It all started when I was 10 years old. There was no way I was allowed to carry a knife. Besides, a couple of years earlier I had found a pocket knife and while whittling a branch I managed to perform minor surgery on my left thumb from which I still have the scar today. (you know that didn’t go down very well with my parents).
However I felt ready so I got a six inch spike from my Dad’s workshop and headed out to the railroad tracks. I waited for the first train to come along, left the spike on the track, and the train ran over it, instantly transforming it into a flat piece of steel. I then filed it down to shape on the coarse cement of a sidewalk and finished the edge on a piece of black slate which was very common to find in my area. I completed the handle by wrapping it in electrical tape, and thus my first handmade knife was born.
Fast forward about 17 years and I was at home in my woodworking shop trying to sharpen chisels and various tools and I just couldn’t get the right edge. I headed to the library to find a book on sharpening. Right beside the sharpening section a book really stood out. It was called Step-by-Step Knifemaking by David Boye. I picked it up and spent about an hour reading through it and said to myself “I can do that”
In the past I experimented with various forms of art including pencil, pen and ink drawing, pastels, oil and acrylic paints, wood sculpting and various 3 dimensional collages. But this was like I was in a pitch black room and I reached up and turned the light on. What a revelation! I went straight home, grabbed an old kitchen knife, tore it down, re-shaped and put a new handle on it. I made my first hunting knife and have never stopped making knives since.
Since my very first knife I have substituted electrical tape for better handle materials such as cocobolo and various exotic hardwoods, deer and moose antler, synthetics like micarta, G-10 and carbon fiber. The last time I counted I had used at least 50 different handle materials. The steel I use has improved as well. Instead of flattened spikes I use top of the line cutlery grade steels such as 154CM, 12C27, D2 and the more modern CPM steels like CPM S-30V , CPM-154 and CPM D2.
Since I began making knives in 1982 I have experimented with a full range of designs from Hunters, Outdoor utility knives, Bowies, Daggers, Tantos, Tacticals, and more including art and fantasy knives.
My goal is not only to make the best knife possible but a knife that one can own and carry with pride. My motto is “A Marzitelli knife is a knife for life”
Peter Marzitelli “Have a knife day”