Lockett Custom Knives

Mr. Lockett is a graduate of the American Bladesmith society school or Washington Arkansas where James Black made Jim Bowie's famous knife.  My Lockett can make knives to your specifications and we have some of his works in stock.  Contact him at spur@outdrs.net .

By Alex Osinski

Lowell Lockett or better known as LC Lockett in the custom knife world, is one of the better knife makers in the US who combines old world craftsmanship along with modern materials and state of the art technique to produce one of a kind knives.   He specializes in fixed blade knives for the outdoorsman.   

Each blade is an individual work of art.  While Mr Lockett has a few ready made knives available for sale, he keeps busy with custom works made to customer specifications.    For the knife collector like myself the move from factory production knives to custom knives by a Journeyman Bladesmith is quite the jump.   Now for the average practical survivalist, anything much beyond a $40 Kabar is an extravagance, but just as the Gerbers, Cold Steel, and Buck knives seem better than what most of us would need, sometimes you just get a desire to own something for the sake of art.   

That said, there is a lot to learn about anything that can show us how mankind lives in the world.   It is not hard to imagine the role that the bladesmiths of old played in their societies.  Generations of master and apprentice bring blade making across the centuries to men like Mr. Lockett.   

The actual forging of a blade is done pretty much the same way it was done thousands of years ago, but the modern bladesmith takes advantage of some current technology.   Here, a compact propane fired furnace replaces the coal fires of old.   The advantage is that the propane burns much cleaner and more evenly, thus the blade maker has more even and uniform heating of the metal before pounding it into shape.  

Note that when working with metal, one should always wear eye protection.   It helps to have exposed skin and clothing protected from heat and soot, although many bladesmiths do not wear gloves. 

The hammer, tongs and anvil used here are of the same design as what would have been used hundreds of years ago.   In fact, many knife makers use antique tools in producing their art.  





Some of the certificates and awards presented to Mr. Lockett as a bladesmith over the years.  









One of the prototypes for the OSI survival knife line shown here with a custom meat cutting knife made to the specifications of a local butcher.   The butcher knife is unique in that the straight "spine" of the blade is sharpened and the curved part is not.   This makes the knife very effective when used with a cutting board since the butcher can make use of the full length of the knife without shifting his grip.  

Below, we see the OSI survival knife as initially drawn out on 440 stainless steel stock knife steel.   We decided on 440 stainless rather than a forged steel since it would be more durable under abusive field conditions.  I also decided to go with a fairly thin blade material and careful tempering.   This is to keep the weight down despite the size of the knife.   In theory, the knife would be large, but handy and fast.  A double hilt gives several grip options and minimizes the chances of dropping the knife under stress.   It also would make several disarming techniques more difficult for an opponent in a fight.  

The exotic wood used in this handle is an example of another major aspect of custom knives.  Material alone for this handle was in the neighborhood of $100.  Once finished, such a knife is instantly recognizable as a unique work of art.   






I picked this block of rare California Buckeye for the handle material on the OSI knife.  Below the block, you can see the original specification drawing for the knife.  

Unique features include a double hilt, extra finger groove in front of the main hilt, a long handle to facilitate two hand use and allow the knife to balance differently depending on the grip.   The point design has been altered a bit from the picture, but the theme of it is to keep the point inline with the centerline of the knife and have as much re-enforcement as practical in order to give the knife acceptable performance for throwing.   Tempering of the blade has been geared more to flexibility than edge holding qualities.   This makes the blade very resilient and sharpening after use will keep it sharp.   The idea being that frequent sharpening is more desirable than re-grinding a broken point.  

The OSI survival knife prototype here is a hand made custom knife by LC Lockett.   It is unique in that it utilizes thinner than average stock material (440 stainless) for the blade while maintaining a large profile.  This saves weight and gives better control while cutting softer meats like fish.  Careful tempering and heat treating give the blade strength and durability, but it was not designed to replace the axe.  

The double hilt design was modified to allow for several grip options to allow for full control of the blade in a number of tasks.   The handle is longer than most knives of this type in order to give a better balance and allow for a two handed grip in some circumstances.   I am still working on some options for sheath designs as the conventional Bowie type sheath will not be used in production models.   


My personal prototype has panels made from California Buckeye Burl.  Production models will most likely have a synthetic handle, but custom models have the buyer's choice of handle materials.  

Mr. Lockett is a graduate of the American Bladesmith society school or Washington Arkansas where James Black made Jim Bowie's famous knife.  My Lockett can make knives to your specifications and we have some of his works in stock.  Contact him at spur@outdrs.net .












































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