The TILI

Created by Marc Liss

A minimalist fixed-blade pocket knife made to be used.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Production in full swing!
2 days ago – Wed, Oct 13, 2021 at 07:16:43 PM

Hello everyone, time for an update!

Its been a busy month here at Origin Goods and I've made quite a bit of progress on the TILIs. Since we last spoke I have:

Almost finished all of the stainless steel TILIs 

I wanted to get these done first as I needed to send them off for heat treatment in Alberta. So I took them 80% of the way to the finish line and then boxed them up and shipped them out a few weeks ago. I just spoke with the folks at heatreat.ca this morning and the knives are going to be finished and shipped back to me later this week. At that point I'll do the final grinding and polishing, attach any handles that need attaching, and then sharpen them up. But I haven't been idle while they've been away either. 

several stainless TILIs working their way through production

 The Oaken TILIs are chugging along too!
 The last time we spoke I wasnt yet sure where I was going to begin for general production of the carbon steel blades. There are approximately 150 blades that need making so I want to use my time efficiently  so I can get everyone their knives as soon as possible. After some consideration I decided to dive into the most labour intensive model first. The Oaken model has a whiskey barrel oak handle and as such, requires significantly more work to complete. There are 50+ of these that need making and ultimately I decided that the best way to move forward would be to clear the most labour intensive stuff of my plate first. So for several weeks now I have been working on the carbon steel Oaken TILIs. As of this moment I am about 70% finished the entire batch of them. I have attached the handles to about half of them, and will be attaching the rest this week. Once all of the handles are mounted I will begin the process of shaping and sanding them all at the same time. I hope to have the handles all done by the end of October. And while I am working on them my good friend and collaborator Matthew at Wolfboy Leatherworks has been making the pouch sheaths for them. So everything is moving along very nicely with the Oakens! 

6 Oakens waiting to be glued up
Oaken handles mounted and ready for shaping


Add ons
 There is more to make than just knives and so I am simultaneously making the little extra things that you ordered :) Right now I am  working on the leather honing. I have all of the wood and leather cut for them and every day I glue up another four of them. In short order I will have all of them done at which point I'll move on to the beads. I have also ordered all of the shirts, hoodies and beanies and they are in the works as well! Whew!
What remains to do
 There is still a lot to do. The carbon steel Hempen, Skelen, and Ultralight models all still need to be started. They have been cut and are waiting patiently for me to begin work. After the Oakens are done I will be moving on to these models. As mentioned, my mind is focused on efficiency at this point. The more efficient I am the faster I can get everyone their knives. I could do every knife in the order that they were purchased, but that would be a very inefficient process as I'd be making different models all at the same time. There would have been mistakes and my "assembly line" system would not have worked. So in the end that method would have been a lot slower for all parties. So I am working in larges batches, one model at a time. Doing so saves little pieces of time throughout the process and all of these little time savings add up.

So what about shipping?
 Shipping will begin with some of the Oaken models in November. I will be shipping as many as I can as early as I can. I considered waiting to ship until every single knife was finished, but we simply do not have room in our little house to safely keep 200+ knives. So once the Oakens are done I'll be shipping a few out every week. As I am doing so I will be starting the other knife models and as they become ready they will be added to the shipping process. I suspect this process will run through December and into the new year.

follow along on Instagram
 These updates are few and far between, but I am regularly posting little photos of the process on our instagram account. Follow along at @origin_handcrafted


Thanks for your patience and support everyone! Feel free to reach out with any questions. 

All the best, 

Marc

Production has begun!
about 1 month ago – Tue, Sep 07, 2021 at 09:50:09 PM

Hello everyone! 

I am happy to report that we have officially begun TILI production!

 A little over a week ago I dropped off four 12"x48" sheets of steel to be water jet cut at North Forge in Winnipeg and a couple days ago I picked them up again. They looked a little different :)

Two of four 12"x48" sheets of steel I had cut.

