These pieces represent only a few of
the large number of knives, tools and weapons I have
made since the late 1970's. This has included
everything from small 'hide out' knives to full sized
'bastard' swords - working tools to combat blades.
From the very first, my interest has been the blade as
cutting edge - not so much as a decorative object.
- I have remained most interested in the wide
possibilities of agressively forged blade shapes.
(Rather than the more limited 'straight ground from bar'
profiles so common to 'knife makers')
- Although I have worked extensively with layered
steels, my work centres on the more dramatic potentials
of Norse inspired, muliple twisted bar, 'Pattern
- Even when working with more conventional flat stack
('Damascus'), I prefer the randomly distorted lines
created buy aggressively hand hammered billets.
- To maintain durable cutting edges, most layered steel
billets are forged welded to a solid carbon steel core
(creating a more functional hard edge).
Objects are shown from most recent to
Hector's Bane : Finished - with etched
Hector's Bane : with original polished
bloomery iron /
carbon steel core
$ 1000 - this item available
'Hector's Bane' shows a
combination of infulences:
26 x 4.5 x .7 cm overall / blade 16 cm
The unique nature of bloomery iron is featured by
deliberately allowing the natural flaws of a raw
bloom to remain. This has been emphisized by
etching the finished surface, the mottled greys
indicating variations in carbon content within the
To create an effective cutting edge, the two half
pieces of one bloom have been forge welded on to a
hard carbon steel core.
The blade shape was inspired by ancient Greek
Norse Heavy Tool Knife
The blade is a seax - here with
more of a lift and curve to the point. The overall
length of the blade is a bit over six inches At
its widest (just back of the false edge) the blade
is roughly 1 1/4 inch wide.
The blade is made up of 209 layers. The starting
block was 13 layers : M/LM/L/M/L/M/H/M/L/M/L/M/L/M
M = 1018 mild steel at 1/8" L = L6 alloy (.5
nickel and .5 carbon) at 1/16" H = 1095 carbon
steel at 3/16" The overall carbon content is
lower, with the bulk of the material being
supplied by the mild steel. The inclusion of L6 is
to mimic meteoric iron. This pile was welded and
folded in three for a billet at 52 layers. That
billet was drawn to a bar, with a third twisted
right, a third twisted left. The last third was
flattened and pulled out to twice that length,
then welded to a second core of high carbon steel.
The resulting bar was turned on its edge, and the
two twisted segments welded into the final billet.
This billet at 209 layers was forged out into the
blade. The finished blade is ground back at the
edge to expose this high carbon steel cutting
edge. This edge is hardened a bit more than normal
for a plain mono block knife, as the layered back
adds the required flexibility for the final blade.
The hilt is a natural piece of caribou antler.
The wire wrap is a feature the customer requested.
I drilled two small holes that the wire ends tuck
into, then the strands were soldered together at
top and bottom.
Pattern Welded Norse Seax
The billet for this blade is primarily mix of
mild steel and a low nickel alloy called L6, along
with a layer of high carbon steel. The L6
simulates the use of meteor material in my
historic blades. (L6 is .5 % nickel and a middle
level .5% carbon - meteorites are closer to 5 %
Ni, but with no carbon). The initial stacks were
at 13 layers, these have been welded and folded to
four to give a 52 layer bar.
Part of that bar is drawn and cut in two. A piece
of high carbon steel is stacked between these and
the whole welded to form the cutting edge (at 105
layers) When forged to a blade and polished, this
hard carbon steel is exposed to form a durable
Next the remainder of each billet was pulled to a
long octagon and twisted, just enough for two
rods. These were then squared and welded to the
prepared cutting edges. This gives a total count
The blade was hilted with a length of natural
caribou antler. This was carved using Norse
patterns by another artist.
Pattern Welded Sgian Dubh
This is a custom knife created for a customer
who wanted to mark his upcoming wedding with a
distinctive heirloom object.
The knife has a 5 1/2 inch long pattern welded
blade in a semi drop point style. The hilt is bog
oak - in this case oak recovered from an original
Roman era timber dock at the city of London, about
2000 years old. (What the English supplier told me
was the source.) It bears Celtic knotwork carving
on the right (out from leg) side and the owners
name and wedding date on the inner.
The blade is formed of a total of four core rods -
each at about 40 layers.
I started with a stack of 9 plates, then welded
and folded in four. The starting stack was
composed of mild steel / L6 alloy / wrought iron /
high carbon tool steel. The sequence was
M/I/M/L/H/L/M/I/M. This block was drawn and half
was twisted. This section with the right and left
twist was then cut and forms the two core rods
along the back of the blade. The remaining half of
the block was drawn out and cut in two. These
pieces were then welded to another piece of carbon
steel. When I count the layers (I include all four
bars) the total layer count is 158. The decorative
material is ground back to expose that hard carbon
steel cutting edge.
This was a fairly complex project. The creation of
the pattern welded billet was the most straight
forward part, but is always quite time consuming.
The bog oak proved quite difficult to get. This
material is quite hard, working almost like copper
metal. The surface carving was done with burrs on
a rotary shaft.
Th just one of a number of potential blade
profiles I had designed for a customer in late
2003. The project involved creating a striking
letter opener using the pattern welding technique.
