Using a variety of the highest quality steel, Gil grinds each of his blades freehand, using no guides, jigs or automated equipment. His knife handles are handcrafted from a wide variety of materials including stag, ivory, rams horn, walrus tusk, micarta, and exotic natural woods such as Makassar ebony.
Gil regularly makes several popular designs that are in high demand among outdoorsmen and collectors. Other times, Gil expresses his creative side by making a truly new and different one-of-a-kind design. Gil also makes custom knives based on the designs of his customers.
Here is a brief overview of the knifemaking process for a fixed blade knife so you can appreciate the many hours of skilled craftsmanship that goes into a custom handmade knife.
If you would like to see Gil Hibben demonstrate the whole blade grinding process
up to the point of heat treating, you can purchase Gil's video tape or DVD
of "The Rough Grind".
Many of the photos here are taken directly from the video.
Notice: This is by no means a knifemaking tutorial. Knifemaking is inherently a dangerous process and should only be attempted by those with proper training. The purpose here is simply to give you an idea of the many steps involved in making custom knives.
The knifemaking process starts with a design. Gil draws and refines his design on paper. If it is for a popular Hibben style, he may make a plastic or wooden template of the basic blade size and shape.