My hands have always been busy. In the military I was a hospital corpsman suturing lacerations and administering medications. Out of the service I worked in a hospital laboratory and ran a seasonal taco stand. Later I operated some heavy equipment and then determined to build my own house with a large shop along side. I have always kept busy with my hands. It’s been said that, “blessed is the man that finds enjoyment in his toil“. That would describe me best.
I like to think I build a decent knife, having acquired knowledge and experience from makers like Allen West and Ray Rantanen. An original buckskinner, knife maker, muzzle loader gunsmith, Allen taught me the basics: heat treating, tempering and general knife construction. He gave me my first handmade knife made of elk tine and 01 tool steel. Previously I never owned a knife that truly worked well, my experience was with production knives that either would not hold an edge or were too hard to sharpen, especially in the field. My new “handmade” knife was different. It had character, cut excellent and (when needed) sharpened easily. Making a quality knife is what started many hours in the shop learning from Allen’s 30 years of experience. Later I met Master Blacksmith-Bladesmith Ray Rantanen. Ray is self taught with first hand experience, having pleased thousands of customers, Ray taught me some finer points of knife making, Damascus steel and leather work. These men and others, caused my enthusiasm for the craft to increase dramatically.
After making a few knives for my friends and family, I began receiving referrals and before I knew it, I was attending a local gun show and sold a few, at a local craft show a few more were bought. Customers soon returned and acquired a knife or two for family members as gifts. It appeared there where others that had appreciation for my knives.
To sum it up, that’s what got me started and now I can’t stop! Thanks to those who had the patience to show me the tricks of the trade.