John became interested in knife making and bladesmithing as teenager and has been actively making custom show-quality knives since 1999. John took a special interest in making damascus steel knives in 2002 and has been designing, forging and producing his own raw damascus bars since 2005. John's mechanical talents and desire to have equipment that is tailored to his own way of producing knives have led him to build the majority of the equipment he uses in creating his knives and damascus. Included in this
There are so many videos and books available that a young knife maker can use to learn much of the art of knife making on their own, but to go to the next level and become a real professional in the trade requires one-on-one teaching under true knife makers and bladesmiths. John realized this fact early in his knife making career and knew that to become the artisan he wanted to be and to be recognized as a leader in his field would require not only practice, but study of techniques through classes and directly with other influential knife makers as well. One of John's specialties is nickel damascus, and he learned many of his techniques and tricks-of-the trade in this area from his good friend Jim Ferguson of Temecula, CA, who is one of the premier damascus producers and knife makers in the world. John also learned much of his art knife and finish work techniques from Bill Herndon of Acton, CA. John also spent a lot of his early years in knife making mentoring under John Schulps of Orland, CA, who was key in teaching techniques in handle shape and design. He has also adapted many forging, design, and finishing techniques through intense study of material from other other top-names in the industry such as Ed Fowler, Bob Loveless, and Wayne Goddard.
John is a firm believer in passing on knowledge that one gains in their field so that others can learn and become better at what they do. He will always tell you that if you have the opportunity to learn from and train under masters in the trade, grab it! Their knowledge is invaluable and that is how you will become a true artisan. Most importantly, use and learn from other's knowledge, but design your own piece...make it your own.
John's specialties include the following:
Knife design for both hunters and collectors. Knife styles include drop-point hunters, daggers, bowies, and many other styles designed and made through both bar stock-removal and damascus.
John designs and forges his own damascus in random-ladder, pool & eye, and twist, specializing mainly in nickel-based bars. He also works with ATS-34, O-1 tool, 52100, Stainless, Carbon, and many other steels.
Some of John's key equipment includes a 57-ton hydraulic press with w/ foot control and limit switches to create the most uniform damascus bars available. Four different forges are in use for the varying types of blades and steels used in John's designs. State-of-the-art grinders for varying types of hollow and flat grinds, etc are part of the shop equipment. Recently added is an in-house surface grinder that is used to bring damascus bars to absolute accurate and uniform thickness prior to sale.
John is a member of the California Knife Makers Association and attends many clinics, courses, and seminars to continually further his knowledge as a professional knife maker. John does all his own leather and sheath work as well. For heat-treating, John does all his own work on carbon-steel and damascus blades. For stainless steel heat-treating, John uses Paul Bos who is #1 in working with this metal.