Last week we introduced you to Ben Stark, the 18-year old knifemaker who created an homage to the Marvel character Iron Man of comic and movie fame. He followed the linkback to his work and left a comment expressing interest in our “5 from the Grinder” series.
I love how the 5ftG series can apply equally to everyone from an industry legend to someone who might well become one some day. Ben is just such a maker who has demonstrated a high level of skill at such an early point in his career. I am confident that we will be seeing amazing work coming from the Stark Creations studio for years to come.
First, in a few sentences, please introduce yourself and let us know what led you to making/designing knives.
My name is Benjamin Stark and I am the knife maker behind Stark Creations and @starkknives. I am 18 and seriously started making knives about 2 years ago. I became interested in the craft after I started posting wooden spoons I carved on an online forum. On the forum, I saw people making and sharing the knives they made and I thought I’d like to give it a try in my own backyard.
Question 1: What knifemaker(s) or designer(s) have had the biggest influence on you? Do you have any mentors?
It’s tough to choose one person as my largest influence since I did so much research on many maker’s designs. If I had to choose a couple, I’d say Andy Roy of Fiddleback Forge, Shawn Hatcher, and Geoff Blauvelt of Tuffknives. They all combine modern and traditional materials in their handles and have very elegant and interesting designs. Sorry I can’t include everyone whose work I admire and am inspired by! I do not have any mentors. I learned everything from Youtube and other online tutorials and forums.
Question 2: What is your favorite knife pattern or style from history?
I like large bowies and sheepsfoot blades. There are really no designs that I don’t like though.
Question 3: What is the next big thing in knifemaking? / What direction do you see the industry going?
I’ve been seeing a trend toward the combination of traditional and modern synthetic materials. Burl wood with cracks that are filled with colored resin are very cool and popular right now.
Question 4: Is there a knife from your lineup that you feel best exhibits who you are as a knifemaker/designer in terms of design elements, aesthetic or techniques used?
My EDC models are my flagship designs. I can make them into a lot of different blade shapes ranging from a Persian Tanto to a cleaver. They all have the same handle shape that I came up with when I started making knives. It allows me to be really creative in my material choice and combine lots of different colors and textures. I’ve also had a lot of fun making micro knives lately. They are a great way to use leftover handle pieces from other knives while still being very handy and useful.
Question 5: What is your EDC and why?
Surprisingly, I don’t carry a knife most of the time because I’m constantly changing clothes throughout the day and don’t want to misplace a knife. When I do carry one, I like carrying my Spyderco Paramilitary 2 or a custom fixed blade with koa that I made myself.