I am a folder maker. While there will always be the occasional fixed blade, folders are my passion. The steels I enjoy working with include CPM154, ATS-34, 440C, S30V, and Stainless Damascus from Devin Thomas. All of the metal parts on my knives that can be Titanium are Titanium including frames, liners, thumbstuds, bolsters, clips and spacers. Pretty much everything except for the blade. I often anodize a substantial portion of my titanium, and can get a deep green that few makers succeed at. As far as handle materials go, I mostly use Carbon fiber, G10, or Micarta. I use large bronze pivot bushings in all of my folders, and either Nylatron or Bronze washers. All of my parts are made in-house except the screws. I have an old Bridgeport Mill, an older Logan Lathe (1943), a Hardcore grinder, and various other tools, lots of them made by myself. I also do all of my own Heat treating in an EvenHeat Oven.
I’ve wanted to make knives since I was a kid, and have been collecting materials for knifemaking for a long time now. I’ve had a knife in my pocket pretty much every day since I was 10 and I got a Swiss Army Knife for Christmas. When I was 13 I received a Buck 110 for my birthday and it was that day that I knew I would one day make a knife. I’ve always wanted to make the knife I carry, so that’s what motivated me to start up.
For my birthday in August of ’05, I received Bob Terzuola’s book. That was it; I got to planning my 1st knife. I built that knife the week of Christmas of ’05 while the machine shop I worked in was shut down for maintenance. It is a Titanium Bolstered, Titanium Liner Locking folder. Then, right after New Year ’06, I was laid off. I ended up at a meeting of the Southern California Blades knife collecting club and decided to ask some knife nuts what they thought of my 1st knife. There was so much interest in it, I decided to make some more. At this point, I figured I needed some motivation, so I bought myself a table at their Pasadena Show in February, just 2 months after finishing my 1st knife.
Under the unreasonable pressure I had put on myself, I managed to make a few more folders in time for the show, and sold them there. Within 2 months of making my 1st knife, I was selling them! What a thrill that was. A couple of months later, I was offered a table at the Blade Show in Atlanta, and to my surprise, I sold knives there too. Then, just 9 months after making my 1st knife, I set up at the BAKCA show in Palo Alto, California where I won Best New Maker. I also unveiled my 1st Automatic Knife there. All in all, Palo Alto was a very good show for me.
I made 13 folding knives before I ever made a fixed blade, and to this date, I’ve made far more folders than fixed blades. Since I carry folders far more often than fixed blades, that is where my passion is. I do have some fixed blade designs such as my Chatham fighter that I am making for some of our fine Soldiers stationed in Iraq. And because I spent 5 years as a Professional Whitewater Rafting Guide on the Kern River here in California, I am in the process of making a better Guide Knife. There just isn’t anything out there that most guides like. I think I may be able to fix that.
I apprenticed as a Toolmaker, and have spent the majority of the last 20 years doing that. Minus the 5 Springs, and Summers I spent guiding of course.
I really had no mentor when I started making knives, but have recently spent time in the shop with local maker T.C. Collins, and have become pretty good friends with Warren Thomas. I suppose if I had known any makers before I started, I would have begun by making fixed blades instead of the dozen plus folders I made 1st. So, I'm glad I went the route I did!
One of the things I enjoy most about making knives is creating something with my hands that will end up being used in your hands. I derive great pleasure from creating tools for others (and myself) to use. Also, the camaraderie of the knifemaking community is just a wonderful thing. I know of no other industry where competitors will so willingly share knowledge and information with each other.