Welcome to the NEW shop as it looks today - complete!
It's taken a while to get everything done - several years to be exact but finally we can work with all the processes of knives under one roof except forging. The large surface grinder is in another very dirty building. The forge is also not in this building.
We have set up this shop to serve many different processes. This is my 5th full time shop in 31 years so I've learned a lot on what to have and how to focus as much on clean as possible. Knife-making is a sometimes very dirty job so the need for a dirty room for only grinding and buffing was great. Also, dust and dirt take a toll on one's health and equipment and you need both to stay in as good of shape as you can. So, after a major cleaning of all the tools and some badly needed repainting, our tools thanked us as did our health, I'm sure.
We also wanted to have a main room for sawing, drilling and milling and also have a space for lapidary and photo work, so all of those tasks are done in there plus many others. As you can see there is not a lot of equipment because most everything is done by hand with files and sand paper. Dellana and myself enjoy all the hand work, it gives total satisfaction to do something and feel every part of it as you make it. There are many ways to do things -this is just they way we do them. I don't think there should be any set way one has to be creative as long as it makes someone feel happy!
The last room was for finish work and actual construction, and also design work, engraving, gold work and more.
The need for light has always been an issue, so I made sure everything was white Even the floor in the main room is white. It helps with everything including the desire to keep it clean.
The finish room has a very short carpet on the floor so anything that gets dropped does not get damaged which was always a problem with the concrete floors for me. There is no worse feeling then to be putting a piece together for the last time and drop a pearl handle, or a hot blued guard and hear that "tink-tink" as it bounces across the floor after you have moved and flexed your body in unthinkable ways trying to catch it before it goes down for the count.
The other reason for having carpet is it has seemed to eliminate the dreaded knife makers black hole that has been in every shop I have ever had, that place that all small things seam to go just as they leave your field of vision. You can hear them but you never see them again!! I have worn the knees out of pants it seems crawling around looking for things that have just vanished. Even when you move your shop you never find those little things. Somewhere there is a well stocked knife shop from all of the makers who I'm sure have one of those black holes, and I bet the things just appear there just like they do here. I've had things that I thought were lost in the black hole come back also and reappear on my bench even though I looked right at that spot before!! Maybe the black hole shop was over stocked!
I have set this shop up for filming as I will be doing videos very soon on many different subjects. They will consist of short 20 to 30 minute videos of tips and techniques I have developed over the last 31 years as a full time maker. Since there are many videos on grinding, forging and general knife making I wanted to do techniques on embellishments that run from simple to difficult, but rewarding, that one can do with simple tools that you have in your shop.
These are things that I have developed over the years that allowed me to create that extra pop on knives at a time when funds did not permit anything but the basics on a hunting style knife. These techniques helped me get my knives noticed for having something just a bit different.
There will also be longer videos on the complete making of some very special knives from rough draft to finished piece. These will be shot as the pieces are being made, just shortened for time.
So, more to come!