Macho Blades – The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 409)
Eddie “Macho” Diaz of Macho Blades joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on Episode 409 of The Knife Junkie Podcast.
Macho is a USAF Veteran but started his path to knifemaking in an unlikely place, World of Warcraft (WoW) where he was a Night Elf Warrior and Master Weaponsmith. After a while Macho felt he’d wasted time and money becoming someone in WoW and decided to become a warrior/weaponsmith in the real world.
He quit WoW and got into MMA and Kickboxing. He currently holds a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The discipline and courage Macho gained from training and competing in martial arts instilled values and grit that came in handy when building a knife making career.
The other half of Macho’s self-actualization was making knives, which he first learned from TuffThumbs, Gavco and Sugar Creek Forge on YouTube in 2014. Macho’s big leap in knife making came when he found his mentor, Alan Folts, who taught both technique and design.
He has landed production deals with Kizer Cutlery resulting in three licensed designs: Pryaxe, Butcher and Shark Tooth. Macho became a probationary member of the Knifmakers Guild at Blade Show 2022 and is now a full time knifemaker.
Be sure to support The Knife Junkie and get in on the perks of being a Patron — including early access to the podcast and exclusive bonus content. You also can support the Knife Junkie channel with your next knife purchase. Find our affiliate links at theknifejunkie.com/knives.Eddie 'Macho' Diaz, a USAF veteran and former World of Warcraft (WoW) Night Elf Warrior and Master Weaponsmith, is this week's featured guest on episode 409 of #theknifejunkie #podcast. Click To Tweet
Macho Blades - The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 409)
The Knife Junkie Podcast is the place for knife newbies and knife junkies to learn about knives and knife collecting. Twice per week Bob DeMarco talks knives. Call the Listener Line at 724-466-4487; Visit https://theknifejunkie.com.
©2023, Bob DeMarco
The Knife Junkie Podcast
Welcome to The Knife Junkie podcast, your weekly dose of knife news and information about knives and knife collecting. Here's your host, Bob the Knife Junkie. DeMarco.
Bob DeMarco [00:00:17]:
Welcome to the Knife Junkie Podcast. I'm your host, Bob DeMarco. On this edition of the show, I'm speaking with Eddie Macho Diaz of Macho Blades. I first heard of Macho a couple of years back when three of his very unique designs were licensed by Kaiser Knives, the Shark Tooth, the Butcher, and the Pryax. Since the release of those knives, and a very special mentorship with a knife legend and a focus on his custom work has resulted in a series of dazzling fixed blades that straddle the line between menacing tactical and art knife. Macho Blades also has a very interesting inspirational origin story, and I can't wait to get into it. But first, be sure to, like, comment, subscribe, hit the notification bell, and share the show, if you would. And also download it to your favorite podcast app so you can listen to it if you don't finish it right here in this sitting. And as always, if you'd like to help support the show, you can do so on Patreon. The quickest way to do that is to head over to theknifejunkie.com patreon. Again, that's theknifejunkie.com patreon.
Do you like the sound of the alphanumeric combinations? M 392, four P and 20 CV, but bristle at HCR, 13 MOV and A-U-S eight? You are a knife junkie. Probably worse.
Bob DeMarco [00:01:33]:
Hey, Macho. Welcome to the show, sir.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:01:36]:
Hey, what's up, Bob?
Bob DeMarco [00:01:37]:
It's good to have you here. Good to have you here. I introduce you as Eddie Macho Diaz, but like some people, I have a very good friend who goes by his nickname almost exclusively, and I know that that's the case with you.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:01:52]:
Yeah. So, like close friends and family growing up, it was always Macho, Macho, Macho. So I just stuck with it. My grandfather gave me that name as a kid, and it's always just been super special and just stuck with me.
Bob DeMarco [00:02:07]:
That's cool. A, you could definitely have A, worse nickname, and B, a theme that is recurring on this show over and over and over again is that a lot of people get their first knives from their grandfather. And it's kind of cool that you got your name and the name of your knife company from your grandfather. Very cool.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:02:28]:
Yes. He was the patriarch of the family. He was like Superman in my eyes. Anything with him? With me. And every time I called him, he'd pick up from macho man. The macho man. So I have all those memories of my grandfather, and that's why I stuck with it.
Bob DeMarco [00:02:45]:
Yeah, that's cool. So I mentioned up front that you have a pretty interesting origin story as a knife maker, but also as a self actualized man. I found it to be pretty interesting. Tell us a little bit how you got into starting Macho Blades.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:03:03]:
Right? Yeah. So I was really heavy into video games, world of Warcraft being the main one. And always in those type of video games, I was always a blacksmith warrior, right? And I spent so much time all the guys who played those games know what I'm talking about? You spent time raiding, getting up your Dragon kill points, and an expansion had came out. The first piece of armor that dropped was better than this armor that I had spent literally six to eight months to try to get. And it just hit me like, all right, this is all just for money. What am I doing? What was all that time? I spent all this time making a fictional character better when I could have spent that time working on myself. And that kind of started a journey from there. I went into MMA. I ended up getting MMA fights, training moitai, training, Brazilian jiu jitsu training, wrestling. And then after my MMA, after MMA, I went into knife making. Started watching guys like tough thumbs like Gavco, like Sugar Creek Forge and started looking at them. And I was like, Man, I think I could do this. And the really funny story is, one of the knives I had and I had just bought it at I think it was Lowe's, was a minimalist. And I just thought, man, this thing's so small. Look at this little thing. I can make something like that. Turns out small knives are harder than big knives to make. But the funny thing was, that first knife I had put it into a Facebook group, a Florida knife makers group, not knowing Alan was in that group. And I said in that group, hey, I just made this knife. I modeled it after the Alan Folks minimalist. Let me know what you think. Lo and behold, Alan comments on it. And he's like, hey, are you local in Florida? Come by the shop sometime. And I found my mentor, like, right there, just from a Facebook post. And he showed me so many things. He's like, on another level, I've been to many other knife maker shops. I've seen many other knife makers work. This guy like a grind on a knife. For example. Take me an hour and a half to do I've watched him do a grind that looks better than that grind in five minutes.
