by Charley Pierce and Jock Dempsey
Occasionally, but not always something good happens to you at just the right time.
For me that something happened to be the arrival of this book.
I had been attempting (quite unsucssfully) to a decent knife, and was having the devil's own time producing anything I could be proud of.
Poor heat treating, bad finish and overly curved "buffalo skinner" shaped blades were all that I was able to manage.
Wayne has been making knives for 37 years and the last 27 has been as a full time business. Reading his book seamed more like having a casual conversation in his three wall "smithy", very simple, direct and uncomplicated.
Throughout the pages there are colorful stories, technical information and pearls of wisdom that make you say to yourself,
"Huh, that makes sense".
Whether its tips on making your own belt grinder, or showing the best way to make a strong knife, you end up getting the full benefit of Master Goddards' many years of experience.
All told I feel like this book taught me a lot. It didn't make me a great bladesmith . . . I need much more practice.
Out of all the things I learned from reading this book two things really stood out.
One is that you can make a quality blade without all the high-tech tool. The other is to not let my mistakes discourage me and to keep practicing. We all have to start of somewhere.
As Wayne writes, "Anyone with a sincere desire to learn can make knives."
- Charley Pierce
The $50 Knife shop covers a range of equipment from hand finishing tools to anvils, forges and grinders.
The first grinder is what Wayne calls his Good News / Bad News grinder GNBNG for short.
The good news is that it is cheap and makes knife making infinitely easier than without.
The bad news is that it is not equal to a commercial grinder.
The GNBNG is simply a 1/3HP electric motor, an arbor adaptor and a 6" grinding stone.
I have an identical machine made from new parts that has a 6" wire wheel on it.
A scrounger can make one of these for $5 - $10. New the parts cost about $60 today.
The grinder to the left is a $16 1x42 belt grinder with disk attachment.
It is built from a saw or buffer/grinder bearing stand and has a hard wood frame.