Bobby Branton Photos | Digital Traditions

For over twenty years, Bobby Branton has honed a skill that is still practiced by very few people across the United States. He is a bladesmith who hand-forges blades for knives in the traditional way. Branton heats metal to a red-hot temperature and hammers it into a work of art.

A member of the prestigious American Bladesmith Society and the South Carolina Association of Knifemakers, Branton is known for making some of the finest hunting knives in America from his forge in Awendaw, South Carolina. His interest in knives began as a little boy and grew into a passion as an adult.

He sought the knowledge of other forgers and master blademakers throughout the country before starting his own shop. Besides turning out Damascus blades, folding knives, and custom hunting knives, Branton has a special interest in the fine art of throwing knives. He makes several knives designed specifically for this purpose.

Today, this lowcountry craftsman takes every opportunity to demonstrate his work at plantations and crafts fairs throughout the state in an effort to keep alive the dying art form of bladesmithing. Branton received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in 1996.