Axiom Knife Works

By David Tong

Axiom Hunting Knife
Photo by David Tong.

Murphy is an Albany, Oregon maker of semi-custom knives. After spending over twenty years as a cabinet maker, he knows his way around wood. He tired of being a box maker and became a barber less than ten years ago.

Today, his main business is as the owner of a barber shop. He is also a dedicated motorcyclist. I met him at the Albany Rifle and Pistol Club's gun show at the Linn County Fairgrounds about a month ago and took his business card after chatting with him briefly.

Murphy decided to make some knives with unique handle designs of his own, using some unique materials. He uses only American or Japanese steel blanks of 440C stainless, as he finds this older alloy to be durable and serviceable in hard use. He has blades made to his specification in terms of shape and grind, in lengths between 3.5 inches and 6.0 inches. They can be drop point, clip point, or skinners, as befitting his hunting interests. All his knives are fixed blade types.

He uses a variety of woods, animal horns and plastics for his unique handles. He constructs these handles individually, no two of his stock knife offerings are alike. He emphasized this, saying he was tired of having to build the same old thing over and over. He will, of course, build knives to order for individual customers, but all are unique.

He also constructs his own leather knife sheaths from American cowhide. These sheaths have a thermoplastic Kydex tip insert to ensure that the blade does not damage the interior of the sheath or cut the stitching. These sheaths are available with either friction retention, or with a snap strap for greater security. On less expensive knives, he will supply a Kydex sheath that has hollow rivets to allow the knife to be worn horizontally or vertically via 550 Paracord on the belt.

I was able to examine seven different designs. The woods he uses include Bamboo, Bloodwood, Cocobolo, Juniper, Kingwood, Lacewood, Mahogany, Osage orange, Purpleheart, Redheart, black Walnut, and Zebrawood, although he will use any wood desired by the prospective owner.

He will also use stag or incorporate animal horn materials as inlays or contrasting materials with wood. He makes his own wood rivets to retain the handles on certain knives, as well as offering molded thermoplastic handles of his own devising and construction on his less expensive offerings.

The blades can either be full tang construction, or welded and threaded tang. Several of his knives had cartridge case heads to cap the nut that retains the handle as a finishing touch.

All his knife blades, handles and sheaths have the letter "M" on to them. This is the only maker's mark on his product. He does not have a website or do any advertising, but is beginning to promote his business at art shows, knife shows and gun shows in the western part of Oregon.

You can telephone Murphy at 541-979-0952. He is a friendly, straight-up kind of guy and a pleasure with whom to deal.

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Copyright 2016 by David Tong and/or All rights reserved.