In many ways, the pandemic was a thief. It stole our freedom to travel and move around, to be with loved ones and meet new people face to face. Some even lost the job security they had come to rely on. But for others, the pandemic ultimately gave much more than it took.

With his full-time construction job on hold, Joshua Fischer relieved pandemic stress and boredom by escaping to his home workshop, where he revisited his longtime hobby of knifemaking.

Knife maker standing in front of shop

“The thing I like most about making knives is that I’m making a functional tool,” says Joshua, who is completely self-taught. “It doesn’t matter how far back you go or how far into the future you want to think, it’s something that people will always need and always be using.”

Joshua soon realized he wasn’t alone. He began connecting with other craftsmen and people exploring their own forgotten hobbies and interests. Custom knife orders started rolling in, and Joshua decided to leave his construction job and try his hand at small business ownership.

What started as a hobby has now morphed into a full-time career and then some for Joshua, who recently hired an employee to help manage the workload. His Edge Knife Works produces a variety of blades for uses that range from culinary to historic. (Joshua recently recreated an iconic Polish war hammer for an episode of the History Channel’s “Forged In Fire” series.)

Knife sharpening on grinder

Each piece is cut and shaped from high-quality carbon steel, which Joshua then hardens, grinds and sharpens before fitting with a custom handle. Culinary knives, the bread and butter of his operation, have grown popular among restaurant clients, boutique shops and at-home chefs.

He attributes his early success to staying curious.“If a client asks for a knife that I’ve never made or heard of, I’ll research and learn how to make it,” he says. “Even more than growing the business, I want to make the best possible product. I want to make knives that people will enjoy and use for generations.”