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Mittwoch, 14. September 2016

Knives from way back then

We recently had a chat amongst us about progression and scrolls... and I thought about how I started. Sometimes it´s important to get back to do a reality check. These knives I forged in 1998 with a dirt forge, and an old sledge as anvil from crap steel. The knife below is, apart from the lousy scroll quite good. It´s made from file steel with a bainite temper (an ancient urine concoction recipe), with a very thin and slicey blade. Might be I´ll hacksaw the scroll away and fit another handle, but as is, it is a document of those days... The topmost knife is made from spring steel I found in the woods and simply pounded it into shape any which way ;-). The handle was made from stag antler and did crack, but I simply filled the cracks with glue. But it cuts and has seen quite some heavy use... not good, for sure, but still... it worked.

Progress is important. But to achieve a sensible progress, you have to at first realize where you are standing, and you have to admit where your flaws are. And there are times when "it works for me" simply is not enough.  I realized those scrolls were lousy, so I practiced and asked senior blacksmiths the how-dos. Before tempering, I did a lot of studying and experimenting. So I certainly did not do a perfect job in ´em days, but I learned to do it intuitively- and to get it right eventually. I cracked a lot of blades, but I did not give up.

I owe these times a lot, and I miss them. I could forge whenever I wanted to, and forging I did, with the flames soaring up to a winter starlit sky, or while having a beer with buddies in summer. Those times were certainly in one aspect more difficult, for I did not have the experience nor the equipment and messed up a lot... but on the other hand, they were more fun. And they have not only made me the smith I am, but also the person I am. Looking back, those times look like a fairy tale told to me about some mythical character... but it was me. We all are a story, and I am fully aware of this... but sometimes it gets more clear.

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