An Embarrassing Story…

I’m out of my depth…

But, to be fair, it’s not the first time.

I’m sure you’ve been out of your depth many times in your life too, right?

This is where we usually learn where our limits are (oh, wow, I sound a bit like like Tony Robbins there! :-P).

Anyway, the reason I’m so completely out of my depth is because I’m making a knife. And, to be honest, I’m a small fish in a big pond here.

And it gets worse:

As I’ve started to share this How To Make A Knife journey with you …I’ve come to realise that the raving fans and die-hard customers of Cogent Industries know waaaaaaay more about knives than I do.

But I’m not attached to my ego. And so it’s pretty damn cool to have others stand up and really help me out in this process.

I’ve been learning about “blade steel” …and “detents” …and “slip-joints” …and “galling” ….and a whole load of stuff I’ve never heard of. It’s fantastic to have over-the-top-helpful-knife-nuts commenting and emailing me to help me out. Very cool indeed.

Here’s the progress I’ve made so far…

Kinda ugly... totally unfinished... and possibly not even viable. But it's a fun start to making a knife!

Kinda ugly… totally unfinished… and possibly not even viable. But it’s a fun start to making a knife!

It’s going to be a long road to learn this stuff – but that’s fine.

Believe it or not…

Three years ago I had barely heard of titanium (I still remember ordering my first 12″ x 12″ sheet of titanium from the USA …oh my god those were exciting times!). And now, a few years later, I somehow seem to be known as “the titanium guy”.

I’m confident these things can be learned. Just takes time.

For example (and this is an embarrassing personal story):

Nearly 10 years ago when I first travelled on my own (or travelled at all for that matter) …I came to New Zealand on a working holiday.

I was a fairly shy young fellow growing up (actually, that’s a lie, I was probably one of the shyest people you would even meet – seriously!). I was one of those people who would break out in a sweat and go red if I had to talk to someone new I didn’t know.

And I thought getting out into the world would make it easier for me and I’d be forced to get outside my “comfort zone”.

“I was probably one of the shyest people
you would even meet…”

But, dear lord, it just made it even worse. I don’t think I ever felt so alone when I first started travelling. Looking back on it now …it’s kinda funny. But at the time it was ….well …it was horrible.

I was so self conscious what I landed in New Zealand and found myself in the city of Auckland. I remember standing at the traffic lights and waiting to cross the road …and feeling like the entire city was staring at me (they weren’t of course – but it felt like that).

I REALLY needed to get this under control. I needed to get this shyness and inability to talk to people under control.

So here was my plan (a plan so cunning that even a fox would be forced to give me credit for it):

I needed a pair of shoes. And so… I decided I’d spend a few weeks “looking” for a pair of shoes.

And, over the next few weeks, I went into a few shoe shops every day and tried to just “chit chat” and have fun with whichever salesperson was trying to help me with my search for shoes (the reason I “needed” to have salespeople to talk to was that, to my mind, they were likely to be nice, helpful and not scared away by my weirdness …which was perfect for trying to overcome my shyness).

At first it was awful. Then it wasn’t so bad. Then it was kinda fun.

After a couple of weeks I’d be making jokes (bad jokes of course …but jokes nonetheless) with people I had only met 10 seconds ago. Something I’d never done in my entire life (because I’d usually just be wondering how the hell I could get out of the conversation …because I was so shy).

“At first it was awful.
Then it wasn’t so bad.
Then it was kinda fun.”

From there I made slow and steady progress over the years. Even as far as to join Toastmasters a few years ago to learn public speaking. I can now fairly comfortably speak in front of a crowd of people …which, to be honest, I still find myself surprised I can do this.

I’m still massively flawed and far from being the life and soul of the party. But, for sure, I’ve made some progress.

Why am I telling you this story?

Two reasons I think:

Firstly, because I think it helps get my point across to you about being “out of my depth” in making a knife …and that it’s just a matter of learning the skills and putting in the effort.

