First I would like to thank the owner's and administrators for this excellent interview! It's really great to see people being recognized and acknowledged for all their hard work and effort, well done.
Second I would like to thank Dr. Fred, or Master Fred as I call him. I met him and his wonderful wife Becky in the fall of 08. I, along with a couple of friends who have since moved on to other interests like work and family, wanted to learn to make knives.
Fred and Becky opened up their home and shop to us. They made us feel not just welcome but like we belonged there already. Perhaps a lifetime of helping so many like myself prepped he and Becky for my arrival. Who knows. But for months now I have watched and learned on a regular basis from the legend himself and I can say, it is quite humbling to watch him work.
One of the first things that shocked me about him was the drawers FULL of beautiful knives! Each one I pulled out and was awestruck by, he would simply point out some small (tiny) flaw in the metal or explain that something about the design just didn't sit right with him, so they got wrapped in a paper towel and now reside in a drawer! This began my understanding of Master Fred. His personal struggle for professional excellence is awe inspiring. Sometimes since I'm on the "just getting started" side of things I settle for good enough, but without trying Fred inspires me to reach for more, to try a make it perfect. Sometimes my fear of messing things up can hold me back from that level but Fred tells me "Right is one step away from ruined". But as you can see in his work, the risk is well worth the effort.
The knives I make are all half Fred Carter and half Harley Elmore. They are simple by design and to me are exactly what I want in a knife. To Fred, they are an interesting and easy amusement that takes his mind away from the effort of real knifemaking. Sometimes I'm having a problem and he stops engraving and walks over to help me out! Imagine that, Fred Carter stops working on his engraving to help me, a beginner at best, solve a grind problem! Simply humbling.
I have only touched Fred's engraver a couple of times, just enough to begin to realize how hard it is. I hope that over time I can begin that aspect of study as well. It would be a shame to have such an outstanding mentor and not take the time to learn from a true Master of the art. So, time, schedules and Fred and Becky's patience permitting, I'll try to learn that too!
Again, thanks to the Administrators of this site for a great interview of a great artist. And to Master Fred and Becky, I really can't thank you enough for your friendship, patience and helpful guidance. You guys are awesome and I truly hope to be bugging you and messin' around with you in the shop for a long time to come. Thanks for your time, understanding and for being just a wonderful human being.