Jay Fisher - Fine Custom Knives

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"Concordia and Talitha" fine handmade chef's knives, in stand view, in T3 cryogenically treated CPM154CM high molybdenum powder metal technology stainless steel blades, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Deschutes Jasper gemstone handles, stand of cherry hardwood, Deschutes Jasper gemstone, Delicatus Gold Granite
"Concordia and Talitha" Chef's Set

Curriculum Vitae


Why This Page?

If I don't tell you this, no one else will.

cur·​ric·​u·​lum vi·​tae (kə-ˈri-kyə-ləm-ˈvē-ˌtī), noun.
  1. a short account of one's career and qualifications prepared typically by an applicant for a position
Source: Webster's International Dictionary, 1828-present

When a client, customer, agent, or researcher is interested in a particular professional's knowledge and experience, he can request that information from the individual, but this is seldom done in the fine crafts. Artists usually display and offer an accounting of their works, their recognition, and their experience. Machinists can give a training and job experience list, and engineers can offer the source of their education and employment history.

Where does someone go to see the actual career and qualifications of a Professional Custom Knifemaker?

This is an issue because most Americans can claim a cousin, uncle, or friend that has, at one time, made a knife. Since most knifemaking is often considered a hobbyist craft, few people realize that there are Professional Knifemakers who have made lifelong careers of knifemaking.

There is no clearinghouse, no organization or reference, no official entity that regulates, recognizes, or confirms a knifemaking professional. I hope that one day, this may happen, but for now and in the indeterminate future, there is no such entity or organization. Since there is no Professional Knifemaking training or degree, anywhere, how does a client or interested person know of an individual knifemaker's accomplishments?

It's up to the knifemaker himself to detail this.

For most knifemakers, they list their awards or trophies that they have received at some show. While these are nice ego-boosters, who is it that decides or judges who will be the recipient of these awards? Usually, the "judges" are their friends at the show. Typically, these decisions are made by a network of good-old boys: fellow knifemakers, knife collectors, and knifemaking supply representatives, and not any actual expert in the tradecraft, since, in actuality, there are very few experts in modern knives!

Other information about knifemakers can be found on dealer websites, steel suppliers, factory knife information sites, or Wikipedia. Understand that all of these sources are suspect. Steel and knifemaking supply companies are trying to link their name to a knifemaker, and vice versa, for the object of sales. Outwardly, there is nothing wrong with that, but it's not a substitute for serious, verifiable accomplishments. Wikipedia is the worst, with outright lies and misdirection, ridiculous claims like a steel developed especially just for knifemakers, and a tweak of an existing design being claimed as a new invention. Just remember, Wikipedia is open-sourced; entries about knifemaking are absolutely disgraceful and technically incorrect, lacking scientific sources. Anybody can put anything on Wikipedia, and knifemaking related "articles," are rife with errors.

What about publicity? The work of Knifemakers can be published in magazines, periodicals, and through interviews, and while these are important, they do not detail the source of experience, range of accomplishments, or scope of a career, since they are always shortened for publication, brevity, and economy of the publishing process. They merely offer glimpses into the work of a knifemaker. Here's my page of publications.

What about knifemaking organizations? The Knifemakers Guild, the American Bladesmith Society, and the Professional Knifemakers Association sound like great validators of someone's expertise in the field, but instead, these are fraternal organizations, with minimum skill requirements for membership, and keep no records or data on an individual member's accomplishments, area of expertise, field of study, training, experience, or years in the field. Mostly, they center around annual shows where the members can attend to sell their knives. They're fine organizations, and I've belonged to two of them, and enjoyed my years there, but they are just fraternal organizations with no official or legal capacity to vouch for, regulate, or sanctify their members' professional and business practices.

Where does one go to learn the actual record of any knifemaker's work? Who are they? What have they done? Why and how are their knives different or better? Where is their resume; what are their qualifications; where is their CV?

If a knifemaker is waiting for someone else to recognize and account for his accomplishments, he will be in for a long delay, because it just doesn't happen in our trade. Even after death, a knifemaker's accomplishments may only be briefly mentioned in an obituary.

Most of the knifemakers who are recognized in magazines, discussion boards and forums, periodicals, and printed coffee table books are not the guys who are making the very best knives in the world. Unfortunately, media can be the worst type of validation, and if you are familiar with recent false reporting, propaganda, and misdirection, you well know these shortcomings.

For a single example; there is a knifemaker who hammers blades from Food Contact Unsafe materials, and he is touted as making some of the best chef's knives in the world! Read that again, he uses Food Contact Unsafe materials to make his chef's knives. This is media hype.

The same goes for television contests; winning a few thousand dollars for hammering together the "best" blade in a competition to make knives out of lawnmower parts and rusty chain is not the pinnacle of the tradecraft.  This is humorous when you consider that an experienced Professional Knifemaker receives that equivalent in pay (or more) for just one knife. It's clear that the real professionals wouldn't participate in such "rustic" distractions, and there is no blacksmith in any machine shop anywhere; this is technical metallurgy reality.

