With a mere 5 years of age, I pilfered my great-grandfather’s pocket knife. It was one for garden work with a strong inwardly bent blade.
When my aunt wanted me to come in to eat, I closed the knife behind my back so disastrously, that I jammed my fingers in it. The knife was so sharp, that it cut deeply all four fingers…
Actually, one would think, that that would have been it for the rest of my life, but it wasn’t so. Knives have always had a very particular fascination for me, and so it was inevitable that over the years, a collection of them has accumulated. Several additional injuries as well.
Compared with what remained in my memory of the pocket knife, all others could not compete with its sharpness. So I was never really satisfied with purchased products.
In the year 2002, I discovered the knife forum and the Schmiedecafé, which sadly no longer exists. With great interest, all I did for almost 2 years was read. Many things became clear. Intuitive knowledge was replaced by facts. At the same time, of course, the desire to own one of the displayed knives grew. This wasn’t possible, as they were too expensive.
Yes, and then came the idea to try it myself.
In the spring of 2004, I obtained my first finished blade and made my first knife, and look here, it worked! Not pretty, but functional.
I also made a sheath right away, after all, I had already gained experience with leather during my „Middle Ages period“, when I was an archer.
At 10 years of age, I sat next to my father, who crafted his own armguard, chest protector, finger tab and quivers from leather. I copied every step and made my own things.
Several well-meaning – but perhaps not always quite seriously meant – encouragements from my circle of acquaintances and friends on top of all else, resulted in a final and presumably incurable outbreak of the „knife disease“.
From then on, I crafted all blades that fell into my hands into finished knives. In one year, 22 knives and sheaths were created in this manner.
In the spring of 2005, I became tired of always having to resort to prefabricated blades. I kept coming across the name “Stienen” in the relevant forums, when it had to do with damask.
A little research on the internet showed that we were only 25 km apart from each other. So, I made an appointment, drove over and a week later held my first damask blank in my hand.
Absolutely inappropriate in filing, the first knife was already finished after approx. 100 hours.
And there it was, that extraordinary sharpness, that stayed for a long time and could easily be renewed.
Since then, I have been a permanent guest at the Stienen blacksmith’s shop. Blade blanks, damask or monosteel are exclusively produced for me and the blades are later individually heat-treated there.
In the meantime, a few of my knives can be found in the hands of hunters or in gastronomy. Everyone is thrilled. That these knives are manufactured out of „rusting“ steels, does not irritate in any way. With a minimum of maintenance, rust is not an issue and one has a friend for life.
To the contrary. Some only grin when they encounter colleagues, who proudly present their “rust free“ ones, which are not “cutting edge”, so to speak, when gutting game.
I am someone who walks a fine line and enjoys swinging from one extreme to the other, thus forcibly resulting in a broad spectrum with the advantageous side effect, that I neither quickly pass when confronted with any task nor am I defined by specific knife or sheath types.
Whether it is crafting a Puukko with a Nordic sheath or a large „sheath knife“, incl. sheath with elaborate assaying and wooden core, etc., it works. Kitchen knife? .... No problem!
Agreeing to customer requests, ....also not a problem up to a certain point. Naturally, my skills have their boundaries. However, I aim to move this boundary ever higher, ever improving.
For me, it is great fun to create a finished knife with carefully forged damask and other good “ingredients”, while being able to freely follow my own ideas.
Even planning and discussing a project in the backsmith’s shop, in a comradely, familiar and always constructive atmosphere, gives me a lot of gratification.
I find it really great, when one - using simple tools - creates a product, which mercilessly outdistances industrial ware in every aspect and which was optimally planned and manufactured with regard to the user and the intended use.
I have even more fun, when a piece conjures in another a certain twinkling in the eyes.
It doesn’t always work, ....... but time and again.
Have fun looking!