“There’s something about a good knife that speaks to you. Call it primal.”
Always an admirer of skilled work, John took a special interest in knives when he cut himself on a fine kitchen knife given to him by a friend.
"I knew then I wanted to create one myself. I decided to take a knife class but living on Saba meant I would wait months before my schedule worked to attend a course. So I started watching YouTube videos, a lot of them! I create each knife with a purpose. Whether a survival knife, chef knife or fillet knife. The only problem is, once I create it, I want to keep it."
John Magor has been living on Saba since 1989. He came to Saba as a dive instructor but continues to wear many hats from hair stylist to photographer, dive shop owner, diesel mechanic, compressor technician, fabricator and his latest endeavor, knife maker.
Forged On Saba
John Magor's first knives were crafted with 1095 high carbon steel with 01 tool steel and oil hardened. While these steels are amazingly satisfactory in most of the world, our tropical environment dictated the need for a strong steel resilient to the elements. John now works solely with 440C stainless steel which is one in the series of 440 products, each line with its own purpose; where 440C is considered the best for blade making. 440C is difficult to work with if you neither have the proper equipment nor patience required for this unforgiving air-hardening steel.
The process for John's knives starts when the steel is in an annealed-state (non-hardened) before hand-cutting. By polishing the softer steel to its final 600-grit satin finish, it is now ready for the next phase. The knife is then placed in a high-temperature tool wrap to stop the steel from de-carbonizing in order to maintain strength and edge-holding ability.
Next, the blade is brought up to 1900F where it is held for 15-20 minutes to ensure all molecules are saturated by heat and then put between 2 large aluminum plates to quench the steel. While it is quenching, compressed air (luckily his affiliation with Sea Saba allows a supply) is blown between the aluminum plates to push air through for an additional quenching factor. Now that the steel is quenched and cooled, it is taken to a tempering oven at 400F for 2 hours which takes the brittle edge off the hardened steel to give back flexibility--if not, the blade could actually shatter. Once tempered, the blade has a ring to it similar to a crystal glass. The steel is then sandblasted to remove any scars from the heat treatment and then re-polished to its 600-grit finish creating the remarkable and fine finish considered a trademark of Triton Forge.