In each issue of Tactical Knives you will find a listing of upcoming knife shows held across the country. Avid knife collectors and enthusiasts will have favorite shows and anticipate their arrival much as a child anticipates Christmas. As much as I enjoy the excitement of the larger shows, I have come to look forward to a few of the mid-size shows. Each year the Professional Knifemakers Association (PKA) holds its annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, and over the years this exhibition has become one of my favorites. Attend the SHOT Show or the Atlanta Knife Show and you find yourself overwhelmed to the point that you have very little time to visit with individual makers or companies. The pace at the PKA show allows me time to visit with old friends and meet new makers.
Knife Making Therapy
It was during the 2007 show that Jim McGee, a former President of the PKA, introduced me to Steve Powers. Steve is not what you would consider a new maker. The Colorado Springs resident has been making knives as a hobby for about seven years at a rate of 100 to 150 knives a year. For a hobbyist, that is substantial output. You have to wonder how a part-time maker can maintain such an output without burning out on the hobby. In talking to Steve it became obvious; he considers knife making as a form of therapy from everyday stress. He has also molded his hobby to assure that it does not become tiresome. Steve will quickly tell you he makes knives for one reason. It is fun. Let him show you the knives he has on hand and you can tell by his excitement that he enjoyed making each and every one. Some makers strive to increase orders to the point that instead of having an enjoyable pastime, they develop a second job. Steve makes every knife for himself. Of course, as soon as he completes a knife, he wants to make another. At that point he is willing to find a buyer for the knife just completed. Steve believes that making each knife as if it were for himself helps to motivate him to maintain a high level of quality. The concept of selling knives only after they are made instead of taking orders also prevents the stress of having to complete a certain knife a certain way by a certain time. He works with the materials he likes and those that he believes best match the use of the knife. Steve has yet to tie himself down to one style or another. He enjoys making fine hunters for the simple reason that he likes to hunt himself. But he also makes several other patterns including combat knives.