Jay Fisher - World Class Knifemaker
Quality Without Compromise
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I thought about what i must write in this letter for 7 last years.
Mr. Fisher, you have been my teacher, inspired and role models at all that time. For anyone who wants to learn how to make a finest knives, just need to read read and again read your web site. Encyclopedia of knives! 8 years have passed since as I started studying and learning on your web site. Thanks for your titanic work! Thank you for your web site, a place where you disperse many myths about the knife making reality! I look forward for date of publication your book, your book for me is the most cherished dream.
I wish you a long life, God bless you for your work.
...I only e-mail to say thank you for your straight forward, understandable language used to clarify all your personal ideas, visions and aspects around Knife-creating.
I found and visited your website by pure chance, in the exact right place and time whilst finishing my own process in fine-tuning my visions, loose ends and fascinations as a visual-artist. Your clear voiced experience, and insight was helpful in a more universal way than merely the building of quality Knives. Maybe I could relate to the subject, because I have a fascination for Knives since my youth, and I believe I can grasp the mystical aspect of the Knife.
Anywho... The devil is in the details, so Thanks again.
May your knife business flourish like all other D.I.Y. quality knife businesses, and all other businesses for that matter.
I have been learning to make knives for three years and the detailed information you provide, for free, on your website is extremely helpful. The volume of information is almost overwhelming, so I am constantly revisiting your website to see what I missed from the last time. I am grateful that you take the time to maintain a huge website in addition to the works of art you create.
It was exhausting and hilarious to read the emails you have received in the past. I can't believe you get these by the hundreds and thousands. By you posting those emails and your comments, I am able to learn from other people's mistakes and they show me what I can expect if I ever endeavor to turn knife making into more than just a hobby. In those emails, I am also able to learn the characteristics of a high quality knife and what I should strive for in my own efforts.
Again, thank you for sharing so much information.
San Antonio, TX
Just had to say thanks a ton for all the great info on heat treating and cryogenic treating of knives. I'm a novice to knives but an analyst by trade, so I appreciate that level of detail to learn more about the process. The more I learn, the more I appreciate all that goes into the art and science of knifemaking.
Hello Mr. Fisher,
As the title of this email already says, each time I am visiting your website (daily :) ) I become even more and more impressed.
You are for sure the best knifemaker alive and not only for your gorgeous work but also for your vast knowledge.
Any visitor, no matter of his profession will definitely find in your website a reason to go further, to learn more and to improve reaching for perfection. I never tried to find a fault in your work as I am sure it would be a waste of time, the way you are judging things, the sack of knowledge behind each and every thing you make is enough to know that you are facing a very fine educated man and craftsman.
I simply adore your courage to face and combat the lies promoted by the huge "sharks" on the market, never seen this before and maybe I will never see it again; it requires arguments, self trust and motivation for the good of the customers. Once again thank you very much for all your efforts to share your vast knowledge with us! May God bless you for long and peaceful years in the Enchanted Spirits Studio! :) All the best,
--A. (apprentice knifemaker)
Thank you for your wonderful and well informed site about knives.
So far I have spent quite a few hours reading fascinating info way beyond of what I was looking for.
I have masters degree from mechanical engineering. In the course of my study I have also studied some [steel] metallurgy subjects. I work as an IT contractor for a large steelmaking corporation. I *very* much appreciate your very sensible, balanced and pragmatic info on the topic.
I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the info and wonderful advertisements on site - the pictures of your fantastic work.
This is the first contact I have ever attempted to any manufacturer, company, or individual creator of anything ever. I'm 54 years old. I came across this website and your amazing knives quite by accident, web surfing for a good quality survival,/combat, quality knife that I could trust with not only my life but my families if I ever was in a situation that required it. I have looked at hundreds, finally bought a Gerber hunter/ survival knife; its seems to be a quality blade, too short, but I believe it wouldn't break, I'm not happy with the edge or length or overall profile/ geometry its got @1 3/4 serration near the grip which kinda makes the straight blade edge too far from the grip to control but its the best I've found save an old Kabar bayonet my dad( ex ranger) had from Korea. Both just aren't quite right and seem crude to me, I have not abused either and wouldn't anymore than I would abuse any other tool I own. They just lack the right feel. Any knife, any good knife should be an extension of your intent....balance, weight, visually, and most importantly it needs to cut anything you intend to every time without fail: no chipping, no breaking, hold an edge. Just as you mention in your incredible explanations it needs to be a perfect combination of hardness, flexibility, balance, perfect blend of form and function. That's just not going to happen with a mass produced knife.
