Rade Hawkins was born in Cherokee County, Georgia (which is in the northern part of the state). He always lived in Georgia, aside from his time in the Navy. He started making knives in 1970, selling his first knife in 1972. In 1976, he joined the Knifemaker's Guild. Using both stock removal and forging he made all types of knives from: folders, fighters, hunters and fancy collector pieces.