Master Smith Bio -BILL BURKE
- Name :BILL BURKE
- MS :2008
- Business Name :BILL BURKE KNIVES
- Address :20 Adams Ranch Rd
- Address #2 :
- City :BOISE
State :IdahoPostal Code :83716-3062
- Country :United States
- Phone :208-336-3792
- Secondary Phone :
- Email :email@example.com
- Web address :
- Work Description :
My name is Bill Burke. I make high performance working knives by forging 52100 bearing grade carbon steel, 5160 carbon steel, and my own Damascus. In 2008, I was honored to become an American Bladesmith Society Mastersmith.
My first knives were made from hacksaw blades at the age of six or seven. These were very crude knives and I never put handles on any of them. I also made several knives from power hacksaw blades in high school metal shop class. These knives were better made and cut fairly well after I drew them to a blue temper on top of the wood stove used for heating the house that I lived in. I made numerous other knives from different materials, very few of which were ever fully finished. It wasn't until 1998 that I started forging.
During the two decades that passed between high school and forging, I searched for a knife that could stand up to the everyday tasks that were a part of my life. I purchased and then threw away, wore out and returned so many knives that, had I invested the money that I spent on knives, I could have retired by this time. In late August of 1998, while looking for a specific brand of gun powder, I happened across a copy of Knife Talk, written by Ed Fowler. I stood in the store and leafed through this book for nearly an hour. The thought that a knife was capable of doing the things that Mr. Fowler was claiming his knives could do seemed to me to border on magic. I had to have this book and the knowledge that was between its covers.
At first, I read only the stories that had to do with the actual making of a knife. Then, realizing that there was an underlying message in the other stories, I read the whole book from cover to cover. Armed with my newfound knowledge and the fact that "I have been millwright and a welder and I can do anything with metal that anyone else can do" I went to the garage to forge a knife.
When my first several forged knives failed to hold a good edge, it was time to swallow some pride and call for some words of advice from the author of "my knife forging Bible," Ed Fowler. Since that first call for help in 1998, I have been to Ed's home and shop in Riverton, Wyoming many times. These trips resulted in marathon sessions of making, testing, and discussing knives. The knives that I now make are a result of those trips and many hours of forging and many, many failures -- but in each failure, there has been a lesson learned. The knives that I now make have been borne of the hundreds of pounds of broken and bent test blades in my scrap pile