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Bill Harsey 01-06-2010 16:50

Knifemaker DJ Urbanovsky
It is my privilege to introduce you all to DJ Urbanovsky, United States Army veteran and knifemaker.
I'd looked at DJ's work recently and some of his stuff made me jealous. :eek:

DJ, you have any pics to show the crew here?

Thanks for what you do and welcome aboard.

DJ Urbanovsky 01-06-2010 20:30

6 Attachment(s)
You're too kind sir, and the privilege is mine. It was a real pleasure speaking with you this afternoon. I really appreciate the compliment and the introduction, and it means a lot to me when a maker that I look up to and respect digs what I'm doing.

I little background on me for you guys: I'm out of Omaha Ne. I started out making kubatons on 01NOV2004, I made my first knife 19FEB2005, was instantly hooked on the craft, and took the plunge as a full time maker 23AUG2005. I've been at it ever since. Since the beginning, I've operated under the moniker of American Kami, and I'm a one man shop. It's just me. What's the deal with the name? I wanted something that embodied my ideas about what I wanted to do with knives. American, because that's what I am. Kami, that part gets a little more complicated. I chose that for two reasons:

1) Kamis are the guys in Nepal that make kukris. I have a thing for kuks, and the guys over there making the good ones do so with very little technology, by hand, one at a time. I like the idea of keeping it simple and true, while adding a little modern technology and knowhow.

2) In Japanese, Kami can mean a bunch of different things having to do with the spiritual world. In my case, I chose it because one of those meanings is something akin to "the spirit that lives within objects." Usually pertaining to the natural world. Iron and carbon come out of the earth, are combined to make steel, and thus each blade has a "soul" if you will. The job of the knife maker is to be the conduit to bring the knife into being. In my case, that's taking a bar of steel and grinding off everything that doesn't look like a knife. Maybe that sounds kinda new-agey, but that's my approach.

I prefer the chisel grind so that's predominantly what I make, and I work almost exclusively with 1095, 5160, and O1. Handle materials are G10 or carbon fiber.

Ok, enough about me. You guys probably wanna see some blades, yeah? :D

Here are the pics. Hope you guys like these as much as I do.

DJ Urbanovsky 01-06-2010 20:32

6 Attachment(s)
A few more:

Surgicalcric 01-06-2010 20:35

Nice blades...

I especially like the center on in the upper post...

DJ Urbanovsky 01-06-2010 20:36

5 Attachment(s)
Finally, a couple of biguns and some 'knucks.

DJ Urbanovsky 01-06-2010 20:41

Thanks, man!

My screen formatting is a little hinky, but if it's the Karambit that you're referring to, that's my Type-C variant. I do three other flavors of K-bit, but people seem to like these little guys the best (myself included).


Originally Posted by Surgicalcric (Post 306805)
Nice blades...

I especially like the center on in the upper post...

Buck 01-06-2010 20:53

Beautiful work. In the second set of photos, the last Tomahawk style hachet. I'd love to talk to you about one of those in a dark handle.


NousDefionsDoc 01-06-2010 21:01

Smatchet! like.

Very nice. And you made a great friend. Well done.

Claemore 01-06-2010 21:39

I've liked your work since seeing some of it on TAD Gear, and have kept your website as one of my favorites.

I also prefer chisel grinds. I was wondering if there were any particular reason you preferred chisel grinds over other conventional grinds.

Your designs flow very well for me. Beautiful stuff!

x SF med 01-06-2010 22:17

Nice stuff. I have to agree with NDD smatchet good.

send mine care of Little Billy Harsey, he'll taske care of the invoice :D...

wet dog 01-06-2010 22:36


I've always liked the looks of "Flint-knapped" handles. Keeps the blade from falling out of your hands when bloody.



DJ Urbanovsky 01-07-2010 00:09

Thanks so much, guys. Really glad you all like these.

It's snowing like a mother here and I've got time, so I wrote you guys a novel.

It would be my pleasure to make you a hawk. That particular model is my Type-1. This design evolved from the first axe I ever built, and out of everything I make with an axe handle, it's my personal favorite. I keep trying to make one of these for myself, but every time I do somebody talks me into selling it. :D Shoot me over a PM, email, or give me a call and I'll take care of you.

NousDefionsDoc: Man, I about fell over when I answered the phone and heard "Hi DJ, this is Bill Harsey." If you're a knifemaker, that's like getting a call from the Pope. And he's one of the nicest guys ever. Really made my day. In regards to the knife, I like big fat blades too. You're probably talking about the last piece in the first set of pics, OD handles, compound ground. That's the MIGS-CS.

Good people over there at TAD. The were my first dealer. Expecting to start some new stuff for them in February. On the chisel grind, you really opened a can of worms there! Fasten your seatbelt. :D There are I number of reasons why I personally prefer them:

1) They're easier for a lot of guys to sharpen. You only have to find that one edge angle (on the bevel side), sharpen that until you build up the burr at the edge, lightly kiss the edge on the flat side to break the burr, and then strop. Bang. You're done.

2) It's easier to do some superfine cutting tasks because you know right where the edge is in relation to the spine of the knife. Just follow the flat ground side all the way down to the edge. You can also get right up on stuff, and it's very apparent if your blade is canted to the side. Ok, honestly, I'm not sure I've ever needed to make a cut where the angle was that critical, but it's nice to know I could if I had to. Mostly something like that would apply if you were using the knife for woodworking or cutting sushi, but then you'd probably opt for a more appropriate cutting tool. Unless all you had was your knife, in which case, have at it.

3) Knife edges are a balancing act (really, the whole fabrication process is a balancing act). Thinner and/or more acute means the knife will be a more efficient cutter, but the edge isn't very durable. Conversely, thicker and/or more obtuse means it's more durable, but it's not going to cut like the devil. I try to strike a balance - I'm a clumsy bastard and I break stuff, so I tend to build my knives thicker at the edge, but I use a more acute edge angle to compensate for that. Edges on factory knives can run up to an inclusive angle of 45 degrees, but most seem to run around 40 degrees. I usually shoot for 30-35 degrees inclusive on knives (axes and larger pieces are closer to 40 degrees), but since my edges run thick they still maintain good durability. Again, it's a balancing act. And it also depends on the knife and person I'm building it for.

4) Finally and least importantly, it's about aesthetics. I think that the chisel grind is like the porterhouse of knife grinds. You've got your big 'ol fat flat. That's your NY strip. Then you've got your big juicy hollow grinds. That's your fillet. To me, it's like the coolest thing ever. Add to that this piece of advice that a number of makers I respect have shared with me: If you make the stuff that you like, you'll always do your best work.

x SF med: Fine, but YOU tell him! :D

wet dog:
Again, we're talking about a balancing act. For a while I was going in the direction of more toothy, but I was fortunate enough to get some feedback from Kit Carson last year, and he advised me to knock those corners off. I took his advice, and the handles are now more comfortable, but still plenty grippy. My preferred handle material is G10. The only other handle material I use is carbon fiber. And the axe handles are G10 only. G10 is pretty much impervious to everything - acetone, sweat, blood, you name it. It's electrically non-conductive (a good thing to have in an axe). It's got good vibration dampening capabilities. And it's just tough as hell.

Stealthed 01-07-2010 00:19

Beautiful knives there sir! Extremely unique and I love the G-10. Perfect choice for a handle.

JJ_BPK 01-07-2010 04:54

Your an artist, great work..


SF-TX 01-07-2010 07:55

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