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Interview with Jeremey Madewell of Madewell Knives

Interview: Madewell Knives

Today in our Friends of Fallbrook Small Business Highlight, we speak with Jeremey Madewell, a local Bladesmith and Forger

Please tell us a bit about yourself!

10 years ago, I moved to the friendly village of Fallbrook. I grew up in Oceanside, graduating from Oceanside High School in 2006. Fallbrook has been a great place to start a family and have extra space. It is here where I learned to be a blacksmith. I love how this town has helped me find my inner passion regarding forging. If it were any other city, I don’t think it would have been possible to start this trade. Fallbrook has everything I need; it’s rural and quiet, and has the space for creativity and inspiration. When I’m not making or forging, I love to ride my Enduro bike around town, through De Luz and all the trails that Fallbrook has to offer. We are a big off-road family that loves camping and riding. I love making memories with my family and children.

How, when and why did you start your business?

Growing up in Oceanside I have always been more of a hands-on type of person; learning with my hands more than reading it from a book. I have been collecting knives since I was old enough to have one. I was the typical kid who fantasizes about swords, axes, and throwing knives. It is usually the first thing I can spot inside any store I walk in; I gravitate towards them, almost like they are calling to me. One day I came across a video of a man who was making a knife using fire, a hammer and anvil. I was completely mesmerized and it took me by storm. I knew I had found my new interest/hobby. My first anvil was a small piece of railroad track that my good friend gave me and I made a charcoal forge with leftover stone and cement in the backyard. 2017 was the year this started. 

From the beginning, I felt comfortable with my newfound craft and it quickly became a way of life. It has become more than a hobby; it has become who I am. I want to preserve the craft and bring a new side to blacksmithing that inspires others and helps people go beyond their perceived capability. Going back to the saying “we can do anything we put our minds to” and I believe that 110%. 

Looking through the lens as a small business owner, this would not be possible without my wife, Tracy. She is the brains of the operation and I am the creator and maker. Feedback from clients and family has pushed me to improve my techniques and excel even further. Calling it a business didn’t happen overnight, but instead over the last 5 years constantly investing back into my equipment and tools. 

What challenges have you faced? 

From the beginning, I have been completely self-taught with no formal training or instruction from anyone. (Although I do watch and I learn from everyone and everything). The main challenges I face can differ from day to day; am I doing this right? Is there a better way? Is there an easier way? This is something that I ask myself daily. Now, of course there will always be another way, but that is the beauty of this craft, it’s all in the maker and what tools you have in front of you. You don’t need every tool in the world to make a knife.  Challenges are a daily occurrence in the workshop, messing up a grind on a blade can set you back a day or two. Breaking a blade because you skipped a few steps can set you back a couple days or even weeks depending on the complexity of the project. 

Patience has become the prominent challenge I face daily. A beautiful piece can take time and learning to balance these traits can take time.

Tell us why you love what you do?

I love being able to start with an idea and seeing it come to life. I love being able to pick apart the pieces and fitting them together. I love having an end goal in mind and sticking to the plan. The plan “always” seems to change as you work through to the end. But, having artistic freedom helps me to overcome and adapt, ultimately completing the project. I love hearing and seeing my client’s reaction when they receive a one-of-a-kind piece. I love doing custom work for people, as well as having my own line of knives. In the end, I love MAKING. I’m a maker, not a taker.

If you could do it differently, would you?  

The only thing I would do differently, (if i had the resources) is take the time to get some formal training or guidance from someone in the trade with plenty more experience than I. 

Who or what inspires you?

The first person to inspire me was a man named Michael Trollsky, a knife maker from Poland. His videos inspired me to start forging.

If you could give advice to someone contemplating entrepreneurship, what would it be?

Destiny is all! Follow your heart. You can truly achieve anything you put your mind to. As long as you don’t mind a little hard work and patience. 

Also, be mindful of your finances, and time management. There’s plenty of time to balance work and family. Leave your work in the workshop, never at the dinner table.

Next Post
Interview with Landon & Kendra at Old Highway Design Co

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