HOWE — Terry Miller has been a blacksmith for 30 years.
In the beginning, he was an ornamental blacksmith bending big pieces of steel for railings, sculptures and furniture.
“The heavy steel was getting too much for me as I got older,” Miller said, laughing. Now his focus has changed to turning old steel files into decorative custom knives and kitchen utensils for customers. He was taught by a gentleman in North Carolina the old-fashioned art of blade-smithing.
His work is done using hand tools along with a small forge, an anvil and an oval antique copper canning tub with a lid in his workshop.
“I do it the way it has been done for hundreds of years. People know my work because I do quality work,” Miller said. “It’s an opportunity to give people hunting knives and kitchen utensils made with high carbon steel.”
Some of the old steel files used for his knives come from the Amish when they go to farm auctions and flea markets with old equipment and antiques because they do a lot of butchering with pork and beef and like certain types of knives for butchering, Miller added.
He has a variety of customers and some have been film and play directors asking him to make knives and other weaponry for movies set in periods running from the 12th-to-19th-centuries.
“I do the research on how they were made and how they were used,” he said, “and then I make them.”
There are a lot of female collectors of knives and firearms, and several order knives for combat pieces for self-defense, he added.
Miller says he engraves firearms as well as his custom knives.
“I engrave some of my knives with animals, like bears and deer or any kind of scene that I can engrave,” he said. “It personalizes the piece for someone.”