All of this is understandable, and since there is no monetary benefit for others to promote a Professional Knifemaker and his works, it is then up to the individual knifemaker to make those distinctions.

What you are reading on this site is my own accounting of this. You might say I'm a braggadocio, or perhaps attention-seeking, or self-serving. Okay, fine. I'm guilty of sharing my experience and knowledge learned from a career of professional knifemaking.

The truth is, if I don't tell you this, no one else will.

Simply put, there is no official registry or record of a knifemaker's work or accomplishments. This is information you deserve to know, and other knifemakers (who are all in competition with each other) do not want others to know what I will tell you. This is in line with the overall honesty you've found on this website, and this page will cue you into who I am and what I have done with my professional career.

If you doubt anything you read here, I insist that you do your research, and I welcome any corrections. I've had people over the years laugh and ridicule my profession. One person was shocked that I turned down a job as a military researcher to make knives. He thought the whole idea was a waste of time. This is typical of someone who lacks vision, creativity, and drive. What can decades of determination, focus, and dedication in a particular field result in?

It's simple: I'm going to fill you in on just what I do and who I am.


Proficient With-

Like a job resume, a good list of proficiencies will help to understand the professional's skill level. These are some of my skills acquired and utilized in my adult life.

  • Experienced industrial Electrician, having worked in industrial electrical construction, maintenance, and repair. I've worked in many industries before and while becoming a full time knifemaker:
    • Construction electrician (Amarillo, Texas): building a fiberglass manufacturing plant. Conduit and cable trays, concentric runs, terminations, wire feed and support, working off blueprints in multi-storied elevated structure.
    • Printed circuit board manufacturing plant (Albuquerque, New Mexico): learning and applying electroplating, etching, and chemical analysis. Baths and processes include plating of copper, nickel, tin-lead, rhodium, and gold. Etching in copper baths, electro-less copper plating, analysis of chemistry to clean and maintain baths to operational standards.
    • Concrete-coated steel pipe manufacturing plant (Albuquerque, New Mexico): working as maintenance electrician and mechanic, maintaining, servicing and repair of all equipment in the facility, using automated welding, powder and liquid conveyance and mixing, excavation, curing and steam generation, conveyors and transport.
    • Pigment manufacturer (Emeryville, California): performing all electrical maintenance in the facility: pumps, switches, controls, feeds, distribution, motors, in both wet and dry-side processing in acids and caustics exposures.
    • Secondary aluminum smelter (Oakland, California): performing all electrical maintenance in the facility and mechanical maintenance assistance, high temperature molten metal conveyance, carbon pumps, bag houses, boilers and control systems, conveyance, repair.
    • Coal-fired power plant (San Juan County, New Mexico): unit startups, construction, maintenance, all electrical systems in the facility, from low voltage control systems to high voltage feeds, breakers, distribution and control, pumps, motor controls, motor operated valves, specialized devices, vibration controls, personnel elevators and conveyors. HVAC including refrigeration, chillers, ventilation controls. Motor repair from fractional horsepower to 10,000 horsepower forced draft fans for boilers. Maintained and repaired pneumatic systems from 24 oz./square inch to over 5000 PSI. Maintained over 120 fixed fire systems alone for five years, founding member of Emergency Response Team, NFPA Certified Level Two Firefighter Officer, Emergency Medical Technician, active in local volunteer fire departments.
  • Multi-process welding: MIG, TIG, SMAW, GTAW, Oxy-Acetylene, Plasma Cutting, Soldering, Brazing, Welding exotic and non-standard metals: high alloy stainless tool steels, powder metal technology tool steels, copper alloys (bronze, brass, nickel silver), precious metals.
  • High technology, extended process, advanced heat treating and cryogenic processing of high alloy stainless steels, tool steels, hypereutectoid steels. This includes spheroidizing annealing, post-weld treatments, weld testing.
  • Knifemaking: engineering design and development, creating, building, and refining electrical, motor-operated, and instrument controlled equipment.
  • Sculpting, modeling, molding, and casting of aluminum, art bronze, silver, gold, and all foundry processes related to the art and craft, including design and fabrication of equipment, furnaces, and processes, molding in silicone, polyurethane, wax, plaster, metals, die fabrication, carving and pressing, fettling, assembling, patina, and mounting in mixed media forms.
  • Lapidary: rockhounding, evaluating, blocking, slabbing, carving, finishing, stabilizing of hundreds of different gemstone and mineral types, including mounting, research, and all aspects of complete lapidary skills; making thousands of lapidary carvings in knife handles over the span of four decades.
  • Mechanical and instrumentation design, development, creation, maintenance, modification, and repair
  • Machinist: utilizing lathes, mills, mill-drills, pantographic mills, CNC controllers, Laser engraving, saws, abrasive grinders, finishing rotary equipment electric and pneumatic.
  • Pneumatic repair, high and low pressure air systems and controls, regulation, filtration, drying, distribution.
  • Anodizing aluminum alloys, titanium alloys using electro-process and acid/caustic processes.
  • Engraving: hand-engraving, power assist engraving, CADD to CNC rotary, diamond drag, and laser engraving
  • MRO: Maintenance, Repair, and Operation of machine, lapidary, knifemaking, and artist studio and machine shop
  • Computer controls, publishing, data, spreadsheets, web development
  • Archaeology and history: worked as a citizen archaeologist for 5 years, volunteering and operating an entire Paleo-Indian site excavation, stabilization, records, and official submissions to State entities, affiliated with professional archaeologists.
  • Photographic services and processes: Teaching photography in public schools (volunteer, Socorro, New Mexico), professional photography for the United States Air Force Pararescue (Kirtland, New Mexico), Photo retouching and restoration, Reprints, Enlargements, Black and White Chemical Processing, Copying, Contact Printing, Chemical Color Manipulation, Color Negative Processing and Printing, Lithography, Digitizing, CD ROM Photo Archiving, Color Transparency Processing and Printing, Darkroom Manipulation, Matting and Mounting, Archival and Historical Printing, Handmade Frames, Printing on Media: Glass, Ceramic, Fabric, Toning Photographs, Photo Etching, Photochemical Milling, Photo Electroforming

