In this update:
- Website Changes
- Leveling up: AKA adding new skills
- Blade Show
- What it all means and what comes next
As you may have noticed (unless you read the blog via a feed reader) there have been some major changes to the website. Overall it is much more simplified, no separate pages for kitchen, utility or art. Just some general info, the blog, and links to facebook and my pinterest album of photos of my knives. Also gone is the price list. The old site was just too busy and didn’t present the information well, and had pricing info strewn all about the place. The price list needed to cleaned up to reflect the changes noted in the last update, and rather than have to maintain more pages it was all just simplified for now. I haven’t figured out a format I like for the updated price list so that is still not available, however the prices haven’t changed.
Over the last couple months I’ve had the opportunity to add some new skills. I was fortunate enough to take a 2 week long intensive class from Ford Hallam on traditional Japanese metal working. There are some photos on the facebook page from the class (scroll back to April). It was quite the transformative experience. I haven’t had near enough time to practice since the class, but that should be changing soon. That pretty much ate my brain for most of April. Then I had a couple weeks of working on knives for Blade Show followed by a 1 week engraving course with Ray Cover. Another wonderful class, and more things to practice. If I’m honest with myself it really is the engraved and embellished knives that I want to make. Additionally, that has been the case from the start of this passion over 30 years ago. It has taken the last 3 years to unwind all the protective baggage and admit that is the goal and accept the risks that come with trying to achieve it. It has been a good 3 years, but it is time to kick things up another level.
Blade show was interesting this year, having spent the previous 2 months adding new skills but not having any time to use them on knives. I got some forged knives done, as I have in the past used Blade to showcase the forged work. I pushed myself a little farther on a couple pieces, adding some fabrication details that I hadn’t had time to try in the past. I also spent some time on blade finishes taking the time to achieve the exact look I wanted. Blade is interesting in that you get to see the entire spectrum of knife making from part time hobby makers to multinational cutler corporations. Seeing as I was already in an introspective state of mind, I spent quite a bit of time observing and analyzing, in order to deepen my understanding of the industry. I was cataloging things like quality, finish levels, price, embellishment level, design, business model, and a number of other things. I also spent a bit of time looking at engraving. Now I know that Blade isn’t the best show for engraved knives but there were a decent number of examples, mostly in dealer cases. As to what conclusions I came to with all the data I put into my head… I haven’t yet. I was just stuffing data in my head for future use. Overall it was an enjoyable show, got to see good friends, talk shop and see quite a number of nice knives, although I have to remember next year not to eat an entire slice of Key lime pie at the Marietta Diner.
What does it all mean.. Well changes are afoot. For starters I need to rearrange my entire shop and build new workbenches so I have the proper space to practice the new skills. I’ll be adding some new designs to the lineup and making some minor changes to existing designs to allow for greater embellishment possibilities. There will be lots of practice of the new skills followed by putting those skills to use on actual product. There are more efficiency changes in the works for the basic knives so hopefully the skills practice won’t impact output too much. I’m also going to have to prioritize the special projects I want to do like smelting/wootz making and try and put them all on a reasonable timeline (which if I’m honest it will take longer to get to all of them than I would like, but such is life).
This wraps up another rambling blog post, stay tuned and see where the changes lead…