Like many my interest in knives started young around 9-10 years of age. I'm lucky enough to live in the country and at that age it was knives, air rifles, motorbikes and being outside that was everything. I remember early excursions into the local farmers woodlands carrying a butchers knife in my belt surreptitiously gained from my fathers garage to be an adventurer with.
Later in life at my work I always needed a blade handy and I still loved to camp and hike and shoot so my interest never dwindled. My wife bought me my first handmade knife around 1995 a Rory Connor sourced from Attleborough and somewhere along the lines I found a copy of "How to Make Knives" by Barney and Loveless and I was hooked again, I wanted to make my own knives.
Alas it never happened work and family always seemed to get priority (as I suppose it should) but sometime after 2004 I finally bought a second hand PC and discovered the internet, a magically playground of waiting ten minutes to see any pictures. It was then I also discovered the online knife community first in America and then in 2005 one of our own Britishblades. It was a bit of a revelation that I wasn't on my own. I mean I knew other people collected and made but where and who were they? Now I knew. My forum name and the name of this site even came from when I wanted to make knives and I started a blog "Mikes Knives" about my journey, unfortunately it never actually started this one did instead.
Then I happened across an online ad for the Wilderness Gathering and on a whim took my young son, we had a great time and an idea sprung up. If I can't make my own knives why not get these makers that I had found on the internet to do it to my own specification. I had my early knives from mainly American makers Harlan T Ryerson, George Trout and the Graham Brothers eventually adding some folding knife makers Manu LaPlace and Shing. And thats how things began a small selection of knives and before I knew it I was doing trades, buying collections and discovering new shows to attend and it hasn't stopped since.
I even managed to start the UK's only dedicated knife show, I'd always read about the great American shows and dreamed of going but knowing this was never going to happen decided to have our own. With the help of people from the online community and my friends Mick and Sue Penfold (Mick was a UK national who lived in the US became a maker and then returned to the UK to live about twenty miles from me) we had our first show in Exeter in 2006 and it expanded rapidly year on year to the present Knives-UK venue in Gloustershire . It's a great celebration of the knifemakers art and a great place for budding makers to get supplies and advice.
The site and the shows are still a hobby but I get to do the things I like best which is having great knives, meeting great people and trading with like minded individuals.
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