California Custom Knife Show October 22-23 2016

Greetings Everybody.

I welcome and encourage you all to come visit the California Custom Knife Show this coming weekend in Garden Grove Anaheim South.

I will have a great selection of kitchen and some camp knives as well.

Below are a few images of some of the knives I will have on my table this year.

AND of course I am looking forward to seeing you All there and catching-up with you in person:))

Travel Safe and See You All There

-DON:)

Precision-Forged Blades

Greetings Everybody,
I am excited about where things take me in the realms of my own craft.

The idea is nothing new. The term is used, but not that often in the realms of bladesmithing, because most people have forgotten, or given up trying due to the fact that there are so many machining application available to us makers today,
that learning these skills just seem like waste of time, or something like that.

So What is "Precision Forged" ?

Just what it says. Most of the precision forged applications have been relegated to high end industry aerospace products car mechanics in the creation of motor parts etc.
It's interesting that forged blades sometimes get a bad wrap form the metallurgy community.
Most of what gets said revolved around the crystalline structure and general science about metallurgy relating to structure & carbides and less-so concerning "grain-flow" in steel.
....Metallurgy geeks can laugh at me now if you like....however, I certainly do not claim to be an expert, but have certainly studied and continue to.

What is not being talked about, is the fact that, if you take a closer look at what IS being forged, precision or otherwise,
you will find that, it's the things that are under the most stresses and heat tolerances in almost any application, that ARE being forged in one way or another.
So
Consider that!

________

OK...so.............

Fast forward to my own little world of bladesmithing.
AND
what does it mean to make a precision forged knife blade?

Well...again it's nothing new. Been done for hundreds of years.

BUT this does not mean it's easy.

Well, in fact the forging part is an acquired-skill. With enough time and patience, one can learn it. This knife is the culmination of over 10-years of hand forging blades
So....I have actually been doing it for a little while now. I did this mostly because for 7-years i did not have a grinder, so needed to get the knives very close to finished with forge hammer and anvil, then stock reduction with files.
Whether its an integral knife forged out of round or square bar (which was all I did for the first 4-years making...mostly because I love integral knives) it takes time and skill.
Most stick tang blades over 7" that will go for HT with hamon or otherwise (being slightly thicker at the end of forging) in my studio generally about 1-hour and 20-min at the forge to get right.
A "Precision Forged" blade such as the one you will see below tacks on another 20-min to half hour to the above time at the forge.

KEEPING IN MIND THAT

The part that gets tricky is doing this process with chef knives! At this time, I may be one of the few that are crazy enough to even spend the time trying this, because there will be failures in the quench.....
...other than the clean forging, it is the Heat Treatment that is the bugger.
Quenching thin blades with complex wedge-shaped geometry is a kick in the pants to say it lightly.
Keeping things straight, hoping they do not crack when doing any of the subtle straightening that will need to take place in the few seconds you have as the structures begin to set-up and as the blade cools down is a practice all it's own.

Anyhow, it's something I am playing with and plan to do more of.
Mostly, as a result of buying a grinder and seeing the sheer wast and expense of belts...laughing at myself
...though I do love my TW90

________

Here I present to you the first one I have made...I did one other blade.....but it cracked

This one is sweet!
Essentially I used no power tools on this knife save for a bit on the handle. Which is a mortised construct of rare Westinghouse round and laminated Wenge with rosin impregnated woven cotton libe...my "Tribal Wrap" treatment.

The blade was forged right to shape, thermal-cycled and heat treated and tempered.
The final edge geometry was rolled-in a bit holding a stone like a file and then sanded and polished.
The blade is 1095lm that is about 9.25" OAL is something like 14.5-15"...have not measured the whole thing yet as I am just finishing it up..sharpening etc...

I will have this one with me at G8, sharing a booth (6A) with Bawddamann Blades
Come by and check it out if you like.

Thanks for taking a look and for reading all my post.

-DON

p.s. the little red-line near the blade edge is a shadow/reflection of a priority mail box I was using as a reflector to take these images.

 

Two Shallot Knives > regular and an XXL Version

Greetings Everybody,
Here are a two that are recently out of the studio.

The two Shallot Knives I forged and heat treated about 6-months ago and was just getting around to them now.

