I have been making knives now for about 9 years. I would have to ask my wife, she is much better at remembering dates than I am.
It all started on one of my family vacations to Canada. I really wanted a knife and looked at all the local stores without finding anything decent. Then at a local tavern, I saw a business card pinned up on the wall that was from a knifemaker. I went and visited Grant Fraser (you can find a short bio on him here) and bought my first handmade knife. I still have it and it is still razor sharp, I have never touched it on a stone. Anyways, I bought a knife the next year from him again, then my father asked me, "why don't you make one?" so I thought I would take a crack at it, so to speak. I made a few with a craftsman belt sander clamped in a vise.
I remember taking my first few knives to Grant the next year. He was honest without being cruel. He told me the things I needed to fix and complimented what he could. I took his advice to heart and made the changes. It seems like I have been making changes ever since. I appreciated his honesty so much, that I have done similar things to new makers who have asked me for advice. If you want blind platitude, don't ask me to critique. I will be as honest as I can, pointing out good and bad. Grant's honesty saved me years of trial and error, and I want to extend the same opportunity to other new makers.
Aside from making knives, which is actually kind of a hobby for me, I teach middle school special education. I have a standing offer with my students, if they show me a diploma in 4 years, I will take them into my shop and teach them how to make a knife. I have only been offering this for the last three years, so I haven't had any takers yet, however, this year one of my former students stopped into my room and reminded me that he was going to come to my shop after this year to make a knife.
I am also married to a lovely wife, who is likely to check this page out, so she is the best ever. I also have two children. My daughter is a clone of her mother, and my son has inherited my love for Star Wars. We conclude every night with a lightsaber battle. I usually win, but he is only four.