Custom Knives to Remember September 11, 2001

September 11 knives
Murray Carter’s FS1 Combat Knife sports a three-layer blade of World Trade Center steel and a 1084 carbon steel core. The handle is carbon fiber with nickel pins. Rolf Hettinger of the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) made the cross from WTC steel and stamped it with the date 9/11/01. (All photos via Murray Carter)

Here's how one knifemaker forged a knife from 9/11 wreckage to fundraise for families affected by the attacks.

Do you remember where you were on Sept. 11, 2001, at 8:45 a.m. EDT when an American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City? That day was forever etched in many of our minds as a reminder of how paramount it is to safeguard our freedoms.

One knifemaker, Murray Carter, never forgot that day. He was approached to collaborate with FDNY343 and Building Homes for Heroes® to forge a knife from World Trade Center steel, and told BLADE he was humbled at the opportunity.

Sept. 11 wreckage photos
Pieces of iron from the World Trade Center appear as they looked before (bottom) and after (top) light surface grinding to facilitate forge welding.

Building Homes for Heroes is a national non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2006. It has been at the forefront of making a significant difference in the lives of wounded American service members and their families, including those affected by the 9/11 attacks.

The knife Murray made went to auction, with all proceeds from the auction to be distributed to first responders who were directly affected by the 9/11 attacks.

World Trade Center steel knife
The three-layer blade of a Carter Cutlery chef’s knife is forged with WTC steel and a 1084 carbon steel core. The ironwood handle has a brass bolster. Judging from how much use Carter’s kitchen knives get, Murray opined this is probably the most valuable use of the precious WTC steel. Above the knife is a portion of the raw material from which the blade was forged.
World Trade Center commemorative knife
Here are the beginning (bottom level), middle (mid-level bar of steel) and end products (top level) of forge welding World Trade Center iron into a usable blade with a 1084 core. The blade is water-quenched for maximum sharpness and edge retention, and the blade surface still retains the soul-infused character of the WTC steel.

As he noted, “Being entrusted to recreate useful cutting tools from remnants of the WTC was an honor and one of the most humbling tasks of my 29-year career.”

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This past November, FDNY 343 RIDE flew Murray to New York to give a presentation and explain what he did with the WTC steel and how it was used in a three-layer laminate to create high-performance knives. It was an experience Murray said he will never forget.

September 11 commemorative knife
The three pieces to be forge welded into a blade are, from left, two pieces of WTC iron and 1084 core shown both before grinding and polishing and after.

“It went incredibly well,” he noted. “Best of all was that I got to meet many of the New York Fire Department members, as well as many American military heroes—they are all heroes, all first responders—and there was such a huge sentiment of being proud to be American. It was a very refreshing spirit to witness.”

The knife went for $10,500, with all proceeds going to Homes for Heroes.

Murrary Carter custom knives
A Carter Cutlery bowie sports a three-layer blade of WTC steel with a 1084 steel core, a brass guard and Sambar stag handle.
Murray Carter neck knife
A Carter Cutlery neck knife gets the three-layer WTC/1084 carbon steel blade treatment and an ironwood handle.

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