When you read this, you might be shocked (I am!) by the amount of exposure I've been lucky enough to have in my lifetime to the great variety of trades, craft, and science. Every one of these has a story behind it, so I think it's important to share at least one:

In the early 1990s, I was still into chemical photography in my studio in Magdalena, New Mexico. I was having a discussion with a machine shop supervisor at the VLA, the Very Large Array Radio Telescope, run by the NRAO (National Radio Astronomy Observatory), under the National Science Foundation. The facility is an impressive site; at the time there were 27 dishes, 85 feet in diameter, spread out in a big "Y" on the San Augustine plains 30 miles west of our little village. The machinist was trying to cut two tiny "X's" in a piece of high purity copper micro-waveguide filter. This waveguide is cryogenically chilled in operation, to reduce spurious signals. This is a microscopic affair, and the size of the little x determines the wavelength that will be transmitted back to the processing center for analysis and creation of the images. The copper was only a few mils (thousandths of an inch) thick, and a high precision micro-mill was not capable of cutting the crosses in the tube with accuracy.

I thought I could help, and I worked for about a week to come up with a photochemical process of photochemical milling, based on the chemistry that I was using for etching my maker's mark on my knife blades. I used a transmissive blueprint that he supplied reduced it through enlarger process, and was able to etch the waveguide filters. When we presented these to the scientists and engineers, they claimed that they were a bit too small! Though they didn't use my work, they told us they would go with the idea of photochemically milling these in the future when they needed smaller filters.

Nowadays, these filters are built microscopically with an entirely different process. But I feel blessed that I was able to learn and apply photography, chemistry, and machining experience to produce a result.

Below are a few pictures of the effort

Lithographic mask creates the pattern for etching, done photographically
Waveguide filter for Radio telescope
Copper waveguide filter in middle of photograph, surrounded by brass test pieces
Radio telescope Waveguide Filter
Copper waveguide filter has test milling in thinned area, one out of four was successful!
Radio telescope Waveguide Filter
Side view of section of waveguide filter shows copper only a few thousandths thick!
Very Large Array Waveguide Filter

I hope this helps you understand how working in one field crosses over to another. Knifemaking is many fields, and there are hundreds of stories of technical achievements that can be applied to a range of topics and fields. What a great time to be alive and making knives!

Page Topics


My List of Unique and Individual Career Accomplishments

This is a list of professional accomplishments that I've achieved after over 40 years of knifemaking and over 30 years as a full time professional knifemaker (written in 2020). I've included links for more details where appropriate.

Page Topics

"Corvus" Chef's Knife in T3 cryogenically treated ATS-34 high molybdenum stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Pietersite (Africa) gemstone handle, Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry) hardwood board, silicone prise and block base
"Corvus" (The Crow) Chef's Knife with Prise

The Honor of our Profession

“The more I study science, the more I believe in God.”

–Albert Einstein

Knifemaking is the very oldest profession. Before man was man, the creatures who made knives out of stone surely made and traded their points, tools, and weapons for food, shelter, and clothing. It is through the knife that all of our civilization and progress was possible.

When I was young, I had no idea what profession would hold my passion. I believe that there is a Great Hand in what we do, and how and why we do it. He is the first to honor and my wish for all other human beings is to have a personal relationship with their Almighty, through everything and everybody around them.

I'm honored by all of those who support my work and vision, and through the years it's clear that my wife and family is my anchor. Though I lost my wife to cancer in the spring of 2021, my family is my guidepost.

Clients and patrons have been kind beyond measure. They allow me to have a career doing what I love, with the support of those who love me, and what my Creator drives me to do!

To Him belongs all honor, we are made by His hand.

Jay Fisher

“The gift of mental power comes from God, Divine Being, and if we concentrate our minds on that truth, we become in tune with this great power.”

–Nikola Tesla

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The Curious Case of the "Sandia" Elasticity, Stiffness, Stress,
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The Sword, the Veil, the Legend Heat Treating and
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