I have always loved knives; I think it stems from the fact that my Mom would not allow my brother and I to have one (it was easier to get a pellet gun than a knife). I fondly remember the day my brother and I bought matching Bucklite folders (the originals) at the local True Value Hardware. I still have that knife and many more, I have sat for hours studying my small collection and perusing catalogs, forums, and websites looking for the next purchase. Unfortunately, it seems that your tastes become more expensive as you get older!
In '07 I was diagnosed with "simple" testicular cancer. I went through surgery and radiation and went on with my life. I was in an auto accident in late '08 that we thought damaged my back. The excruciating pain I was enduring was actually a tumor (metastasis from '07) that had been irritated in the accident. I was promptly put into the hospital and started 6 months of chemo in January of '09. During that year I read as many book as I could get my hands on with regards to knife making, went back to work, and started looking at buying a grinder. Unfortunately in January of '10 I was back in the hospital, in isolation, taking chemo that required me to sign a waiver prior to every treatment acknowledging that I could die during the administration. Between cycles I was able to unpack my newly purchased grinder get it completely set-up and started looking for an oven prior to ever grinding a knife (talk about cart before the horse)! Long story short I completed my first set of knives in September of '10.
Everything I made from day one was with the intent of eventually making Loveless inspired knives. This meant trying to perfect or at least getting comfortable with hollow grinding. To date all of my original designs (marked "Sharpwerks") are hollow ground. With my goal in mind I am embarrassed to admit I proudly showed my first knives to both John Young and Thad Buchanan. I must say that their kind criticism fed my drive to continue on. At about this time (fall of '10) I was encouraged by my wife to write Bob Loveless a letter asking if I could stop in and meet him; unfortunately that letter was mailed 2 days prior to his passing. In the wake of Bob's passing I have been fortunate to form a friendship with Jim Merritt (he is my grandfathers doppelganger); with this friendship I have been able to learn how the "real thing" is made.
Since September of 2010 I spend every spare moment (with my Wife's blessing; she is my biggest cheerleader) in the shop trying to improve on my skills. I have also tried to form relationships with those I think are the best at the Loveless style; Thad Buchanan, John Young, Marcus Lin, and Charles Vestal.
So that is how my very short career got started; please tag along and see where I go:
Blade Magazine, March 2013, Makers To Watch In 2013 (page 44)
Blade Show 2013 (Atlanta, GA) Best New Maker