This is the reason I decided to give up the craft.

Sep 23, 1999
Hey people!!
I appreciate all the posts to my previous thread!!!!!!
I visited every other day or so and read them. I didn't reply because I didn't really know what to say.
I do owe you folks a why, though.
I've always been overly critical of myself and anything I do.
That's a bad combination for a knife maker.
I love big bowies. I'd grind the first side and it would be near perfect then I'd grind the other side and naturally I'd try to get it to match the first side and that's where the trouble starts! I'd get it close but not quite so I'd take a little more off and screw it up so then you have to take some off the first side and then screw it and before too long you a piece of garbage. Well, you do this over and over and it isn't fun anymore.
It got to the point that when I'd think about going out to the shop, I'd think about putting my glock to my head instead.
It used to be such a wonderous thing!!!!!!!!!!
I don't know how some of you guys grind such perfect blades but to the rest of you guys out there, don't get so caught up in perfection that it takes the pleasure out of the craft!

Take care people and God Bless!!
Dec 3, 2002
ah,Michael I'm in the same club you are just nver had the guts to get rid of my stuff.
Grinders are of Satan


Platinum Member
Jun 16, 2004
Twelve years off and on, I've been woring on that one perfect knife...the same one.
I got the blade perfect, and have re-handled it three times, and am thinking of stripping off the guard...
I have to redo the blade finish, as I dropped it while admiring the finish on the new handle.
I think this one will never be done...arrgh!
I do understand. I wish you well, Michael.
Sep 27, 2004
Grinds dont have to be perfect....just perfect enough that the human eye can't tell...haha!

Ive recently stepped up to 10" blade lengths....I cant say enough how much grinding long blades has helped my technique....
Apr 8, 2003
I have the same problem. I get fightin' mad sometimes when I screw one up, but I'm addicted to it and can't stop.
Oct 3, 2002
I wish all the best for you Michael.

This is for all that are reading this and for you if you ever get back into it. There is no such thing as a perfect grind or knife, heck the world isn't perfect. For you guys that grind one side all the way then try to match the other side and have problems, try grinding a little on each side, working both bevels up to the spine equally. I find this much easier to get the bevels, grind lines the same or very close and this seems to cut down on warpage.

I have a friend that is cought up in trying to make perfect knives, he only finishs two or three knives per year and is always frustrated. He is also a fulltime maker and doesn't make enough money to live on, very poor but a great guy.

Do the best you can do, forget about perfect and your knives will get better with time.

Hope I didn't bore anyone too much :D
Jun 17, 2001
Good advise, Don.

Michael, Maybe you should just do smaller knives and just do a big one every now and then. If your wanting to sell knives the smaller ones will sell 20 to 30 times faster than the big ones. The big ones are fun everyonce in awhile but getting paid for the amount of time put into them is a different story. I wish you the best, maybe taking a break will do you some good. I know it didn't hurt me when I was down for a few months.
Sep 17, 1999
Ahh Michael didn't ya ever learn. Ya always grind the other side first.
Try a Scagel type knife no ricasso just bevel the blade a little attatch some horn for a handle It's done.
Does a person quit after he does the perfect knife?? Be a long time for me.
Take care in all you do
Nov 15, 2005
There is a story of two Greek sculpters who competed for the placing of a statue on a pillar in the public square.And one worked skilfully and well, until the features of his figure were smoothed and polished to look as if living.But the other left his block of marble crude and jagged and uncouth,so that one could hardly tell if indeed it were a human being at all.And they put the statue of the first up on the pillar,where all might see; but high up on the pillar it was blurred by distance,and it could not be seen clearly from any angle.So they took it down,and put up the other's and,behold,that which had not seemed true to life was now in its right perspective,and became life-like and beautiful and true.So my friend where you might not see the beauty and perfection in your work,others do........John
Jun 25, 2001
this can be a big PITA but only if YOU let it.
I'd tell you to make as you feel you want to , if you have the bug, feed the bug and then back off, this isn't for everyone to make a living from, I fight to
have fun at it, full time isn't all it's cracked up to be, it has it's ups and downs for sure. the ones I make for myself are fun but I don't have much time for those ones, and the ones that the customer says make me something, those are fun,,

on your grinding I'd say grind your hardest side first and get close to where you want to be then do the easiest side for you, you'll have more control,
and the almighty practice helps for sure.
perfect really is for the ones that want to out do themselves, take your time or you'll be your own worst enemy, and I think you've reached that point right now.. I still look at them while in the process and say dang is that going to be right?? and once it's done I look a say most the time... there..., sure hat to see you go out of it completely..good luck..
Feb 1, 2005
Pak 21 said:
I have the same problem. I get fightin' mad sometimes when I screw one up, but I'm addicted to it and can't stop.

