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History

Fiddleback Forge's Story

Fiddleback Forge was started by Andy Roy in his garage in 2007. What began as a passion project quickly graduated to a real business in May of 2009 when Andy was laid off from his job as an antenna engineer. With his new basement shop, he began turning out 6 knives per week and was able to make ends meet without returning to the corporate grind. Now, it was whole other type of grind he was after.

More than a decade after Andy's first knife was made in his garage from a file and some leftover hickory wood for the handle, Fiddleback Forge was booming. It was housed in a large, professional shop with several full-time employees & apprentices. The operation had successfully created tens of thousands of beautiful handmade knives. In addition to the beloved handmade models, there's been countless Mid-Tech Production Field Knives made there as well.

In 2019, Andy met with long time friends James and Kay Poplin. James and Kay were the owners of Pop's Knife Supply and after 40 years in the knife business, they were looking to retire and sell the accomplished knife supply business. Andy then partnered with Allen Surls of WA Surls Knives, Joey Berry of JB Knifeworks, and Dirk Loots of Dirk Loots Knives to create 4Makers Inc. The team bought Pop's Knife Supply.

By 2021, Andy found himself being pulled in two different directions by two successful companies. Working long hours making knives after also working long hours helping run Pop's Knife Supply started becoming less manageable. If Andy was going to continue making great knives without quality suffering, he had to reduce production. After a dozen years leaning over a grinder all day, his body was giving signs that he had to slow it down...or it would do it for him. But cutting production meant overhead and payroll for the staff was going to become an issue. The choice became clear that he would have to cut the shop crew in order to cut production. So by mid 2021, Andy was a one man show in the shop again...and was happier than ever making knives. With the pressure off, the creative processes flowed again. Knife-making was fun again, and it showed in the product. Now well into Andy's second decade of knife-making, Fiddleback Forge's knives are better than ever!


The Focus

Fiddleback Forge continues to focus on what matters; making great knives. This is what Andy had to say about the focus of Fiddleback Forge's products:

Handles and grinds are the focus of my knives. I am a tool-maker at heart, and strive to make a real cutting tool that is comfortable to use.

The grind I like to put on knives (I still do all the bevel grinding) is the convex grind. I fell in love with convexed knives from the Himalayan Imports Khukuri. I like the strength of the convex grind on a knife, and I find them the easiest to maintain. This is especially true in the field, certainly sandpaper is easier to carry, and less likely to break than stones.

The other aspect of my knives that make them special is the handle. I shape each handle with grinders and files, making each handle comfortable to use and naturally indexed in the hand. I always liked carving walking sticks, back in the Boy Scouts, and I think the shaping still appeals to me on that level. For a long time, the comfort of the handles was the highlight of the knives, while I worked out exactly how to make the convex grind look good.

Every day, I strive to make the handles more comfortable, and the grinds cleaner with every batch. Hopefully, every knife we finish this week is the best knife we've ever made.


Affiliations

We have been lucky enough to surround ourselves with some of the best knife-makers in the country. Whether it is the great guys that are fellow members of the Georgia Knifemakers' Guild, or the national group The Knifemakers' Guild...we've been fortunate to be a part of this fantastic community of knife-makers. Andy was accepted into The Knifemakers' Guild in 2015. Andy is also a voting member of the Georgia Knifemakers' Guild and regularly hosts meetings for the group at the shop.

Knives & News

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