Michael BURCH

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  • Surname: Michael
  • First name: BURCH
  • Country: USA
  • Website: www.burchtreeblades.com

Could you depict a self-portrait ?

I am a 28-year old part-time knifemaker living in Springfield, MO. I work as a writer, but will hopefully get the chance in the future to spend more time in the shop. I enjoy photography, art and about anything outdoor-related.

How have you come to balisong, and why do you like this kind of knife ? How have you come to produce balisongs ?

I've always appreciated the skill needed to manipulate balisongs but they weren't a knife "genre" that I had been interested in until recently.

How have you come to produce balisongs ?

Pressure from a knife buyer - I promised to make one for a friend/dealer for quite some time and I finally got around to it a few months ago. I spent many hours and wasted a lot of material getting that first one out, but it was a great learning experience. I am in the process of building more as I found it to be a very "fulfilling" knife to finish.

What inspires you, what is your muse ?

I find art in functionality. I believe first and foremost that the blade must be functional as a knife before artistic elements can be added. After that, ergonomics dictates other aspects of the design. Once those two elements have been achieved, I pull inspiration from everything I see from the color scheme of a coffee cup to the texture of a broken paved road. And sometimes, I just step up to the grinder or anvil and see what comes out.

Is balisong a knife which permits you to artistically express yourself ? Does it better than for another folder ?

A balisong has many elements and I think that allows for more room for creativity. At the same time, there are more mechanical "rules" to a balisong so thinking of ways to create original and artistic balis is tougher for me. Artistic challenge keeps the mind from growing stagnant.

What are you looking for in a knife ? (particularly in a balisong)

I'm looking for simplicity in the conception of a knife. That makes it easier to deploy under stress in case of conflict.

Wich material do you prefer for blades (different steels) and handles (Titanium, g10, brass, wood) and why are they your favorite.

I prefer to work with water-hardening steels. I enjoy creating hamons on my blades as I find them beautiful and they are a viewing window into the structure of the steel. I like to use these "primitive" steels and mix them with modern elements such as G-10 to create a nice blend of old and new.

Do you use CNC machine or do you work exclusively manually ? What do you think the CNC machine brings ?

I use a mini-mill to cut locks on folders, but that is about all. In the future I would like to purchase a metal lathe so I can turn my own latches/pivots etc. I like to do most things in-house.

Do you EDC a bali ?


Do you flip balisongs ?

Not very well. If I have one in my hands, I can't help but flip it though.

How would you describe your creations ?

Functional blades with a blend of past and present techniques and materials.

Which advice could you give to an amateur or professional knifemaker which wants to start making balisongs ?

Ask questions, then ask some more. Some things you can't help but learn from trial and error, but all the mistakes you make have been made by a knifemaker before you. One of the great things about the knifemaking community is its willingness to share techniques and information.

Do you envision to make spring latch balisongs ?

Soon - after that lathe gets bought. J

According to you, how will the balisong evolve in the future?

It seems that more and more knifemakers are getting into balisong making and that is a good thing. That will bring many different styles of blades to the market and all those knives will be out there to hit upon the personal preferences of different buyers. I also believe some of the upper-echelon makers will open the market for high-end art balisongs like you see with expensive, elaborate autos.

Thank you Mr Burch for taking the time to answer our questions. A last word before you leave ? (Your topicality or any other subject which you would like to approach)

I thank you for your interest in my work. I'm a "newbie" to bali-making, and am honored to have been asked to answer these questions.

Thank you Mr Burch for taking the time to answer our questions.