The right gear can make the difference between a great day of adventure or a cascading event failure. There are some types of gear you can skimp on and some that are so important that you may want to pay a little more for quality. Cutting tools, more specifically knives, are such an item.
|Gordon is a member of the Knifemakers Guild|
Knives are an essential item for someone who spends a lot of time in the outdoors. I recognized early on that many store bought knives don’t hold up over time, especially when put to hard use. Custom made knives can be pricey and you don’t always know what you are getting in terms of quality. A few years ago I found out about Gordon Romeis. He has been a knife maker since 1977 and is a member of the prestigious Knifemaker’s Guild. More importantly, Gordon has been able to bridge the value gap by giving the buyer a much higher quality custom made knife for affordable price.
|Gordon is always working on something new|
Gordon’s workshop is located in Ft Myers. It is an unassuming backyard shed full of equipment and raw materials. Many knifemakers start with a pre-cut blade but all of his knives start out as a bar of 440c stainless steel that he shapes into one of his designs. This is all done by hand using grinders and sanders…and a lot of patience. Once this step is complete, the blades are sent off to be heat treated. Gordon then finishes the knives with a large variety of handle materials including Micarta, bone, horn and antler, wood and even mastodon ivory. A custom sheath is made from leather or a kydex material for certain blades.
|Custom handles are made from exotic materials|
|Gordon at the wheel|
|Finishing up a new knife|
One of my favorite knives of all time is the Romeis “Florida Caper”. This is a shorter, single edged blade that I use as a utility knife. I have done everything from bait cutting to making tent stakes with this knife and it still looks brand new. My Caper is outfitted with Micarta, an extremely durable material made of cloth and resin. It has a full tang and is very light. The fit and finish boasts the quality of this blade. It fits my hand perfectly and I have never found a store bought knife that comes close it and the Caper is a Romeis original design.
|The Romeis Florida Caper|
Over the years I have gone through several fillet knives. The blades can be so thin that they eventually bend or break with extended use. The balance of the knife can also be an issue with fillet knives as the weight is in the handle or whether the blade has a full tang, meaning the blade steel runs the full length and width of the handle which affects the strength and stability of the knife. My Romeis fillet is a balanced 6 ¼ inch hollow ground beauty. The blade is 1/16th inch thick for a flexible yet sturdy feel. The comfortable Micarta handle reduces fatigue and the high quality 440c stainless steel ensures it stays sharp after plenty of use.
|Fillet knives in various stages|
|The finished beauty|
Gordon makes a wide variety of custom products from paring knives to fighting blades, and everything in between. He uses Alabama Damascus steel to create one of a kind collectable knife and can make a completely custom shaped blade to your specifications. A standard knife, like the Florida Caper, can start as little as $165, which is a very small price to pay for a custom product of this high quality. For more information, check out Gordon’s website at www.romeisknives.com or email him at email@example.com.
|The Romeis para-hatchet|