L.T. Wright Knife Making Class - Blood, Sweat and Micarta
Do you ever look back at your life and think “How did I get here?”
I have been thinking that a lot lately and let me tell you that I would have never guessed I would be in shop in Ohio with Todd and 13 other students learning how to make a knife starting with just a piece of steel.
Let me step back just a little and start from the beginning. Our good friend at LTWK told us about the knife making class they had on the schedule and asked if we wanted to join. We didn’t hesitate to say yes because Todd greatly admires what they create and I’m always up to hang with my friends and learn. This was months ago, but we got it on the calendar, and I booked the tickets to fly back east. Our friend Mike and his wife graciously offered to let us be house guests for a couple of nights at their place and the plans were made. We would fly in Friday and return home on Sunday. Those plans right there made me feel extra fancy. I mean, who flies almost 5 hours to take a knife class over the weekend? Obviously, adventurous people like Todd and I.
As we are headed to the airport, I started to wonder what the heck I got myself into. I mean I could have gone along and just hung out but noooo…. I had to sign up to take the class too. Seriously, I was wondering where my head was at that point. I know knife making involves lots of sharp pointy things that can cut you, fast turning belts and very hot fires. But I told myself to calm down, have fun and try something new. What the worst that could happen. Maybe I stab myself, maybe I would need stitches or maybe my knife would go flying out of my hands, across the shop and hit someone else. (my mind does really work like this but usually I keep these thoughts to myself)
So let’s get serious now! L.T. and the crew put on an awesome class. We started the day off with coffee and donuts. Anytime I can start my day with sweets I’m happy. We took a tour of the shop, got the class kit which had the schedule with steps and a rectangle piece of steel (which would later turn into a knife) and a very cool apron. We were provided with safety essentials and shop safety rules. Each step was demonstrated by the very talented people at the shop and we got started.
This is were things get a little blurry for me because there were a lot of steps and a lot of machinery. I’m pretty sure I started by tracing out my knife on my 01 tool steel (that’s knife lingo) with the knife blank provided and then cutting it on the band saw of DEATH. Okay, its not really called that but that’s what it felt like when I was staring at it waiting to take my turn. I mean seriously, it’s a big machine with sharp teeth that was going to cut into my steel like it was butter. I might have worked myself up just a little bit before I was excellently guided by L.T. himself with lots of patience and tricks to make it so much easier than I imagined. I nailed it and came away with something knife shaped. All fingers intact and no blood whatsoever. That really felt like the scariest part in my head and it went so well that after that I was a bit more chill about everything….
Until we had to pick our liners and handles. You have some serious decision making going on there and there is no going back. Once it is glued it is glued. Do you go for bright and colorful (like my personality) or dark and mysterious (like I will never be) or somewhere in the middle? I decided to go with dark and mysterious. I choose a burlap micarta with black liners and planned on having a matte finish ( I heard it was grippier) and it all looked so good together.
I feel like there are so many things I could share about the steps to the knife making class but it just something you should try to do. So, I won’t spoil the surprise. But seriously, do it! If you get the chance. The people at LTWK made the whole process so easy to understand, shared the skills so graciously and made me feel so comfortable the entire time. It was like hanging out in the shop with friends for the weekend.
Well actually, some were already my friends and after that weekend I now consider them all my friends. Its not often you are provided with such a great space to learn, get dirty, make mistakes and create something this epic. If I had to rate the class I would give it a A+++++ I had no idea how much work went into handcrafting a knife and I will continue to be amazed at these beautiful and functional pieces of art that the crew at LTWK make.
Thank you, L.T., Elaine, Mikey, Scooter, Sam, Tyler and Nicholas for making this experience awesome for both Todd and I. Thank you to all our fellow students who shared their enthusiasm and joy of learning and made kick azz knives themselves. I have been showing my knife off to anyone that comes close.
~Heather the Happy
P.S. I did not poke myself (or bleed) in class and I got a cool certificate too.
To find out more about the classes check out the Pout House. That is their online forum full of cool people and where they announce the upcoming classes.