I 'm Ed Caffrey, ABS Mastersmtih. I began my knifemaking career, unknowingly, when I was 12 years old. That summer my best friend and I worked on farms, putting up hay, and saving our money to purchase new knives for the following trapping season. Once we acquired our "new" knives, we couldn't wait to put them to use. Our first catch that season was a 50+ pound beaver. When skinning the beaver, my friend sharpened his knife 4 times, and I sharpened mine 5. From that point , the search was on for a better knife! I nosed around our farm shop, seeking anything that I thought might make a good knife. I even "borrowed" some of my Grandmother's butcher knives , trying to find something better.
At 18 years of age, I joined the U.S. Air Force, and shortly thereafter, married my wonderful wife Cindy. Not long after , my interest in knives peaked again, when I learned of the existence of the American Bladesmith Society. I gathered a few hand tools, and using a picnic table for a workbench, made a few crude knives from saw blades and other things that I thought might make a decent knife.
The military took me to Europe for a remote tour of duty, and upon my return to the U.S., I landed in Blytheville, AR. where I met my first two mentors, joined the ABS, and began my earnest quest to become a full fledge Bladesmith. My landlord allowed me to build a small (8'X12') shed on the property I was renting, and my first shop took form, and I began my forging career.
My first knife sale was in 1989. Up to that point all the knives I had made were given to friends and family members. One late summer afternoon a gentleman walked into my shop while I was working on a small wire damascus hunter. He introduced himself and told me that a friend of mine had shown him a knife I'd made. We chatted as I was working on the hunter, and out of the blue he said...... "I'll give you $40 for that knife you're working on." I stammered out "What?" , and he repeated his offer. At that time $40 represented enough money to purchase handle and guard material for 1/2 dozen more knives! I took him up on the offer, and my career as a Bladesmith began.
I was transferred to Great Falls, Montana in 1992. Upon finding a house, my first priority was to build a shop and get my knifemaking back up to speed. In 1994 I achieved my ABS Journeyman Smith stamp, taking one more step towards my goal of someday achieving my Mastersmith rating. I began to teach bladesmithing at hammer-ins, and in my shop.
In 2000 I tested for, and achieved my ABS Mastersmith Rating, and have never looked back.
I retired from the Air Force in 2003, and went from being full time military, to a full time Bladesmith literally overnight.
I produce knives from Working Grade field knives, to high end Collector Grade Pieces., including Folders. Nearly everything I produce is forged, with Mosaic Damascus being current passion.
I have also become a teacher of Bladesmithing, both as an instructor at Hammer-ins/Seminars, and by offering one-on-one classes in my shop.
I have been blessed to teach all over the U.S., Europe, and Canada. I feel I have lead a truly blessed life. I've chased the dream of becoming a Bladesmith and caught it, I've been married to the same wonderful woman for 30 years, and I love what I do for a living.
Special thanks go out to Mr. Eric Harris for introducing me to the forge, and to Mr. Beryl Driskill, who taught me there is more to fit and finish, than epoxy and solder.
Availability for Seminars and Hammer-Ins
I am available for instruction and/or Demonstrations. For details, please send an email to the below address, or call me at 406-727-9102 with questions. Fees for demonstations/Hammer-Ins are the same as my classes, plus all travel expenses.
Copyright 2013: "The Montana Bladesmith"