Tom Pantera | Johnson Publications

Bill Lyons found himself making knives in 1990 and has since become proficient enough to produce both knives to be used and reproduction knives to be displayed.


Palisade man works on the knife’s edge

Bill Lyons is an edgy guy. But then, most people who make knives are.
    “I’ve just loved knives all my life,” said Lyons, 73, of rural Palisade.
    But it wasn’t until 1990 that he started crafting them himself.
    He once worked in construction, but those jobs disappeared when the housing bubble burst. He said he isn’t retired; “I just got put out of work.”
    One day, while looking through some magazines devoted to knives and knife-making, he was struck by some of the photos. “I said, ‘Holy cow, I’ve never seen knives like this.’”
    Sometime later, he attended a gun show in New Jersey and saw a booth run by the American Bladesmith Society and picked up some of that group’s promotional materials.
    In 1990, he attended one of the society’s schools, in Old Washington, Arkansas. That school taught everything from metal selection to producing the finished product. They gave students a piece of flat steel and “you start beating it and beating it and hopefully it comes back the way you want.”
    After learning the methods, he had to begin procuring equipment.
    “I didn’t have an anvil, didn’t have a hammer, didn’t have a forge,” he said. He placed newspaper advertisement seeking the equipment and built his shop.
    In the years since, he’s continued his training, attending ABS “hammer-ins” that include seminars on various aspects of the craft. “That is extremely helpful,” he said.

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