An Upstate Man Holds Onto Centuries-old Tradition -

An Upstate Man Holds Onto Centuries-old Tradition

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Tucked away in small, white shed in his the backyard is where Ross Tyser spends most of his time.

"Twenty-years and I am nowhere near where I need to be," says Tyser. "We are all constantly learning."

Tyser is one of only three knifesmiths in South Carolina.

He learned the art of making knives in the mid-90s from master bladesmith Jerry Fisk.

At the time, Tyser already had a grip on things as he was a lapidary. But Tyser soon realized he had other talents.

"It is not really hard," says Tyser, "it is frustrating at times."

Tyser eventually took classes at the School of Bladesmithing in Washington, Ark.

After that he severed ties with the corporate world and became a full-time knifesmith.

It can take Tyser anywhere from a day in the shop to several weeks to cut, sand and polish his custom-made pieces

"The first comment I hear back from them [customers] is that it's too pretty to use and that drives me nuts. All of my knives are made to perform a purpose. If it cannot perform what it is designed for, then I won't make it."

Tyser says he also wants to sharpen the skills of others. Currently, he's training two younger men in the art of knife making.

"I want to pass on what has been passed on to me," Tyser said.

While Tyser's apprentices are both very sharp, he says to survive in this business; a person has to stick with it. Making knives requires time, skill and patience.

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