I am a seventh generation Texan.
Texas will always be my home, and no amount of distance or time can change that. As it happens, however, I currently live in Canada.
In March of this year I was given the opportunity to move to Calgary for work. It was a good opportunity that would allow me to gain needed experience, as well as to make a little extra money and potentially open the door to better assignments in the future. As far as I am currently aware, I will be in Canada until January, or maybe April, of 2014.
My initial thought was that I would not be able to work on knives for the whole year. In hopes that this would not be true, I reached out to the Canadian knife making community and, to my great delight, they have embraced me with open arms. I attended the Southern Alberta Hammer-in in June, where I met and learned from the likes of Mastersmiths Bruce Bump, Steve Culver, and J. Nielson, Journeyman smith Dana Hackney, as well as other seriously good Canadian makers like Roger Hatt.
Besides meeting some of my knifemaking idols, I also became friends with the hosts of the Hammer-in, Jim and Bev Clow. On a later visit to Jim’s place, he taught me how to forge weld, and I produced my first damascus billets. I got to work on some projects brought up from Texas as well, started a few others, and have plans to make several more trips to work and learn even more. What had measured up to be a long break from doing what I love has turned into an opportunity to advance my skills beyond what I had imagined possible. I mean, I had planned to do these things eventually, but not for a long time. The picture is of me twisting my first damascus billet at Jim’s, a 350 layer twist pattern.
I hope to have a few knives available for sale in the next few months. They’ll likely not have my maker’s mark (my stencils are in TX) and may not have sheaths, but I am thrilled to be able to continue learning and making while stuck in the Great White North. Be on the lookout too for something different. I have a project in mind that, if it turns out like it looks in my head, will knock your socks off.