My name is Daniel Rohde(Pronounced Rode-EE), I'm a custom knifemaker, born in Fort Collins, Colorado but have grown up my whole life...my LONG 17 years, In Winona, Minnesota.
I’ve grown up in a very conservative reformed Christian home out in the country with 10 acres of forest to play in(not much but it’s big when you are 8) and a beautiful little trout stream a arms throw away. I have been home schooled since, forever I guess, and I loved it. I’m currently now 6-4 195lb senior in high school but am taking college classes at the local Tech College so I’m no longer “homeschooled”. My Dad is anElectrical engineer and my mom is a stay at home mom(love her, she has a degree in mechanical engineer. Designing and drawing kind of runs in the blood I suppose). Anyhow, growing up I loved to makes things. Anything.(That is, when I could find enough jobs to earn the money to make things). I’ve built bows, fishing lures, tied flies, traps, fires, explosives.. and most anything else a 12 year old could do as it relates to outdoor gear and other crap like that...and few other things he shouldn’t do..but we wouldn’t get into that.
Anyway, in my rampage of figuring out how to build things I came across knives and it really appealed to me. I could use most of the skills I had used in making other tools all at once to make knives(Awesome). Turns out, making knives doesn’t really get the parents excited, much the opposite in fact-unfortunately....especially for a 12-13 year old. Trying to convince parents to learn welding, build forges, and other miscellaneous tools takes time. Getting parents used danger isn't the easiest. SO, much persuasion (and manipulation) allowed me to start working away on my first knife. A real beauty out of ¼”...aluminum. Yes sir, I knew exactly what I was doing. Hand files and hacksaws were the way to go. I’d be a pro by the end of the month, I just knew it. Turns out there were a few things I had to learn….just a few.
Well, my latest addiction hit me pretty good. I got searching for books (a library is a beginners best friend...especially when you had dial up internet) I found a couple that really blew my 13 year old mind (Who knew aluminum was a bad choice for a knife?) Being young is nice like that, you can get started without realizing how much you’re in over your head. Apparently, I had less of a clue than I thought. Alwell, I can figure this out. Probably.
So, after way more reading than I care to mention I figured out that steel was probably the way to go, and if I was going for steel I figured I’d go all in and jump into some D2 because some mister Wayne Goddard said it was a great steel...which it is, but not for files and a campfire heat treat(Bad idea) Yeah, that's right. Well, that knife isn’t exactly what I would call Master Smith worthy but it’s had to be close:P(Hey! It was a knife! It could even cut through toothpicks if you put your mind to it) It sure made me proud anyway. Until, I decided to check out the internet(parents had to okay that to….what struggles I went through:P) and found out my knife wasn't worth crap. My heat treat wasn’t even close to right. So I came to terms with life and scratched together some more money to get some cheaper “easier” steel...¼” 5160(not hacksaw friendly)
Okay, this might get long if I keep rambling in this chronological way. I cut through the fat a bit. At some point in the future I got a bit more of a clue about what was doing(It’s amazing the little hurdles you have to go through to get anywhere when your 13 to 14) I started joining some forums and talking to guys who actually knew what they were doing. Now it’s been a couple years of asking questions, trying and failing and then more trying and here I am. Now I’ve built two 2x72 grinders, PID controlled Kilns, and misc. other tools. I've made probably a hundred knives or so(probably more...who knows) ranging from paring knives to choppers, Fancy stainless steels to simple carbon, Folders to hidden tangs. It’s amazing to look at my first one and my latest one. There’s no comparison.
I still consider myself young to the art but not a beginner anymore. I have come a long way through lots of hard work. I read a lot. I try a lot. Why? Cause I love it. I really enjoy going down in the shop and playing with the tools; I still have lots of things to do, try, and learn but I’ve got a good start thanks to the help of so many others. Knife making has opened so many doors for me. I have learned countless things ranging from web designing to CAD work to welding, machining, marketing, business,and people skills and have met so many great people in the process.
I won’t be here without others helping me-Thank you all!
Some People that have been a big influence on me:
Joe Calton,HEPK Master smith, He has inspired me to make my own equipment and has been completely free in the sharing of information and has given me many tips that will help me for a long time.
Mark Reich: he has given me many things to think about and has pushed me and stretch me in many ways he to is a HEPK master smith he is IMHO the best there is when it come to sharpening
Wayne Goddered: wrote many helpful books that really gave me a good base to launch my knife making from
Ed Fowler: I learned about him by reading his book he was one of my literary heroes I had talked to him some on his Forum then to have him Invite me to his shop for a week to learn knife making and I learned allot about testing, forging, grinding, and standing for what you believe I will be indebted to him for what he gave.
To be sure there are MANY more who have helped me(I could not mention them all) from a words of advise and tips that have saved me allot of time.
My parents have encouraged me and allowed me to pursue knives and allowed me to do things that would be considered dangerous by many; I owe you the most of any -THANK YOU-