Thursday, August 31, 2006

Some of the most incredible Viking swords I've ever seen. This is some real sweet steel !! This aint no Paul Chen almost real damascus looking sword. These two guys are blacksmiths, Bladesmiths, Artists and Historians of the highest order. I can only hope that someday I'll be making blades like these.

Albion makes a Great Viking blade as well IMHO

Also A little article on blade and hilt types of viking swords.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Just finished these two up tonight.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Some of my recent work... and some not so recent.

This is a Viking style hand axe I forged a while ago, the bit or cutting edge is 1095 the body of the axe is mild steel strapping from a engine crate. The body is forged to shape then wraped around the horn of the anvil,then forge welded together. This takes several welding heats to acomplish, but after the first weld sticks things together, I put it in the post vice and drive the prepared 1095 cutting bit in and coat with flux while its still hot. To Prepare the 1095 cutting bit I grind the mill scale off and place it in a vice, take a sharp chisel and cut several barb like teeth on either side. The teeth help hold it in place while you are trying to forge weld it. NOTHING is more annoying than pulling a axe out of the fire at the perfect welding temp and having the bit slide out onto the floor. BTDT ! It sux!

I found this earlier today, this guy has a very interesting theory about What If the Vikings had stayed in North America and expaneded their settlements.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Persian bowie forged from a old file, I forged this at a demo I did at my local farmers market. The handle is wenge and pins are nickle silver.

This little guy just got heat treated and tempered , I snaped this pic when I had sanded it to about 320 grit and the hamon line was begining to emerge. The Steel is 1095 quenched in oil with a clay coating of satanite.

Remembering to sharpen your tools is important...

Doing what I do, I am almost always sharpening or cutting something, and yesterday I broke the cardinal rule in my shop. A sharp tool is a safe tool ! I tried to use a dull carving tool and promply stuck it in my finger like a dummy. After the bleeding stoped I got out a few stones and put a decent edge on the carving knife, the sharpening took me about 5 min. Where as the pre- sharpening Bleeding, wound cleaning and band-aid applying took a half hour. Every once in a while we need these little reminders ...

Here are some places I have gotten sharpening supplies from.,43072

Check this out:
An Interesting Blog about Knife reviews
How to forge a leaf. - A blacksmithing demonstration by Myself-
Jens - Oakwoodforge - Butler. These things are great for live demos, they only take a few moments to forge. The average person watching a blacksmithing demonstration has a attention span of 2-5 min. But if you can get 'em talking and asking questions they will usually stick around long enough for you to finish one of these as they only take about 10 min. I add a key ring and sell em for about $5- $8 depending on the market. Or add a leather thong or hemp cord and they become a necklace. I usually end up giving a few away too.
Patternwelded Steel AKA Damascus...

These guys are my heros and my inspiration ! Absouloutly amazing work!!! I have been blacksmithing & blade smithing for quite a while now. And several things have really helped me along the way, # 1 has been to perform atleast one forge weld EVERY time I light my forge. # 2 has been to clean the scale from the billet stock ans well as grind off the fire scale when doing a billet fold. # 3 has been to tackweld the ends of the billet. #4 is to weld a handle on to the billet. Patternwelding

2005 Midwest Old Threshers Blacksmithing Demo

Its almost time for For Old Threshers again, I spent the weekend getting ready, and trying to build up my inventory. Hopefully I can sell a little more than I did last year. :~)

Friday, August 25, 2006

My Fathers cabin project In Rico Colorado

Rico Renovation

My Father has taken up an incredible construction project in the historic mountain town of Rico Colorado.

This summer he began a project to update & renovate a historic cabin in downtown Rico, lived in by my great, great, grandfather ( -I think I got that right -) Who operated a blacksmith shop and Livery stable in the town of Rico in the late 1800's. The really cool part is, he is using timbers and other parts from several other historic cabins to help give the new addition the look and feel of a 100 or 200 year old mountain cabin , but with modern conveiniences like heated floors and running water. Also I'm really looking forward to forging some special stuff for this cabin project.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Late 1700's Journal of a Apprentice Woodworker By Harry - aka Jr or Irnsrgn - Strasil.

This My friends is GOOD STUFF !!!

Here is a link to something I wrote on making charcoal

Making Charcoal
And here are several other links about charcoal ...
Charcoal forge at a welding temp with a billet in the fire.

Patternwelded billets in progress

Here is a sneak peak at a 4 bar interupted twist billet, cant see much detail, but I just had to peak. I ground this with a 80 grit belt and dipped it in vinegar to etch it lightly. The billet is 1095 and 15N20.

