This Michigan Man Forges Custom Knives from Mackinac Bridge Steel
From the fires of Ben Graber's workshop at his Michigan backwoods family farm come unmatched, custom blades. His hobby may be turning into a red-hot career.
After the daily grind, it's time to turn up the heat and hammer it out. Ben Graber took up blacksmithing as a hobby a few years ago and it turns out he's quite talented. Not satisfied with a cookie-cutter knife from some factory, Graber began making his own, then giving a few as gifts. Now, it's grown into legitimate side-hustle status as Graber Forge.
The hammer and anvil, the forge, and the tools needed to shape steel into something useful (and beautiful) are on the homestead in White Pigeon, Michigan, near the Indiana border. An avid hunter and devoted family man, Graber is dedicated to his craft, creating functional knives of all sizes.
The special project that brought this amateur blacksmith to my attention is these exceptional blades made from the original steel used in the 1957 Mackinac Bridge grating. I asked Ben about using such an iconic piece of Michigan as raw material.
It's an absolute honor and privilege to use a piece of American and Michigan History to build a knife. I walked across the bridge when I was a little kid and I've driven it many many times, so it holds an even more sentimental place in my heart as well. It also is a call back to old school America and American values. Hard-working men built the bridge and I strive to honor their hard work and sacrifice in every piece I use.
Ben does amazing work with more traditional materials at Graber Forge. You can see some of his work in the gallery below.