No grinder back then, I was using a set of hand files, and yes it is a lot of work and time. It was shortly after I started that I bought my first Blade magazine as well as a couple other publications. It was through these sources that I found out about the ABS - American Bladesmith Society and the bladesmithing school in Texarkana. I signed up for the next intro to bladesmithing class, this was invaluable to my growth.
After that I was focused on tooling up my shop. I started with my first belt grinder, a 1 x 42" I got on sale at Lowes. I still have it and use it to this day. Next was a anvil, good old Harbor Freight to start. Then I hit the jack pot when one of my uncles told me he had his grandfathers anvil from the early 1900's. This is the main anvil I use still today. My next purchase was a Grizzly 2 x 72" belt grinder. That was a life changing purchase, I was amazed at how efficiently I could now remove metal.
As of today I'm running propane instead of coal forge, added a milling machine, wood lathe, metal lathe, various buffers, a 4 x 30" belt grinder, 96" band saw, and many hand tools. I've also been making my own sheaths. Some of my early work was a little shaky and can be seen in the galleries on this site, happy to say I'm improving. Currently I'm building a hydraulic press so that I can forge Damascus, it can be done by hand but takes way too much time. Still working a full time job in addition to bladesmithing.
That's my story, at least the short version. I hope you enjoy the site and feel free to contact me with any questions.
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My name is Gene Border and I've been making knives off and on since 2004. I've been more serious about my craft since 2015 and am actively taking orders. I started out on a coal forge that I made out of an old wash tub and a hair dryer for the blower. My anvil at that time was a piece of rail road rail and whatever hammers I had at the time.