Here are four of the billets I am working on right now, from the, top down they are #1 1095, O-1 & bandsaw blade, #2 2 square bar with the thiner end is W-1 and 1018 with a cable core, Third is the 1095 & 15N20 Billet and last is a large cable billet.

Making fire tools for blacksmiths.
Project One: Clinker Rake or Tuyre poker

This is what is comonly called blacksmiths knife, I forged this one from an old file, did a quickie clay coat heat treat, quenched in oil. It's got an Interesting hamon line, not something comonly seen in the average run of the mill "blacksmiths knife", I ended up giving this one to my friend Mark.

Here is another blade I gave away, this time in a KITH ( Knife In The Hat ) a Bunch of knifemakers from Don Foggs Bladesmith's Forum got together this year, made a knife and drew names and sent out the blades. The one I got was from Nebraska, and this one I sent to a bladesmith in Alaska. It was a lot of fun and a learning experience as well. Making a Knife for a knife maker is a challenge! Makes you want to go that extra distance and try Just a little harder.

Hey check this out : I just found another knife maker in the blogosphere. --there don't appear to be many of us ;~)

Talesin East, Home of Frank Lloyd Wright. Located in Spring Green Wisconsin.

Wooden Stave Church Built in Norway for the Worlds Fair, Now located in Wisconsin

Exotic wood...

Yesterday I received a package from my friend Ludo in Taiwan, check out his blog at
He sent me a huge box of incredible exotic hardwood, In return I am making him some basic blacksmithing tools. We have also decided to combine efforts on a knife project. 2 knives from one damascus billet, I will be doing the forging and Ludo will be building the fittings, handles and sheaths. Here is one of the photos he sent me, just look at that incredible color !

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Here are a few of the knives I have made recently.

The bigger drop point blade with the birdseye maple handle was one of my first successful attempts at creating a vivid hamon line on a blade. Also one of my first big blade sales, a lady from Fairfield purchased it from me at our local farmers / artisan market. To create the hamon I used clay from my backyard mixed with powdered charcoal and ashes from my forge to form a primitive refactory cement or fireproof clay. This clay was used to cover the back of the blade and allowed to dry, then the blade was heated in my forge to critical ( non magnetic ) then quenched in warm oil. After spending an hour in the tempering oven ( a toaster oven ) at about 400 degrees F. I began the slow process of polishing the blade with waterstones and wet/dry sand paper. The smaller Utility knife with the birdseye maple handle is also 1084 with a hamon line, it was sold to a gentleman from Chicago.
Trolls ...

Some random shots from my visit to the Scandanavian portion of Wisconsin. I thought these Hand carved trolls from Little Norway were friggin awesome.

Here is an interesting little blade forged from a 3/8 Blue Devil allen wrench, handle wrap is hemp cord sealed with epoxy. I left the top portion of the blade hammer marked for contrast and etched the blade with white vinegar to give it a dull non reflective finish.

This guy was really fun, I got the inspiration for this one after a long walk through the jungle like woods adjacent to my home. After chopping my way through a tangle of multiflora rose, black locust and poison ivy with a little SOG Seal Team Pup, I though I could do better. The shape of the 5160 spring steel blade is somewhat like a Malay Golok, the handle is bubinga and pins are brass. The forward swept design and curve of the handle concentrates the force of a swing at a point about 2.5 inches or so back from the tip . Kind of like the "sweet spot " of a baseball bat. Sapplings larger than 1 1/2 inches may require more than one swing... This thing was forged to chop and does it well. I'm still working on the hand carved sheath, also out of bubinga.

Here is my Neo -tribal deer leg bone handled seax, the blade is forged from 1084 the bone handle is attached with rawhide and rosin. I have recently applied a mustard patina to the blade to age it, I think I looks even better. This last seax blade is forged from 5160 spring steel, bubinga & elk hide sheath with a deer tine toggle. The Handle is figured cherry, pins are brass, this was also given away to another knifemaker/ blacksmith in a Chritsmas KITH , Jim Joyce of Stewarts Point CA is the lucky new owner, Aka JJ for those that frequent Iforge Iron or anvilfire's slacktub pub. Take a moment and check out Bear Path Forge.

First Post to Clinkers & Woodchips

Hoo-Ray !!
I Just finished my first patternwelded blade, this cute little guy is a double twist patten of 1084, 1095 and bandsaw blades. The handle is walnut, pins are nickle silver, bolster and thong hole are brass. Also here is a pic of the latest addition to my shop, a 1945 model Little Giant 25 # trip hammer named Mjollnir.