints of it, so that's why I called it the print.
Is cool.
That's great.
That's that's what they used to do in the old days, right after the printing press was invented.
You know, you can't travel to Paris to see the Mona Lisa.

44:15
You can buy a print of it, you know?
I love that.
That's a great, that's a, that's a cool name.
I like the meaning behind it.
But that business model I was talking about that you that you employed, do you think that that's the new, the new way of doing things, do you think that's going to be kind of more where companies are headed?
It definitely looks like a lot of makers right now are trying to diversify.
I mean, aside from just customs, you know, I see the things that Jim is doing over at HMC with the Mac stuff right now.

44:48
It's me and Brian Efros, and I believe he has a few other makers on the way.
I think that's going to be becoming more popular and then the print.
I mean, Brian Brown has absolutely killed it with his his production stuff.
He's doing awesome designs.
He's coming out with really cool variations on it.
I wanna say that American knives, Kurt American is doing a similar thing.
There's, there's a lot of makers right now who are just putting out really great production knives to kind of accompany their customs, because unfortunately in in most of these cases, there's only one of us.

45:25
I there's only so many hours in the day that I can be out here working.
And that goes for a lot of makers I'd assume.
So yeah, I think you know kind of having a production line up something that can.
Still, get your name out there people can enjoy while kind of taking some of the pressure off of us to be working ourselves to the bone.
Yeah.
And from a collector's perspective, we still do.
Yeah.

45:49
Well, yeah.
Right.
Right.
You're you're.
Yeah.
In a happy place.
I mean if if I'm in any mood that's not happy, I'm out here making knives because it's just it is what I want to do and it's what I love.

46:02
And I think you have to have that passion.
Sorry to interrupt goal.
No, no, no, no, no, please.
It's about what I was going to say is from a collector's perspective, that's good news that a lot of people are moving that way because I would love to have a Brian Efros designed knife that's really well made.
I'm not necessarily trying to to spend Brian Efros money.
I'm not necessarily trying to spend.
CMF money, you know, no offense when I when I can I will.

46:28
But my point is until then I would love to have a collection that is that is aiming towards custom and on my way to get there I've you know to have these mid techs or or or OEM knives by you and and and HMC made knives from Brandy frozen that stuff like that like that is.
I'm getting all excited here.
That is a, that is the way to go.
That's a great thing to look forward to, I guess I should say.
I mean, Brian's killing it with the Mac dooms too.
They are spectacular.
His his finished work is incredible.

47:06
If you're watching this and you want one, go get one.
OK. Well, I'm watching.
We used to go get one too.
Yeah.
Yeah.
Yeah.
There was a period of time right after Brian was on the show where where, you know, I was trying to get a knife from him and and he he was really cool.

47:24
He's like, yeah, I'll, I'll, I'll, you know, I'll fit you in.
And and after a while I realized this this is a, this is a big commitment and you know, I can't do this right now and and I definitely don't want him to fit me in and then maybe, like, I can't do this, you know?
So.
OK, it works so hard as well, and he's got a heart of gold, one of my favorite people.
I'm very glad to call him a friend.
That's cool.
This is.

47:48
So how would you define your generation of knife maker and and not to not to just put you on the spot but you know like I I'm old enough I've I've been collecting knives my whole life I've seen different kind of movements and and I'm curious if you have any perspective from within your.
I don't know, man.
I I feel like right now designs are, you know, there's there's a market for everything people are going to like, people are going to like and there's nothing wrong with that.
I like the organic curvy stuff.
Some people like more aggressive knives, some people like kind of more straight line knives.
And then you have.
I can't remember the name of it.

48:30
It was shown at bleach or the cyber truck knife.
And that was really cool, too, and people love that.
So I I think right now, it's just kind of.
Anything goes, you want to make it?
There's probably someone out there who's going to love it.
The sorry that that was a bad question.
I don't know how to answer that.

48:48
No, that's a really define your generation.
It's like, OK, no, but this knife is funny.
I know it's knife you're talking about.
It looks just like the.
Look, I got to handle what it was.
It was really, really cool.
Who made that?

