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John Medlin (IG: john_medlin951)

Welcome to this week's #weldershowcase - we had the opportunity to sit down with John from @john_medlin951 and talk a little shop.
If you would like to be featured in our weekly showcase (100% FREE) please send us an email to 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:  John Medlin

Business Name:  Ace Leather and Knife Works

Location: St. Matthews, SC.

Specialties:  Knives, hatchets, hammers, swords, Forge work
Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade (backstory)? And how long?
Since I was a kid I have always had an interest in making things! And what kind of kid doesn't like playing with fire?  About seven years ago I made my first forge out of some old car parts from a local junk yard and since then it has all been downhill!  There is something so satisfying about taking an old piece of junk and turning it into a beautiful blade that will be put back to use for years to come.
  What keeps you motivated throughout the day?
There are quite a few things that keep me motivated, but I have to say the people around me are probably my greatest strength and motivation. From my wife to my two beautiful little girls and the many others that have supported me over the years.
What is your favorite shop tool and why?
My favorite tool is probably my Big BLU power hammer. When turning big stock down or making damascus it sure makes the job easier!  
  What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?
I just recently built a Nakire style chef knife with san mai steel made from a 100 year old anchor chain and I have to say it is my favorite piece to date!
If you could have any job as it relates to question 1 what would it be and what would you do with that?
As of January this year knife making has become my full time job and my shop is located just 30 or so feet from my house. I can't say that I would trade it for anything! I enjoy being this close to my family and doing something that I enjoy. 
  What BA product is your favorite and why?
One of my favorite products that I use all the time as a knife maker is BA abrasives 36 grit ceramic belts. I have put these belts through Hundreds of knives and love how quick they cut through hardened steel! 
What BA product surprised you in terms of quality - what about it set it apart from the competition?
I have been impressed with the quality of BA belts, but even more so with their awesome customer service and fast shipping! 
  What tips and tricks do you have for us that might be different or eye opening for others to try with BA product?
So I grind a lot of heat treated steel and have found that using benchmarks belt lube has helped me keep the temperatures down on my blades while grinding them. 
If there was one person you could collaborate with - who would it be and why?
Man, that is a hard one! But probably Steve Koster or Lin Rhea. Both who inspire me in my knife making 
  Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?
Youtube and instructional videos are great, but you can't do better than some style of hands on apprenticeship. 
What are your future plans for your shop?
I hope to expand our products this year to include custom damascus rings and some smaller carry knives and offer more classes! People seem to really enjoy our beginner forging classes 


A Note From Leo
Thanks for sharing your story with us, John! It's always great hearing from you and seeing what you're forging next. Those batarangs are still sick as f***!
Previous article Wil Smiley (IG: @_grumpy_gramps_

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