I have some experience In engineering, heat treat and metal fabrication, over 30 years, my dad for over 40 years before me. I live to create, anything really, but to me form has to meld with function, or its just not complete. It's not enough for it to work, it has to look and feel right as well.
I don't have the words to express the respect I have for your creations, not just what they are but especially what went into it. Someday I will ask you to create one for me. It will have to be the perfect size, shape and I have absolutely no doubt if you make it it will function as well. I hope to send you a drawing and a idea of what I'm envisioning and let you mold it, tweak it , whatever into the perfect blade .its going to be one of the most difficult things for me to do because ideally I would be there watching you do it. The things I have that I value the most are things i have made or modified myself. Because of the demand and your exacting methodology I'm sure that's not possible for me to do.
What you do and how you do it is truly unique, especially in this age of mass produced disposable crap that passes for quality. The value of what you represent in your pursuit of perfection in your art is really priceless. That being said I hope you have taken an apprentice who could perhaps continue in your craft, it would truly be a great loss to have the skill and knowledge you have worked so hard to achieve be lost. Every once in a great while someone emerges who has transcended those before , as I believe you have. Please don't let it be lost. I would jump at an opportunity to see you ply your craft in person; would you ever consider having someone visit for a while to maybe watch and learn something about how you go about you trade? Hopefully you will he able to complete my knife and probably a fighting type sword if I can scrape up the cash for both, they will undoubtedly become heirloom blades for my future family.
I had to write, obviously you don't need my approval, or my compliments, I'm sure you get many from professionals who use your knives in real, meaningful situations. I just never felt strongly enough about anything to take the time to write before.
Thank you for being who you are, the world needs more like you, not just blademasters but any who would put the time and effort into their chosen passion as you have. That lack of passion is lost on our youth today and its a tragedy. I just felt compelled to say something, sorry for taking up your time. I really would love to have an opportunity to talk with you and see how you make these incredible blades on your website, as I'm sure many many others would as well.
The reason that I've created this page is due to the huge amount of requests I've received for knife making instruction. If you are one of those people who've requested information, programs, or even DVD-based offerings for knife instruction from me, I'm honored and flattered that you would ask, but this is not something I do.
Currently, I'm years in orders, and any time I take for any extraneous activity would only put those orders back further. Since these clients have invested their money in my work, I owe it to them to continue working through their orders and fulfilling my commitment to my clients. While it may be attractive to some day be able to offer training to other makers, quite simply, this is not something I can afford to take the time to do.
Knife making is a fascinating field and that is why it attracts not only users and collectors of fine handmade knives, but also people who are interested in making, creating, and becoming knife artists. These range from a guy who just wants to know what it takes so he can make one good knife for himself, to college metals artists who want to know what it takes to create and run a successful knife making business and career. Answering some of those questions is why I'm writing a book on the subject currently. While I do not intend it to be a shop process "how to" book, it will have large amounts of viable, reasonable, and clear information on this very career field that remains unavailable in any other resource.
What can you do if you're interested in making? There are currently numerous how-to videos, DVDs, web sites, forums, and most importantly, books that are available through a simple internet search. The reason I emphasize books is that they are more permanent, solid, and grounded resources than the other media. Books have references, are dated, are something that you can keep in your library that will outlast every other media. You don't need a special browser, reader, player, or any electronics to use a book, just a good pair of reading glasses (if you're older, like me!). You can drag the book into your shop and keep it right on your workbench, next to your tools, without worry about the safety of a plasma display or circuit boards.
Your next question might be, "Just what books can you recommend?"
I may have a detailed source list in my own book, but right now I'm not making any recommendations but one: The Razor Edge Book of Sharpening by John Juranitch. It is by understanding the simple cutting edge, the very last thing you will do if you make a knife, that all other skills that lead up to it are understood. Without the ability to create and maintain a reliable, long-lasting, and easily maintained cutting edge, all of the rest of the knife is useless. By reading this work by somebody who for decades professionally advised textile mills, packing plants, and industrial manufacturers on what constitutes a well-made cutting edge, you will be able to develop your own personal perspective on what the basis for a knife is, historically, in the future, and in your own knife making pursuits.
I emailed you a few months ago and we exchanged a few emails. Still absorbing a lot of info on the subject. Also ordered the book you recommended on your site for sharpening knives by John Juranitch and am very pleased with the results I am getting. He also explains how to sharpen hand plane blades and that has come in particularly handy as I used to make furniture for a living and still do a fair amount to supplement my income. I thought my hand planers were sharp, but they are now on another level. Your website is quite a resource!
There is also a tremendous amount of free information, right here on this website. This is my contribution to our own tradecraft and field. By understanding how I do business, make knives, and forward my own craft and art, you can gain great insight into your own personal applications. As an aspiring, hopeful, or practicing knife maker, I'm honored that you have taken the time to be here, and you're invited to visit any time!
