Friday, October 10, 2014


Personally, I love making knives and everything about the knife business for the most part. When you try to transition from hobbyist knife maker to a livlihoodist you soon realize that having a passion for a craft and enjoying the creative process is one thing but paying the bills and actually making a living can be entirely a different thing. I suppose that in any craft or artistic endeavor there will be a gifted few who will find a way to find a stage that allows them to frame their work in a way that masses begin to relate to the work and prove it's worth by paying the artist very well. The trick, I guess, is to figure out how much beyond time and material you can ask for the work and still realize an active market. Many, many crafts people never get past minimum wages plus materials because they either lack the passion or lack the talent to make the passion seem tangible to a buying audience. Phenomenal success and great riches come to a select few. During the late nineties I had the honor and privilege of getting to know Mr. William F. Moran - the storied Master Blade smith and one of the founders of the American Bladesmithing Society. Everyone who was acquainted with Bill including myself found him to be a fine gentleman and very willing to share his rare insights into the art of knife making. When I first started admiring Bill's work in the late '70's $500 - $800 would buy about anything he was offering. By the time we were having breakfast together in the spring of '98 Bill's work was in very high demand and the same knives that had been $500 - $800 in the late seventies were seeing an active market in the $5,000.00 - $10,000.00 range ( and much more ). Somehow Bill had found a way to translate his skill, passion and creativity into something everyone seemed to understand and wanted to buy in to. I will never forget what he said to me that morning as we finished breakfast. He said, "Frank, I would have never believed that my knives would be selling for prices high enough that I can't afford them myself!!" The reason he couldn't afford them was because he never got around to charging what the market would bare as he filled orders on a 20 + year waiting list. Mr. Moran was certainly an iconic figure. He's surely missed by all who knew him. His body of work speaks for itself. As for "Woody" I find that things progress along very well as long as I devote necessary hours behind the grinder without compromise. It has been said that the difference between an artist and an artisan is that an artisan's children generally have shoes on their feet. So I devote myself to the idea of being the best artisan I can be - an artisan with a passion for the creative process and one determined to make each batch of knives better than the one before it. WOODY

Thursday, September 18, 2014


I love attending cutlery shows because, without fail, I come home renewed and enthused with the prospect of getting back to the shop. The attendance at this year's Southeastern Custom Knife Show in Winston Salem, North Carolina was less than expected but everyone I met seemed excited to be there and full of questions and ideas. All the interaction made the 3 1/2 hour trip home go quickly because of all the new wave of ideas to process. So, I hope all of you have a chance in the future to attend a custom knife show. Winston Salem is a great city to visit with much to see and do. Next September plan to be there. The first week end in June each year the real Grand daddy show - Atlanta's International Blade is held. If you have never been to the Blade Show you'll most likely find yourself in a state of shock. Simply the Best from every corner of the world will be there. Woody will be at Smokey Mountain Knife Works in Sevierville , Tennessee October 17, 18 & 19 for an open house event. All the manufacturer's reps from all the major knife companies will be there along with yours truly. If you would like to come up that weekend book lodging now because that's the peak of leaf color season & many motels are already sold out. WOODY