Two fixed blade offerings from Pohan Leu Custom Knives. The large Spykento with red stingray, and the black on black Mini Tanto C. Don’t be fooled by their elegant appearance, they are full-blown working knives.
“Just my translation of Japanese-styled knives” was the answer I got from Pohan when asked to best explain his style of knifemaking. Pohan Leu was born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1976 and shortly afterwards migrated with his family to California where he lived for 33 years. Pohan started making knives in 2003 when a co-worker introduced him to making knives via the stock removal method. He started off using an angle grinder before a 4-inch x 36-inch Sears Craftsman wood sander that ran at 3,600 RPM, which proved to be less than ideal. Pohan expressed to me, “The first two-dozen knives that I made more or less looked like prison shanks.” Heavily inspired by the work of Phil Hartsfield, Pohan tried chisel-ground knives until June of 2010, when he began to offer double grinds.
After the Blade Show in 2010, Pohan drove to New Mexico where he currently resides in the city of Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Pohan Leu specializes in Japanese-styled knives. He has mastered combining the rich tradition of Japanese blade styles with modern materials and techniques of present day. This makes his knives both utilitarian and classic.
For his fixed blades, Pohan has always used A2 tool steel for its great edge-holding ability and the fact that it air hardens in still air, forced air, or by thick aluminum plates. There is no mess compared to steels that harden by some method of liquid, whether it be oil or water. Like many custom knifemakers, Pohan started out using 1095 carbon steel and 01 tool steel, but eventually settled on A2 steel. All fixed blades are offered with a choice of Kydex sheaths.