I was born in August of 1947 in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 1951 I was adopted and my name was changed from William Lloyd Walters to William Dean Ellis. My school years were spent in Kentucky, Nevada, Utah, Germany, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and New Jersey because my adoptive father was a career military man. In 1965 my working career started in Pittsfield, Massachusetts as a "soda jerk". I also worked as an architectural and electrical draftsman in that same city until I entered the military in 1966. After completing basic training at Fort Dix, N.J. I received training in advanced infantry at Fort Ord, then moved on to jump school at Fort Benning, Georgia.
   I took part in the protection of Detroit during the riots of 1967 as a member of the 2/505th 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In September of '67 my ticket came up for Viet Nam. After I completed Recondo school in Nha Trang, Vietnam, I became part of a Long Range Patrol unit consisting of 19 operational 6-man recon teams. It was
  Talk about a career change... I finally got fed up with too many 109 degree days in the central valley so I went to work for the Sheriff's Department as a Correctional Officer at the county jail which housed, at that time, 3,300 inmates on a daily basis. My favorite word there became "obstreperous" and it could have been used in almost all of the reports I had to write on these pillars of society. I retired from there in March of 2005 and I am currently writing a book on my experiences. Well, I’m trying to… in between working on razors and knives. The book will be named Jail Stories and the People Who Live Them and I have a few neglected sample stories on that link.
   Over the years, I have enjoyed fishing, tennis, jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, owning muscle cars, woodworking, racing dirt bikes, and reading Stephen King novels. I really like creating things with my hands. I like to write even though I am not very good at it. None of these hobbies, however, has given me as much satisfaction as when I saw pure joy in my wife's face when she caught her first fish, or when she hit her first set of doubles at the trap range. Her best quality, however, has been tolerating me... and the accompanying moods of my PTSD. We have been together since 1987. She’s a gem… but don’t tell her.
  At times, it seems like I collect just about everything. Straight razors, knives, guns, pedal cars, walking canes, turquoise belt buckles and bolo ties, railroad watches and fobs, cowboy stuff, Indian artifacts, Kachina dolls, tools, old wind-up toys, and wall clocks. You know... guy stuff. And now… I want a boat.
   I began my collection of straight razors because of a single razor originating from  my natural mother's side of the family. My interest to focus on straight razors was probably born out of a desire to establish a link to family history that never really existed in real time. One of those psychological deficiencies on my part, I suppose. The razor that started it all belonged to my great-great grandfather who opened the first barber shop around 1860 on Main St. in Salt Lake City, Utah. The town of Henefer, Utah was named after him.  
  I started making knives in 1991 because it got too expensive for me to keep buying the custom knives I just had to have. In the mid 90’s, I started providing restored razors for those who wanted them. Shortly thereafter, I started making custom straight razors. Unfortunately, there is almost always a very long waiting list to get one. Sorry about that.
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