Saturday, December 14, 2013

Knifemaker Interview - Part 3

I had written a long spin off from Zeb's comment - which the Sprites of the Internet ate on me. (Maybe my own 'fault' for not composing this on a word program and then pasting the completed text to the board.) I got a bit defeated from loosing about two hours of work, and put off an entry for another day. This may be a blessing, as although the intent was good, the first content got bogged down into a lot of historic / technical stuff.

As this is a *bladesmithing* forum, I want to try to warp back towards some thoughts on cutting edges.

The very first things I forged out were knives. I (thankfully?) don't have images of most of those. Honestly, they were mostly pretty pathetic! The shapes were determined as much by the way I managed to butcher the steel with the hammer, as any prior intent to design.  I still actually have one of my early pieces, about a 14 inch, very light weight double edge, forged from a large file.
'Gut Ripper' - about 1979 : all hand tools in the creation, file steel with walnut & brass
I have always *forged* my blades. (I think there was one commission that was cut, drilled and ground - this a replica of a movie sword out stainless. A kind of silly design consisting of a long triangle shape with a long series of large diameter holes through the riccasso area.)

So this is the first dynamic for me : Creating blades has always been about the *forging process*, not the grinding and polishing.

I did drop away from blacksmithing for about five years in the early 1980's, mainly out of a lack of any kind of working equipment. (I was living in rented places in down town Toronto at that point.) I was doing a lot of costume jewelry at the time. Quite literally, as a good amount of it were things for SCA costumes. I was working as a casting technician at a dental lab. Both gave me at least the basics of fine metalworking. I did a large amount of standard 'Russel Green River' blades with etched patterns in this period. Regardless of all this, I really have never been that interested in the *embellishment* of knife handles.
'Dea's Knife' - about 1982 : commercial blade blank, etched, german silver
For me, cutting edges are primarily working tools. I do strive to make objects with beautiful lines, but at core each one has to function first.

This might mark one classic definition between 'Art' and 'Craft'.

The link to the full series : Knifemaker Interview Series

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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