Up and coming custom knife maker Christian Lishen is bringing his first significant batch of knives to market this week. The selection of Lishen fixed blades includes eight different models, and it is Lishen’s hope it will lay the groundwork for more availability and knifemaking projects in the future.
Lishen began his knifemaking career by studying with blacksmiths at a pioneer settlement museum in Florida. “At the time my dad was the director and thought blacksmithing was something I’d enjoy,” he tells us. “Sure enough, I did, and got to meet many wonderful blacksmiths down there.” Looking back on those early efforts now, Lishen is self-deprecating. “In truth, I wouldn’t call anything I made at that point a knife, more so a somewhat hard piece of metal with a thinner side and a thicker side.”
Soon after, however, Lishen enrolled in college, and knifemaking took a backseat to book learning. Then 2020 rolled around, and the COVID-19 pandemic began; like many of us, Lishen found himself with a lot of time on his hands. “I just bought a house, so I didn’t exactly have spare funds to do much and I really couldn’t go anywhere,” he recalls. But of course the drive to own cool new knives persisted and Lishen knew he would have to get creative to scratch that itch. “I decided to fix my addiction to knives by trying to make some again.”
A visit to Harbor Freight for a corded drill and their cheapest 1×30 grinder, and Lishen was off to the races. “One thing lead to another and with the help and support of many wonderful wonderful friends and family along the way here I am,” Lishen concludes. “I’ve only seriously been making knives for just over 2 years now.”
Even in that relatively short time span, Lishen has tried his hand at many different fixed blade formats. The Lishen knives that will be on sale this week reflect his eclectic tastes. Eight different models are inbound, with one standout being the Woodsman, Lishen’s tribute to the puukko, spec’d for light camp and bushcraft jobs. Its blade runs to just over four inches, and the drop point has that classic puukko look – but Lishen also gave the Woodsman something he calls a ‘Scandivex’ grind. “This is where I make a scandi grind on the knife then convex it back to make it slightly more slicey while retaining the strength of a scandi,” Lishen explains. “The ergonomics and geometry definitely lend this blade to excel at bushcraft and woodwork, while the scandi grind being convexed back allows it to be a little better at food prep.”
This is the first time Lishen’s work has been available on even a small batch scale, with about 30 knives going to each KnivesShipFree and DLT. Lishen shared his hopes to make 2022 a transitional year, marking his move into full-time knifemaking. That means more time for custom projects, but also it will allow batches like this one to be a more common occurrence. “With any luck I plan to have knife making be my only job here soon and I will try to get more to both dealers before the year is out,” Lishen concludes.
Both KnivesShipFree and DLT Trading are dropping their Lishen knives today, July 13th at at 4pm EST.
Knife in Featured Image: Lishen Knives Woodsman