Secondly, I think I just wanted to share this story with you …for my own amusement. Shaking off that “shy guy” thing was a long, slow road and something I wanted to get rid of for years. I did it (from my own point of view at least). And so, I believe I can do other things …like making a knife. 🙂

In the workshop doing some "multi-tasking"... water-jet cutting, tumbling titanium and answering emails (and who said men can't multi-task?! :-D)

In the workshop doing some “multi-tasking”… water-jet cutting, tumbling titanium and answering emails (and who said men can’t multi-task?! :-D)

  • Sebastian O. says:

    In for Proto and In for a Mokuti one! 😉

  • Daniel says:

    Great story – daggy yet great, and well told. Knife looks kinda cool by the way. Cheers

  • Steve says:

    Great story. I reckon we’ve all been there. Best of luck on knife. It looks interesting already.

  • Abang Din says:

    I was surprised that you didn’t know about galling. It’s pretty common with titanium-based products. But nonetheless, the knife looks cool and unique.

  • Jonathan says:

    Embarrassing!? You definitely mean to say ‘an encouraging story’!
    I believe there are so many people dealing with these feelings of not belonging or being alone, yet we’re not alone. Thanks for sharing!
    My own story feels similar in that I’m a loner type who tends to shy from social interaction. Yet somehow I became a teacher and have to explain stuff in front of young, critical and honest (sometimes even ruthless) minds. In this job I’ve learned that, though I sometimes feel awkward in interaction, at the same time I have a really deep love of people! Especially young people! And also that they can be so forgiving, even more if you’re able to relate to them. And relating to young, some insecure, developing students is what I’m good at, thanks to my own insecurities.. If someone had told me ten years ago that I would be teaching I would have laughed very hard (silent in myself of course). I’m figuring myself out still, indeed a slow process.
    What helped me a lot was doing some soul searching which I started by taking an MBTI test. By analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of my type (INFP) I’ve been able to find the perspective and peace to accept who I am. That and just putting myself out and having a little (awkward) life experience (still have to force myself).
    I love that you’re not just ‘the titanium guy’, but also share something so much more valuable in personal stories like this! Thanks for that!
    Be blessed!!

    • That’s a very cool story Jonathan – thank you for sharing it.

      Yeah, I think you’re right, while we may presume everyone else has it all together and we’re the only one’s that doesn’t …maybe that’s not an accurate view!

  • Curby says:

    Thanks for sharing, Magnus! I’m shy too but try to use work presentations as public speaking opportunities to break that social barrier.

    Re: the knife prototype, it’s looking great, but I’d highly recommend something non-symmetrical. You should be able to easily tell just by feel (and not by bleeding) whether you’re holding the knife blade-up or blade-down.

    Since people often need to use knives with a finger on the spine for control or pressure, having the blade edge-up when you press with your finger would obviously be disastrous. And while I agree that it’s always up to the user to be careful, I’d also propose that a tool designer should make it as easy as possible to do the right thing, and understand users and use cases well enough to actively predict and avoid dangerous situations.

    Just 2c. I look forward to seeing more of your great work!

  • William Schinella says:

    Knife looks great, good story too!

  • Sean Logue says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. There are a lot of very positive messages here, but I think one of the main ones is if you really try you can make positive changes in your own skills, abilities, and even outlook.

    Anyway, thanks again and I’m looking forward to seeing how the knife turns out.


  • Tony says:

    Christ that was dull. I do wish you wouldn’t bother with these long winded & rambling posts. Your kickstarter pages are ridiculous, you have to scroll through so much drivel.


    I know you work in titanium, but have you considered a ceramic blade? Or a combination ceramic and titanium. Where the ceramic part would be the cutting edge (and replaceable), and the titanium forms the rest of the blade, case, scales, and any other needed parts.

    I drafted a design along the same lines, but do not have the necessary tools, materials, and experience to make it.

    Good luck! Can’t wait to see more.

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