Bob DeMarco [00:05:25]:
Okay, wait, we'll get to Alan Foltz in a minute.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:05:29]:
Bob DeMarco [00:05:30]:
I think we all own an Alan Fultz or two, and man, he has been we'll talk about that. The design of the minimalist is nothing short of brilliant, but we'll get to that. Just all the hands, it can fit in. But again, so I think it's really interesting that you went from someone who was working really hard and spending a lot of money in time. I don't know about how much money, but obviously a lot of time in building up a fictional character. And then with the release of a new edition of that same game, all of your time and effort was for naught, and you literally had to start over again in the real world. When you work hard to develop yourself like that, only the most catastrophic things put you back to zero. Heaven forbid. So I think it's very interesting that you saw that. Wow, I could have been spending those months on learning chokeholds and ice making.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:06:32]:
Yeah. And it had come around the time, too, that I I started to realize, like, in my professional life. So by day, I'm a network security engineer, right. I took up Firewalls, do, all the configuration, and I'm into It world. And I realized anything I spent my time on, I do get better in. I have a niche, I can pick things up quickly. And whatever I spend my time on, I know I can get better at. And that realization and then the other side of that was like, man, I wonder how good I could actually get at knife making, not just playing one. Like, how good can I get? Can I become a master one day? And yeah, that just started off the journey.
Bob DeMarco [00:07:16]:
Was your interest in weapons and knives specifically, was that cultivated by the gaming, or was that something that was always in you?
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:07:25]:
Oh, yeah, that's always like most kids, right? He Man, Conan, they always seem to have a weapon, some type of legendary weapon, right. Even sword in the stone, like, all these different things. And it was always so interesting to me, too, because it was almost like the maker gave a part of his soul and this one specific special time and came up with this weapon. And I thought that was so interesting just to see that in lore and mythology as you're watching movies and growing up. So I was always into knives and drawing knives like any little boy, right?
Bob DeMarco [00:08:06]:
Yeah. Well, that's not something you should ever lose. And obviously you've turned your life into it, which is awesome. But I still doodle in every margin. I'm drawing knives. But you talk about that sort of instilling your soul into a knife you're making it's kind of like you see that at the beginning of Conan the Barbarian mention movie you mentioned, which was hugely formative for me. I just always love that movie, the first one. And in the beginning, yes, they didn't really cast swords like that, but that whole scene with the father making that sword that ends up being the sword that he cuts off Tulsa Doom's head with me, there's a real story that goes into that blade in the World of Warcraft, and you're talking to it. I'm not even a noob, never played it. And it's not part of my world. In that world, are the weapons the same way? Are they instilled with powers and souls?
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:09:09]:
Yeah, well, that was one of the things. So in the game, you could be a blacksmith, right, which was general. You can make swords and armor, but once you got to a certain level, you had to choose a path. You had to choose the path of the weaponsmith or the armor. Smith and to do that, you had to go on this crazy quest, multiple continents, finding mentors, finding special materials. So it was kind of like that.
Bob DeMarco [00:09:35]:
Okay, by profession, your day job, you work, as you said, in It. Security, real virtual kind of stuff. And then your passion and your business is something that's very tangible, very real world. What's that switch like going from? I mean, on a daily basis, but also, I know now you're working as a full time knife maker, and maybe in addition to another full time career, what is it like throwing that switch? And what was it like going how did you have the physical skills to do knife making?
Edie "Macho" Diaz [00:10:13]:
Yeah, this was just repetition, like practice. That was one of the things Alan taught me. He was like the first thing he did with that first knife I brought over there. He said, you did really good. What was the equipment you use to make this? I told him the equipment, and he said, your equipment is holding you back, not your skills. I see you have some skills for this. He's like, get some good equipment. Make it happen. And I was like, all right. I took out my 401. I bought a real knife maker. Shout out to Knaumont Metalwork. I bought my first official knife maker, started racking up all these tools, and sure enough, I started seeing my practicing on that good equipment, my skills getting better.
Bob DeMarco [00:10:59]:
With the equipment you had before, the kind of just regular stuff you might have in your garage, going from the old grinder to the new grinder, what was the difference?
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:11:11]:
Oh, it's like night and day. So the first grinder was a one by 30 from Harbor Free. That was like $40, right? No, variable speed. It's one speed. It's wobbly not that powerful. It was something else. And then to go from that to a variable speed knife with multiple I had a flat platinum. I had an eight inch wheel, 14 inch wheel. So just way more options and way more things you can do with the right tools. Again, it was night and day for things as simple as variable speed, right. Here's something you learned along the way. While you want the high speed for hawking off material, once you start getting up in grit, 400, 600, you actually want to slow that thing way down. Right. And you can't do that on those cheaper grinders. And once you do that, you start to see that nice finish come across. So it was just one of those things. And to your other point, like you said, my day job was all virtual, all the time. And to go to this, it did it gave me a different sense of joy. Right. If you're a firewall engineer or any kind of it work. You get called when things are broken. It's like a no thankful job. Like, hey, hey, it's broken. Fix it. And after you fix it, nothing again.
Bob DeMarco [00:12:29]:
They're like, get out of my office.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:12:31]:
Get out of here. Make sure it doesn't break again. And with the knife making, it was different, right. I went to Blade Show, and I saw all these different artisans and craftsmen from all over the world come down. I saw the first time, like a kid, picked up one of my knives and was like, this is the coolest thing, dad, dad, look, I want it. Blah, blah. I mean, I was, like, cooked. It was like one of my first sales. I was like, all right, I got to get better. Being able to inspire and I don't know, bring joy and even to build something that I know is useful to somebody else, and that's going to be here long after I'm gone, I think that's really cool.