49:04
Who is that?
I have no idea.
Interesting.
Yeah.
But I I agree.
I think there is, you know well.
If if you're someone like me who has very varied tastes, that's two different types of varied two different spelling.

49:21
But if you're, if you're.
You're excited or I'm excited about these times because everyone there is someone making.
There are many people making every of those styles that you mentioned.
I love weapon, any knives, and I can find those.
You know, I love old school, I love ethnographic knives and you can find people making.
You know, there's this guy, the Spanish knife maker, Miguel Barbudo, who makes navajas and a lot of other things too.
But his navajas are like, that's a, that's a that's a grill for me, as well as a Charles Marlow as well as an Ian Pikarski.

50:00
You know, like all.
So right now it's very exciting time because you can have anything if you can.
If you can afford it and find it, you can have anything.
They're really, really nice knives out right now, really spectacular work being done.
So where does a company like and I I'm going to call him out because.
They what are what?
What about a company like CRKT are they making themselves irrelevant in that they they've been coming out with knives from designers?

50:31
They've been innovative for so long and been doing so much cool stuff for so long, but they refused to come along with the materials.
I I don't know a company like that.
Is it going to be big enough insight into that to to have any reasonable opinion?
I I just don't know.
I haven't interacted with them.
I don't follow them, unfortunately.
It's just not something I feel I can talk about.

50:55
Yeah, look for the new CMF CRKT collaboration, ladies and gentlemen.
I'm just kidding.
No, no, I mean, that would be cool.
And that's the kind of thing they do.
They collaborate with interesting designers and and I guess they they.
Believe it within reach for everyone, so maybe I should just.
I think Brian's actually just 22 designs with them.

51:16
I want to say it's CRKT did the jive and he did a a a fixed blade design that looks really spectacular.
They look great.
I got to handle them.
But like I said, I I just don't know enough about CRKT or kind of that side of the production market to really be able to, to talk about it in any good way.
Well, you know, I realized as I was actually asking the question there, there is a whole gigantic knife market, much bigger than the one that I think about most of the time, which is collectors and find, you know, people who really spend a lot of time thinking about knives.
There's a huge market way outside of that, way bigger than that that buys.
The opposed these knives because they use them when they need them and and.

51:59
CRKT allows them a little bit of style and and flare and innovation.
I need to remember that.
That's a little snobby.
That was a snobby question, but I didn't mean it to be so.
It's it's a fair question.
I just don't know the answer, unfortunately.
Yeah.

52:12
Yeah.
Well, So what?
What?
Knife.
That you have not made.
Do you want to make some time?
Like what?

52:22
What is your white whale in terms of making something complex, something really difficult?
Let me see if I have it above me here.
I have a set of Pearl.
That I have been saving for a very special build.
And I'd like to make.
A full scale Pearl knife with a mere polished blade.
And make it just really special somehow.

52:48
But this is like once in a lifetime Pearl in my opinion.
It's like 1/4 inch thick.
It's.
Like presentation?
Great.
It's just beautiful.
And the knife I've been saving these, I'm going to save them for another few years before I even think about it.

53:02
But I I want to make a full Pearl knife.
Everything fully hidden.
Hardware.
There's no pivot showing, no screws showing, no pocket clip near Polish blade.
Just just clean Pearl and polished steel.
And that that right there is that's the material in my shop that I look at and saying, no, not today, not today, not good enough yet, Nope, not there.
So that Pearl is that actual Pearl from oysters that has been broken down and really is that what is that exactly I actually I have Pearl shell here.

53:39
Alright, I can show you what it looks like.
Sorry, I didn't know I was going to need this.
A Pearl shell is.
So this is a Pearl shell.
Oh my God, this is how.
This is how they get them.
This is a really, really small one.