Here you see a regular Shallot Knife < Click the link to read how the Shallot Knife Design originated some years ago.
And then Here is a one-off XXL Shallot.

The regular is forged to shape 1095
The XXL is forged to shape W2
This XXL version having a particularly sweet differential Rainbow Quench!

The regular featuring antique ivory Micarta with rare Westinghouse Blue Ivorite Micarta inlay over a blind pin and detail carving.

The XXL featuring the rarest of the rare Westinghouse material, some glass epoxy Micarta that they only did one run of ever.
It flashes some bright toxic green in the layers that is best seen in the sun, and almost impossible ot get in images.
This one with Translucent G10 inlay over a blind pin and detail caving as well.
A very special knife!

Both are headed to Eatingtools.com in Brooklyn

I hope you enjoy seeing these two.

-DON

Veggie Cleavers to date......

Greetings All,
I was finishing up a veggie cleaver recently, and got to thinking that, in 10-years of making, I have not made that many of them,
AND
thought I'd like to share with you the few I have made thus far....
.....there are already more on the horizon

_______________

Most recent listed first, oldest last.

About mid way, I had a fellow chef Henry, ask me to create a veggie cleaver for him that was weighted more like a main working knife.
I thought this was a good idea, and forged him one out of some thick W2.

Different than the traditional Japanese Nakiri,
I now create my veggie cleavers with more blade-weight than most you see out there.
It's a good idea, considering that many of the types of veggies you generally use cleavers on,
such as cabbages, carrots, fennel,etc...can tend to be fairly robust, and the heavier blade is a positive in my opinion.

________________

This latest one, and first up, I am really proud of. It is a presentation piece, going to a local chef, custom ordered for him by the owners of the Cass House Grill in Cauycos California.
The images really do not do this one justice, and I hope you enjoy seeing it.

Thanks for taking a look.

And enjoy.

-DON

Next is one I created for Chef Jose Andres, along with the smaller utility knife in the image...
....Blessed to have some of my knives in the hands of an amazing world class chef!

This is the one I made for Henry, a Chef in Ventura California,
and the one that started the idea of forging them a little bit thicker and weighted as a main working knife.

I'm proud to have his one living and being well used in the kitchen of Nita and David Broadwell.

And finally, this one I created for Chef John Blevins of the Clove and Hoof in S.F.
The only Full Tang Veggie Cleaver I have made to date.
This on created in 2012, and with a wicked rainbow quench and tiger-stripes in the zone!

Alsace Style Handled Knives in the Modern Realm....

Greetings Everybody,

I have been working on this project and will continue to for some time.
It is taking time, as detailed information about these knives is somewhat difficult to find, because they were often created by illiterate smiths in very small shops..
I really wanted my version of these knives to be interesting and modern, yet faithful to the overall aesthetic and feel of the originals.

This style handle dates most likely to sometime in the early 20th Century France.
Knives of similar design can be found in French paintings dating back to the Middle Ages in the Alsace region of France.
And more often than not were seen on butcher knives of various sizes, but with similar blade styles throughout.

I created one fancy utility I called French Flower Utility two years ago, and now have finished these three.
The top knife is going to a donation for an outdoors school in my area called Outside Now.
The French version and bottom Utility are available now on my website for anyone interested.

One of the main things I wanted to do with this style handle, was to see how it would adapt to a French Knife Blade Pattern.
I did this on the middle knife and it really is a sweet-one! I have two more on the bench one of which will be finished in the next few weeks.

It's interesting, because this style handle was a very simple slot construction done mostly by simple smiths starting in the early part of the 20th century in Alcase France.
....and as I can do so well, I have figured out how to make it more challenging, by creating these with a stick tang configuration with the front part of the blade actually registering into the handle.
The originals were in a way registered…so this too remains somewhat faithful to this old design.


One of the choices was to create these in modern materials for the most part, and yet, still remaining faithful to the three pin
(would have been three birds-eye rivets, or washer with peened pins over them in the past) and registering the entire choil-area into the handle.

I hope you enjoy seeing these new ones and at the end of the post the one I did two years ago.
More will certainly be made, and some adaptations to blade styles will emerge.

Thanks for looking and Enjoy the images.

-DON

P.S. Currently there is the French Knife still available in the SHOP Page of this website.

Two Journeys to Arizona to Start 2016

Greetings Everybody, This year started off with a trip to Arizona in January, just after New Years,  I headed out for two weeks, and then, a return trip in Late February. My plans were to visit the Wertz Family Gourd Farm, and Shop of Travis Wuertz,... home of the TW-90 grinder; and then head South to my Bladesmithing Mentor Tai Goo, spending time with him, his wife Julie, do some forging and camping, and met some of his family who were coming to visit, including his new-born baby grandson.

As some of you may know Tai Goo and I have been working together for 10-years now. Neither of us can hardly believe that ten-years have passed since my first visit out there to learn bladesmithing and to forge my first knife in 2006. For those of you who do not know, Tai Goo is a Master Metalsmith; meaning that, his knowledge base is more complete than a blacksmith/bladesmith. Holding an MFA and trained as a jeweler, Tai understands & offers so much more than I could have ever expected. My background in casting metals and working as a sculptor, blends with his interests and practices in the non-ferrous and ferrous realms, in a really amazing way. Plus we both enjoy music and cooking and we share a common interests in philosophy of life, religion, spirituality, art, and knives. So when we spend time together, it's truly a full experience of connection and life.

First stop on this trip, the Shop of Travis Wuertz, creator of the TW-90 grinder! Travis is truly a guy who many consider to be genius, and rightly-so. Travis is one of the most intelligent, generous and creative people I have ever known. His demeanor is caring and technical in the ways that I have never experienced in another person, and he also is an accomplished knifemaker/bladesmith & craftsman. I went there to learn more about how to use the TW-90, focusing on the surface-grinding attachment for the most-part.

Below are images of the Wuertz Shop visit. I stayed for about 4-days to learn more about the TW-90 Surface Grinding Attachment, and then after my visit with Tai, went back to do one more day to be sure I had the calculations and techniques in my head....... Spending some time, learning, evolving my craft. In these images you will see a few shots of the shop; see Travis doing one his many tasks, connecting with customers via phone. Moving from one thing to the next, welding, teaching me, instructing his new employees, Travis is an energetic ball of fire! Ernie is one of the TW-90 production crew members; a valuable employee of the TW-90 team, seen here doing the task of setting very powerful magnets into their frames...a tricky and difficult job. Outside, the scenery around the shop is wonderful. I met Brad the cat & we became new friends. And of course, there were gourds and sheep. Casa Grande is a beautiful part of Arizona Surrounded by mountains, and felt really cool and crisp while I was there; in fact, it rained quite a bit on that first trip out.

Next stop is about as opposite of a world form the Wuerts Shop than any of you could imagine.

I was so excited to arrive at my good friend and Mentor Tai Goo and his wife Julie's home.             Tai and I have been looking forward to getting together for some time, and this was a really special trip, because we really had no plans, but wanted to hang out & figured that we would for sure do some blademsithing and cooking, but mostly really just wanted to visit, and relax.

Tai and Julie were expecting family to arrive in two days, Julie's daughter was bringing her new baby boy, their 1-month-old grandson to visit for the first time, Tai's Daughter and his grand daughter who was so excited to meet her new nephew were coming over, what a lovely time with family!.......so we spent plenty of time cooking, relaxing and did manage to squeeze in some forging as well.

Tai has an amazingly simple studio, mostly all hand tools in his outdoor smithy, and next to it, a totally sweet camp-set-up, complete with outdoor kitchen! We had a blast to say the least.           Tai had some pozole soup going when I showed up, I had some corn bread and veggies to add to the mix.......so that first meal we had was amazingly awesome! AND.....                                                      We enjoyed that pozole, and a fresh batch of cornbread, the next day while playing some of the records they had, many of the great vinyl that we all miss so much. Leadbelly, pork-shank pozole and cornbread...what more could you want?!

Tai showed me some of the local cactus fruits off the barrel cactus, the seeds of which are super-nutritious, full of protein and minerals, the flesh of which is a bit lemony tasting...... and SO......         I had the idea of making some honey butter with the seeds and a bit of the lemony-tasting-flesh from that fruit to smear on the cornbread! It was brilliant if I say-so-myself. Later that night for the family, we made steamed rice, and from scratch made sweet & sour pork with some fried broccoli to boot!