Bob DeMarco [00:13:11]:
That's the thing I hear a lot of knife makers talk about is the legacy of each piece they make, knowing what it's made out of and how durable those materials are. And then you add in your own build and the faith you put in your own build, you know that that knife is going to be kicking it somewhere for way longer than any of us can keep track with it, keep up with it. I think that's a really cool thought, putting that out into the world.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:13:38]:
Yeah. And it's just that little bit of legacy and like, an honest pursuit. I'm legitimately trying to be the best knife maker I can be. I'm sacrificing, you know, time, like you said, putting blood, sweat, and tears into these things, probably sacrificing some of my health as well. Right. A lot of these handle materials, this metal, it's not good for you, even with masks on and stuff. Right. I got a beard, so that can't steal all the time. But for me, it's worth it. Like being able to have that have that legacy, put all my effort into one thing and see how far I can take it.
Bob DeMarco [00:14:21]:
And you're part of a continuum that goes back to the beginning of civilization, or before the beginning of civilization, when we were monkeys making tools, right?
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:14:31]:
Yeah. They say the knife was one of the first tools. Right. There's something ancient there, right. Our first tool. And that's why I've always been I was scared of knives. Right. Your first knife, you get cut, now you're scared, and then so there's always been this thing with that, but I don't know. It's like nothing else, and that's why I enjoy doing it. And it's also a craft that you can I have a bunch of really cool friends that I met in the knife making community, where we all make each other better. It's like a whole different community you enter, and it's been pretty awesome so far.
Bob DeMarco [00:15:09]:
So you work on the oldest tool, you do your modern interpretation of what is the oldest tool, and for your period of time working in the US. Air Force, you were fixing one of our newest tools, f 16 fighting Falcon. Is that what it's called? The fighting falcon.
Edie "Macho" Diaz [00:15:28]:
Yeah, actually, the F 16 was made in the 70s, but it's still a great air to ground jet. The new one that replaced it, I believe, is the F 35. But, yeah, if you look at those things and what they're capable still of, the F 16 is an amazing fighter jet.
Bob DeMarco [00:15:49]:
So how do you think working on F 16s fed your knife making?
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:15:55]:
Man, that fed my knife making. It fed my it. Job, right? Like, we learned how to troubleshoot a $20 million jet with somebody's life at stake. Everything's highly critical. Missions, you got to make sure everything's good. And the troubleshooting technique that they showed me, it's just how to solve problems. And in knife making, that's all it really is, right? You start making a knife, you run into one problem, you're like, all right, how do I solve this problem? And I think it's helped me in that way.
Bob DeMarco [00:16:30]:
So let's talk about your license designs with Kaiser. Where did they fall? Okay, so you meet Alan Fultz. How does the timing work here? You get this Kaiser deal with the shark tooth. I know we all remember the shark tooth and the butcher as well. The one that I couldn't remember was the pry axe, but I remember when that came out because we talked about it on our Wednesday show. And, yeah, it was like one of the first pry tools where I thought, that's kind of cool because I just never have to pry much, so it wasn't on my radar. So how did you get involved with Kaiser as a new maker?
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:17:09]:
Right? So actually, I got the Kaiser deal after meeting Alan. It was probably two or three years after meeting Alan again, helping me refine those skills. One of the things Alan had told me was because I've been to blades show since, like, 2015, 2014, I've been going to blades show every year right next to Alan's table. The first year I went, I ended up setting up my table right before everybody came, and it was just madness. And he was like, don't do that. Get here early, set up your table, because there's knife companies, other vendors around looking at maker stuff. He's like, that's how I got my deal. People saw my stuff. You want to be here early, you want to set everything up and let those different vendors see your stuff. And sure enough, the next year, I set up one of the guys, david's Son from Kaiser. At the time, he was walking around and the saw my butcher, and he was like, hey, I really like this. And the Butcher and the Priax, he signed them right there. He said, hey, I want to work with you on these. Would you be willing to? And I said, yeah. So he sent over paperwork, and we started that process. And then the shark tooth came after. That was another design. And then David hit me up and was like, hey, I just saw this on Instagram. We want this, too. Okay. But yeah, again, it was back to that advice, and it was at Blade Show. So all you young knife makers out there yeah, if you're at Blade Show and you're presenting, get there early, way before anybody's coming in. Set up and meet and greet. Rub elbows with everybody.
Bob DeMarco [00:18:50]:
That's the greatest part about blades shows, is the people. It's the big cliche, but it's true. And for a knife maker, it's absolutely critical, especially that first day or the day before. During setup, during the end of setup, people are milling around, they're checking out each other's work. Everyone's kind of relaxed at that point. And don't forget, there are a lot of heavy hitters in the room who do a lot of licensing. The butcher is cool. You can almost tell when that's about three years old at this point, right? Or two years old.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:19:23]:
Yeah, it's a few years old now. That was the first one I did with them.
Bob DeMarco [00:19:27]:
It came at a perfect time because the cleaver trend was cresting, and people's love of cleavers was really at the fore in both folders. And then Kaiser starts moving into more fixed blades, which I love seeing. I love fixed blades as well. And so to see that come out is cool. And it's a very dramatic it looks like something almost well, tell us about the design inspiration of the Butcher, and if you have one close.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:19:58]:
Yeah, I got one show I was working on here. I will show you some different stages. Yes, this is one I'm working on. You can see I just did all the carving to it. Still a plain blade. Here goes one I finished up. Yeah. So just like you said, it was right around that cleaver craze. I wanted to figure out how I do my own cleaver. Going back to Allen's stuff, my favorite part about Allen's knives is the comfort, the grip. They're just so comfortable. And so I wanted to try to come up with a nice, small, comfortable cleaver design. And this one, it's evolved a little bit over the years. I've refined it, but this is what popped out.