53:59
I bought this just to be able to kind of situations like this just so I could show them.
Alright, so they'll get these.
No way.
I think they said 5 to £10 just for one show and that will produce like a set like this, like just like a 3 1/2 inch by 1 1/4 inch set like just just one of these.
And that's why that's why you don't see big ones like this anymore because we've.
We've basically harvested all of them.
That are the same that are the size needed to get.

54:29
Pieces like this, if you want to see a really good example of how it's done.
Bastion knives.
From Australia I believe has some videos up of him getting a whole shell and actually making his own Pearl slabs out of it.
With a with a wet grinder if you've ever seen the throwing whale.
With like their ceramics type deal.
That's kind of how it goes if you just stand paper on there.
He's wet sanding it and he's making slabs out of the whole shell.

55:04
It's very cool to see.
So how did you come about this piece of Pearl?
It was actually given to.
Give it to me by a local collector.
All right.
All right.
Well, yeah, we got to keep an eye on your feed and see when you're going to use that because that that knife sounds beautiful.

55:24
The, the the idea of just high polished, a high polished blade from you and then some gorgeous handle just with that, with everything hidden.
I mean, that sounds that does sound like a GRAIL knife for sure.
It sounds like one I want to build.
It sounds like when I'm nervous about it, that makes me it makes me anxious even thinking about it.
Oh well, that's good.
That's good.
Because, uh, yeah, when I knew a lot of actors, they always said if it feels scary, do it.

55:54
And I always thought that was a very accurate thing to say.
But that's kind of the kind of thing you need to say to get yourself to do something like to be a little less.
But not as scary as it is now, you know, right?
Right.
Alright, so Ian, what can we expect from you coming forward and what's the best way for people to keep up with your work and find out what's what's coming down the Pike?
And I got CKS coming up in October.
I'll have a bunch of macrostates with me.

56:23
I'm focusing right now on on book orders and then I'll be going out to Brian Eprocess shop to work with him for a week for the CBS show.
We got the Prince coming out, we did the pre-order for them.
Hopefully we'll we should have these in like February.
We'll have a few more to sell.
The best way to find me and follow me is probably my Facebook group.
I'm most active in there.
If you want to see like more behind the scenes stuff, work in progress, just you know some of my personal life and.

56:55
All sorts of random crap if you just want to see the finished products or you know, some more refined working product working.
Work in process photos my Instagram is probably the way to go.
I I have been neglecting it a little bit as they've changed it to the point where you know nothing gets seen anymore and it's a pain in the **** to use, but I've been trying to post better videos and pictures on there, trying to be more active.
So if you want to see finished product stuff, you can see that this this one was was just up there.
In fact, I think you showed it for a moment.
Yeah, yeah, you you have lots of great videos in your Instagram feed.
I'm really digging the videos because they give you a good sense of, you know, you walk someone around the knife, you give them a good sense of what it's like, especially if you've held a knife in your hand.

57:42
You can look at yours and know that's going to feel awesome.
Alright, Ian, I know you got a you got a wedding to get off to.
Now he's he's about to get in the tux, ladies and gentlemen, but thank you so much for taking the time to join us here and and catch us up with what's been going on with CMF Metalworks been a pleasure, Sir.
As always, thank you very much guys.
Appreciate it.
Alright, take care.
Do you like the sound of the alphanumeric combinations M392O4P and 20 CV but bristle at 8 CR, 1 three MOV and AUS-8?

58:16
You are a knife junkie, probably worse.
Very, very exciting.
Well, always good to see Ian of course, but this Mac crusade is exciting because it's something we talk about a lot here and this idea of more production style knives being made in the United States, I'm going to have to do more.
Looking into it really would wouldn't mind having myself and Matt Crusade in the future, so we'll see it all about that.
Anyway, check us out next week for another great interview and Wednesday for the midweek supplemental where we go over new knives in my collection.
And other stuff.
And then Thursday night knives, 10:00 PM Eastern Standard Time live here on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch.

58:59
Until next time, ladies and gentlemen, for Jim working his magic behind the Switcher, I'm Bob DeMarco saying don't take doll for an answer.
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