I grew up on my father's farm. On this farm there was an old forge. One day, he explained to me what it was and how it worked and we fired it up. We used dry corn cobs for fuel. Corn cobs make a decent fuel and there were lots of them to work with. I began to play in the fire on a regular basis. Even though there was no one to teach me, I developed a passion for the work. I smashed, twisted, and curled iron into all shapes and sizes imaginable.
At age 17, I went to work on a pipeline, and for 10 years following, followed construction at many different crafts: shipfitter, carpentry, fabrication, etc. To meet different people and learn new things was a great deal of fun, but my labor served other people. After meeting my wife (I still can't believe my good luck.), it took several years to put my household in order and then I built myself a shop. The first thing I moved in was the old forge. For the next several years, I murdered iron. Then my cousin made a knife. "If he can do it, so can I," I thought. What we both learned is that making a quality knife is a very difficult process. My knives always bent, broke, wouldn't sharpen, or had various other flaws. Then someone gave me an old Knives 85 that contained an article on cable damascus by Wayne Goddard. For the next year, I murdered cable and began to stick it together, even though very few of my products could really be called knives.
In the Knives 85, I found Alex Daniel's address and he was close to me. At the time, I didn't know how knife makers were; but I decided to take a chance and call him. What I found is that Alex, and most other knifemakers, are the most friendly people I have ever met. Alex invited me to his home, answered all my questions, and explained a lot of details that I never thought of. Alex also told me about the upcoming Batson Blade Symposium which I attended, and have every year since. The Batson Blade Symposium provides more information in three days than one can obtain through years of self-teaching. If you wish to learn more about any phase of knifemaking, I urge you to attend.
Dr. Batson and his wife, Barbara are most gracious hosts. Dr. Batson has also allowed me to spend many Saturdays in his shop gaining knowledge through watching and hopefully helping him with his work. To Dr. Jim Batson, Alex Daniel, and all the other bladesmiths who have given me their time at home as well as at the symposium, I give thanks.
Email Address Durham@hiwaay.net
Level Master Bladesmith (5yr)
Year Awarded MS 2004
Business Name Buzzard Roost Forge
Address 10495 White Pike Cherokee 35616 AL United States
Phone Number (256) 359-4287