I'm guessing some personalities are better suited for it as well, like many professions. Heck, I bought all the stuff for making handles and gave up half way through my first one. To work on a project for days? Weeks? Unthinkable in my mind.
I envy you guys that can focus like that.
I don't know if this will make sense, but here goes.
To become a good knife maker one needs to be willing to learn from your failures.
Instead of looking for a way to blame the failures on something other than yourself, trying to figure out what went wrong.
Then what could be done differently to make things work out right.
and finally, the willingness to keep at a project until it is just right instead of good enough.
Devin, your comment about poverty is what strikes me most. It is an addiction that will keep you broke, but happy :)
This is a terrific thread and it has given me a lot of insight into your profession. It does occur to me that many of the qualities listed are a roadmap to success in whatever field one may choose. I distinguish knife making in that it incorporates so may aspects: design, metallurgy, aesthetics, wood crafts, metal crafts, salesmanship, business smarts, etc. My formal education was in the field of architecture. I took courses in civil engineering, arts, calculus, physics, geology, humanities, etc. etc. I can appreciate the diversity of knowledge and skill that it takes to make a knife. Of course loving what you do is the key. I've said this before, but I am very proud to be a part of this very special community.
This is a wonderful topic!! Devin, you`re 150% correct in my eyes, determination is EVERYTHING. I made my first knife from a rail spike, with a charcoal forge I built into the ground. I had one 2lb...very abused hammer, and a really crappy Harbor Freight anvil I bought off of Craigslist. It was finished with files and sandpaper. Everyone I knew thought I was crazy. All I knew was it was something I had to do.
I'm hoping to remedy that, possibly this fall...with a 500 mile or so ride north to this tiny little community in eastern Nevada :D.