Hello Mr. Fisher.
I just wanted to say how wonderful and valuable your site has been to me. Your works of art are true inspirations-not just as knives but as sculptures, beauty and functionality combined into one elegant piece, not just once but countless times over. It is as if your canvas on which you work is as plentiful as your imagination-which seems to be endless; blending every aspect of a project together and creating a uniform and whole piece of art. Your site has been the most educational site I have come across. In my opinion, without the detailed instruction of every process allows you to work on the philosophy behind the work-the dedication, reasoning, science and the means to creating something beautiful and timeless. And what is a learning experience if someone hands you all the information and solves your problems for you? So far as "instruction" goes, your site can not be beat... I am sixteen years old and have my own, and even successful business- thanks to you. I have learned a great deal, such as proper grinds, heat treating, sole authorship, the use of materials and even working with customers, just from the methodology behind every skillfully crafted knife and valuable insight on the many pages of your website. Your work has kept me going on pieces which I did not think I could finish, when I'm in the dumps because something has gone wrong-a quick browse on your site gives me the fervor and dedication to keep going. Not that I am even close to your skills or knowledge, but I hope someday I might be half as good. One day, If I am lucky enough I will own a Jay Fisher knife- and treasure it forever. I thought that if I never wrote this I would feel guilty... just thank you.
Please keep up the amazing and inspiring work.
I just spent the last hour looking at your website. I was drooling the whole time.
I am a 59 year old retired tool and die maker with 40 years experience. I have worked with CNC milling centers, CNC sink EDM, & CMM. Done programing on all of the above plus worked on the actual machining processes with these tools. I did complete an apprenticeship in tool and die making when I was a young man. I am also a certified professional photographer. I ran a wedding and portrait business for 12 years while I worked at GM as a tool and die maker.
Do you need an apprentice in your knife shop?
Great looking shop.
Dear Mr. Fisher,
I just finished reading your new article about heat treating and cryogenic process. WOW, thank you very much for sharing such lots of information and knowledge. Reading it sure does brings back old memories of college times, as metallurgy is one thing I studied back in college. The way you describe it amazes me; you do it as like you are a lecturer. Very clear explanation, so easy to understand.
Thank you for sharing, and keep up the good work.
Hello Mr. Fisher,
I just want to start off by saying that your knives are truly pieces of art. I happened upon your site while searching the web for tips on knife design, and I'm very glad I did. Your designs are very inspiring (as are a lot of the words of wisdom that you have filled the site with).
Anyway, I'm a computer and web graphic designer / photographer who has become very interested in knives over the past couple of years. Once I purchased my first quality knife, I couldn't believe how much of a difference it made over the poorly made knives I'd owned before. I have really enjoyed working on small woodcarving and leather projects, and now I would like to try my hand at knife making. While I enjoy graphic design, designing something that has a physical function and beauty is far more interesting.
My question for you is how does one get started? I have been doing as much research as I can, but I don't really know the quality of the sources I'm finding. At this point, I feel I could stumble my way through making a knife, but I want to work at it until I can make art. Is this something that is simply done through trial and error or are there some reliable sources that could help give me a strong foundation. Ultimately, I'm sure that apprenticing under someone is probably the best way to do it, but, seeing as I don't know anyone who I could apprentice under, I'm hoping there are some equally viable options.
I hope I haven't bothered you too much as I know you are a very busy person, but if you could help me a bit with this, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you again for your time. I hope to hear from you if you get a chance.
Dear Mr. Fisher,
I want to say thank you for sharing your vast knowledge of knife making. I've been reading your website on and off for the past couple of months and I really appreciate you putting the information out there. It has been extremely helpful for a beginner such as myself and I am sure it will continue to be a valuable resource as I hone my skills at this wonderful craft. Again, thank you.
Titled: Knife Heat Treating Article
"Nice article. A college course in itself.
I have learned more about knives from your web site than anywhere else.
Those TV shows like 'Forged in Fire' are somewhat amusing now."
Your Web Site-
I am impressed; you are the epitome of a professional.
Hello Mr. Fisher,
I just want to thank you a lot for writing your long detailed page on heat treating. After about 4 days of scrolling internet forums and such, your post laid it out the best. So relieved...!
Thank so much for your time... otherwise all the best!!
Thank you again- like finding the holy grail of treating that cut through all the floating opinionated stuff.
I am just delving into knife making as a hobby. Your website is a treasure trove of valuable information that has been a great reference for me. Thank you for investing the time to share your expertise.
