David McConnell is a stamping press repairman who hopes to convert to full-time bladesmithing soon. His first knife, was a cheap Wal-Mart special. Over the years he got frustrated with the lack of quality in such knives and began thinking about making his own. He knew he could make a better knife for himself, and he did. Only his buddy loved it so much that he bought it from him, David said, laughing.
The self-taught bladesmith has been making knives for 11 now, including tomahawks and axes. “I like to make hunting knives and more traditional stuff,” David noted.
He is an avid grouse and deer hunter, as well as and ice and fly fisherman. He lives in Kalkaska, Michigan, with his wife and 15-year-old son.
- Best-selling knife patterns: 3 ½- to 4-inch-bladed bird-and-trout, 4- to 7-inch-bladed straight-back hunter, classic bowie
- Favorite blade steels: W2 for hamon, toughness, ease of forging and grinding; 1075 for ease of forging and heat-treating
- Blade grinds: flat ground, sometimes with appleseed edge
- How he tests his knives: “If it can cut a nail and have no deformation or chipping and still stay shaving-sharp, I would have to say that’s a pretty good blade,” David commented.
- Favorite handle materials: bone, wood, antler. “I just like the feel and warmth you get from natural materials.”
- Price range: $85-$600
- Knife shows he attends: local gun-and-knife shows and blacksmithing events
- Member of: American Bladesmith Society
- Forums he participates in: ABS
- His website: www.northwoodsforge.com
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