When I first saw the hunting knives made by Andy Franco I felt like I was looking at an antique, a knife that belonged in a museum or had been passed down from the days when the “West Was Wild”. I could see these knives strapped to the thick belts of trappers and cowboys or being used to skin the great “Grizzly” 100 years ago.
The fire forged blades and bone handles make his hunting knives stand out against other custom hunting knives you see. Each one is unique not only in look and feel but in process, these blades aren’t stamped or cut out, they are built from fire, steel, and a hammer.
Andy has been making knives full time for over 6 years, drawing from his experience of working as a commercial fisherman in Alaska, ranch hand in Washington, fur trapper in Montana, and serving in the U.S Army 75th Ranger Regiment (airborne). Needless to say Andy knows knives and the importance of having a good one you can depend on.
“My influence derives from the great old American West and the rugged individualism, courage and pioneering spirit of those brave souls who settled it. The knife represents independence, freedom, self reliance, skill and endurance. Knives should be sharp, rugged, tough, practical and look good. Forging blades and making knives is my passion and pursuit.”
Calico Forge Knife Company’s motto is “Hand Made, Field Tested, Hammer Forged, Working Knives” and this is something they live by. Each knife is 100% hand made in Nampa, Idaho from the finest high carbon steel. Each blade is hand forged the way it was done years ago, hammer to anvil and tempered specifically for the specific knife and steel being used.
“The Calico Forge shop is not a modern “state of the art” shop. I use “some” modern methods to make my knives, but primarily most of my equipment and techniques are relatively old. I use a power hammer to forge out my blades from rough bar stock and then I profile them hot on the anvil.”
It’s amazing there are still craftsman out there who regardless of what new technology and tools are available that would not only make their jobs easer (and probably more profitable) stay true to their art. It’s the artists and craftsman like this that keep the history alive.
“It takes a lot of work and time to make a knife, and I suppose I could make them faster with more modern equipment and cheap labor. But if I did that,… it wouldn’t be a Calico Forge knife.”
If you are looking for a truly original knife that you can not only depend on in the field but be proud to pass down to your son or daughter, take a look at Andy Franco and Calico Forge Knife Co. Also if you would like to see the forging process in action take a look at their video “Forge To Finish”
Calico Forge Knife Co.
907 Sunny Lane
Nampa, Idaho 83561