Knife Maker Realizes Teenage Ambition

Most kids wouldn’t want a bench grinder for their fifteenth birthday, but Lee Lerman wasn’t like most kids. For Lerman, a custom maker in Netanya, Israel, it was a dream come true. Like a lot of teenage boys, he was fascinated with blades. But unlike his peers, he aspired to make his own. Using just that belt grinder and an angle grinder, Lerman fashioned his very first custom knife, a crude kukri made from scrap steel.

> > Keep your folders awesome. Grab a Pack of 5 Microfiber Blade Sleeves for $8.99 < <

Lerman is now 26, and there is nothing crude about his first custom folder, the Hydra. Each Lerman Custom Knives design begins with a skeletal sketch. Utility is paramount, but the lines are important as well, and so the Hydra has a sweeping 4” blade mated to a curvy bolstered handle. The knife’s sinuous look is a result of Lerman’s attention to detail.

Hydra Close-up

The Hydra takes inspiration from many sources: super-cars, old Oriental and European knives, antique tools, and even the human form. The end result is a knife that looks both timeless and purposeful. These different facets gave the knife its name. “The Hydra is right on the border between a modern tactical folder and a fantasy knife,” says Lerman. “What’s more suitable for a name than a Greek serpent?”

The signature touches on the design, like the pivot collar and the bolster lock, made the Hydra a daunting first folding knife project. The bolster lock, for instance, is a ‘hidden’ frame lock: the frame is milled down to fit scales, which cover the locking bar and are flush with the bolster. “Machining all the excess material from the Ti frame is a very time-consuming process,” Lerman tells us.

Lerman Custom Knives Hydra

Lerman designed the Hydra years ago but he recognized his skills needed time to catch up to his ambition. He decided to put the Hydra on hold and practice by making fixed blades. With no moving parts to worry about, fixed blades made great exercise for his machining skills before flexing into more complicated folding knives. After more than five years of fixed blades, Lerman was ready to make the Hydra and he hasn’t looked back.

When he decided to become a knife maker, Lerman told himself that if he ever got tired of it he would move on to another craft. When asked, he hinted at some upcoming designs and projects – it looks like he’ll remain a knife maker for the foreseeable future.

Knife featured in image: Lerman Custom Knives Hydra