Bill Bagwell has always been fascinated by knives. He made his first knife at the age of 10 from an old saw. While he was in high school he began to forge knives in the industrial arts shop, and by the time he was 15 he was forging hunting and Bowie knives as a hobby. He made and sold knives while he was in college and became a full-time professional bladesmith in 1969. Bagwell is one of the true pioneers in the making of Damascus blades in the United States. He completed his first successful Damascus blade on December 1, 1973, after about six months of trial and failure. In early 1976, with the late Don Hastings, B.R. Hughes and Bill Moran, Bagwell became one of the founding members of the American Bladesmith Society and wrote the original charter for that organization. He also served as the society's first secretary and was on its first board of directors.