I hear ya. I'm exactly the same way. Sometimes when I sell a knife I think for all the time, effort, and frustration a guy sure dones't make much. But then with each one there's improvement and that's been my main motivation.
Mike Coughlin
Dec 20, 2005
Don't give up so easily if there's a possibility that you might still enjoy it.

Why not visit another local maker who's experienced and can help you with your grinds?

Failing that ... chisel grind the blades. That's how I started, once I got used to doing those, I started grinding the other side too. Or use a jig and chisel grind ... pretty much impossible to mess that up.
Jul 27, 2003
Pull the clip out of that Glock and go spend the afternoon with an experienced knifemaker!
7 years ago I had my S&W loaded and was contemplating the same remedy. Luckily, I saw an ad run by a maker who was offering three day classes.
I swear! The first time I saw him walk up to the grinder and grind a knife, I felt as if everything I paid him for his course was justified.
I had been spending sleepless nights trying to figure out something I was doing all wrong!
You obviously have passion for this craft.
Put it to good use!
Learn to make knives!
You'll be happy you did.
Jun 21, 1999
Michael, I have been struggling with perfectionistic tendencies my whole life. I try to use them sometimes, other times I'm fighting them. I know it can be frustrating. If I may make a suggestion, don't get rid of your stuff (if you haven't allready...). You may just need a break from it.
Usually, when I've been away from it for a while, I start to miss it. Something that has helped me is purposfully making some "low end" knives that are on the "rustic" side. Things I sell at a friend's shop where people buy them because they're differen't, hand made, or made by someone they know. By and large, these are not discriminating knife collectors, but friends, and people out to buy an interesting gift. I don't want to charge a lot for them, and the finish is not what I would do on my more serious knives. It gives me a break from trying to get it perfect, and allows me to try differend things, and to practice my technique for the better stuff. It also allows a lot of local people to be able to afford a hand made knife that wouldn't otherwise ever get one. Sort of "entry level" hand made knives.
Just my two cents. Good luck what ever you decide to do. Don't be a stranger.


KnifeMaker & Moderator
Mar 15, 2002
I hear you Michael, but try not to let it get to you. I get frustrated as all get-out when I'm chasing bevels all over the place -- but I think that until I get more years with my grinder, that is something I'm going to have to deal with. I'm also constently worried that my skill-level isn't where it should be and I get frustrated about that too. Sometimes, I gotta take the long way around to finish a small project, but that's another thing I just gotta keep working on.

If you're having problems with bevels -- stop your grinding at a lower grit and toss in some elbow grease and sandpaper. I think the higher the grit, the eaiser it is for me to mess everything up. ;) Another thing to do -- clamp off the spot where you want the bevels to go and file in the shoulders with a round file, then grind up to those.

Anyway, sorry for rambling, but I just wanted to let you know that we all get frustrated, and I just hate to see you shut off the grinder for good.
Dec 6, 2004
thats about right burchtree i find that i get most the nice work done by hand still not the fastest way but so be it
also reading this post i get the feeling that most ppl here perfectionists, well that is the ones that stick around anyhow

mix it up some i know i have to just step away from the grinder sometimes playing with the same folder ive been working on now about 2 years or making some more mycarta just to stay away from the grinder a bit

Oct 7, 1998
Sorry to hear that L6, I have enjoyed your posts over the years.

If you make knives for fun, and it ain't fun, then ya gotta stop.

I've never made a perfect knife. Neither has anyone else. It can't be done. I just make every one the best I can. That's all anybody can do.

Best wishes and happy trails for whatever this life brings you. But if you're looking for perfection, you got off on the wrong planet... :D

Seriously, all the best! :thumbup:
Jan 16, 2006
I hit the same wall last summer with my $2k grinder. My remedy was to unplug it and roll up the cord. It was back to basics for me, nothing but a some files and sand paper. A file is slow but you have plenty of time to correct errors and actually "feel" the metal being removed under the file. It turns out that I was finishing knives in the same amount of time it took to screw them up on a grinder. A file cost's about the same as a grinder belt and will last 100 times longer. You can do things with a file that a belt grinder can not do and never will be able to do.

Filing also will make you a better forger, you will spend more time and get better at hammering so you have less time behind a file cleaning up.

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different outcome then bladesmithing qualifies as insanity.