Blade Designs
Blade Gallery


A history of Bear Paw Knives

(To place an order or contact Bear Paw Knives, use the Feedback page)

Bear Paw Knives are quality user knives made by Phil Moen, of Havre, Montana. The intent of Bear Paw Knives is to create quality knives at a reasonable price utilizing only the best of materials and assembly methods. The blades of most Bear Paw Knives are formed of D-2 tool steel. Handle scales are selected from  a variety of materials chosen for their beauty and durability. Bear Paw knives are assembled using a combination of state-of-the-art adhesives and mechanical fasteners to insure that they are as well made as possible. Each Bear Paw knife should provide years of dependable service.

I have been a hobbyist knife maker for many years, and have found knife making to be both an entertaining and enjoyable activity.  Over the years I have built dozens of knives. Some were assembled from blade blanks that I purchased from dealers and at gun shows, but the vast majority of the knives I built over the years were made from "found" materials such as files and old saw blades. I ground, hardened, tempered, and annealed these blades, attached scales or handle materials, polished, and finished these knives. Some of them I used; most of them I gave away to friends and relatives. Following my retirement, I found I had more time to devote to knife making, and I began building quite a few. To support my hobby, I began trading knives for materials such as horn or steel, and then people began asking me about how much I would charge for a knife. Like the famous story about the hunting guide who was asked to sell his Ruanna knife and told the asker, "I'm busy, get yer own!" I was left with the choice of stating a price or not. I did, and I sold my first knife. From that point, I have sold many, and in doing so I decided that I needed a way to create a larger quantity of blade blanks that were of high quality for a relatively economical price. I could have purchased them commercially, or hand forged them from stock, but I have always enjoyed creating my own blades more than finishing the next guy's and I didn't have access to a working forge. I could have built one that used propane or natural gas, or found a source for coal for the old coal forge I have, but I chose to go a different way. I had access to a source of industrial knife blades composed of D-2 steel used in the paper industry. These blades were surplus, but were already hardened, tempered, and annealed utilizing industrial processes.  Given that D-2 requires fairly elaborate hardening, tempering, and annealing processes, I felt that using these blades would be a big advantage over starting with raw stock. The big drawback to these industrial blades was that, because they were already processed, they were extremely hard and durable. This made them very difficult to cut into blade blanks. The logical choice to do this might seem to be to use a cutting torch, but D-2's composition makes cutting it difficult with a torch. I had an idea that a plasma cutter might work to cut the blanks, and I was lucky enough to make contact with the owner of a local metal fabricating business, BLM Metals, and we used his cutter to create the blanks from the big disks.  I was now able to fabricate knives from high quality steel, to my specifications, fairly easily once I had developed a pattern and had it programmed into the CAD program that drives the cutter.  All the blade designs for Bear Paw Knives are currently based on designs programmed into the CAD program that were developed by either myself or family members and friends.  Bear Paw Knives are built by hand, one knife at a time. This results in minor variations in each knife produced, even though they are the same model. The result is that each Bear Paw Knife is an individual and unique expression of the maker's art.


    Created by: Phil Moen

Home | History | Options | Blade Designs | Favorites | Blade Gallery | Feedback

This site was last updated 10/28/08