Have you ever thought of learning to make a knife?
A few times a year a group of new, amateur, professional, and seasoned knifemakers all trek from around the globe to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Within ten miles of the blue waters of Lake Michigan, they glue, grind, polish, sharpen, and clean knives, while enjoying the skillful art of knifemaking and camaraderie.
This is no ordinary day at Bark River Knives. This is a Grind In.
Bark River Knives prepares by closing the shop early on one of these Fridays, and hosting a wonderful dinner to discuss and prepare everyone for the weekend to come. Bring your own design, or have our skilled workers help craft a knife of your dreams from one of our own designs. Pick out handle materials from an enormous selection, and you're off to learn the trade. Afterwards, take part in a great banquet dinner at the Terrace Bay Inn just near the tranquil waters of the Lake. On Sunday? You can even make another knife.
Dates for the Upcoming Grind-ins are as follows:
- March 17-19, 2017 (Pictures from past Grind-Ins)
- June 16-18, 2017 (Pictures from the past Grind-Ins)
- September 15-17, 2017
- March 16-18, 2018
- June 15-17, 2018
- September 14-16, 2018
Who can Attend? Anyone of any age! We recommend for a child to be at least nine years old before they make their first knife, with close supervision. This is an event for people who are interested in the skillful art of knife making. These blades, handle materials, and etches pictured here are only available during grind-in times. We do not stock this material all the time.
Traditionally we give away these Awards, both in Honor of who they are named and for a bit of Fun:
Richard C. Osbourn- Builders' Choice
Jerry Lamenka- Most Innovative
Top Kitchen Knife
Custom Knife Makers
Our Bark River Knife Grind Ins are something we have been doing for over 10 years. We normally host three a year in March, June and September.
Here is basically how they work:
The event starts on Friday during early evening at the plant. We have an informal Meet & Greet Social, and we serve a great dinner. During that time, you meet the Bark River crew, the Custom Knifemakers that come to help, our major distributors, some of our major suppliers, event sponsors, and the other Participants. The Friday Evening Event starts at about 6pm and lasts until ... well, we cannot supply liquor, but you can stop at the local stores and bring it. Also, a lot of the suppliers and sponsors bring some to share, so there is usually some liquor and cigars in play (hint-hint).
You have the full run of the plant and the archive collection to get ideas on what you want to build. You can make one of our models or literally design your own with one of the bars of steel we have for the event.
We start making knives on Saturday morning. You will have all the help you need to design and build the knife you want to make. We work on the shape of the knife and the handles in the morning, and you should have most of that finished by noon.
At 12 noon, we break for lunch, which we supply.
After lunch, you will get back to finishing your knife. You will have plenty of help grinding your blade and polishing it out. Everyone finishes their knives between 4:30 and 5pm.
Then, we take your knife, etch the Grind In logo, and photograph it. We keep it and set all of the day's knives on display for the banquet. The knives are viewed and voted on by the Participants as favorites in a couple of different categories. Jim, Jacquie, Lesley and Mike choose one to win in their category, and the Custom Knifemakers choose their favorites for their own categories.
Saturday evening, we serve a fantastic buffet dinner banquet. Your knife and sheath will be returned at the banquet. If you have flown into to the event, we will gladly ship your knife home for you.
You are welcome to return on Sunday morning to make another knife, however we wrap everything up by 2pm.
You will have a great weekend - lots of fun, lots of great people to meet, and you will definitely eat well.
The entire event, including meals, costs $300. This includes any knife you'd like to build with any Micarta or G-10 handle and standard pins. You may upgrade with Mosaic pins, fancy woods, fancy pine cone, etc. for an extra cost, if you'd like. Additional knives are $100 ea. plus any upgraded materials.
You do not pay anything in advance. Payment is expected on Saturday after you've made your choice of knife, handle materials, and any upgrades.
If you would like to join us, just call and let us know you are coming. Space is limited and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. We can give you all the info on local hotels and air travel options when you call.
Have a question about the Grind-Ins?
Send us a message here!