 Along with these cool looking sheets I picked up a small cardboard box that weighed about 50lbs. Inside was close to 200 knives! They were all beautifully cut to shape with a high pressure stream of water infused with an abrasive media. The resulting cuts are exceptionally clean and precise but the biggest benefit of water jetting blades is that the steel does not overheat like it would with a laser or plasma cutter. When steel gets super heated during cutting it tends to harden unevenly and so requires a cycle of annealing (softening) before I can begin working on it. But this steel wasnt heated and so it remains relatively soft and workable!

From left: Ultralight, Skelen, Hempen and Oaken


   So now what?  I have started the first dozen blades - three of each model - just as a warm up and to sort out any kinks in my production process. Even though the blades might look close to done after they are cut out they are actually quite far from the finish line. I still have to chamfer all the edges, texture the flats, stamp my logo, then lay down a rough bevel on the blades. I keep the edge relatively thick at that point because the hardening process is quite stressful and can easily warp an edge that is too thin. Hardening the steel involves cycling through high temperatures with a final heat to 1500 degrees fahrenheit before quenching in a special oil designed to quickly cool the steel. It is this process that adds hardness to the blade, too much hardness in fact. Too march hardness makes them brittle so then I temper the blades in the over at 400 degrees for two 2 hour cycles, which walks the hardness back a bit so they are still hard but also soft enough to be durable. Its a fine balance and it takes time to achieve. After that I can finally finish the bevels, bringing down the edge to a functional thickness. Then I soak the blades in an acidic bath to clean them up and add a protective patina to the carbon steel. And then the final step is sharpening them and sliding them into their sheaths before shipping them out to you! 

The first dozen blades with roughed in bevels and ready for heat treatment and hardening.


 Stainless Blades

The stainless blades follow the same process but they will be hardened offsite.  I need to get them 90% done and them ship them all out together, then they'll be heat treated and shipped back to me for finishing. These will require several weeks of dedicated work just to get them all ready for heat treatment at the same time.


Shipping?
 I won't make any precise commitments on shipping times at this point as it is still the early days of production. I may be shipping several orders this fall but I can do too much until the stainless blades are ready to ship. So for now I can't be more precise than the initial estimates of shipping in November and December.


Surveys!

90% of you have completed your survey. Thank you! Because of you I was able to comfortably estimate total numbers for the cutting and things were able to move along nicely. But 10% of you still haven't done your survey. That means I dont know exactly what you want me to make you, and I also dont know where I am supposed to ship your knives. So please fill out the survey as quickly as possible :)


That's all for now. I  need to get out to the shop and harden the first dozen TILIs :)

Let me know if you have any questions. 

All the best, 

Marc

Survey Survey Surveys!
about 2 months ago – Tue, Aug 17, 2021 at 06:59:35 PM

Hello!


I am happy to report that the survey has officially been sent out! 


A dozen or so went out as a test a couple days ago, and no issues arose so I sent all of the rest just last night. They were sent to the email associated with your order so please check your inboxes and fill them out as soon as you can. If you don't see them make sure to check your junk mail and promotional email folders as well.  If you still don't see them then please contact me and I will make sure to resend yours. 


As of this moment 50% of you have officially filled our your survey. That is incredible! I am hoping to be at 100% in the next few days. The sooner all of the surveys are done the sooner I can lock in final numbers and begin the manufacturing process. You are all eager to get your TILIs and I am just as eager to begin making them!


Thats all for now. 


Thanks, 

Marc

That's a wrap! Now on to production!
2 months ago – Mon, Aug 02, 2021 at 01:04:21 PM

 Hi everyone, 


I'll keep this update brief. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who supported us and purchased a reward in the TILI campaign. I could say thank you a million times over though and it would never really capture how I feel. The only way I can truly show my appreciation for all of your support is to put everything I have into this big batch of TILIs that I am going to be making over the next few months. And thats just what I plan to do. But first I'll need some more information from you. 

