Вообщем пока ТС собирается с мыслями, я запощу сюда статью, которая изначально была опубликована на местном новостном сайте города Cullman, где если я правильно понимаю проживает Walter Brend на данный момент. Опубликована статья была 01-09-2005, но сейчас к сожалению её на этом сайте нет.
Буду очень благодарен, если кто-то сможет перевести её на русский язык, после чего английскую версию можно будет удалить.
Carving out a legacy: County man famous the world over for making custom knives
VINEMONT -- It's hard to believe, but there's one Cullman County resident whose name in some circles is known the world over.
When you mention the name Walter Brend to some Vinemont residents, they know him as neighbor. At Spirit Life Church of God, they know he and his wife, Kay, as good Christians and members of their congregation. But ask a collector of custom-made knives and the name Walter Brend is instantly recognizable as one associated with quality craftsmanship.
The Brends moved to Cullman County last year from Walterboro, S.C., a city of some 5,000 people located west of Charleston. They came to North Alabama so that Walter, 60, could continue making the tactical, fighting and survival knives for which he is so well-known.
Two years ago, Kay said, Walter was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in his hands, resulting in painful swelling. As the couple traveled to different knife shows throughout the United States, she said they realized that Walter had fewer problems with his arthritis when they were at higher elevations.
The Brends knew Richie Davis, a part-time officer with the Cullman Police Department, and he told them about Cullman County and its high elevation.
"Last January we came out and stayed a week and he didn't swell any," Kay said.
The couple went back to South Carolina, put their house on the market and prepared to move. "We left our kids and grandkids and came her so he could continue to work," Kay said. He's had no problems since the move, she said.
His bout with rheumatoid arthritis is not Walter's first medical challenge. In fact, it was a much more traumatic event that spawned his career as a custom knife maker.
Walter was working as a meat cutter, working in his home state of Florida more than 25 years ago, when he severely cut his left arm. The S-shaped scar is still visible starting in the middle of his hand and running up the inside of his wrist.
After a year and a half and two surgeries, Walter said doctors told him he would never have use of the hand again.
"I've always been a Christian man and believe in the healing power of God," Walter said. "I said, 'God, if it's your will, please heal my hand.'"
Meanwhile, Walter, who as a teen would camp out and hunt wild hogs in the swamps of Florida, went to a knife and gun show and decided he wanted to try and make his own knife. But his disability was holding him back. His cousin told him to take a file and wrap it around the end of his arm to support his hand and "hard file it the old way," Walter said.
Walter said he messed up that first knife, but that was the last one he messed up in the 25 years he's been making knives.
It was while he was working outside grinding a knife that Walter realized something had changed. "It was December of 1980 and in Florida, December can get as hot as summer and I got real sweaty," Walter said. He said he had never sweat quite like that before though and thought he was getting sick. As he stood up to go inside, Walter said he stumbled and automatically reached out with his left hand to get his balance. His hand wrapped around the back of his chair, keeping his from losing his footing. He realized God had answered his prayers.
"I realized God healed my hand â_šÃ"Â. and at the same time he gave me a talent," Walter said.
From there, Walter continued to use his God-given talent to make knives that would eventually garner him notice and respect.
In his first year of knife-making, Walter entered five knives into the knifemakers guild, seeking acceptance into the organization. He was accepted, he said, becoming the first knife maker to be accepted into the guild in his first year of making knives.
He also became the first knife-maker to go into full-time production after only three years. Most other knife makers, he said, either have other jobs or are retired from other types of work.
Walter said the turning point in his career came in 1983 when he attended a knife-makers guild show. "I took 10 knives with me and all of them were Model 2 and Model 5 knives," Walter said.
"I sold out in two days," he said. "I had premier knife makers coming to look at my Model 2 knife."
The Brend Model 2 knife is what really put Walter on the map, he said. Had he known how popular the knife would be, he said he would have patented or copyrighted the pattern. The Model 2 has been copied by other knife makers many times over, the Brends said.
Another turning point for Walter and the knife industry in general, he said, was the release of the movie "First Blood" starring Sylvester Stallone. A knife made by Jimmy Lyle was featured in the film. "It started a whole trend for knives," Walter said.
Walter has sold his knives all over the world. "He's very popular in Japan," Kay said. Brend knives have been sold in Indonesia, South Africa, Australia, Canada, South Africa and all over Europe, Walter said.
The Model 2 is Walter's most famous style of knife. He designed it using his own hunting background and experience as a meat cutter for influence. "It's real quick and cuts real fast," he said. All of his knives are heat treated to harden the steel so it holds its edge.
He put as much thought into the handle as he did for the blade of the knife. "When you put it in your hand it feels like it just folds around it," he said.
Walter uses a variety of materials for the handles, which are pinned and glued to the steel shaft of the blade. A man-made material called Micarta is put on many of the tactical knives because of their durability. He also uses woods such as pink ivory, shell and even the leg bones of giraffes.
A person who takes great pride in his work, Walter said he won't let any knife leave his workshop until he's happy with it. He's even designed knives for the military. One bears the name of the famous World War II fighting squad, Merrill's Marauders.
Walter said he's heard from many men in the military who have taken his knives into battle. One man recently wrote to Walter about his years of service and told him he would be passing that knife onto his son. Another wrote how the Brend knife he used was the only one that didn't break when a group of men became stranded in a snowstorm. The knife helped the men reach water and build shelter to wait out the storm.
The Brends' three children -- from Kay's previous marriage -- haven't taken up the art of knife making. One daughter learned how to finish the knives and now receives work from the ProTech knife company to hand finish their knives. Those knives carry a mark that reads "Brend Satin," on them.
One son and a son-in-law, both of whom serve in the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division, will soon return to Iraq and take their own Brend knives with them. One will take a Marauder and the other a Model 2.
Walter said he's tried to teach others how to grind knives freehand. Many just give up after messing up a couple of knives, he said.
Walter goes to a few shows each year. Most of his time is spent in his workshop, making each knife on his list. He's got a waiting list for the next four to five years and isn't taking any more orders.
The Brends will soon travel to Las Vegas to a knife show where Walter will be the "headliner," Kay said. One knife he's making for the show, she said, will start out at auction for $6,000.
Kay, his wife for the last 15 years, said she was surprised the first time she realized how well-known her husband is.
"We'll go to shows and he's like Arnold Schwarzenegger," she said. "Everybody's hugging and kissing him and wanting his autograph and I'm like, 'That's just Walter Brend.'"