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Article: Why I Decided to Become a Knifemaker

Why I Decided to Become a Knifemaker

Why I Decided to Become a Knifemaker

I have been making knives now for around 10 years and I got started because I was ready for a change in my life. After getting my degree in Fine Arts and Sculpture at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, I worked many different jobs from wooden furniture making to building concrete counter tops and building banjos and guitars. I loved metal work but honestly knew nothing about metallurgy. Making knives forces you to be involved in both material science and chemistry as well as using power tools. I am always so curious about the way things are put together, so I ordered vintage knives on E-Bay and took them apart to see how they all fit and to examine their blade geometry. The first knives I ever made were kinda terrible-I used whatever was given to me, old files, wrought iron saw blades, metal scraps...I ventured into the world of heat treating and wood stabilization. I never knew I would become a knife maker by trade. It was just a hobby while I worked other jobs for other people helping them accomplish their goals of installing gigantic chandeliers and spiral staircases in multi-million dollar mansions. 

PHILLIPS FORGED HAND CRAFTED CHEF KNIFE IN KNOXVILLE TENNESSEE DAMASTEEL
PHILLIPS FORGED HAND CRAFTED CHEF KNIFE IN KNOXVILLE TENNESSEE DAMASTEEL
PHILLIPS FORGED HAND CRAFTED CHEF KNIFE IN KNOXVILLE TENNESSEE DAMASTEEL
PHILLIPS FORGED HAND CRAFTED CHEF KNIFE IN KNOXVILLE TENNESSEE DAMASTEEL
PHILLIPS FORGED HAND CRAFTED CHEF KNIFE IN KNOXVILLE TENNESSEE DAMASTEEL
It wasn't until I had a chance meeting with Chef Sean Brock, one of my favorite people, that I gained a bird's-eye view of why I should continue making knives. During Porter Flea Nashville, Chef Sean Brock bought some of my knives. We started talking, and I was fortunate to have him as a customer. He featured my knives in his New York Times' best-selling cookbook, South. Around the same time I was featured in Garden and Gun magazine, people began reaching out to me for custom work, seemingly all at once! I'm incredibly grateful for these opportunities and am excited to expand and create more in the upcoming months. Keep an eye out for further updates. --John Phillips, AKA the Knife Man

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