BLADE Magazine

Shane Barefoot Makes Knife from World Trade Center Wreckage

Shane Barefoot of Barefoot Custom Knives made this knife from a piece of angle iron from the World Trade Center.
Shane Barefoot of Barefoot Custom Knives made this knife from a piece of angle iron from the World Trade Center.

Shane Barefoot of Barefoot Custom Knives is always seeking out ways to craft something unique, something “100-percent Shane,” as he puts it. It was a simple Google search that lead him to a piece of angle iron from the World Trade Center. In the normal course of business trading, the scrap metal from the demolished buildings that was cleared of DNA was sold to China. Understandably, this upset family members of the victims and others. Shane wanted to honor the fallen of 911 by doing what he does best: making knives. He purchased from a company in China. The sacred piece of history arrived–with accompanying verification documentation–and with a bolt in it and two rivets. So, it didn’t take the knifemaker long to decide which direction to take with his creation: a san-mai-constructed blade—damascus steel jacket over a high-carbon core—in the Barefoot hunter pattern.

What took a while, was the actual making. Like many knifemakers, Shane always has something around that he’s working on, and the World Trade Center knife was one of those projects. The three steels forge-welded right together, creating a random pattern in the drop-point blade design. The knife is 7 ¾ inches overall, with a 3 ¼-inch blade, hollow-ground using a 12-inch contact wheel. Shane prefers a convex edge on his hunters so that a simple touch-up on a strop is all that is needed for maintenance. The gimping on the thumb rest is in a rope pattern, adding visual interest along with texture.

The scales on this knife are made from desert ironwood burl, and the liners are in “toxic green,” making a striking color contrast that fishermen and hunters can appreciate. Shane tests his knives by hunting, fishing and cooking with them; all of his knives are made to be purposeful, to carry out their intended tasks. The ¼-inch pins and the thong tubing are stainless steel.

Shane was careful to collect his shavings of the Twin Tower steel, and if anyone wants to buy the knife, he would give those shaving to the new owner. He received one set of documents on the angle steel, so he made copies of the paperwork to prove the legitimacy of the steel’s origin. There is enough left for two more knives.

Knifemaking is a journey. Each knife teaches the knifemaker something new. Overall, Shane is happy with how the knife came out, especially how the blued core nested in the damascus jacket is revealed. The only thing he’d like to experiment with is the blade shape.

Craig Myles tooled the New York City skyline into the sheath that goes with the knife Shane Barefoot made from a piece of World Trade Center angle iron.
Craig Myles tooled the New York City skyline on the leather sheath that accompanies this Barefoot knife.

Fittingly, Shane’s friend Craig Myles tooled the New York City skyline into the leather sheath that accompanies this knife. The maker’s list price for the combo is $1000. Although individuals may hold pieces of the World Trade Center buildings privately, there is no longer any left to purchase on the open market, Shane explained, so this is a noteworthy knife.

Barefoot Custom Knives specializes in custom pieces for fishermen, hunters and outdoorsmen. You can read more about Shane Barefoot, his dad and his work in the April 2017 edition of BLADE magazine, which is on newsstands now.


‘How to Make Knives’ includes sheath discussion

This knifemaking book includes a chapter on sheaths and what the knifemaker needs to consider when deciding on a particular sheath style.

Sure, it’s all about the knife, but knifemakers do well to pick the right sheath for their creation. As the above article on Barefoot Custom Knifes shows, the right sheath can bring excellence to a special knife-sheath combo. Normally, $21.99, “How to Make Knives” by Richard W. Barney and the father of custom knifemaking Robert W. Loveless is now on sale for $12.

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