Bob DeMarco [00:20:45]:
That is cool. I love how the blades continues under the forefinger and halfway under the bird finger, whatever that's called. Middle finger. I like that because it's an extension of the whole blade across those two fingers. And yet it doesn't make it too long, because that's the thing with everyday carry fixed blade knives for me, they have to fall within a certain overall length for me to carry. I carry one every day, but I tend to carry the smaller ones more. And the smaller you can go with a more cutting edge like that. That's pretty cool.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:21:22]:
And that was another thing, was kind of play on my name, right? Macho people here like macho blades. They would think some giant knife. And I was coming out with all these small like, this is one of my Thunderbird blanks, small little knives. Here goes a shark tooth blank.
Bob DeMarco [00:21:37]:
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:21:38]:
And, yeah, it was just a play on the name.
Bob DeMarco [00:21:41]:
So the thunderbird which you held up, is really I got to say that until I just saw the predator that you just put up, that was my favorite. But before we get to that in particular, you mentioned carving. You held up one of the butchers at a post carving phase. Hold that up again, if you would, and tell us what you're talking about when you're talking about carving.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:22:06]:
Right. So one of the things that I started playing with and started kind of getting my style on the knives and my design style was what to do with all the flat plate space, right? You grind these bevels, and then what do you do with all this flat space? And so these carvings, this is me with a dremel tool and a cutoff wheel and actually carve these lines all into the blade here. You can see the onto the flat just to give the flat or the relief area something else. I saw the knives, it was just blank right there. And me, I like drawing on everything, like you said, on every piece of paper, right? So it was like every edge of the paper is filled with my drawing. And that's what I was doing. I was filling that blank area in. And this took a while to get doing it with a dremel. A lot of people think I use a mill to do this stuff, but I don't. This is all by hand with the dremel. A lot of mess ups, cursing and screaming at the top of my leg in the shop. But I've gotten pretty steady with it now, so I could do things like that carving, like that predator you saw today. But yes. See all this carving right here? The line?
Bob DeMarco [00:23:21]:
Yes. If you can't really see it, it looks like there's an acid wash or a stone wash on the flat and then not on the flat, on the bevel. And then the flat is satin and the delineating line is carved out. That knife, you got to hold that back up. I mean, that is really wicked. Is this a new one? Is this the first of a series or what?
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:23:50]:
Yeah. So going back to my love of knives, one of my favorite movies was the first Predator, right. And I believe it was Tommy when he went to at the end there, fight Against Predator. Billy and he took that knife across his chest. He had that giant knife. I thought it was one of the coolest knives. I was like, oh, what is that thing? And so that's why I named this one the Predator. Just playing off that name, playing off things, I like like that and then actually put the Predator symbol right there where first alien kill, you get a nice predator symbol.
Bob DeMarco [00:24:26]:
That is so cool. I love that knife, man. I think you need to make multiples of that. But that's just me. That's the kind of knife I love, man.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:24:35]:
Yeah. And this is like my first fighter trying different things. I've never done hidden tang before, so I always stood away from fighters because they have these really cool bolsters and I didn't really know how it would look on a full tang knife because that's kind of what I do or what I know. And I just like the way this came out. This one came out pretty damn good. And at some point I will be going into hidden tang. But I think this one came out pretty cool.
Bob DeMarco [00:25:05]:
I think people do not expect a hidden tang. I think a lot of people love the surety of a full tang. And to me, if it looks like a hidden tang like yours does, but is full tang, that's even better. So on that knife, I think you have some of this. And on a number of the thunderbirds I've seen, it's not just line, it's not just incising lines into the surface. It looks like you're doing some carving or some jigging. What's going on there?
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:25:32]:
Yeah, so that's with the same exact cutting tool on the dremel. So basically I cut out that line on the flat and then very carefully, I don't know if you're going to be able to pick this up. You can kind of see them dancing in the light. That little yes. So that is just very carefully, I do rows of just barely touching it with that cut off wheel. And then after that, because what actually started happening, I did that and I left that finish and it would rust right away because it was kind of like a rough finish from that cutting wheel. So then I put lit and different polishes and really polished that area after I do the cuts. And that's why it kind of shines like that and it's like a high polish. So it's just a process I was playing with.
Bob DeMarco [00:26:20]:
You don't see too much of this because it seems like it's time consuming and it seems like there's a lot in the balance. You could sneeze with that dremel in your hand and mess up an entire blank. What is it that moves you about this that gets you to it's kind of a creative risk? Is that the thrill?
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:26:43]:
Yeah, I think so. It's like that 1ft in order, 1ft in chaos. And that's like two opposing forces right. That's how you get something very accurate. And like you said, it keeps it exciting. It also set me apart, I think, right. Obtaining that skill, being able to do those type of things and really trying to cultivate my style, trying to find my niche and my style. Because as you know, there's a bunch of knife makers that make really awesome knives and just trying to get above that noise floor and show people my stuff.
Bob DeMarco [00:27:18]:
To me, the idea of it not being done with a mill and being done with these marks, it's like mark making in art. They're being made by hand. And I actually have not picked up your work and checked it out in person yet, but I will in a couple of months, God willing. But I would imagine that being able to see that it's done by hand is another part of why people collect your knives, because you're seeing the maker's hand there. I mean, you could pick up any number of custom knives and not really see the maker's hand, so to speak.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:27:55]:
Yeah, CNCs are great. I have a mill, a manual mill, and I plan on doing a bunch of stuff with that. But there is something about doing things by hand, right. Getting that feel. It's not going to be perfect. Like a CNC will do it perfect, but that kind of loses the soul of it a little bit. I feel too, right there's. Happy accidents sometimes that happen that you go, wow, that's actually better than I thought. I'm going to do it this way from now on. So there's things you find when you go that route.
