Old, not dead
By Megan Varner

Steve Auvenshine laughs with Lyra Miller, owner of Lil's Coffee House. Steve is a regular customer at the cafe on Main Street, a popular gathering spot.

Steve Auvenshine has worn many hats in 62 years of life: service member, veteran, police officer, father, grandfather – and perhaps his most unique role, knife maker and a military consultant on major motion pictures.

Known as a black powder armorer, Steve ensures that the knives and guns he crafts for movies look real on the big screen. He knows how to make a gun smoke, as if it had just been fired, and he has received late-night calls from prop directors and celebrities such as Jason Mamoa seeking advice.

His workshop is set just behind his home – and the closer you get to his work area, the higher the temperature rises. Metal is forged under fire and the tap, tap, tap of steel signals that Steve is working on his latest piece. He ensures each knife or gun is perfect, and sparks fly as he polishes out any imperfections. They are not just guns and knives; they are art.
"I love being on set, but I don't love doing the longer jobs that take me away from home," he says.

Steve is most joyous about his kids and grandkids. The sign hanging in his shop is a testament to that: “You can’t tell me what to do; You’re not my grandbaby.”

Steve and his wife Sarah watch their grandchildren four days a week while their daughter-in-law works as a school teacher and their son works construction in Lexington.

Sarah says spending so much time with their grandkids is the best retirement she could imagine.

Seeing his children and grandchildren happy is the greatest reward, Steve says. "That is the most important thing. If the kids are happy, nothing else really matters."

Steve attributes his happiness to focusing on the things in life that truly make him happy, projects that excite him: his knives, fishing and hunting, riding his motorcycles and spending time with his family.

"I'm old, not dead," he jokes.

Steve walks in his workshop past a sign that reads 'You can't tell me what to do, you're not my grandbaby'. Steve says spending time with his grandkids is a blessing.

Steve readies his torch to work on a knife. His studio is covered in posters of the movie productions that feature his creations.

Steve inspects the knife he is working on while in his studio. He has made hundreds of knives for people all around the world, and he currently has a two-year waiting list for his products.

Steve Auvenshine and his granddaughter Lily play in a leaf pile outside of his home. They call handful of leaves "leaf pom pops."

Steve Auvenshine and his wife Sarah play in a leaf pile with their granddaughter Lily. Lily loves playing outside and they have a jungle gym in their backyard.

Steve Auvenshine and his wife Sarah sit at their home with their grandkids Lily and Caden. They watch their grandkids four days a week while their son and his wife are at work.

Steve Auvenshine rides his motorcycle to choir practice. He says that if he could change anything in life, he’d “probably buy another motorcycle”.

Steve Auvenshine can be seen outside of his workshop. Steve sometimes hosts classes and often has friends who come by to hang out while he works.

Sparks fly as Steve Auvenshine hammers out a piece of metal. Part of Steves job on production sets is to make visually impactful moments for weaponry while still ensuring everyones safety.

Steve Auvenshine can be seen having a cup of coffee in his workshop. After retiring from the police force, Steve has been able to forge a new career and much of it takes place within this space.