Custom maker Casey Bradshaw is putting a small batch of his custom pieces up for sale on KnivesShipFree for the very first time today. Bradshaw’s work is built on a lifelong appreciation for blades and an emphasis on the personal touch only custom pieces can have.
Bradshaw’s fascination with knives began when he was a kid. He grew up in the 80s, and the movie culture of the time put big blades and martial arts front and center. Naturally that imagery spoke to the imagination of a young boy. “Since I was five or six carrying a knife has been an everyday thing,” Bradshaw tells us. But even then his appreciation for the deeper aspects of cutlery was growing. “It was a tool first and foremost, but I started to look at it as art too.”
In high school, Bradshaw got his first taste of working with metal in shop class; the processes of making things with his hands immediately spoke to him. “You were only supposed to take it for two years but I took it for four: tinkering, welding, fabricating,” Bradshaw recalls. A little later on, he made his first knife using the ubiquitous Harbor Freight 1×30 grinder that many aspiring makers have cut their teeth on. “It actually came out shockingly good,” says Bradshaw of that first knife. “I’m my own worst critic, but people who saw it said I could sell knives like these.”
Which is exactly what he started to do around 2009, and he’s been a full-time maker ever since. Focusing mainly on fixed blades, Bradshaw thinks of himself as a ‘function first’ maker. “I respect the beauty of collectible knives, but that’s not what I make. My focus is on things that are aesthetically pleasing, but usable.” Bradshaw’s knives vary in form and finish, but bold hamon lines, created by a careful quenching process, are a common sight on much of his work. “Rick Barrett [another Indiana-based custom maker] showed me the ropes, and I’ve spun it out into my own thing,” Bradshaw says. “You can’t replicate the same hamon exactly on another knife. It really does make each piece unique.”
It’s that personal touch that appeals to Bradshaw, which is why his catalog is so diverse, and why he doesn’t have many ongoing ‘standard’ models. “Too many things are just stamped out and sent to the masses. It’s important to me to have hand made things,” he reflects. “Every Bradshaw knife is done by me. I don’t even print my shipping labels, I want to write them by hand.”
A small batch of Bradshaw’s work will be available today, January 20th, at 9am EST on KnivesShipFree. If you’re interested in seeing where Bradshaw’s work goes from here or want a chance to grab future pieces, follow him on Instagram or join his Facebook group.
Featured Image: Bradshaw Blades customs
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