In 1965, Aaron Wilburn was born in Richmond, CA to Martha and Edward Wilburn. His Father was a Contractor in building custom homes and Mother was a Seamstress.
In 1968 the family (Parents and four children) moved to Twin Falls Idaho where Aaron worked with his father until 1980, when Aaron’s family returned to Richmond, CA. At that time Aaron attended El Cerrito highschool while working with his Mother’s side of the family in their auto body and paint shops. His time in the auto shops with his Grandfather and Uncle’s (Natives of Peru) was well spent, as this is where he was able to develop his welding and machining skills to a great advantage. After
graduating and years of the family business, Aaron continued the trade, working for Volvo, BMW, and Mercedes Benz of
San Francisco Bay Area, where he developed an eye for detail and a passion for quality craftsmanship.
In 1988 Aaron met his wife Anna and they were married in August of that year… Soon thereafter they started a family, withe the arrival of their son Rocky, and 6 years later their Daughter Francesca.
After moving his Family to Seffner Florida in 2002, Aaron and his Son Rocky went to knifemaker Cliff Parker’s shop in Zepherhills, FL. This encounter sparked Aaron’s enthusiasm for the world of knives and creating Damascus. Shortly thereafter, the family visited the Orlando, FL knifeshow. Aaron’s career was all uphill from there.
To increase his knowledge Aaron associated himself with masters of the trade, Corbin Newcomb taught him to make Damascus and fixed blade knives. And shortly after joined the American Bladesmith society and Aaron’s knife making skills bloomed.
At the end of 2003 the family moved to Redding, CA where Aaron worked as a General Contractor all the while honing his skills as a knifemaker. In 2009 he gained his Journeyman Bladesmith rank, since July 2012 he has been working full time as a Bladesmith, and at the June 2013 BladeShow of Atlanta Georgia he was bestowed the rating of a Master Bladesmith as well as winning the BR Hugh’s award for best knife submitted by a new Mastersmith.
Throughout his years of bladesmithing Aaron has relied not only on other bladesmiths but also upon his family for the everyday critiquing of his work. From the beginning of his career in knifemaking, Aaron’s wife Anna, has always encouraged and supported him in achieving his dream and passion for developing his creative skills in knifemaking.. ., Aaron is clearly a
family man and still boasts that his “greatest accomplishments or
Masterpieces are his Son Rocky, and Daughter Francesca.”
Much to Aaron’s delight his daughter Francesca, took an interest in the art of making knives. Besides her designing and managing websites, (Wilburnforge.com, as well)...she has been working along side her father, as an Apprentice Knifemaker.
Not only is Aaron a Master of blades but he has also made a large portion of the equipment he puts to good use in his shop; Aaron takes pride in making all of his sheaths from start to finish, each one beautiful enough to be partnered with his knives.
Though owning his own business is fulfilling, Aaron says it’s the artistry that keeps him returning to the forge, “I have always considered myself a craftsman now I see myself as an artist as well and the expression I get to put into my craft is so very rewarding.”
With over 500 knives under his belt, Aaron knows what it takes to turn out a high quality knife. Still he humbly acknowledges he will forever be a student of the craft, “Will I ever learn everything? Probably not.,” He says “But I’m going to continue to try.”
In 2009 Aaron attended a line locker class with teacher Mike Vagnino
2010 ABS school in Washington, Arkansas for slip joint folders with
instructor Wes Davis
2011 and 2012 Aaron taught sheath making at the ABS hammer-in in Visalia,
“I have enjoyed attending Hammer-inns that the A.B.S. puts on . I feel it is one of the best ways to increase your knife making skills.”
Some of Aaron's favorite styles are: Culinary Knives, Bowies, & Slip Joint Folders.
Aaron prefers to use 52100 and W2 for straight carbon, 52100, 1084, and 15N20 for his Damascus.
Handle materials that make the top of the list for Aaron are Sambar stag , Ivory and exotic woods.
Where does he see himself in five years? "in 5-6 years time I'd like to add engraving on my work and continue refining my skill as a Bladesmith , Always striving to be better."
As seen in Knives Illustrated: