“Just because you use your eyes, doesn’t mean you see what’s actually there.”
– Murray Carter
Murray Carter (@CarterCutlery) is a Canadian craftsman like no other. At eighteen, he fell into an apprenticeship with a sixteenth generation Yoshimoto bladesmith that lasted six years — and was asked to take the position of number seventeen in the Sakemoto family tradition (perhaps the only Caucasian ever to have the honor and privilege of this position).
Murray continued forging blades in Japan for twelve more years, and in June 2001, he was awarded the rating of Mastersmith by the American Bladesmith Society, thus proving the highest degree of competency by Western standards. In 2005, he moved to the United States (as an Alien of Extraordinary Ability, no less) to start Carter Cutlery; he has continued forging blades in Oregon.
This is a fascinating episode on many levels, so please enjoy!
Want to hear another podcast about a unique art? — Listen to this episode with Marie Kondo. In it, we discuss how her practice of organization can improve your state of mind, Shintoism, specific details of her method, and much more (stream below or right-click here to download):
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Selected Links from the Episode
- Connect with Murray Carter:
- Portrait of a Bladesmith – Murray Carter
- Jeremiah Johnson
- The history of Chito-ryu karate.
- Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts
- 13 Secrets for Speaking Fluent Japanese by Giles Murray
- Japanese Verbs & Essentials of Grammar by Rita Lampkin
- Carter Cutlery and the History of the Yoshimoto Bladesmiths
- Mugicha (Barley Tea) Is the Flavor of Summer in Japan by Maki, Just Hungry
- Die Hard
- Everything You Need to Know About Japanese Honorifics by Maile Proctor, TakeLessons
- The Karate Kid
- Forge Welding POV with Murray Carter
- The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life by Timothy Ferriss
- Kill Bill
- Blacksmith Basics Episode 2 – How to Start a Coke Forge
- Murray’s bladesmithing courses
- Hire by Auditions, Not Resumes by Matt Mullenweg, Harvard Business Review
- What Is a Granton Edge on a Knife? by Mariette Mifflin, The Spruce
- Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
- Bladesmithing with Murray Carter: Modern Application of Traditional Techniques by Murray Carter
- 101 Knife Designs: Practical Knives for Daily Use by Murray Carter
- A fantasy realized. [08:56]
- How did Murray go from class clown to Yoshimoto bladesmith in Japan? [10:01]
- Our shared fascination with Japan. [12:55]
- An around-the-world indulgence in wanderlust interrupted by karate injuries and an introduction to the Japanese language. [14:54]
- The life-changing opportunities and appreciation for culture discovered by acquiring a new language. [23:59]
- A happenstance introduction to bladesmithing and Japanese hospitality. [31:47]
- On knocking out four years of academic course load in twelve months. [41:01]
- Apprenticing for Sakemoto Yasuyuki, traveling the country to learn everything about bladesmithing, and being asked to take over the family business. [51:55]
- What makes Japanese bladesmithing unique? How does it differ from western bladesmithing? [56:09]
- Murray explains the benefits of a laminate blade and the process of forge welding one from scratch. [59:38]
- What can Murray teach you in a week that he’s learned over eighteen years? [1:11:04]
- What attributes make a good bladesmith potentially great? [1:15:20]
- How does Murray test for aptitude in aspiring bladesmiths? [1:16:48]
- What is the function of the “dimples” found on the side of some Japanese style knives (and what does Murray have against them)? [1:19:34]
- Favorite Japanese proverbs. [1:23:42]
- Most gifted books. [1:27:30]
- What is Murray’s go-to gift knife? [1:30:08]
- What would Murray’s billboard say? [1:32:05]
- Parting thoughts and advice for people who get a new piece of cutlery. [1:34:26]
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