Jonesborough, TN

published February 12, 2019

Will offers us a drink, cool, sparkling water. Of course, I go for the beer. The room we are standing in is just off to the side of the forge area. Boxes and shelves are lined with bulk woods.

It took a bit of looking to discover that a huge object in the corner was a pine stump sitting upside down, roots protruding.

Heartwood Forge was previously located in Athens, GA. the pine stump came from that earlier property. The name Heartwood Forge derives from that property. Will found that when he was clearing his old shop out, his truck kept getting stuck on stumps because the grass was so tall he couldn't see the stumps below. "I just like the idea that the heartwood is produced by the tree as it is getting older and it's there to stay and to help."

With his head in the refrigerator will yells "There's Sierra Nevada or Modelo. What's your pick?" I do like Sierra Nevada beers as a rule; however, on a hot summer day, I really enjoy a Modelo Especial. "Is it an Especial I ask? "Yes, that's exactly what it is." I'm really enjoying this visit!

Will shares some recent works he has finished.

This one is full of problems, so I turned it into a study in facets. It's not sharpened, but the problem with it - looking at he the bolster, you'll see the spine. See that line going perpendicular to the plate? That was improper alignment for pin placement. The bolsters are pinned on. There's another issue with the knife and I'm not happy with it.

I see nothing wrong to my eye it's gorgeous. Will, is adamant that there is no way the knife is acceptable to sell.

The waitlist for Heartwood Forge custom knives currently hovers around thirty-two months. If you happen to drop in at the forge, you have a chance to

"Additionally, I have actually stopped taking all orders as I work through my three year backlog of orders (hopefully it's a little shorter by now) but in the meantime, I'm transitioning to a different approach where I will likely sell less but only make what I love vs. having a long list of similar knives to make and risk getting burnt out.

I know this sounds like a whole bunch of "no"s but I'm trying to be more realistic these days - where saying yes all the time has been a good thing for my start, it is clearly not sustainable for me as human.

If you have any specific questions regarding the article, knife making etc... I'd be more than happy to come up with some kind of response for you! At the moment, I'm oversold and really have no need to generate more demand. I hope that is understandable!"

it started with the love of my life... an amazing woman who loves food. Nearly a decade ago, she brought me into her colorful culinary world and together we dove into growing as many varieties of tomatoes as we could, brewing beer & baking bread. Unintentionally, we were connecting with the origins of our food, an innate human desire.

As a blacksmith, making tools for everyday use was my job and I began forging and grinding knives. Bringing my work from the shop to the kitchen, I was making as many knives as I could and learning from what seemed like just as many failures.

I am shedding light on resources that lots of people are forgetting about, such as the history (points at saw blades) those old saw blades or the fact that that were are just pitching them as opposed maybe thinking twice about what we’re throwing away. When you take all of the wood in the back room covered up that was on a furniture maker’s burn pile. Will’s father raised him to be frugal. As an example his father had Will straighten out nails he would reuse.

Will points to a beautiful knife and then a locally sourced piece of scrap from a metal shop twenty miles northeast of where we stood that modifies semi trucks. “I like finding new homes for metal.”