George Herron Photos | Digital Traditions

According to Art Carter of The Sporting Craftsmen, George Herron was widely regarded as the “Grandaddy of South Carolina knifemakers.” Herron certainly maintained his place as one of the standard bearers in traditional knifemaking circles. His ability to transform raw materials into gracefully designed, working tools was a testament to the high level of skill and long hours of practice that bladesmithing requires.

Herron was a full-time knifemaker since 1975 and was one of the founding members of the South Carolina Association of Knifemakers. In addition, he was one of the first members of the Knifemakers Guild, a national association of knifemakers formed in 1970. The organization is dedicated to promoting custom knives and ensuring that its members follow sound business practices. In 1981-82 Herron served as the president of the organization, which is known by its members as “The Guild.” Herron was inducted into the Knifemakers Hall of Fame in 1987.

When he was 14, Herron smithed his first knife out of an old file he found in his grandfather’s blacksmith shop in Martin, Georgia. Upon seeing the youngster’s interest, his grandfather proceeded to teach Herron the tradition of metalworking. Through a tremendous amount of reading and many hours watching his grandfather, the younger Herron slowly began to master the art of knifemaking. He picked up tips from other makers in the area and quickly discovered that there was a strong network of knifemakers actively practicing.

Herron spent the last thirty years assisting other knifemakers and promoting the craft in his local community and throughout South Carolina, taking great joy in teaching others the tradition. In Herron’s words, “I just go to work on my grinder and grind away everything that isn’t a knife.” Herron received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in 2003.