When Manly USA shut its doors last year, they did so with the intention to shift their focus to a new brand called Maker Blades. The project aimed to showcase, and make available for purchase, the work of talented Bulgarian custom knife makers. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed this project somewhat but now, a year later, Maker Blades is on the cusp of releasing its first round of knives.
Teofil Simov, who works under the shop name Working Blades, is the first bladesmith to partner with Maker. Focused primarily on fixed blades, Simov cultivated a style that marries organic curvatures to traditional outdoors fixed blade patterns, creating workhorse knives with a distinct, pronounced look and feel.
According to Maker Blades’s Lyubomir Trayanov, four Simov models will be on offer to begin with: the Shaman, Voin Trail, Perin, and Perin Recurve. All of these knives are made with 66mn4, a relatively simple, German-made carbon steel that Simov imbues with a differential heat treat formula to maximize toughness.
And Trayanov tells us that more models are already in the offing. “Teofil is already working on a couple of new models,” he says. “One of them will be a khopesh inspired model, a modern version of the Bulgarian karakulak knife, a balisong knife for outdoors, and some axes.”
Despite the relatively low prices, Trayonov confirms that these knives are indeed custom blades, made by Simov in his Sofia, Bulgaria shop. The handmade nature is an important element of the Maker Blades concept. “That being said, if demand increases Simov has plans to get a couple of guys to work with him,” Trayanov adds. All of these models will be available on an ongoing basis, although limited/special runs are a possibility in the future for unique blade shapes and styles. A wakizashi design is one such special order, and will be available alongside the four “main line” offerings shortly.
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