Starstruck, in the World’s Largest Knife Showplace Meeting your heros

After my visit to the Blade show in Atlanta in 2017 with John Gray we stopped on the way back at the ‘Smokey Mountain Knife Works’ in Tennessee, advertised as: ‘The World’s Largest Knife Showplace”. And true to its advertising it was ‘YUGE’ ;-)… think Home Depot sized, with several floors.

Many departments to showcase different types of knives and makers. To John’s surprise they already had his “Thuck” knife, that was made by Kizer in the glass case. And like any knife-maker that has a knife made by a large company he wanted to take a look at it.

The sales person that showed up was in luck that day – he was going to meet his ‘maker’. John pointed at the ‘Thuck’ and said “that’s my knife”. And to proof he even pulled out his drivers license. The clerk was still under the assumption “it’s only yours when you buy it..” lol.

He checked John’s license and said: “What a coincidence, you have the same name as the maker” and finally the quarter fell and he understood that the blade in the glass case was designed by the gentleman he was talking to. It finally ‘clicked’.. and boxes were signed, and ‘selfies’ were taken by the staff.

I walked around laughing from the scene that just played out and then I saw all these names. Names of friends I met through this journey of starting to become a knife maker. All these familiar names in the display cases, some with prices that rival my mortgage payments…

People I met as “nice guys, that are making knives too”… And like so many times before, I got this familiar feeling (as sometimes you give yourself some leeway and allow yourself to believe you have already achieved something – and at his moment in time that was only a handful of knives with a good grind) only to see you’re at the first rung of the ladder.

A beautiful “Airborne” flipper by the talented Gustavo Cecchini

So while mulling about I see this tall, well dressed gentleman looking at some knives in a glass case, knives that where made by him… John nodded to me to come over and he said: “damn that’s cool, Gus is here – and he’s a REAL good knife maker, and a very cool guy.”

And there is something about running into your heroes while there is no one around, so you can be starstruck and give yourself some time to think of something to say that doesn’t make you sound like a total turd.

I really wanted to know from someone that knows what they’re doing to tell me how I’m doing. (like asking someone that knows how to drive if your going in the right direction, or going against the traffic…)

And every time I think of this moment it makes me smile – as I walked towards Gustavo Cecchini and introduced myself, as a ‘knife maker’ (at this time only my mother would call me that – and that is because she loved me – miss ya Mom…)

This truly was the equivalent of a kid that just bought a guitar walking up to Stevie Ray Vaughan saying : “Hey man, I’m a guitar payer too” 🙂

Lucky for me Gustavo is an incredibly kind man that not only shared a very nice lunch with us but actually took time and evaluated my work, tested it against the time that I was grinding and gave me his honest opinion.

My second knife I made and one I brought to Blade’17

Moments like this can help you decide to move further with your chosen path, and I can only hope that I can be as kind and helpful as Gustavo or John when my moment comes to help.

At the bottom of our website you’ll find a group of names of knife-makers that I have linked, and these names mean the world to me as each and everyone of them helped me grow as a knife maker, as a person and or as a Brother.

They have spent time helping me out at times when they had plenty of work of their own to do, they have stood by me when I lost loved ones – as well as I got a heads up to be there when a friend of us in the knife world passed so we could show their loved ones what they meant.

If you hung in this far into my story – I thank you ! – pls give these names a look see as these are some of the finest quality people you will meet. #leagueofextraordinairygentlemen

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