Bob DeMarco [00:28:26]:
So the shark tooth, we just passed one and I'm sure we'll see another one here shortly. But the shark's tooth is an interesting one to me because when I first saw it, I was like, oh, that's cute. It's a character. It kind of reminds me of some other what is it? Oh, like some bottle openers. Like Vox made a snail bottle opener. You see, throughout the knife world, animals emulated through blade design. And at first it struck me as cute, and then I saw it in your grip or someone else's grip, and I thought, wait a second, this is something else too. This is more like the little kitty cat brass knuckles I got from my daughters.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:29:12]:
Yeah, exactly. So it was just one of those things where you can pull this out and nobody's going to freak out. They're like, oh, that's a cute knife. So it's a conversation starter. It's not going to alarm anybody who's freaking out that you have a knife. But actually, this can serve you very well in a fight. Even different things, different grips we have here, the reverse grip, very comfortable grip. And yeah, it can do a lot of damage in the right hand.
Bob DeMarco [00:29:46]:
Yeah, it's like a sneaky weapon. You sort of snuck it in under the radar so that. Seems like a great sort of all purpose knife to give someone, because if they're not knife people, they're not going to be freaked out. But if the are knife people or just whatever, they're in any sort of a pinch, who knows? That could help. And how humiliating to get shanked by a cute knife.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:30:13]:
Bob DeMarco [00:30:14]:
Yeah, baby shark.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:30:16]:
And the cool thing was, right, so I started selling these and the price point was $300, right? Which for a custom knife, I didn't think was crazy. But I was running into a lot of people like, I love that knife. I wish I could afford it. And that was the great thing about the Kaiser deal, right. You can get this knife for $50. Here goes. One of the Kaisers unidirectional carbon fiber black stonewash. $50.
Bob DeMarco [00:30:45]:
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:30:48]:
One of the other cool things with Kaiser that they've allowed me to do is with my designs, get exclusives from my website. So like for the Sharp, I did this one with the where we did marble, carbon fiber, titanium screws and liners. You can see here I have them anodized teal. And they're numbered, right? So there was like a limited edition. So Kaiser has been pretty awesome to work with. They allow me to do these exclusives and then get these out to as many people as possible at an affordable price.
Bob DeMarco [00:31:21]:
Yeah, that definitely has been a revolution. The Kaisers the best techs and riats, et cetera, et cetera, who've been these Chinese manufacturers who are just creating amazing work and making it possible for people. There might be a lot of people out there who can afford a macho knife, macho blade, or all of them, but they're probably not collecting a whole bunch of other stuff too. So if you're someone who has a wide ranging eye for knives, those companies make it great because you can get your feet wet with a designer and then have the work from a whole bunch of different designers. But you could really focus, I'm going to start getting macho blades.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:32:06]:
Bob DeMarco [00:32:07]:
From Macho himself. But it's that exposure that's really important.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:32:12]:
Exactly. Yeah. And like I said, it was one of those things that it just got my name out there and started people asking and people looking into my designs more. And it really helped. And I feel like I got lucky, right. Because I got that deal, I was only making knives maybe four or five years, something like that. So it was one of those things where it just came out of nowhere and I was like, whoa. And it's been awesome. Now with the I don't have the folder here. Now I did that, but now I'm on the rampage to try to get another deal somewhere else, right. Continue my design work. Right after the butcher the shark to the kayak, I feel like I kind of just started making those and there wasn't enough time to try things. Right. I just started. All right, now you got to make a bunch of butchers, and now you got sharks. So this past year, I've really been like you saw with the Predator with it was one of my other bigger models. This is the Huntsman, but trying some bigger knives.
Bob DeMarco [00:33:19]:
That's beautiful. Yeah, that is a really nice looking knife. The Huntsman and I noticed, well, we're seeing all the same sculpting that intaglio sculpting, and we're seeing the beautiful handles and handle work. That's what I was saying in my intro. And I was saying they're dazzling, but still menacing, because the have an aspect of that design with you.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:33:45]:
Oh, go ahead.
Bob DeMarco [00:33:46]:
No, I was going to ask you something else. Finish what you're going to say.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:33:50]:
I was going to say you actually brought something up that I wanted to say. That's actually kind of like, exactly what I'm trying to do. You said they kind of look like art knives, but then they're menacing, and that's what I wanted. Once I found art knives and I saw some of these masters who just make beautiful, beautiful pieces, I thought I would look at them and go, I would love to get that knife, but I would never use it. I wouldn't want to mess it up. It's, like, so beautiful. So with my designs, I was like, I want to make art knives that you could use. Right. The price isn't so crazy. I'm not charging thousands of dollars. Good steels, good heat treatment, fun design, art design that can actually be useful and that you could beat up and do everything to. So that's, like, one of my design goals.
Bob DeMarco [00:34:45]:
So I want to ask you about the Thunderbird. You were holding up a blank of it. I'm not sure if you have a finished version, but this knife, to me, is so up my alley. It's kind of a sub hilt, and it is a really nice worn cliff, and it's a very broad blade. So something tells me very slicy. Tell me about the birth of this knife and its popularity. I'm presuming it's a pretty popular one of your models.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:35:16]:
Yeah. So I actually just did these first Thunderbirds that you're seeing. These are the first thunderbirds I made. I think I've only made about seven or eight of them so far.
Bob DeMarco [00:35:24]:
And you're doing a run of 20, is that right?
