I'm often asked how I first became interested in custom knife making. The answer can be traced to an event during my Jr. High years while hiking in the Talkeetna mountain range with my dad. This particular area in Alaska is known for its rugged beauty now but during the early 1900s hard rock gold mining camps dotted the landscape. We were travelling parallel to a creek and had just reached the top of a knoll, there before us was the foundation and ruins of an old miners shack that had burnt to the ground. We both probed the surrounding area for anything old or interesting. My dad was the first to see it jutting out of the hard packed earthen floor of the shack. It was a file the miner had forged into a crude knife. The handle was gone and the blade rusted but I became very excited. Here, long after the maker of the knife was dead and buried, lay tangible evidence of his life. I shivered as I imagined the bear that he might have dressed out with this tool, the hours he sat by the fire, during those long Alaskan winters, perhaps carving or just whittling away, thinking and dreaming. This centennial event was what first sparked my fascination in handmade knives. But developing my interest into a quality skill and eventually a business of my own did not happen until many years later.
Photo is my wife, two of my grand daughters and I visiting the Colorado Springs Pioneers Musem.