Charlie Ward Wright IV
I was in the early stages of searching for a quality SRK and, eventually, I ended up on jayfisher.com.
Although I spent some of my younger years as a USAF forward controller, I have to admit that I've never been much of a knife enthusiast. I really enjoyed the video on your homepage, however, so I thought I'd type a few words of appreciation. Knife enthusiast or not, the underlying message of self-sufficiency in your story really resonates with me. Please keep up the good work and, even more importantly, keep spreading the word about old-world skills, problem-solving and craftsmanship -- they're all dying concepts.
By the way, I was very pleased to see that you've dedicated some of your talent and vision to military units like the USAF PJs. I trained and worked with some of them: and they clearly deserve the recognition.
Have a good one,
Dear Mr. Fisher,
I'm 19 years old, and I've just arrived back in the states after working on a mission in Western Africa for the last six months. I've been forging knives out of carbon steel since I was 15, but after returning from a place on the equator line where they all rust, your site has been most helpful in helping me understand that quality stainless steels are not only a corrosion resistant alternative, but also more than durable comparisons (if carbon is worthy of comparison at all, which I'll soon find out).
In addition, your latest page, 'funny emails' and your cleverly placed comments between the lines is simply hysterical! The woman building her relationship with a man that was begun with a sue-worthy design on a paper napkin is a winner. I'll be reading some of these aloud to my family around the dinner table tonight, and have no doubt they choke with laughter the way I did.
All in all, I would like to personally include my thanks among the many others who have also done so, for your site is very informative and inspiring to both aspiring craftsmen and adventurers alike, not to mention the new element of clean, tear drowning entertainment. Stay sharp!
P.S. Please forgive me for any ignorance on my part in case I've missed something that already exists, but if you ever have a subscription option, even a paid subscription, I'd definitely be interested, as I am positive countless others would be as well. It's rare to find a site that is bursting with legitimate information and good humor.
I just wanted to take a moment to compliment you on your site. You make some very beautiful knives. I have recently started making my own, and I am learning from many sources. I have used some of your knives as inspiration in some of my designs.
I am not anywhere near the level were I could start selling them, but would like to be someday. My primary hobby is woodworking, but I am a knife lover and recently started.
I am active duty military (US), and currently stationed in Germany. I have been in 21 years, so I will be looking to retire soon. I would love to be able to do woodworking/knifemaking to put food on the table, but I am still a long way from that!
Anyway, just wanted to drop you a line to say I like your work. I have it bookmarked as a 'favorite' so I can see if you do any updates.
Your knife site is frankly dangerous. I have lost myself for countless hours reading and ogling your website and learned more about knives and knife making in the process than I thought possible. I especially love your simple, clean and extremely verbose technical style.
In the world of knife making your site should be listed as a cultural treasure.
Regardless, thank you from the bottom of my heart for one of the best websites on the internet.
...I enjoy your writing, colorfully injected with humor. I appreciate the work and knowledge base required to produce the works of fully functioning art you've pictured. I understand the research and diligence required on your behalf to have become top notch in so many fields (lapidary, leather tooling, computer knowledge/website design/script writing, and many more) makes you and your product one of a kind. The hours and dedication required to accomplish these feats is staggering. You have accomplished and mastered multiple specialties. Most will attain one, if that. Further, I appreciate your ability to articulate your thoughts utilizing proper English, grammar, and punctuation. That ability, pride in end product, and respect for the reader is rare these days; more and more people are using text lingo/slang in business writing. Thank you for taking this reader through the steps and equipment used and needed to offer such fine knives; a journey through your history as a craftsman, who clearly loves what he does to the point of learning other crafts in order to further his ability to offer the world a fine knife/work of art/investment opportunity/legacy item for generations to come. You are an amazing man and one who has every right to be proud of his accomplishments. I am truly amazed and inspired.
Thank you for your time if you have the opportunity to read my email, and in advance regarding an answer if you are kind enough to send a reply. Should my email not reach you, I am thankful still for having found such a valuable source of information in many fields. I hope to one day be able to own a custom piece made by you. Finally, a purchase my husband not only won't fight me on, but will happily help me with the decision making.
Christina Coffman, GJG
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|Testimonials, Letters and Emails||Copyright and Knives|
|Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 1||440C: A Love/Hate Affair|
|Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 2||ATS-34: Chrome/Moly Tough|
|Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 3||D2: Wear Resistance King|
|Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 4||O1: Oil Hardened Blued Beauty|
|Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 5||
Heat Treating and
Cryogenic Processing of
Knife Blade Steels
|Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 6||Cities of the Knife|
|Knife Shop/Studio, Page 1|
|Knife Shop/Studio, Page 2|