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:35:27]:
Yes. And then for Blades show coming up here, the design came from a couple of different things. Blade Show last year, I didn't have the best show. I was still doing my thing, but I still felt like I need something else, something new again. I hadn't been trying all this stuff, and Alan had told me, he said, well, you just need to get one model, focus on it, refine it as much as you can, and blow it out next year. Get people excited for it. And so that's what we did. I started drawing stuff up a lot of the inspiration came from different things. Like one of them for sure was Jose de Braga, if you know who that is. He's an old school, old school knife maker. I only heard of him through Allen. Right? So it was actually one of Alan's favorite knife makers. And I was like, who are you talking about? And then he showed me this little slip joint folder that he had from Jose de Braga. And it was probably the coolest knife I've ever seen. And Jose de Braga was actually a jeweler before he was a knife maker. So he has all these little details everywhere throughout the knife. I mean, like on the Thunderbird, you see I have that extended finger soil. Part of that was looking at the Jose de Braga folders, his folders. You could sit on the table and they would stand like this because their finger guard was out. And I thought that was so cool. It looked like a plane ready to fly off or something. So yeah, I started riffing off of that again, the small EDC design, right? I want something that you'll use every day that's small enough. Super tough. The worn cliff blade shape came for a few reasons. One, just ease of use and grinding, right? So I'm grinding a straight bevel, right? So I wanted to practice my grinding because like I told you, I've seen Alan grind something in five minutes and it's done. And me, it takes 2 hours. So I'm like, how do you get that good? You just got to put the time in. So I was like, all right, I'm just getting a whole bunch of these water jetted and I'm just going to be at that grinder all day. So they hit so many different roles for me. The other good thing about the warm cliff blades shape is if you look at even self defense knives, if you look at any martial blade designs, this goes back to this warm cliff. The worn clip, if you just look it up, like the way it cuts, how deep it penetrates, when it penetrates, it pops back out because of the way the blades is shaped. So you can look at all these different things as far as self defense goes as well. And the worn cliff is a great blade shape. So I kind of put all those things together and started having fun with it. And I think I got something special. I liked every single one of them that's come out. And I have some really cool ideas, too, for the next couple of months.
Bob DeMarco [00:38:25]:
Yeah, it seems like in the current era of just looking from afar, it seems to be a signature knife for you, just maybe, because I've seen the most of those than anything else. And they seem fully actualized. They seem fully like, you know exactly what each one of those is all about. And I love the Warncliffe blade. One of my favorites. I love tactical and self defense knives and implements. And I'm fully on board with how effective Warren cliffs are. Just simply due to the fact that on a swipe or a slash, which is what I'm most likely to do, you don't have the point glancing away or shying away from the material. It's digging ever deeper, but at the same time, it's a very useful blade shape. I was just doing a project with my daughter and cutting out this is all the time cutting out paper things to put on the poster that's going to school, set it with scissors and having it all janky, I'm teaching her how to use a warm cliff because it's kind of like a nice, exacto blade hanging around.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:39:37]:
Exactly. That's exactly what it is. It's like a giant razor blade. And these thunderbirds, I do a hollow grind on them. So I do a 14 inch wheel hollow grind. And they're basically razors. They're so sharp. And that harpoon. So I do an aggressive harpoon shape, too. So really, at the end, the geometry is actually like a diamond punch. It's got the grind on four sides coming to that one point.
Bob DeMarco [00:40:05]:
I love it. I'm sold. And I love the finger groove is so extreme on the tail end that it is like a sub hilt. And I love that for you were talking about extraction. I love that for that purpose. Not that I'm getting in knife duels and have actually needed it, but I like knowing it's there. So let's talk about Alan folds. I didn't mean to keep pushing him off, but I wanted to find out a little bit more about you before talking about him. He's a legend. I've owned many and gifted many minimalists and a spew here and there. And those are just the knives of his that are within reach for me. But, man, he nailed it with the minimalist. I have put that in the hands of I have medium sized hands. My daughters, who have small hands, fits them great. Guys I work with who are immense fits their hands great. He just hit a magical mean with that.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:41:10]:
Yeah, I mean, just like you. The first time I held one of those minimalists, I said, Whoa, this thing looks funky. At first, I thought they were ugly. I said, what's this little ugly knife? Let me check it out. And it just fit like a glove. And I was like, I like this. I don't know if you remember Nut and fancy back in the day, sure. But he would say, there's first kind of cool and second kind of cool. And that one definitely has the first kind of cool. It's very utilitarian. When you feel it right away, it's super light. It can fit anywhere. It just hits so many of that first kind of cool. And then they started growing on me, and I started collecting them myself. I got a couple of little folds.
Bob DeMarco [00:41:49]:
Yeah, I had that one for a short time, and then I gifted it to someone who I thought needed it, unfortunately. Oh, that's a sweet one. I haven't gotten that one yet.
Edie "Macho" Diaz [00:41:59]:
Oh, yeah. This is the katanomalist, and he actually has a homo on there.
Bob DeMarco [00:42:06]:
So this is obviously a custom or one of his yes.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:42:09]:
Yeah, this is a custom, and so is this. This is actually a custom as well.
Bob DeMarco [00:42:12]:
The caravan. So he invited you over after you posted a shot of a knife you were working on that was kind of inspired by it. He invites you over and then kind of takes you under his wing. Right? I mean, how did that happen?
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:42:30]:
Yeah, I went over there and was like, yeah, just started asking so many questions, like, oh, man, that's so awesome. What about this? This is what I'm working on. What should I do here? And just really trying to soak up the knowledge. And anybody who's talked to Alan knows he just gives that knowledge freely. I had actually tried to call a bunch of different knife makers here in Florida to just see if I could come over their shop or something. Right. I was trying to learn. I was trying to find something. And all those guys I reached out to, I had people just tell me straight up, no, or like, no, I don't do that. Allen invited me right in right away. Started just giving off the knowledge free. I mean, it would have took me years of messing up and figuring stuff out to get to where I'm at, and that's just off stuff he showed me, and I was like, whoa. Just different processes. He had even stuff simple, like, you can see this butcher that I'm working on. You see those brass inserts?
Bob DeMarco [00:43:28]:
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:43:29]:
So that's one of his techniques that he showed me. Right. I was trying to figure out I was just doing pinning the knives, and I was using, like, pivot barrels. He's like, why are you doing that? That's so much money. He's like, you just knock some brass in the hole, sand it, flat drill and tap the brass. You have your own insert, and it costs you, like, $0.05.
Bob DeMarco [00:43:47]:
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:43:48]:
Okay, let me give that a shot. And now that's how I do all my knives. Just little things like that. And with any master, right. He had been doing it I think he's been doing it 25 years or something like that. Just so many years of making processes better. I was able to soak in all that knowledge and, yeah, he's been great. A great teacher, great mentor, great friend.
