What is the difference between a "Factory Bench Knife", a "Handmade Knife", and a "Custom Made Knife"?
A factory bench knife is a standard design originating in Europe; most are serviceable knives. The bench knife has a small, straight handle with a straight cutting edge. The blade length will normally be 1-1/2 inch to 1-3/4 inches long.
Handmade knives (most often) are made entirely by hand by a small company or a one-man operation. The variety of blade shapes and styles cover most carving situations you may be faced with. Handles are standardized by the knifemaker, as is the blade grind and finish.
Custom knives vary by the amount of customizing that goes into them.
Most often you will choose the handle and blade style, and perhaps the wood for the handle.
In rare instances, you have a say on all features of the knife. This will include blade length, shape, grind, and perhaps even the steel that it will be made from. The handle shape, wood type, color, and finish may also be specified. Finally, a knife that is truely custom made for you will require hand measurements to insure a perfect fit.
If a person is missing fingers and cannot use a standard knife, can anything be done?
Yes, knives may be altered to compensate for missing fingers. This is most common on custom made knives, but may be possible on handmade knives depending upon the knifemaker.
How are knife blades attached to the handles?
Handles are normally attached with rivets or epoxy, occasionally both are used.
Is the entire blade the same hardness?
On most small blades the answer is yes. Larger blades such as roughout knives may be "edge quenched", this makes a superior knife for heavy work.
The edge is quenched first, or occasionally only the edge is quenched.
This process imparts more toughness to the remainder of the blade.