My Knife Michael Trolssky

My Knife
Michael Trollsky

Where does a knifemaker get his ideas? How does he come up with his designs? What problems does he encounter in his craft? Our series on custom knives takes a peek behind the scenes.
In this issue: the Big Game Hunter by the Polish knife maker Michael Trollsky.

Text and pictures: Bas Martens
Michael Trollsky, as he likes to be called, started making knives as a hobby. He became a full-time knifemaker in October 2016. He specializes in bushcraft and hunting knives. “A knife is a tool”, he says. “It can look good, but first and foremost it must be of practical use”.
One of his favourite designs is the Big Game Hunter, pictured here. The knife has an overall length of 205 mm, with a 100 mm blade. Trollsky is not a hunter himself, but he has received excellent feedback. “My first client was a Dutch guy, who spent half a year in Africa as a hunting guide. He used the knife for gutting and skinning big game, to cut firewood, for everything. He then wrote me that he loved it. The length of the blade is perfect for big game, the shape of the grip is ideal for both large and small hands. So, I have been making this model for about seven years now and I have never changed it.”
The straight sides of the blade are left black on purpose, Michael Trollsky explains. “The black surface results from the heat treatment. I want to show that the knife was born out of fire. I think many custom knives are too clean”.
His favourite steel (and in fact almost the only steel he uses) is 80CrV2 carbon steel. He does the heat treatment himself, using the edge-quenching method. Through this method of differential hardening he gets a very hard cutting edge and a softer spine. In combination with a full flat grind this gives the blade an excellent cutting capacity.
The knife pictured here has a handle made up of stabilised maple. Trollsky prefers regular wood, stabilised wood or micarta. Like most of his knives, the Big Game Hunter has custom pins with an animal figure. “It gives a nice look to a simple knife”. This one has the image of a reindeer. The spine has some jimping, because that is what the users like.