Bob DeMarco [00:44:16]:
Man, you could not have asked for a better response. You reach out to a bunch of people that don't hear anything back, and you hear back from Alan Bolt. It's kind of like, makes the seeking worthwhile. I watched the video of you in his shop this afternoon, and, man, his shop looks beautiful. Really well organized, man. I admire people who always keep their stuff. I can organize and then it's a downhill slope until I organize the next time. You know what I mean?
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:44:50]:
I'm with you.
Bob DeMarco [00:44:52]:
He's one of these guys whose shop looks like an operating room or something like that. What kind of things? I know he's taught you techniques and things, but in terms of design and things that maybe might be on the more philosophical side of knife making. What kind of things has he taught you there?
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:45:12]:
Design a bunch of things. And he's always reminded me, I'll send him a new drawing, he's like, oh, those lines are meeting. In a good design, you don't want lines meeting. People's eyes are going to go there. Try this. Or maybe think of it this way. So just on just basic design work, he's helped me a bunch just on that. And as far as like, the philosophical stuff and really teaching me how I'm going to become better, right? What I should do to become better, seeing those different things, even that the does. There's a lot of stuff he teaches me just by doing it. And I'm watching him, what he's doing, how his processes are, and then his shop, like you said, every time I go to a shop, it's a new process. I make jokes with him all the time. I'm like, so what revision are we on for Allen's shop rules? Like revision 34. This new process, he's always refining his processes, always adding new things, always upgrading. I mean, last time I went to a shop, he was 3D printing covers for his drill presses on the bottom so that when he's drilling holes, the material doesn't fall under his drill press. And then on that piece, little individual parts for all his different drill bits. You know, me, I would just throw the drill bits in the drawer and that's it. He's just on another level of efficiency in his shop too. Like seeing like the back wall here, the top corner, he'll put like PVC pipe up there, and all his long brass rods he puts in there. So it's like up and away and he knows exactly where it's at. I've never seen anybody else build their shop or have such an efficient shop like that. It's been pretty interesting to watch and to learn from them.
Bob DeMarco [00:46:59]:
So what aspect of how he is as a knife maker are you assimilating? I guess it's not the organization part.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:47:12]:
No, definitely not. There's so many ways where me and him are totally different, but that's the great part. So there's a bunch of the stuff in the nice design. One of the things that I noticed, again, is that first kind of cool in his designs, right? They're very ergonomic, they're very utilitarian, they're very purpose driven. I'm trying to take that aspect and then mix it with my own stuff, where my stuff has been more like funny, funky knives. I like funky stuff, but I still try to like my handles. They got to feel a certain way. I want them to melt into your hand. I want it to have that ergonomic shape, the blade shape, how thin I grind my bevels, right? I usually grind my bevels up to about 10,000 of an inch. And again, that's something Allen told me. I remember when I was first having troubles like sharpening, and I'm like, man, these won't sharpen. He's like, how thin are you grinding the bevels? And I was like, Till they look pretty thin. I don't know. I don't measure that. And he's like, you got to measure that and make sure it's even all the way across. And try to get to around 10,000 to 15,000 at the edge. And I'm like, oh, okay.
Bob DeMarco [00:48:26]:
Those are numbers that the current knife community loves. I mean, that super thin, behind the edge, slicy edge is, man, you cannot lose with that. I think the days of sharpened pry bars are over, except in certain examples where it's on purpose and it's for a wound making reason or something specific job oriented. But on the whole, people want knives that cut, not so much knives that pry. The go to pry bars for that. So I was going to ask about future designs and how you approach them and how you plan on approaching them from a business standpoint, because you've got to me, the Thunderbird just seems like a natural winner to me. Because of the, ergonomics the opportunity to express yourself that people love on the blades itself and with the handle materials and the super usefulness of a hollow ground thinly ground Warncliffe blade. To me, that seems like a slam dunk. And then you have some more playful things like the butcher and the shark tooth. And then you have the huntsman, which really seems like the kind of knife an outdoorsman would go for in terms of fancy outdoorsmen, sort of. And then this predator. Where do you plan on? Do you want to be one of these guys who refines a couple of designs, or do you want to make a bunch of design?
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:50:05]:
Right? So a couple of things. So where am I going to go with the design? And this is something else you talk about, right? So, full time maker on the firewall side. On my day job, I actually own my business too, right? So I'm a consultant, and I do that for different customers. But I'm still making knives and working on knives every day. And that's a sacrifice for me. I could make a lot more money if I just worked on firewalls all day, right? And what I'm trying to do is to figure out how do I make knife making to where it can provide for my family like a reality. And so that's why this year I've been trying all these new designs because up until then my designs. Like you said, they were fun. I have funky little designs, and I wanted to expand. I wanted to try new things, hit different areas. The Predator was one of the first ones where I wanted to try a couple of different things. I wanted to try a fighting knife, that one, and a dagger. Those are going to be my fighting knives. I want to get out there. I want to get some kitchen knives out there. I've been making knives so long, I never made a kitchen knife again. Utilitarian, I want to get that under my belt. I also wanted to dive into the folders. I recently just did my first folder, and there's a video out on my Instagram. You guys can check that out. And again, just diving into these different designs, making knives that are purpose driven, that have utility to them, but they're also good looking, unique knives where you feel you have something special. And I feel that if this sacrifice I'm making by working on these knives, by doing this every day, by refining design and getting all these designs out there, that one of them will hit. And either I'll get another deal or get more orders and really keep this whole thing going.