This particular profile, I had thought the most
striking of the lot, was not the one the customer
selected. Latter (early 2004) I decided to make up
a small billet into this blade. In keeping with
its function as a letter opener, it has no carbon
steel core and is only sharpened at the very tip.
Layered Steel Opener
Shown in Use
Detail of the Layered Pattern
This unusual piece - a Layered Steel Opener , was
ordered by a customer as a special gift for a friend. It
follows the form and function of a wine bottle opener -
cork screw and foil cutter. I worked together with silver
smith Brenda Roy -
who created the silver bolster block inlayed with semi
precious stones. Overall the piece has an Art Nouveau feel
in terms of colour and line. Completed in December of
'Possibilities of Damascus'
|Left side view
||Right side view
'Possibilities of Damascus' was created for the
exhibit 'Traditions & Innovations' in 2003. The billet
it was forged from was actually made up several years
earlier. This was a practice bar to show the effects of a
number of possible surface effects on an even, high count,
layered stack. Again I used the heavy one piece blade and
handle style that I like so much.
Orc Knife was a piece done at the very end of
2002, a couple of days after I had seen 'The Two Towers'.
It was an experiment in a number of different ways. First
- I had looked at the production designs used for
Jackson's 'Lord of the Rings', and had tried to work in a
similar style. Second - I had used the air hammer for
about 90% of the forging, giving me good practice in shape
generation on that tool. Third - this object was offered
on sale over Ebay, my first experiment with that venue.
A copy of the original Ebay listing can be seen HERE.
This includes more details on the blade, the design
and some detailed images.
|Right side view
||Left side view
'Sword of Heroes' is a Pattern Welded Short Sword
produced in early winter of 2000. This blade formed the
centre piece of a short television segment that originally
appeared on 'Discovery.ca' in November 2000. This
featurette was produced by the Royal Ontario Museum, as
part of their continuing effort to relate their collection
to the work of artisans employing traditional techniques.
More detail about the sword, with close up views, is
'Cult of the Head'
This object 'Cult of the Head' was specifically
created for the exhibit 'A Celtic Renaissance' in 1999.
The blade is made of two five layer cores surrounded by
ten layer edge blocks, all a combination of mild and high
carbon steel. This piece takes its overall form from early
Celtic Iron Age knives. The first use of iron was confined
to weapons, with the profiles copied from even earlier
bronze working traditions. The use of heads as pommels is
also a feature of a number of artifact blades. This is
another reflection of the Celtic 'Cult of the Head' The
sinuous curves of the forged hilt reflects those typical
of La Tene decorative work..
These Kitchen Knives are two other blades created
using the 'one piece' style. The first uses wrought iron,
high carbon and L6 (.5% nickel) alloys. The second has no
high carbon in the layers, but more of the L6 - and was
also etched using different acids. Both have two
decorative layered slabs that are then welded to a central
high carbon steel core. (Sharpening exposes the carbon
steel cutting edge.) Both were commissioned as gifts.
"Norse Wood Axes"
These Tool Axes are all part of the selection of
Norse woodworking tools created for the 'Viking
Encampment' - the living history program at L'anse aux
Meadows. The first group includes a belt axe, a splitting
axe and a two handed fighting axe (L to R - all 3/97).
Each of these is made of a large block of mild steel,
folded to create the eye. A sliver of carbon steel was
welded at the overlap to create the cutting edge. The
second pair are two fine wood working tools - a finishing
axe and hand adze (L to R - both 4/97). In this case both
have the eye punched out of a solid block, a method
typical of Norse axes. These two pieces are exact
reproductions from tools from the Mastermyr tool box
(circa 1100 AD).
Layered Drop Point
This small Belt Knife was my constant companion
for decades (9/97). It is made up of two layered plates
with a high carbon core. Each side plate is made up of two
twisted rods, each of 14 layers - a total count of 57
layers here. This is a technique I am using for most of my
layered steel tool knives now, as it blends the excellent
edge holding characteristics of carbon steel with the
decorative effect of layered steel. The one piece design
is inspired by the same Romano-British knives mentioned
above, and I have done several blades in this style.
Steak Knife Set
This is a set of layered steel Steak Knives that
was commissioned as a wedding gift (6/94). Each is about
100 layers, in this case in a flat stack Damascus (rather
than twisted pattern weld). The handles are caribou
antler, the box of cherry.
"Cable Damascus" Knives
These three pieces represent some early work with 'Cable
Damascus' - a technique where braided steel cable is
forged into a solid billet (7/93). The image is fuzzy -
but the pattern was not dramatic in any case. More
important are the blade shapes themselves. The top is
patterned after the 'ulu' knife of the Canadian Arctic,
with a caribou handle. The other two are variations on
table knives from the Romano-British period (circa 100 -
The three knives show here are all made of flat stack - 'Damascus'.
The two small skinners (5/93) have olive wood handles with
brass cross guards. One features a rough peened back edge
as a decorative treatment. The larger "nanchez" pattern
bowie (1/93) is hilted with ebony and brass. The pattern
here is created by cross peening the layered billet, then
grinding the block smooth before forging the blade shape.
All of these knives are early experiments with layered
slabs on carbon steel cores.