Austin Hensley (IG: hensley_handmade_knives_)

April 30, 2022

Welcome to this week's #weldershowcase - we had the opportunity to sit down with Austin from @hensley_handmade_knives_ and talk a little shop.
 
If you would like to be featured in our weekly showcase (100% FREE) please send us an email to leo.benchmarkabrasives@gmail.com to get you scheduled in an upcoming week. These showcases are intended to highlight your skill, your business, and your tips and tricks.  Most of all it's to have a little fun!
Enjoy and Grind On!

 

 

Name: Austin Hensley

Business Name:  Hensley Handmade Knives

Location: Roswell, NM

Socials: IG: @hensley_handmade_knives_  FB: hensleyhandmadeknives  TikTok: @hensley_handmade_knives

Websites:   Website   YT: HensleyHandmadeKnives

Specialties: High Quality Functional Art

Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade? And how long?
I’ve been making knives off and on for about 7 years, I’ve been doing it real consistent as a business for the last 4 years. What got me interested in knife making was I literally saw a YouTube video of a guy making a knife from a file and thought I’d try it out. After my first one I was hooked.
 
  What keeps you motivated throughout the day?
I’m motivated every day by the persistence and challenge to make a better product as I did the day before.
What is your favorite shop tool and why?
My TW90 2x72 belt sander. Has a whole slew of attachments and uses.
 
  What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?
This is a very hard question to answer. I’ve made so many pieces that I’m very proud of. But here are a few photos.
If you could have any job as it relates to question 1 what would it be and what would you do with that?
I’m living the dream right now. I’m a career firefighter as my “day job” and a bladesmith on my days off. The plan after retiring from the fire department is to move into bladesmithing full time.
 
 
What BA product is your favorite and why?
I love love love the surface conditioning belts. They make sanding so much easier and transitions cleaner. In fact all their 2x72 belts are great for what I’m doing. Another favorite of mine is their very coarse grit belts, moves a lot of material fast and this is good for me because after I harden a blade it can be a toll on a belt.
What BA product surprised you in terms of quality - what about it set it apart from the competition?
Honestly, the belt cleaning rubber surprises me. All I had used before the BA rubber was a harbor freight brand belt cleaner and I tell you what, the BA and Harbor Freight brand is night and day. The BA rubber actually extends the life of the belt! Whereas using the harbor freight brand results were minimal if any.
 
 
What tips and tricks do you have for us that might be different or eye opening for others to try with BA product?
When running surface conditioning belts be sure to run at higher speeds for a more even finish.
If there was one person you could collaborate with - who would it be and why?
I’d love to collaborate with some great smiths such as Steve Schwarzer, But I’m always looking to expand and collaborate with some great companies as well.
 
 
Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?
Your first knife isn't going to be perfect, neither is your 100th. Stay persistent though and the skill set will come to you.
What are your future plans for your shop?
The plan for the future is to expand into a larger shop so I can start taking on bigger projects and creating video content along the way.
 

 

A Note From Leo
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Austin! I really dig the blade patterns you come up with and look forward to seeing what unique ones you come up with next.



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