Jay Fisher - World Class Knifemaker

Quality Without Compromise

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"Random Access Three" obverse side view in CPM154CM powder metal technology high molybdenum stainless steel blade, vertical and horizontal sheaths in hand-stamped brown basketweave leather shoulder
"Random Access III"


From your requests, I've been building videos on YouTube.

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Please note! Due to an email conflict, I created two YouTube channels. Now, I'm condensing them into one, but I don't want to lose any subscribers! I created a short video to describe this, but know that if you see my face on the avatar, you're on the right channel. If you see the letter "J" on the avatar, that's the old channel that won't have all the videos on it!

Know that all the current and future videos are linked here on the site, along with detailed descriptions and outlines, so if you visit this page often, you'll see the newest, latest stuff and have all the information that may go with it. Also, I'll include links to various pages on this website for more specific or detailed information.

Heat Treating Knife Blades

My desire is to educate people who are often unaccustomed to knifemaking terms, steps, and technology. We are truly living in a world of advanced materials technology, and in these videos, I explain—in a casual way—the basic steps to heat treating. I do this by first explaining what steel allotropes are, how they are arranged, and how they change depending on steel treatment. I discuss steel history; I describe what happens in the hardening, cryogenic, and tempering steps of the process. I also detail some of the considerations in factory, boutique shop and other makers' knives where economy is preferred over premium, high quality processing of blade steel. There is a right way and wrong way to heat treat high alloy steels! The knife owner, the client, and the knife enthusiast will learn what to ask for in his steel treatment, how it's done correctly and more importantly, what to watch out for in mistaken, incorrect, or inferior knife blade steel processing.

This video set is made to accompany my Heat Treating and Cryogenic Processing of Knife Blade Steels page, which offers a more detailed, referenced, and wide-ranging scope of the topic.

From a presentation standpoint, I start out very slowly, easing into the terminology. At every section (currently there are 14 for heat treating) I pick up speed and hope to encourage the listener. It's important to listen to the sections in order; there are terms and descriptions that won't make sense if you jump around. By the time you have finished the set, you will have a greater understanding of heat treating knife blades and cryogenic processing than most people, most knife factories, and most knifemakers! Don't believe me? Just watch the set and then start asking questions. You'll be surprised how little most knifemakers know about proper heat treating, the very process that takes a knife from a raw piece of soft stock to a functional, superior wear resistant cutting tool.

