From The Author
As this book was coming together, a friend asked why I chose to make drawings rather than use photographs. It was a good question and when I explained the reason he said, “You should tell the readers that.” So I will.
In fact, I did take pictures—hundreds of them, recording each step as a knife was being made. When it came time to match the text to the images, I discovered a conflict between what I wrote and what was shown. For me as a teacher, personal involvement in problem-solving is more important than accurately following directions.
Let me use cooking as a metaphor. There is nothing wrong with using a cookbook, but good cooks see a recipe as a starting point. From there, a really great cook makes dozens of changes that range from the ingredients, to the slicing and dicing and on through to the presentation.
The pages that follow offer instructions on how to make about three dozen knives, always trying to make the point that the knives shown here are only examples of what can be made using the techniques presented. The problem with the photos was that they were too specific. My words might say, “Cut to a convenient length,” but the photo says, “Use a hacksaw, ruler, marker and vise to cut to 6.” That’s just what photos do; they show exactly what is happening at that moment, which unintentionally dampens creativity.
So I turned to drawings. They allow me to focus on a particular point and, I hope, allow you to add your personal touches that will make the process more engaging, and make your knives unlike any others. Bon appétit!