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Clay Wolfe (@wolfe_custom_knives)

Welcome to this week's #benchmarkspotlight (formerly the #weldershowcase) - we had the opportunity to sit down with Clay from @wolfe_custom_knives and talk a little shop.
If you would like to be featured in our weekly spotlight (100% FREE) and have a chance at winning one of our Grinder Hoods please send us an email to to get you scheduled in an upcoming week. These spotlights 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:  Clay Wolfe

Business Name:  Wolfe Custom Knives

Location: Junction City,Ohio

Socials: IG:  @wolfe_custom_knives 

Specialties:  Bladesmithing and woodworking

Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade? And how long?
My name is Clay Wolfe. I am 27 years old from Junction City Ohio.  I have been woodworking for 4-H projects starting at the age of 9 and been a bladesmith for almost four years. My dad has always made woodworking projects so it was easy to get into. I got into bladesmithing by being a big fan of the tv show Forged in Fire - eventually making it to the finals of the show.
  What keeps you motivated throughout the day?
I’ve always been a very competitive person and after competing in sports for most of my life I feel like I’m almost in a competition with myself.  Every project I make, every knife or blade I’m trying to make it fancier, stronger, sharper or more intricate than the last. A constant chase after a goal of just being better than I was before.
What is your favorite shop tool and why?
The most important tool for me right now is my coal iron works 16 ton press. It has allowed me to cut hours off of my time moving steel. Something that would take me a few days to move by hand and hammer I can do in a matter of minutes.
  What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?
One of my favorite pieces has been this Damascus SanMai machete (18in blade 24OAL) with a walnut handle and a brass bolster. It was for a friend of mine that ended up hiking the Appalachian trail with it putting it to the test every step of the way.
If you could have any job as it relates to question 1 what would it be and what would you do with that?
I think the goal of any knife maker and bladesmith is to be able to do it full time. It’s an amazing process to make a useful tool and a piece of art as well
What BA product is your favorite and why?
I use the 2x72 sanding belts pretty much daily. Grits varying from 40-400 it’s vital in the knife making process. Of several different brands Benchmark Abrasives have held up the longest.
What BA product surprised you in terms of quality - what about it set it apart from the competition?
I’ve been really impressed with the buffing compounds and the buffing wheel for the angle grinder. That combo has been great for putting those last finishing touches and really making my knives shine.
What tips and tricks do you have for us that might be different or eye opening for others to try with BA product?
I’d say to definitely get their belt cleaning stick especially if you will be sanding wood or epoxy products. Keeps them fresh and lasting long
If there was one person you could collaborate with - who would it be and why?
My fellow forged in fire competitor and friend ( Devon Chatterley) and I have brainstormed some ideas on a collaboration. Which would be great to actually work together instead of against each other this time around.

But as a dream collab probably one of the Forged in Fire judges would be amazing to obtain that experience and the respect that would come with it.
Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?
I would have to say be patient. When I started I wanted everything to be perfect and got very frustrated when it wasn’t and had times where I thought maybe I should stop. Also to take your time, don’t just rush it because you want to get it finished.
What are your future plans for your shop?
I plan to eventually build a new shop and get it set up to a very organized flowing order. Then eventually being able to get to the level where I can go full time at my crafts.
Thanks for sitting with us and sharing your story with the community - is there anything you'd like to add?  
I guess I would say if you want to try something new, go for it.  Don’t be afraid of what people will think or say. Don’t be paralyzed by fear and don’t have any regrets.


A Note From Leo
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Clay! It's been countless times where it's been said don't let fear hold you back. It's such an easy thing to say but actually pulling the trigger can be incredibly difficult when you have a family and a ton of expenses. Maybe one day I'll be able to play around with something.... one day.
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