  1. Heat Treating Knife Blades 1 topics: Hardening, heat treating: molecules, steel as a crystal, body-centered definition, steel allotropes and transformation, ferrite, cementite, steps for proper heat treating knife blades
  2. Heat Treating Knife Blades 2 topics: transformation in solid crystal of steel, austenite formation, face-centered cubic, quenching, equilibrium cooling, martensite formation, displacement, dislocations in crystalline bodies
  3. Heat Treating Knife Blades 3 topics: heat treating knife blades, retained austenite, metastable structure, pressure of transformation of metastable austenite, improperly treated blades, quenching media, lower alloy knife blade steel quenching
  4. Heat Treating Knife Blades 4 topics: heat treating knife blades: interstitial carbon, martensite finish temperature, shallow cryogenic temperature, D2 Die steel, dry ice quenching, faults and limitations, quenching rate
  5. Heat Treating Knife Blades 5 topics: low alloy steels, hypereutectoid, hypoeutectoid carbon content, conversion of retained austenite, early stainless steel, bad reputation of stainless steel, stainless steel history, cryo history and improvement of stainless alloys
    5a: Heat Treating Knife Blades 5a topics: what happens in cryogenics, carbides, alloy elements in the formation of carbides, chromium, vanadium, molybdenum, tungsten, niobium, initiation of carbide nucleation, crystalline stabilization of carbides
    5b: Heat Treating Knife Blades 5b, Blades post-cryogenic warm-up: A group of high chromium, hypereutectoid stainless steel knife blades, after deep cryogenic processing at -325 degrees Fahrenheit, warming up to ambient room temperature. After they reach ambient, the first tempering cycle starts.
  6. Heat Treating Knife Blades 6 topics: what happens in cryo, alloy elements forming carbides, vanadium, molybdenum, chromium, niobium, tungsten, initiation of carbide nucleation, temper control by the knifemaker, solving knife client's problems
  7. Heat Treating Knife Blades 7 topics: Tempering, first tempering cycle, eta carbide formation, sub-microscopic size, stages and tempering ranges, toughness and ductility, carbon density and migration, high energy atoms and dislocation energy
  8. Heat Treating Knife Blades 8 topics: equilibrium definition and reactions, timed cycles, second tempering range, retained austenite conversion to martensite, ferrite, cementite and ductility, untempered martensite
  9. Heat Treating Knife Blades 9 topics: Reaction kinetics, multiple cycling, third temper cycle, toughness, initiation of carbides, secondary hardening, second cryogenic quench between temper cycles. This video is an upgrade of the original, done for more clarity of the topics.
  10. Heat Treating Knife Blades 10 topics: third temperature range of tempering, chi carbide formation, transitional carbides, decomposition from alloy carbides to ferrite, spheroidization and softening of the structure, tempering as the knifemaker's sole responsibility
  11. Heat Treating Knife Blades 11 topics: outside heat treating contractors, snap temper, interrupted quenching detrimental results, geometry of forming dies, knife blade geometry, failure of heat treating procedure
  12. Heat Treating Knife Blades 12 topics: premium performance, properly treated blades, professional studies, dissertations, errors in studies, presentations, and textbooks, further snap temper considerations, soak time errors, developing science and study of cryogenics and heat treating.
  13. Heat Treating Knife Blades 13 topics: steel companies and foundries, economic considerations of steel suppliers, conservative recommendations, data sheets and white papers as generalized guides, safe vs. premium treatment protocols, longevity in knife blades, planned obsolescence, premium prices and cost considerations
  14. Heat Treating Knife Blades 14 topics: three seasons of longevity in factory blades, the very best knives, brand loyalty as limiting factor, bad blade geometry limiting blade life, conventional treatment to save money, lifelong, multi-generational knife life and use
After getting the basics of heat treating and what happens in this fascinating cycle, it's important to get into steel types. In videos 15-17, I give an overview of steel types and differences, and describe why the alloys, carbon content, and application and treatment are important. I make some basic comparisons between carbon steels and stainless steels, and describe the most asked-for properties and characteristics in steel knife blades that the knife user and owner is most interested in.
  1. Blade Steels 15 topics: knife blades as tools, steel types, standard steels, carbon steels, alloy steels, stainless steels, definitions, chromium, history of carbon steel, blacksmithing, alloys
  2. Blade Steels 16 topics: carbon steel vs. stainless steel, rust and corrosion of carbon steels, better steels, carbon steel and volume and economy of production, eutectoid point, hypoeutectoid, eutectoid, hypereutectoid, limitations of corrosion and oxidation of steels
  3. Blade Steels 17 topics: martensite finish temperature in carbon steels, stainless steel classifications, austenitic stainless steel, 304 stainless, 18-8 stainless steel, carbon and chromium balance and control corrosion, ferritic stainless steels, martensitic stainless steels
  4. Blade Steels 18 topics: carbon and stainless steel comparisons, 20 different steels for knife blades, main use of knives is cutting, properties of blades in order of importance: wear resistance, corrosion resistance, toughness, performance value of knife blades, synergistic properties of all elements in balance

Knife and Sheath Demonstrations

On these videos, I demonstrate knives and their rigs, gear, sheaths, wear systems, and accessories. It's important to have a visual so my clients and other interested people can see how these systems all work together. Mainly, they are tactical, combat, and counterterrorism knives, and the arrangements and equipment I create comes from the requests of my tactical and professional clients. When you see the videos, you'll realize that a knife is so much more than a piece of steel with a handle; it's everything in the kit that gets the knife into the field and enables the knife in a successful mission.

