Hi! My name is Michael Ely. It is a pleasure to meet you, the reader, and to have the opportunity to share with you the ins and outs of knife making and silversmithing!! I have made knives for nearly 25 years and worked in silver for 8 years. A few knives that I have made started out as a bowie knife and ended up as a pairing knife!! Silver pieces have been thrown into the silver scrap pile to be recycled. While this blog will be mostly about the challenges that face the knifemaker and silversmith, there will be times that I will share my perspective on life skills and also places that we travel to. I hope you enjoy!!
Why We Make Knives!! Why do I??
For those of us with the talents and desire to create, when we find that one thing that we cannot resist, then we have found our calling in life. It might be woodworking, pottery, quilting or a host of other arts that exist. What ever it is.... fantastic!!! It's not always easy to find that sweet spot! But when I did I couldn't resist. That is why I make knives and jewelry. When I received that first knife kit from my wife nearly 25 years ago, I was hooked. I wanted to build a forge, and I wanted to purchase a grinder. I wanted to read everything that I could get my hands on. And now, all these years later, I am still just as passionate about creating, maybe even more so. So, as the answer to, "Why do we make knives", because we can't help but pick up a piece of metal and wonder what it might become! Or we fall asleep at night with that next project in mind.
I have always been interested in working with my hands and creating. I believe there are many wonderful craftsmen and craftswomen lying dormant in the everyday working men and women of our land. Their pursuit in life has been hijacked by the sterile cubical of an office, or the career that pays good money but doesn't fulfill their God given talents. Today due to the internet, the show Forged In Fire, and Blade Magazine, the interest in knife making, forging, and blacksmithing have grown. When I started making knives 24 years ago many of today's legendary knife makers were in their prime. Without the internet at my fingertips, I had trouble finding books on the subject. The learning curve was steep and hard. Therefore, I am mostly self trained. My early influence was Ed Fowler. As a side note, I actually visited Ed at his ranch in Wyoming years ago. It was truly a highlight in my knife making experience. Maybe it could be the topic of another blog! But, today there is an abundance of information, some good, some bad. I hope to give you up to date tips and tricks to shortcut your journey and help you make a quality knife or a quality piece of jewelry. I am new to blogging and don't know exactly how this will work, but I hope to answer particular questions with corresponding blogs.
What have I done that makes me an expert on anything?
Good question. Looking at myself, I am just a normal guy. What makes me different than someone else? A lot of time spent at this insane craft. While I am FAR from an expert I have had a lifetime of learning. I farmed and fixed things for 35 years. When we couldn't afford it, we built it. I made my first knife at 18 and it was in my blood. I have forge cable damascus, damascus, and many other high carbon steels. I have made stock removal knives. I have the skill to both hollow grind and flat grind. I have heat treated and tempered most of my knives. I have made an axe, a karambit, a bowie, a push dagger, hunting knives and kitchen knives. I've tried and failed and I have failed and overcome. In short, I just believe that I have learned many knife making tricks that can help the beginning maker in his or her journey!If you are a knife maker, silver smith, blacksmith, or any artisan for that matter, I hope you will follow my blog. I hope to make your learning curve shorter and to share my passion for creating with you! I also hope to learn from you!!, if you are that person that is looking for a passion, and want to follow along I wholeheartedly invite you to read along. Or if you are already a passionate artisan let's learn together.
Michael Ely, Ely Knives and Silver