What started as a hobby for an outdoor minded teen has been a learning adventure as it has grown into a small business. I had no idea why that desire was so strong until I started learning about my family heritage.
My great grandfather Patrick Graham was a blacksmith born in 1859 in Talcott, WV in the Graham House. He was the last of the Grahams to be born there and the home is now a museum. Patrick ended up in Eolia, MO where he was well known as a blacksmith even shoeing horses for the notorious Frank James.
His son Charles Graham carried on the metalwork tradition becoming a knifemaker in the 1960's and eventually joining the Knifemaker's Guild in the seventies. He stopped making knives in '94 but hung onto his equipment and a lot of materials until his death on my 18th birthday. By that time I had been making knives for about three years and the family said he passed the torch onto me. The knife in the first picture to the right is one my dad had when I was very young. Being made by Uncle Charlie it made me believe that it was possible for me to become a knifemaker and my dad ended up gifting it to me. It is one of my most prized possessions.
I had no idea what I was doing in those early days but I knew I wanted to make knives. I read every book on the subject that our local libraries had. I bought several books and started piecing together the equipment needed to make knives. In the early days I used a hacksaw, hand drill and files to cut out, profile and drill my knives. Over time I saved and got a 1x30 belt sander and things started to take shape. I've worked out of a goat shed, off of a workbench covered with a tarp, and a 14X32 workshop that I have since sold. God has been good to me in allowing me to have a small business/craft that is so enjoyable. The complexities of the craft are astounding. It incorporates such skills as drafting/design, metallurgy, woodworking, book keeping and even web design.
Over the years I have worked in many different fields, from ranching, the oilfield, welding/construction, to emergency services and corrections. I love spending time outdoors in activities such as camping, hunting, fishing, and horseback riding. As a maker I believe in my work, carrying one of my knives daily just to ensure that my blades meet my expectations of quality and edge holding.
Without the support of my wife Naomi Griggs I would not be where I am today as a maker. Also thanks to many fellow knifemakers, but especially to Mr Travis Payne. He taught me how to hollow grind as well as many tips and tricks to streamline the process and tune my fit and finish.