“They don’t make them like they used to” is true about a lot of things these days, including knives. But small pockets of artisans still exist, including local Salt Lake City blacksmith Dylan Wanta who helped craft Coalatree Organics' Haswell Survival Knife.
Hand-forged in charcoal from a bar of high-carbon steel, the knife is room-cooled before being polished with Japanese water stones and finished on a 50-year-old Sheffield strope. It’s a labor-intensive process, but the result is a blade that's unique. No two knives are alike. About five inches, the Haswell is hilted with a hand-polished maple handle that’s been oil-sealed to bring out the wood's color.
But maybe the most interesting part of the Haswell Survival Knife is its sheath. As the blade is forged and the sparks are flying, Wanta walks over a floor strewn with seven-ounce leather. After the blade is finished, he takes that leather and hand-sews into the sheath, giving each a custom, rugged look.
Coalatree’s motto of “Buy, Support, Grow Local” was the inspiration for the Haswell Survival Knife, but like all hand-made goods, they’re in limited supply. Only fifty were created, so if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind knife to take you deep into the backcountry, quit wasting time talking about the good ol' days.