The Knifemaker at work


About me

The Knives








Custom, hand made knives for hunters and collectors   

Custom handmade knives and high performance cutlery for hunters, collectors, and chefs

Michael H Mara  

(708)  969-2424     

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My name is Michael Mara, and I work full time devoting myself entirely to the art and craft of custom knifemaking. I've worked in machine shops, the bronze sculpture industry extensively, and have been doing custom silversmithing for 44 years. Welcome to my site, and if you have any comments, suggestions, compliments, or whatever, please feel free to email me. Besides making knives that I am drawn to, I often work with clients to custom design pieces for themselves, or as gifts. If there is some design that's been languishing in your imagination for a long time, let's talk about it.

I use both the stock removal method of making blades, as well as hand forge my own, and time permitting, hand forge my own Damascus steel. Here's a few pictures of me working at my bench and at the forge...  Scroll down the page for more pictures and stories.

Testing the fit and finish on a custom knife                   Hand grinding a custom knife                    The knifemaker hand forging some Damascus

An excellent article was published about me in the New Times Spring Arts Annual edition. Click here to read the article.


Being of Scottish and Irish ancestry, I love wearing a kilt whenever possible, and have several, including a Pride of Scotland tartan small kilt and a Melville (Mother's maiden name) tartan Great kilt. The Great kilt is the old style, which is basically a large wool blanket that you wrap yourself up in. The old Scots used to wear them as garments during the day, and then take them off and wrap up in them at night when out hunting or fighting. They worked quite well at protecting the wearer from the damp, cold Scottish nights. Here's a photo of me in my Melville Great kilt at our local Renaissance Faire. And another photo, with my wench assistants. Not sure what the horns on the one on the right are all about, I'll let you figure that out for yourself.

The Clan Melville Knifemaker


For more information on Scottish traditional dress, click on this link:  

The Evolution of the Kilt

For the history and tradition of the Sgian Dubh knife, click on this link:

The Sgian Dubh

Scotland's National Newspaper online:

The Scotsman

A great website site for All Things Scottish:

The Gathering of the Clans



 Melville Clan man with two handy wenches
Heck, I've even been knighted. Of course, it was just at the SLO County Renaissance Faire, but still...

Petitioning Her Highness         


Examining the Armorer's Craft

     I dub thee Good Sir Michael of Radharc,                  Royal Armorer to Her Majesty the Queen


Custom handmade knives by Michael H Mara

This is the O'Mara family crest. The lion on a family crest represents fierce courage, the 'lion' season prior to the full arrival of summer, and/or a great warrior or chief. Interestingly, it's similar to the rampant lion on the Scottish flag. The names O'Mara, O'Meara and Mara in Ireland are derived from the native Gaelic O'Meadhra Sept, taken from a Gaelic word that means 'merry' or 'mirth'. The village of Toomevara in County Tipperary is this Sept's legacy and it is in Tipperary and surrounding Counties that the majority of descendants can still be found. For more information on family crests and Irish surnames:

 Irish Family Crests


Michael H Mara   (708) 969-2424  

  This site was last updated 06/21/18                                          Visa       Mastercard      American Express     Discover   


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