name is Ruben Calo, and I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina
with my wife Aurora.
I started making knives in 1989 when I was living on a
small apartment and my biggest tool was a hand drill.
I consider myself a self-taught person, as I learned this
profession by watching another artisans' work and trying
to picture how knives were made.
When in 1993 I had the chance to move to an old house
with a big patio and a free first floor to build up a
workshop there, I've decided that I've had enough with
office work, and I've become a full time knifemaker, at
the age of 36 years old.
Even though I've read a lot of foreign specialized magazines,
and listened to people with more knowledge than myself,
as with most things in life, I really improved my knifemaking
skills by trying things over and over on my workshop.
All my knives are completely hand made. Please take a
look at the Tutorials
to understand my work.
I make my own designs and I don't use templates to make
them or blueprints to replicate them, making each one
of my knives a unique and exclusive one.
I don't share the opinion that knives are supposed to
be designed with lots of uses in mind. I firmly believe
that each knife should be designed to perform a specific
task. When you design a blade for more than one effective
use, you start making compromises and the final knife
ends lacking performance on each intended job.
I make my blades using the stock removal method and sometimes
I forge the edges of the knives to make a very ductile
I heat treat my blades on my workshop on an electric oven,
taking the precautions to make it right for each piece,
as the best designed knife would be ruined if this process
isn't done properly.
| The Art of
Modern Custom Knifemaking
In Blade Show 2006, David Darom presented his 3rd book,
"Art of Modern Custom Knifemaking: 100 Custom
Knife Related Projects in the Making" where
I have a two pages tutorial
on building a Persian Kard.
I'd like to thank David for his interest in my work and
|Steels I Use
I prefer carbon steels as they're easy
to sharpen, they have an excellent tenacity and a very
good edge retention, but I also use the stainless steels
to allow the owner to forget about taking care of the
knife in order to prevent rust.
The three main steels I use for my knives are SAE 5160,
K110 (D2) and N678. Sometimes I also use damascus steels.
I also prefer not to harden the edge in excess, as a blade
with 60 or more on the Rockwell scale will have very good
edge retention but it also will be very hard to sharpen.
Based on my own experience I prefer a 57/58 Rc blade so
I can easily sharpen it on the field with a regular stone.
I use a variety of synthetic and natural
I have carbon fiber, micarta, G-10, several local woods
(lapacho, maclura, algarrobo, anchico, niandubay, palosanto,
guayacan, quebracho, garabato, ayelen, radal, guayubira,
quina, alecrin, tarara, jacaranda, tala and acacia among
others) and horns from deer, antelope, buffalo and sheep.
I've also use armadillo shell, sperm whale ivory, cow
bones and mother of pearl.
For bolsters and fittings, I use titanium, stainless steel,
mokume, nickel silver, brass, copper, sterling silver
and gold. I've also use precious and semi precious stones
These are some of the raw handle materials I have
These are some pictures of my work place, located on the
first floor of my home. Here I have plenty of natural
light and fresh air to work properly.