Born to Teach

The following took place when I interviewed Michael Wanabe, whom I had introduced to you before. The person who lightheartedly came into the
shop saying, "Hey, what's up?" was Dave Ellis. Michael introduced him as the first Mastersmith in California.

7" Quillion Dagger
336 Layer Damascus. Mastodon Ivory Handle
Owned By: Mike Sing
  9 3/4" Bowie - Forged 5160 Steel. Stag Crown Handle
Owned By: Scott Hashimoto

Michael told me that the reason why he was attracted to knife making and the world of forged knives was his meeting with Dave. He told me about the day when he first visited Dave's workshop saying, "Dave told me that there is no secret in knife making." He gave me a hammer telling me to hammer it anyway. Right after giving me a brief lecture, the fire was lit in the forge. "When I became aware of what was going on, I'd already finished hammering."

Michael continued, "The way Dave teaches is very logical and easy to understand. He answers my questions right on. Soon, I was able to understand about heat treatment, which I had thought was difficult."
Actually, when I was carrying on a conversation with Dave, he gave me the appropriate answers right away. I assumed that he was a quick thinker.
He has been very active since last year. He was very busy with hosting sharpening seminars. He was asked to do these things by many people who knew about his easily understood teaching abilities.

Dave said, "Teaching itself is such fun. There is nothing more wonderful than this: by teaching and showing my students, they could learn in one hour what took me a whole year to understand. I think such knowledge as this is a good tradition that can be passed down from one to another."
Indeed, he was born to teach. A person like him is suitable to be called the 'Master'. When I told Dave that I like Damascus, especially Wire Damascus, he said, "Actually, I like Wire Damascus, too. If you'd like, I'll show you how to make it at the shop." This was more than I hoped for. Of course, I decided to visit his shop.

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This article has been reproduced with the permission of Knife Magazine. It was featured in their August 1999 Issue. Copyright © 1999 Knife.

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