  1. Here's a Detailed video demonstrating my modular sheath frame mount system on my Ananke khukri. It's a big knife, and the modular system takes care of a lot of wear and change issues.
  2. A detailed video demonstrating my standard tactical knife wear system, featuring the locking sheath, belt loops, straps, clamps, hardware, belt loop extender, sternum harness, and LIMA for a "PJLT," my most popular CSAR and tactical knife.
  3. A long and detailed video demonstrating setup, wear, use of my modular harness and knife sheath wear system, the most sophisticated and versatile knife sheath wear system in the world for my PJ-CT, a counterterrorism CSAR hybrid knife. The kit includes two complete sets o modular sheath and wear accessories, one in black, one in coyote brown. This includes locking sheaths in stainless steel, anodized aluminum, and kydex, belt loop extenders, sternum harnesses, spine harnesses, all mounting hardware, belt loop assortment, horizontal and vertical, belt clamp straps, LIMA (Lamp Independent Mount Assemblies), HULA (Holder, Universal Lamp, Articulating) with Maglite Solitaires and Mag-Tac flashlights, ventilated mesh pads, lanyards, Ostrich leg skin inlaid leather sheath, and handmade 1000 Denier ballistic nylon duffle
  4. A short video on packing the kit of one of my modular counterterrorism knives, the Hooded Warrior. The kit includes two complete sets o modular sheath and wear accessories, one in black, one in coyote brown. This includes locking sheaths in stainless steel, anodized aluminum, and kydex, belt loop extenders, sternum harnesses, spine harnesses, all mounting hardware, belt loop assortment, horizontal and vertical, belt clamp straps, LIMA (Lamp Independent Mount Assemblies), HULA (Holder, Universal Lamp, Articulating) with Maglite Solitaires and Mag-Tac flashlights, ventilated mesh pads, lanyards, Ostrich leg skin inlaid leather sheath, and handmade 1000 Denier ballistic nylon duffle

Art Casting Videos
  1. Bronze Casting at Enchanted Spirits Studio with Jay Fisher, is a simple view of a small portion of making a custom knife stand in solid cast bronze. I emphasize a small portion because it's just the pouring and shakeout of the bronze casting, and not the designing, wax carving, prepping of the wax model, sprue and vent attachment, debubblizing, and investment that happens before the burnout, and it doesn't include the steps after the casting like fettling, cleanup, texturing, finishing, and patina application! But the casting is the most visually interesting part, and the reveal after the shakeout is always a treat, so that's why I chose this portion of the creative process.
  2. Casting Bronze Knife Stand for Knife Sculpture "Morta" is a video with details of the wax model, the casting, the shakeout, and the completed sculpture for the knife "Morta" with a 3400 year old bog oak handle.

Hello Jay,
I was in the early stages of searching for a quality SRK and, eventually, I ended up on jayfisher.com.
Although I spent some of my younger years as a USAF forward controller, I have to admit that I've never been much of a knife enthusiast. I really enjoyed the video on your homepage, however, so I thought I'd type a few words of appreciation. Knife enthusiast or not, the underlying message of self-sufficiency in your story really resonates with me. Please keep up the good work and, even more importantly, keep spreading the word about old-world skills, problem-solving and craftsmanship -- they're all dying concepts.
By the way, I was very pleased to see that you've dedicated some of your talent and vision to military units like the USAF PJs. I trained and worked with some of them: and they clearly deserve the recognition.
Have a good one,


Bronze Casting at Enchanted Spirits Studio with Jay Fisher

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Testimonials, Letters and Emails       Copyright and Knives  
Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 1       440C: A Love/Hate Affair  
Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 2       ATS-34: Chrome/Moly Tough  
Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 3 D2: Wear Resistance King
Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 4       O1: Oil Hardened Blued Beauty  
Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 5       Heat Treating and
Cryogenic Processing of
Knife Blade Steels
Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 6       Elasticity, Stiffness, Stress,
and Strain in Knife Blades
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