In this week´s episode, we are thrilled to introduce you to Mladen Minev, the man behind Simple Works Knives- A talented and experienced artisan from Bulgaria. Through our interview with him, we delve into his journey as a knifemaker, his inspirations, his favorite techniques and tools, and his advice for newcomers to the craft.
Here´s how our interview went:
1. Can you tell us about your background and how you got started in knifemaking?
I work as a full time cinematographer and camera operator. In that job it’s all about perspective and problem solving – much like in knifemaking, really. Maybe it’s the similarities that got me hooked to the craft, maybe it’s the differences – who knows? I started making by accident – I made a knifemaking course gift for a friend of mine. Little did I know I’d get more into it that him.
2. How would you describe your artistic style and the inspirations behind it?
My inspiration in everything I do comes from nature – its forms, colors and textures are most natural to our senses. Having said that I can’t ignore my mathmatics and tech background – I’m constantly doing research – what would the best shape be, the proper steel and heattreatment. Asking around, trying to learn as much as I can from experience, but also from what others have gone through.
3. What is your favorite type of blade to make?
A functional one. Be it a chef or a hunter – I like to study the geometries and logic behind every type of blade I make. I always strive for functionality and comfort. Still a long way to go.
4. What is your favorite technique?
I do both stock removal and forging, depending on the steel available. I’d like to do more forge welding, definetely – it’s a new one for me, but I haven’t had the chance to dive deeper into it yet.
5. What is your preferred type of steel and materials to work with, and why?
I love D2 steel. For me it’s easy to work with – very machinable, not hard to heat treat, has a decent corrosion resistance and pretty good performance when it’s put into hunters or small EDC knives. It etches very easily and takes a great stonewash finish as well.
For handle material I like natural wood and undyed stabilized ones. I like to implement the curves of the grain to the shape of the handle. It’s always good when things have a flow to them.
6. What is one project or piece of work that you are particularly proud of?
Tough one. I’d say my workshop. It’s a collaborative project with a very close friend of mine and I think that makes it even more special. It’s a place where I meditate and express myself and we made it from scratch so it’s deffinately something I’m proud of.
7. What advice do you have for Knifemaking newbies ?
Being somewhat of a newbie myself, I’d say – use abrasives as if they were free. There’s nothing more annoying than wasting time on grinding a 62HRC chef on a worn out belt. Or taking hours of handsanding just because you’re stingy of your sandpaper. Using fresh sandpaper is such a timesaver. And time is expensive too.
Get in touch with Mladen: