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Archive for June, 2013

A while back I was contacted by some professional butchers to make them some cleavers. I make and sell quite a few of these, so there was nothing out of the ordinary with this order. Once they got the cleavers they were very impressed, they said they were able to work more efficiently, and easily. Where previously they would reach for the saw they now could simply keep using the cleaver.

Here is a picture of the cleavers just before I sent them out.

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After a long silence, I got this email…

“So, I bring a bit of messed up news. The two cleavers I ordered from you were destroyed when a thief broke into the restaurant and, after his tools didn’t work, used the cleavers to gain entry to the safe. So on one note, our knives are ruined. However, you know that your knives are strong enough to open an industrial safe. At any rate, we’d like to order two more. You can see the csi fingerprint dust on the blades”

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I guess the thief used the cleavers to chop at the door for a while, then used them as a pry bar… using a hammer to lodge them between the safe wall and door then using the hammer to hit the handles and wrench it open… he was successful.

My first thought was “Oh crap, the edges failed” Then I made peace with the fact that they weren’t made to open an industrial safe… I like to really test my knives, making sure my heat treat is good by putting them through rough use, even using them to cut mild steel sometimes. But I’ve never taken a fully finished blade and destroyed it, and to be honest I’m very happy with the outcome.  These blades could actually be re-ground, and re-handled and still be used. Unfortunately they are property of to police now.

Here are the remade cleavers. They wanted to go with salvaged wood this time, so birds-eye maple,  and walnut.

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Here is my most recent knife. It’s an Anglo-Saxon broken back Seax. The blade is 1084, the handle is Oak that I’ve darkened with my home made stain. It has copper fittings, and the sheath has traditional stamping, and copper reinforcements. This knife is for sale here.

I’m really starting to love making historically inspired blades, those old smiths were quite clever. When you hold a blade based on old designs they just feel different. There is something intuitive about these knives, I can’t quite put my finger on it….

 

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The bladesmithing community is one of the best, most sharing, and humble groups of people found anywhere on the planet. I’ve just returned from a weekend of information sharing, and steel making at the house and workshop of Scott Roush. I’ll just give you a small picture tour of the event.

We started by mixing local clay, local sand, and peat moss into something called “cob” .This will be used to make a smelter, and a hearth melter.

 

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The cob is formed into balls and allowed to set over night.

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Here is the ore to be smelted. It’s U.P. tiger ore from the beach of lake Superior.

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The Smelter is constructed…

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…as is the hearth melter.

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The ore is weighed.

 

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Here they are in progress. The slag tap.

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Bloom extraction.

 

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Melting iron to make steel.

 

 

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A few refining pictures.

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Inspecting the product.

 

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The semi-finished steel. There is still a lot of refining work to be done.

 

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It’s so important for craftsmen to learn from one another, stuff like this is a great encouragement.

 

 

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