All finished with the draw knife.

I did a quick post sharing a YouTube video that I can’t stop listening to. That post was just a lark for a little bit of fun. This one is to show the finished project from yesterday.

Its made from 1095 high carbon and some mild steel. The handles are leopard wood with brass bolsters.

I’m pretty proud of it, and the fella it was made for is tickled.

Hope you all have a great week!


Feeling honored, and loving custom orders…

This post is kind of a two parter.

Part 1.

I received an e-mail through our Etsy shop inquiring about the classes I’ve been teaching. This wasn’t a huge surprise as I am relatively active in the Etsy forums and a lot of those folks know that I was on Forged in Fire and that I am now teaching.

The surprising part is that the young lady that wants to take some classes is from Pennsylvania! She really wants to travel all the way from Pennsylvania to Southeastern North Carolina, just to take classes with me!

I am truly honored that someone would be willing to travel that far just to learn from me. Wow..just blown away.

Part 2.

I have friend who had me make a set of holdfasts for him recently. He texted today to ask if I could make a draw knife for him. I told him that I actually had an old vintage one that I’ve had for years and only paid a couple of dollars for.

That thing has been hanging on the wall in the shop for ever. I took it down and started to clean the surface that off of it in preparation to sharpen it. What I found was a makers mark on it.

I had to do a little research and found out that it was made by the D.R. Barton company in Syracuse NY. That company logo was used from 1832 until around 1931!!! So, at a minimum, that thing is at least 87 years old! I had to call him back and tell him that I couldn’t possibly give that one up, but I would be more than happy to make him a new one based on the specs from the old one. He completely understood and I started work on his.

As a blacksmith/Bladesmith, I enjoy making all kinds of different things. But one of my favorite projects is to make and recreate old woodworking tools. This is the new one so far, and I hope that in 87+ years this one will be hanging on someone’s shop wall. If all goes well, I will have it finished up tomorrow, maybe I will be able to post some photos of it..

All the best,


School, work, fun….

This weekend has been a steady, but relaxing stream of good things.

Maria worked on several sewing projects while spending a little time with her brother who is in town for a couple of days.

I had a follow up class to teach this weekend. I only had 1 student this round. His partner was unable to attend.

Shane did a great job on his first knife. Turning the flag looking stock into a blacksmiths knife.

As I was supervising and guiding him, I worked on a knife my self. The idea for this one has been rolling around in my head for a while.

I made a Bowie with differential heat treat and a hamon. It’s got a mokume gane guard, a hidden tang inside a handle made from eucalyptus wood, and buffalo horn with some thin brass spacers between layers.

That was all on Saturday. Then on Sunday, Maria and I went on a little bit of an adventure. A friend of mine from work had won a drawing for 10 free spots at a local, tactical, indoor laser tag arena.

This was a really good time. Especially for someone like me who, for the last 27 years, has been dealing with tactical situations. It wasn’t your standard plastic, toy looking guns. The “weapons” were realistic and felt that way.

For those who don’t believe in guns, or think this might be a twisted way to have fun, I apologize. However, I do believe that the skills learned here are a great skill to possess. 4 of my coworkers and I used it as a great training exercise, increasing our chances of coming home alive at the end of the shift when this stuff is happening for real.

I did realize that I am no longer the wide open throttle, hard charging, young Lance Corporal I once was!

Most tactical situations I get into now last from 1- 8 minutes, max. Then its over, the bad guy is in custody, and the paperwork begins. This one was 1.5 hours of straight running and gunning in a multi-story urban environment. I am now tired and a more than a little bit sore. Lol

A great after action photo of me and my squad mates, some significant others (including my gorgeous maria, second from the left, next to me in the back), and one son..a whole lot of fun and a good work out. Oh by the way…GO BLUE TEAM!!

Maria and I hope you all have a wonderful week. I might go soak in some Epsom salts.

All the best,


Next step for Blacksmithing class..

I have taught a few classes now of the basic class. They have been going well and I plan on stepping up the advertising for them now that I have gotten rid of the migraines.

A theme that I’ve picked up from my students so far is that they aren’t all that interested in decorative blacksmithing. I believe, due in part to the popularity of Forged in Fire, that they are more inclined to to make knives and blades. I can understand that I suppose. They are wanting to be cool, and lets face it, making a beautiful knife is pretty badass.

One challenge for me is coming up with a syllabus for the classes. Knowing where to go next without totally throwing away the knowledge gained in the prior lesson is tough. I think I have finally figured that out.

In the Basic class, they make a scrolled “s” hook. This helps them learn to taper and move metal in it’s plastic state. It also gives them some experience with twisting.

So, for the next installment I’ve decided to have a full 8 hour class and make a “blacksmith’s knife”. That way they will still use, and practice, the skills they learned in the first class, and also add some new skills. Now they will have to design a blade profile, move metal, and start to grind and polish a blade.

I think that for part 3 it will be a 2 day endeavor with making a knife, polishing it, and completing the fit and finish for handle material. Which, in itself, can take a day or more to complete when making a knife.

For part 2 they will turn this:

Into something that looks something like this:

So, even though I am teaching my students how to smith, this process is teaching me much more.

As always, if you find yourself in southeastern North Carolina and would like to take a class, let me know. My schedule is pretty flexible and I can set up a class nearly any day of the week.

Here’s to hoping you all have a great week!