Bob DeMarco [00:52:00]:
Yeah, I love it. You're in a special place right now because you're not desperate. You have a business already humming along that can put bread on the table. And this is a period of time, and my God, you've got an amazing mentor. But aside from that, you are who you are, and you've already got your own knife making career in your own right. And this is a great time for you to sow your oats and figure out and do things like the Predator and see how it goes, because I'm sure you're getting tremendous feedback on that.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:52:35]:
Yeah, everybody seems to like it so far. People saying, like, finally you made a big knife. I want this one so bad. People like the big crazy knives. Like you said, I'm in that special place where, again, I got a foot in order and a foot in chaos. And it's just one of those things. I didn't want to look back on my life and say, I should have tried it. I should have just tried to see how far I can take that. The dream is to fulfill my purpose, whatever that is, right. Whatever's in me, whatever skills I have, to fulfill those and actualize those 100% and see where that takes me. Right. And Knives has just always been it's always just been calling to me. It doesn't make sense. It doesn't make me as much money as Firewalls, but I'm here.
Bob DeMarco [00:53:27]:
I'll tell you what, though. It's a lot more interesting at parties to talk about that than Firewalls. No doubt. Even though I'm sure firewalls is a fantastic business, I'm sure you're great at.
Edie "Macho" Diaz [00:53:36]:
Bob DeMarco [00:53:39]:
In terms of your family, besides the support that they give you as father, husband, et cetera. Is there interest in knives from your family and being a part of your knife making voyage?
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:53:56]:
Yeah, so my two little ones, they're always trying to get in my shop when I'm making stuff, and they're waiting for the day they can make their first knife. Right now, I just let them play with like you can make a little wood knife or something. But yeah, they're chomping on the bit, and then they're drawing knives. They're like, dad, I made this new design. Look, once they get up to age, they'll definitely be in the shop, and I'll have to show them some stuff.
Bob DeMarco [00:54:26]:
That's cool. But there was something I wanted to say before about the period of time you're in where you can experiment, but also it gives you also room to develop, like the thunderbird. And I'm I'm sorry, I don't mean to be talking like I'm your agent or anything like that, but yeah, because that one, to me, seems to be the kind of knife you could sell, because each one is individual and special, but it's also in a well traveled groove of worn cliffs of all different, going way back to the sacks people love. Warn Cliffs. And yeah, man, I don't know. I don't mean to go on and on about the Thunderbird.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:55:14]:
Yeah, and you're right. I don't know if you ever saw that book The War of Art.
Bob DeMarco [00:55:19]:
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:55:20]:
Play on the name. And I read that thing, and I just felt like it was that process kind of if you listen how he did it and how he talks about the muse right. And what do you have to do to get better to make it is you have to do that every day, whether you feel like it, whether you're tired, whether you've got time or you don't. Like, you have to make time, and you have to do that every day. And when you do that, sometimes special things pop out. But that's the only way they pop out. It's not like you make knives part time and then you're going to hit your design is perfect. You have to get be in there every day, every day. And then something happens. And that's where I'm at right now.
Bob DeMarco [00:56:03]:
Andrew Pressfield fighting resistance is that theme, and this is something I tell my daughters. It's like, you can have talent, and man, I hope you do have talent, but talent has to be cultivated, and it does not preclude hard work. Like, no matter how talented or not you are, you always have to work hard, period. Just hope that you're talented and that the hard work is channeled in a certain way. You cannot rely on inspiration. That's another thing. Like that's showing up every day. 90% of life is showing up. Showing up every day and plugging away, even when it sucks, even when you don't want to. And that's when stuff happens.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:56:49]:
Exactly. And that's why I'm sacrificing, because when I realized, okay, I've been doing it part time for so long that I would only have time to do a random batch here and there for Blade show or different shows I was doing, I wasn't cultivating that skill that way. Right. And it's not going back to that book, the War of Art, he would say, the hobbyist, the reason they're a hobbyist is because that's their excuse if they don't make it, right? Your excuse for you don't make it is, oh, it's just kind of like my hobby. And he said, you'll hide behind the fact, like, I love it so much, I don't want it to be work, right? He goes, but the professional is the one who loves it that much, because they truly want to get better, and they're at it every day, and they're sacrificing. They might not ever make it right, but they're sacrificing. And they have faith in that process. And that's what I'm trying to live out right now. I'm trying to have some faith and just push myself every day and see where I can take it.
Bob DeMarco [00:57:54]:
Well, Macho, I couldn't think of a better way to wrap things up. That's exactly the attitude you need, not just for starting a difficult venture like a knife company, but for anything, day to day, even if you're in only firewall from here on out. It's that approach that will give you fulfillment. Thank you so much for coming on the Knife Junkie podcast, sir. I really appreciate it.
Eddie "Macho" Diaz [00:58:20]:
It was nice talking to you. Thanks for having me.
Bob DeMarco [00:58:22]:
My pleasure. Don't take dull for an answer. It's the Knife Junkie's favorite sign off phrase. And now you can get that tagline on a variety of merchandise, like a T shirt, sweatshirt, hoodie, long sleeve tea, and more, even on coasters tote bags a coffee mug, water bottle and stickers. Let everyone know that you're a knife junkie and that you don't take dull for an answer. Get yours at the Knifejunkie.com Dull and shop for all of your knifejunkies email@example.com. Shop. There he goes. Ladies and gentlemen, eddie Macho Diaz of Macho Blades. I can't wait to shake his hand at Blades show in a couple of months. I didn't even ask him if he's going to be there, but I'm pretty sure he will be, and I can't wait to check out his knife in person. I think we read some of the same books, and I really resonate with his philosophy, so I hope to see The Thunderbird in person shortly and The Predator and all these, the beautiful Knives. Be sure to join us again next Sunday for another interview. And of course, Wednesday for the midweek supplemental, where we talk about new knives in the market. I do remember talking about the Butcher and the shark tooth about a year and a half ago on that show, so tune in there. And then, of course, Thursday night Knives, 10:00 p.m.. Eastern Standard Time right here on YouTube. Also on Facebook and twitch. For Jim working his magic behind the switcher, I'm Bob DeMarco saying until next time, don't take dull for an answer.
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