The Wonder of Knifemaking Wayne Goddard

The Wonder of Knife Making

Master Smith Wayne Goddard Answers All Your Questions

Softcover 8-1/2 x 11"
160 Pages, 150 b&w photos, 16-page color section

Review by Bruce "Atli" Blackistone

This is not the first book I would buy to learn about knife making, but it would certainly be the second or third. At its core it is a compilation of articles and columns that Mr. Goddard has done in Blade magazine, but it has been edited and re-written in such a way as to provide a generally smooth, comprehensive narrative on the subject. This is the sort of book that you can pick up, turn to a random subject of interest, and get totally absorbed for the next quarter to half hour. It is also a book that reads tolerably well cover to cover, with little in the way of redundancy. There is some repetition, which is almost inevitable in a compilation, but usually it merely serves to reinforce an important point.

Another advantage of the book is its relatively understated style. Knife magazines rarely shy away from hyperbole, but if Mr. Goddard says something, he tells you why he thinks it is so, and then backs it up with experience. I found myself disagreeing with minor points, but my head spent a lot of time nodding in the affirmative, too. Being the pedant that I am, and working in the historical periods that I do, I very carefully distinguish pattern-welded and wootz steel, which are usually lumped together as “Damascus.” However, his definitions and permutations of what is considered “Damascus” steel in the late 20th century is one of the most logical and comprehensive that I’ve seen.

In his primary texts he covers everything from metallurgy to stock removal to forging to grinding to testing. Added to these are the question and answer pieces, gleaned from his columns over the years. This enables him to provide in-depth answers to some very good questions. Reading the book provided me both a number of "Ah-ha!" moments and confirmed some of my long-held suspicions and observations, all of which have been held for a far shorter time than Mr. Goddard's 30 years of knife making.

He also provides a number of worthwhile techniques, tips and tricks of the trade, all of them relevant to knife making and not a few useful for general blacksmithing. Over the years he has accumulated an extensive shop, but he is also firmly in the low-budget, junkyard engineering school of equipment and machinery. Several items in the book are carried over from his “$50 Knife Shop” articles. The man has a good, honest workmanlike style, both in his writing and in his techniques and products. He likes to make knives that are sturdy and useful. He has made a book that measures up to his other work. Like his knives, I think the book is a wise investment.

Published by: Krause Publications, Iola, WI

Also available from the author, Write/call:

473 Durham Ave.
Eugene, OR 97404

Price: $19.95 USD plus shipping
LoC: 99-68101 ISBN: 0-87341-798-4
Other books and videos by Wayne Goddard:

Wayne Goddard's $50 Knife Shop
Review by Charley Pierce

The Wire Damascus Hunting Knife - Video Review by Jock Dempsey
Copyright © 2001, 2003 by Jock Dempsey, DEMPSEY'S FORGE

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