about my work
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about the maker
My commitment to making knives started in mid-1983. It wasn’t long before what started out to be a satisfying hobby turned into a business requiring more and more of my free time. The increased demand for my work compelled me to strive for improved quality and craftsmanship in every succeeding knife I made. Each blade design is the result of careful planning, paying particular attention to form vs. function. Though I enjoy making my own versions of established standards, I feel it is also important to create new, innovative designs, but always with practicality in mind.
news around the shop
- 9/2/13 It's been a while since I updated the shop news...time just gets away from you sometimes. I'll be attending the Boots and Saddles Round Up show in Wichita Falls Texas the first weekend in October again. Stop by and say hello if you are attending. Since the last time I updated this entry, I've added about seven new knives to the leather knife selections. My son is working on getting photos of the new models posted to the web site and they should be there soon. They'll include some new head knife shapes and some new trim knives. Its good to keep things fresh and new!
- 9/18/11 I'll be attending and selling my knives at the Boots and Saddles Roundup show in Wichita Falls Texas Sept. 30th and Oct. 1st. If you're in the neighborhood, drop in and say hello! I'll have all models and blades I make well represented there, and plenty of scrap leather for you to make some test cuts. I always welcome input as I'm not a leather worker and those of you who are help me make sure I'm going in the right direction with my leather knives. This is my first time at that show, so I'll be anxious to see how well my knives go over in that part of the country!
- 7/31/11 Draw gauges and blades...are driving me crazy!! Well, not really, but they sure are frustrating! My first attempt at making them was based on the only draw gauge I had, the cheapest one available from Weaver (the all metal handle). So, I had leather cutting rather nicely using that gauge, having changed the edge geometry on the blade until it worked well. Then several of my customers commented that with their blade, the leather was being drawn in too tightly against the guide. I examined my draw gauge only to find out that it wasn't square at all...5 or more degrees off. I fiddled with it and even had to make new shims for it with my mill and I got it square. Yep, the leather was drawing in too tightly. Then I called another customer who told me that their leather was being forced AWAY from the guide! I am now back to square one. My plan is to make some as thin as the commercial ones (1/16" thick) and do a symmetric grind on them. After all, I've never heard that the commercial ones pulled or pushed the leather in one direction or another, just that the edge didn't hold up. But on examining more draw gauges, both new and antique (I even bought the very expensive one from Weaver...), I'm finding that there are no standards for these at all. Some have a sloppy bar, and some bars are tight. The slot that holds the blade varies a great deal from gauge to gauge. Some were square and some were not. I'm beginning to think I may never be able to make a blade that will work with every draw gauge out there. The best I'll be able to do is offer a consistent grind with excellent steel that will hold an edge. Then, hope that customers know how to tweak their gauges to get the best performance. Email me if anyone has any suggestions for this problem, I'd welcome the input. Also, if any customers out there are having problems with the blades I've made for them, please let me know and we can arrange a replacement or a refund.
- 7/27/11 I guess the most exciting thing happening lately is the new look for my website. My son did an excellent job of photographing and displaying the leather knives I make on their own page. He also re-vamped the general look of the site with new pages for folders and my fixed blades. The Gallery is being re-worked right now as well, but it will be some time before its ready, up and running. Thanks Matt, you do beautiful work. My daughter is helping her dad too! Last year, she introduced my work to the chefs at Salut', an upscale restaurant where she works. I made a few oyster knives for them and they've been very well received. An even more prestigious sale may be pending...we'll have to see how that works out. Who knew that oyster knives would be so exciting?!
- 5/25/11 Got back from the Sheridan show and am relaxing for a few days after a VERY long ride home. The show couldn't have gone better. I sold a lot of head knives and all of the other trim, skiving and draw gauge blades I brought. I even came home with some orders. I'm very gratified that my work has gone over so well within the leather working community. So far, nothing but compliments. These knives are used and used hard every day with these folks. Knives are their stock and trade, and sharp knives that will hold an edge make for clean work and no sore hands at the end of the day. I'm really thrilled to be able to offer good knives for this craft!
- 5/10/11 Going to attend the Sheridan Wy. Leather Expo May 19th through the 21st. All things having to do with leather at this show. I'm taking my five head knife designs and some new straight models for cutting leather. Had a great show there last year and hope to do the same this year. Great people there out West!
- 9/28/10 I'll be attending the October knife show in Janesville Wis this coming weekend (Oct1 and 2). If you have a chance, stop by my table and introduce yourself! This has always been a fun show to do, and I get a chance to see some of my knifemaking friends there, which alone makes it worth the trip. I have 15 folders and a few fixed blades to take to the show, including a new folding dropped point hunter that I'm very happy with.
- 8/25/2010 Attended the A.G. Russell Knife Event early this month (Aug, 2010) , and for the first time ever, I was skunked for sales during a show. Traffic seemed OK, and its a wonderful venue for a show, but I and others noticed that few were taking out their wallets. Over three years in attendance there haven't produced the sales needed to offset expenses. Its a great show run by great people, but perhaps its just not my market. I'll be crossing this one off the show list.
- Watch for a change to the website! As soon as my son can do the conversion, I'm adding a section for leather knives...specifically head or round knives. I had a great show in Sherian Wyoming offering these, and plan to attend again next May. My work was well accepted there and I see the opportunity to contribute to this niche market. The wood carver section will soon be a thing of the past as there has been no interest (or orders) for these for several years. You just can't do it all!