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Thread: Knifemaking in UK...........how are we doing..?

  1. #1
    member Chui's Avatar
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    Knifemaking in UK...........how are we doing..?

    So, there's a great bit of discussion going on in 'UK Makers'.

    But what about just stepping back for a moment and looking at UK..?

    Once, UK had Sheffield as a (pun intended) cutting edge of knife making............and there were also the likes of Wilkinson Sword.

    ..........where has all that that expertise gone..? Why don't we have a thriving - or at least - significant niche knife making reputation anymore.

    Ok, sure, our media and political situation has rendered UK very tame for knife carrying, but that all came along late in the day.

    And, of course, we are not a knife-using / knife-carrying nation in the same way as USA or SA.

    However, I would suggest to you all that there are many more collectors within UK than you realise - certainly many more than actually show themselves on forums.

    And, like makers in USA/SA and other parts of the world - if a knife is good enough - people from all over the world will buy.

    So, the market goal in UK should not be just the home market, it should be the world.

    UK does have makers who sell throughout the world, a small handful maybe, but two you hardly ever hear of are Howard Hitchmough and Geoff Hague. Howard now resides in New Hampshire and regularly receives makers and visits from SA to whom he has selflessly passed on many hours of mentoring and guidance. Geoff still lives and works in UK and does very well too.



    I would dearly love to see UK do better on the world stage. Yes, of course, there will be makers who are quite happy, quite content to carry on doing what they're doing with no wish to be inspired or aspire to better things - and that is all just fine..........the world would be a tedious place if we all wanted the same thing!

    Maybe we should just leave it all as it is and carry on being regarded by the rest of the world as fairly insignificant..?

    Or, how then, can we get to generate a way for UK makers who are inspired and wish to aspire..?

  2. #2
    We need to follow in footsteps of Australia,South Africa,USA,etc and set up a guild,and more knife shows around the country,We have one proper Knife show and people living in the north makers and punters find it hard to get down to near Bristol. ads in Fishing,shooting,bushcraft,mag's

  3. #3
    member Samurai Stu's Avatar
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    I remember a conversation with Paul about UK makers when he came to visit my workshop. He asked me what I though of British makers and I simply scoffed at him with a 'don't waste my time' attitude. Upon more reflection this was very rude and unprofessional and I apologise to Paul all the makers in the UK. I put it down to some simple facts. I could not think of a UK maker off hand and I had not done any research or web browsing on the subject. Recalling any reading I had done only brought forth images of the standard bushcrafters that seem to have permeated the UK knife market making any outsiders think that was all there is available.
    The potential of UK makers is great and we as makers in other countries should continuously encourage them to form a guild and organise. Only through the shared knowledge of makers that host meetings and organise shows can the over all level of quality and ingenuity grow. I know my works has gotten better because of the help of others, but that help is readily available through monthly meetings and annual shows. I look forward to seeing what comes from the Isles in the future and I intend to put in some more face time on BB Forum.

  4. #4
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    Monthly meetings and annual shows? Sounds great!

    I can count on one hand the number of times I've got together with other makers and each time I have learned a huge amount. The internet is no substitute for face to face contact.

  5. #5
    Ok for the guys on here I live in the midlands, and some of the others do to, lets get a meet up set up with or without knives ,depending on where we can meet,just to have a general chat about knives,and put names to faces,is anyone up for it.


    Quote Originally Posted by MikeW View Post
    Monthly meetings and annual shows? Sounds great!

    I can count on one hand the number of times I've got together with other makers and each time I have learned a huge amount. The internet is no substitute for face to face contact.

  6. #6
    member grommit's Avatar
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    I've been under the radar for some time due to near retirement and my custody battle for my daughter and finding a house for us.
    When I started making knives I was under the same impression as many others that the UK custom knife scene was all about Bushcraft knifes and makers who did not want to step out of their hobby comfort zone.
    As we all know my views quickly changed when I met and was mentored by Ian Bailey.
    Mind you I still found a vast majority of Uk makers to be very protective almost 'Cloak n Dagger' about their work and offering help.
    But like anything in this world it was just a matter of time and patience before some great makers, collectors and enthusiasts gave their free time to help advise and on occasion give down right selfless charity without regards to profit.
    I was gobsmacked at the response, not only was I providing the help and charity I could I saw that the UK Custom Scene was a good bunch.
    To be truthful I was sceptical at what I thought of a UK Guild being formed, a stage for certain people whom I felt were so far up their own backsides and had only ideas of strutting their feathers and highlighting to the world "Look at me, look at me!"
    there has to be Strong all round good figure heads to front such a venture, wither a maker or collector 2 such names I am strong about is Geoff Hague and Paul (Chui) both ambassador's for the Custom scene.
    As always sorry if my tell it how it is approach offends people, can't change how I feel
    Anyways, after time away its now time to get my butt back into the sheds and carry on finishing them projects ;-)
    ATB
    Bri

  7. #7
    from a personal perspective looking back at this year.....
    over 180 students through the school...... and seen some great work from them, hopefully a few seeds planted.
    Demonstrated at the farriers AGM
    Demonstrated at Arctic Fire in the USA in may
    Demonstrated at the oakland AXE'n sax-in october.
    A few interesting museum measuring sessions leading to me progressing my own work and remaking some patterns not done by me before (or possably by anyone in the modern world)
    I have had a good year for selling knives, and axes.
    Managed to appear on tv a few times.....
    Classes and work are lined up for next year.
    I am in the process of sorting out an assistant.
    speaking to other uk makers I know seems like this is not uncommon..None of us do bushcraft of trad (modern)british knife stuff.
    There seems to be a feeling of resurgence in the crafts in general and I think that with an outward looking perspective some form of knife making could and should be lifted on the wave ......
    happy new year for you all.

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