As you know there were a few different reward option in this campaign and several different add-ons available for each reward. Add to that the handle and sheath colour options and there is a fair bit to sort out before I can begin production. 

So over the next week or so I'll be crafting the Backer Survey using the Backerkit platform. This will arrive in your inbox sometime in mid August and I'll need you to fill it out as soon as possible (there will be reminder update when the survey goes out). Filling out the survey is a MUST. It will not only finalize final numbers for me, it will also ask you for your mailing details for shipment.  Additionally it will be your last chance to add rewards or add-ons to your order. There will be some new stuff available there too ;)

Once I get all of the surveys back I will know exactly how many of each knife to cut and which steel to use for each. I will be using a water jet cutting service here in Manitoba so there will be no shipping delays to worry about. I already have the steel in hand too so once the surveys are done I'll bring the steel in myself and then should have all the blade blanks back within a day or two. The plan is to have all the blanks in hand before the end of the month. Then the work begins! 

For now I'lll leave it there. Look for the survey soon. And let me know if you have any questions. 


Thank you, 

Marc 

UNLOCKED! The Ultralight is here!
3 months ago – Tue, Jul 27, 2021 at 12:17:28 AM

We hit 25k!

Thanks to all of your amazing support we have officially reached our first stretch goal of 25k CAD. This is very exciting for us here at Origin and we are thrilled officially unlock the Ultralight TILI as both a reward and a discounted add-on.  This is quite timely because as I am writing this there are only four days to go in the campaign. We are on the home stretch and the unlocking the Ultralight is a great way to finish.


Specs

As the name suggests, the Ultralight is the lightest of the TILI series. The unique frame handle of the Ultralight has the same comfortable ergonomic shape of the other TILI models but with a large inner section removed. It weighs in at only 51 grams, undercutting the Skelen by 10 grams, the Hempen by 20, and the Oaken by over 30. And yet it still packs a punch! I have been using my Ultralight for several weeks now and it is handling everything I throw at it. 


It is crafted from 1095 high carbon blade steel like the others, but can be made from stainless AEB-L if you decide to add that to your order (please add one stainless add-on for each knife you'd like made that way). 


Pricing - Reward/Add-On

The Ultralight is available as a standard reward for $105 CAD (15% off retail), but you get the most bang for your buck if you purchase it as an add-on to an existing order for $75 CAD (40% off retail).  If you've already placed your order it is easily modified to include the Ultralight as well. 


The Richlite Prototype is done

We launched the Richlite add-on in our last update but at the time we only featured a digital rendering as the material shipment had been substantially delayed. Well it finally arrived last week and I quickly set to work mounting it to an Oaken TILI. The result was exactly what I was hoping for. The matte black of the Richlite is very distinct from the original Oaken.  Richlite is very tough stuff, is highly water resistant and is made from 100% recycled paper. The paper is mixed with resin and hydraulically pressed until it dries. Once dried it cuts almost like wood, but with a more consistent grain and predictable finish. If you've ordered an Oaken but prefer a darker handle then the Richlite add-on is the way to go. 

What's Next?

As mentioned earlier, we are now in the final days of the campaign. It has been so rewarding and truly an honour to witness so far. We appreciate all of your support so much. 


The campaign wraps up on July 31st. Shortly thereafter you will receive an email containing your backer survey.  That survey will be very important as it will clarify all of the details of your order including sheath colour, handle colour, as well as your mailing address. It will also be your last opportunity to upgrade your order with the existing add-ons, as well as a couple exclusively priced add-ons that will only be available through the survey. 


After we receive all of the survey info from you we will then know exactly how many of each knife and add-on we will need to manufacture and then the work can begin. I have already taken some preemptive steps to be well situated for an early start on the manufacturing. I have ordered and now have in hand several sheets of blade steel, which will be brought in for water jet cutting as soon as we have final numbers. So once the survey arrives please attend to it as quickly as possible so we can get started with things on our end :)


Thank you again for your support! And don't forget to go check out the Ultralight!