When we did get down to forging, Tai introduced me to some new, and highly refined blacksmith-knives he had been working on. He made me one called a "Bush-Bug" forged out of .75" round W2, and really wanted to show me how they forged-out, and we got down to forging one. Enjoying some time in the studio while it rained outside, only the sound of the forge, rain and hammer. It was a blast to see what a fine knife you can create out of such a small piece of steel. Later that day, before dinner, we shared some of the knives we had both been creating, did lots of test cutting with a new geometry on a chef knife I created at the Wuertz shop, and cooked some more, cut some, talked plenty and enjoyed life to the fullest, right in his desert oasis with family and fire.

We wild-harvested Ephedra to add to the ginger tea I was already preparing, created a tincture out of creosote to make incense, and played with tree saps, sage and other desert aromatics to burn by the fire...so much fun! We even played some music, Tai on his Ektara, that he made out of a gourd from...you guessed it.... The Wuertz Family Gourd Farm, and me on my Native American Flute.

Many fires were shared at night over those days, started with a weed-burner (the same one he uses to run the little coffee-can-forge) because the rain had really soaked-in to the desert in a beautiful way, including the wood we gathered to burn.

This trip is best experienced in the image below....I could write volumes about it, but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words....and in this case, lots of pictures! Enjoy & be sure to continue-on to see the second part of my Arizona Journey.

PART TWO    *   FEBRUARY 25th - MAR 1st

It was so gratifying to spend time with Tai, and to truly sink into the desert-vibe, I felt that a return trip would happen sooner than later...... Well..... as it ended-up, it was sooner.

Tai proposed that I assist him in doing a team demonstration at the Wuertz Hammer-In at the end of Feb. where we would demo how to forge a "Bush-Bug". I said YES! So we proposed this to Travis, who gave us the thumbs-up, and it was ON !

The Wuertz Hammer-In is a fantastic and really mellow event with some of the best knifemakers and bladesmiths presenting. I consider myself really blessed to be considered as one of them. The line-up of teachers consisted of Owen Wood, Mike Quesenberry, Tim Hancock, Travis Wuertz, Tai Goo and myself, and a few others that jumped-in to so some fine presentations.

There was fun with live sword, forging damascus, hawk forging demonstrations & much more. It was a great time for Tai and I to reconnect again and enjoy camping and more fun by the fire. Overall, it was a BLAST!

Again, pictures are worth a thousand words. Thanks for taking the time, taking the journey, and for letting me share some of what makes my life as a Bladesmith really gratifying!

Blessings of Heath an Goodness to All of You

Below are two short videos of our demo for you to enjoy

Bush-Bug and Bird & Trout Models

For more information on how to get a similar knife, please visit TaiGoo.Com

5 for Blade Show Atlanta 2015

Greetings All, I am so grateful for good friend and purveyor of my knives Duane Weikum of     EDC Knives for offering my work at this years BLADE Show Atlanta. I will attend this year but may not be at tie table at all times. Looking forward to seeing you All there!

You can visit and purchase any of these knives at table 16C at this years show.

Top to Bottom are:

1. A Wonderful EDC Wharny, created out of 1095 with a fine Hamon and polished details & dressed in Vintage Turquoise and Black Micarta with stainless pins and lanyard-liner. This knife come with a custom Kydex Sheath.

2. A Sweet EDC Hunter, created out of 1095 with a fine Hamon and polished details & dressed in green linen Micarta, with Peened bronze pins and stainless lanyard liner. This knife come with a custom Kydex Sheath.

3. One of my new Bug-Out-Camp knives with polished blade and details. This knife come with a custom Kydex Sheath. To read more about The Bug-Out Camp go to my Blogspot Blog...which plan to continue maintaining since there is so much information there about my work that I just did not want to transfer over here:)

4. A very sweet Tribal French knife, forged out of 52100 and heat treated for optimal performance. this one with a mortised handle construct of Antique Ivory Micarta with matching inlay at the end of the handle and rosin-impregnated woven cotton line. Just finished this one yesterday and it is AWESOME! Comes with one of my trademark slip sheaths.

5. Last but not least is one of my New Paring/Utility Models dressed in Antique Ivory Micarta with rare Westinghouse Ivorite inlay over a blind pin, kep there with two more peened bronze pins. Comes with one of my trademark slip sheaths.