Wildlife Photographer, Publisher, Digital Artist, and College Educator are just a few of the career titles that George has held over the years. Add to that now, Knife Maker. George developed the idea of the Stonewood Handle in 2015 after learning flintknapping from his friend and Master Knapper Buddy Deal in 2012. George quickly picked up the craft and developed his skills over the next 3 years. Along the way, he used his background in woodworking to start making knives. Though they were very simple at first, he quickly began altering his designs and finally developed the first Stonewood Handle prototype that is used in the Signature Series in June of 2015. A second series, The Whitetail Super Bucks Edition, is set for release in early 2016.
George has been an avid outdoorsman all of his life. He started fishing at the age of two and hunting at four and it has always been a major par of his life, and the life of his family. Though he never picked up a camera until his early 30's and has no formal training, in the late 1980's he quickly rose in the ranks of Wildlife Photographers to one of the top in his field. Though he has specialized in whitetail deer, his first love, he has photographed bears, moose, bighorn sheep, antelope, many predator species, gamebirds and hunting and fishing scenes from South Texas to Alaska. His work has appeared on virtually every hunting and fishing magazine in North America. He has over 700 cover credits to his name including multiple covers on Outdoor Life, Field and Stream and Sports Afield. He also photographs and publishes the Whitetail Super Bucks Calendar and Print Series
Every handle on the knives in these two series is handcrafted by George. Though he still does some of the knapping, he turned over most of these duties to his mentor, Master Knapper Buddy Deal, so that he could concentrate on the handles and overall construction of each knife. Their combined desire to craft the most beautiful product possible in every situation is apparent in every knife produced. George's signature does not go on the knife until it is as close to perfect as a handmade product can get.
Buddy has been involved in the outdoors and outdoor sports all of his life. He began shooting an old Winchester 22 single shot rifle at the age of 5 and began hunting the fields and river bottoms alone at age 10. As he advanced through the sports of hunting and fishing, his equipment became more and more state of the art. In 1990, he re-assessed his outdoor priorities and began moving back to more primitive weaponry. His long range rifles became flintlocks, his compound bows became recurves and then longbows. This is the point where his interest in flintknapping began. He considered it a natural progression to knap his own flints for his rifle and arrowheads for his longbow.
With his Father being a retired construction superintendent (carpenter by trade), Buddy naturally fell into furniture building and small carpentry building projects. Able to read complex commercial construction blueprints by the age of 10, he began working in construction at the age of 15. Looking for a more stable career, he went to work in maintenance/construction for a large oilfield services manufacturing center at 23; steadily working his way up the ladder to become the property manager. He began his knapping “career” in 1991. His first arrowheads were knapped from the bottoms of glass bottles and broken window panes. Many of his early years were spent knapping materials that other flintknappers would discard when they would meet in large groups to show off skills, trade for materials/tools, and learn new techniques. As he knapped more and more pieces, he was able to barter for higher quality rock and tools. Having learned his craft on the more difficult materials, his skills and techniques advanced at a rapid pace.
Buddy has now taken his knowledge, experience, and skill to another level in his partnership with George Barnett. Buddy's ability to produce long, even, symmetrical flaking patterns on the blades and stone scales in the handles is a perfect complement to the extraordinary skills that George applies in the creation of the handles.