My name is John Archibald, but most of you know me as Indiana John. If you've ever seen me in person, you'd know exactly why I chose to go with that nickname, but if not I'll explain. I've always got a satchel, I crack (and make) whips, I wear full brim hats, and I've gone on a lot of hunts for artifacts (antique machines to be precise). More on those later.
A question I get asked a lot, is how long have you been making knives? That is a hard one to answer, because I have no idea what would be considered my first knife. When I was 6, I would keep my plastic utensils from church potlucks, and snap them and make little folders. I then started collecting butter knives from the dollar tree, and I'd give them electrical tape “rehandles”. Then when I turned 7 I was finally old enough for my first real knife. It was a little black Swiss army pen knife, and I used it to whittle wooden letter openers for a while. Somewhere around 9 or 10, I started collecting tools. One of the firsts was a hacksaw from my Grampy Howard. I used that for years to cut out knives from scrap steel from the dump, and then I'd file the bevels in with files that were also from the dump.
I made scrap steel knives for a number of years, and then for my 16th birthday, my folks got me a three burner gas forge! That's when things started to pick up a bit. I found out about the New England School of Metalwork (NESM), and I took a few classes there on bladesmithing. All the while I was also making balis (since I was 14 or 15).
After getting into more serious making, I founded my business in 2020, and started full-time in early 2021. I spent most of the first year collecting old manual machines from all over New England and beyond. It took quite some time to find each one, and then I had to diagnose them for missing, broken, or seized up parts. Then I had to make the replacement parts, and for most put a different motor on, and then I could start learning how to use them.
I'm still definitely learning a ton, but I am finally putting together complex knives that I'm proud of.
Thanks for reading folks!