As horribly inaccurate as the scene is, I would be a liar if I didn't say that it was the beginning of "Conan the Barbarian" that lit the fire inside of me.  Watching the beginning of that movie with my dad is one of the earliest memories I have. 


I now know that almost everything about that scene is horribly incorrect, but I love it, and it still gets my blood rushing to watch it.  There is nothing quite like the image of Conan's father holding the sword into the dawn sky moments before the quench, the steel glowing red.  To this day, "Conan the Barbarian" is my favorite movie.  It obviously made quite the impression. 


I have always been obsessed with edged weapons.  I think it came from my dad.  He was a bit of a traveler, primarly North Africa and the Middle East.  It was not unusual for him to bring back knives from wherever he was at.  He brought home knives from Kenya, Morocco, Somalia, and Saudi Arabia just to name a few. 

I was given my first pocket knife when I was seven or eight.  My first handmade knife came when I was sixteen as a birthday present from my parents.  It was made by knifemaker Kim Breed, whom my father worked with.  That knife sits on my desk now and is one of my most cherished possessions.  Holding that knife in my hands for the first time, seeing what a person is capable of making when they dedicate themsevles to it, was another seminal moment for me.


It had always been in the back of my mind that I wanted to make knives and swords.  When I finally had the chance to try bladesmithing I jumped at it.  Within the first fifteen minutes of picking up the hammer, I knew I was hooked.  And I am.  It's my drug.


I am in love with steel.  I find it to be one the most amazing materials.  I am constantly learning from it and it never disappoints.  Just when I think that I have some aspect about bladesmithing nailed down, something will happen that will totally confound what I thought I knew.  And this is the best part of bladesmithing.  As frustrating as it can be sometimes, there is always that aspect of challenge and mystery.  There is something ineffible about it all.  I hope that never changes.


When I am not burning myself on the hot steel or grinding skin off, I am working my day job in I.T., reading a book with my feet up, drawing a picture or hanging out with my wife and kids. 

© 2020 by Wes Detrick.

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