About Will Manning
I grew up around my dad's carpentry shop. He loved precision in craft and his practice was strict frugality -- I remember straightening the used nails in his shop where he handcrafted greenwood Windsor chairs for our dining table. My family has a love of all things natural and that’s a part of what inspires me to labor with my hands, respecting the resources available and our environment.
Originally studying environmental science at Florida State University, I transferred to Savannah College of Art after spending over a year working in a metal shop, where my interest in working in metal, like most passions, took hold suddenly. I was fortunate to eventually become the resident blacksmith at Mission San Luis, a National Historic Landmark in Tallahassee, Florida.
This is when the knives happened. I was dating an amazing woman named Lee, who shared many of my passions and loves. Together we dove into cooking, brewing beer, baking bread, and growing as many tomato varieties as we could find. I began utilizing my spare time for forging and grinding knives. I learned as much as I could, traveling to study tool-making at John C. Campbell folk school in Brasstown, NC, refining my designs, making knives as often as possible and learning from my failures.
I opened my dedicated shop on Valentine’s Day of 2014, after making a move to the creative community of Athens, Georgia. Heartwood Forge is now a workshop and homestead situated on a small pond in the woods. Lee and I are happily married, and our two rescued Georgia black mutts, Daisy and Jack, keep us company.
About Heartwood Forge
As trees age, the centers of each trunk become part of a great transformation. No longer necessary for sap production and storing energy, the cells of the interiors age, leaving a material known and appreciated for its strength and lasting. This shift in function accommodates continued growth of the tree by providing needed structure as the tree ages. This is heartwood.
Heartwood Forge is propelled by creative transformation. While reclaiming discarded resources and by-products of industry from around the US, owner and operator Will Manning crafts these materials into high performance, heirloom tools, created to last generations.
Our forged knives are primarily created from found and recycled carbon steels that have been chemically analyzed so we know exactly which alloys we have in the shop. The majority of our handles are also made from salvaged and foraged material from around the region, often utilizing native hardwoods for their beauty and functionality. Heartwood Forge takes immense pride in our craft and in this we produce knives that stand the test of time.
We are committed to maintaining your knife's edge and beauty, and offer lifetime sharpening and maintenance. Interested in creating a custom, bespoke piece? Contact us and we'll work together to make a knife that's perfect.