Meet The Maker #10: Shane Wells.
By Riley Burns, 8th of August 2020.
My name is Shane Wells, I am a 24 year old Blacksmith from Sydney, Australia.
I am a Prop maker for Film and Theatre full time, I teach in my spare time at Makerspace and Co.
and am a blacksmith in what ever time is left after all that. My blacksmithing is all done under the business name Steamjunk.
I have always been a maker, but really got interested in working with my hands around the age of 12 and at 16 I started working professionally. I have been in the trade for 8 Years, and have been blacksmithing/ knifemaking for 4 years now. I made my first knife out of an old saw blade and although it was rough, it sparked an interest and have been hooked ever since.
My Knives are primarily 1084 Carbon Steel Full Tang knives, I like using 1084 because it is a very easy steel to work with and performs very well when heat treated correctly. Most of my previous blades have been full tang knives but I have recently started making a couple stick tang knives. It will be interesting to see how these turn out.
My blacksmithing work is not limited to Knives, as I also enjoy forging items like small Axes and Hammers.
I use 1055 for my axes and hammers mostly but have also used 4140 and 5160 in the past.
I tend to use a Australian hardwoods for my handle materials as we are lucky to have some extremely beautiful timbers available to us here. I try to use Stabilized timber when ever possible, I do also enjoy playing with Synthetic materials such as G10 and Juma as they are hard wearing and give some beautiful results.
My current knife making goal is to get my AKG membership and to start building stock to be able to begin attending shows as a selling and not just a customer.
My work is influenced by a lot of the makers around me and a lot by those on Youtube.
There would be too many names to list if I had to name them all but two of the most influential to my journey have been, Jason Ellard of Ellard Blacksmithing and Dominic Binkert of DB Blades. Two makers that I have been following their journeys over the years and have been a great source of inspiration.
If I had to give three Tips to those looking into getting into knife making or blacksmithing they would be:
- Take a class. Be completing a course with a teacher that has a style you like it will give you a head start in the right direction and will let you know if this is something you want to invest time and money into.
- Buy once, Buy Right. I have learn't this the hard way a few times but at the end of the day, buy the best you can afford and it will be a pleasure to use.
- Do not be afraid to ask questions.There is a great resource available to all of us with many groups on Facebook and do not be afraid to ask other makers how they tackle a particular challenge.