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Dave Stephens

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Dave Stephens last won the day on December 2

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About Dave Stephens

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  • Birthday 01/18/1972

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    http://stephensforge.com
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    Anchorage, AK

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  1. All: It's been about two years since the death of my father. He died unexpectedly and suddenly. Him and I were working on our jointly owned boat in Cordova, Ak and he got a stomach ache. A few days later he was diagnosed with stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. Ten days later he died. We had a few days to say goodbye. The very last beer I shared with my Dad was sitting on the flying bridge of his Boat in what was going to be his retirement home in Florida. I asked him what he wanted done at his funeral. In my Dad's characteristic humor he said he wanted me to build a Viking ship and put him on it, pushing it out to sea. i laughed and said that I'd probably go to jail for that. Then we hatched this plan. My family are commercial fishermen from Cordova, Alaska. We lived on the water. My dad always hoped he was of Viking descent. He was intensely disappointed to find out we were not when DNA tests became available. I wanted to share these pics and the video with you guys (my brothers in craftsmanship), but it was too close to the event. It was too personal. Enough time has passed, and I think it's okay to show you what we did. I say "we," because this build was like a long goodbye to my Dad. He was the woodworker. I was the metal guy. I had never built anything more complex than a small cabin out of wood. I had a lot of long conversations with him during this build. Most of them were in the form of: "I know, Dad! But we don't have time to redo that bit. Your funeral is in like seven days!" My buddy Shane Harvey designed this scale model of a Viking Longship from blueprints obtained from the Copenhagen museum in Denmark in CAD and then cut the keel and ribs on his CNC plywood cutter. He also did the dragon head and the small shields with my Dad's initials (RS) on them. The cutting of the cedar planks (each one cut on a table saw by me), the glue up, etc. took almost 20 days of intense work. I totally underestimated the amount of time it would take. All the lessons I had to learn as I went . . . Just in time I had it stained, varnished, and loaded onto my truck for the ferry ride to Cordova. We loaded the boat up with things my Dad loved. Including the very first sword I ever made when I was 12 with his help (ground from a long file), his favorite hat, a jar of peanut butter (his favorite food), and a gin and tonic in a viking horn (not traditional, but it was his drink). And then we set it on fire. It burned until it swamped, and then we sunk it in a bay that he loved. Anyway, hope you like the build. It's not a blade, but I know you guys well enough to know you'll be okay with this off topic post. Cheers, Dave PS: Drone footage by Shane Harvey.
  2. Glad you enjoyed it, Josh. Yes, Morris is an invisible hand that greatly impacts our craft, in my opinion. He was central in first championing the dignity and worth of hand made objects (and those who made them). If I had to pick an impossible utopian world to live in, it would be his novel "News from Nowhere," which depicts a world in which there is but one rule: You have to make something (grow it, build it, etc.) and then give it away. It wouldn't work, of course. But it's a lovely vision. Thanks for listening! Dave
  3. Episode 7 is live. This one might interest you guys. It features the wisdom of Don Fogg, swords, beheadings, and discussion of the father of the craftsmanship movement in the West, William Morris. The poem is called, "The Haystack in the Floods," and it's a 19th century rendition of scene from the late Medieval during the 100 years war between France and England. Enjoy! https://www.buzzsprout.com/admin/episodes/1679107-episode-7-the-haystack-in-the-floods-by-william-morris
  4. Very nice! Love the shape. Impressive work!
  5. Pinned for fear this might slip beneath the first page and therefore easy reference.
  6. Thanks Josh! Episode 6, for those who might be interested, is Hemingway's short story: "A Clean Well-Lighted Place," and is themed around the contemplation of death (or at least non-existence). https://www.buzzsprout.com/admin/episodes/1470508-episode-6-a-clean-well-lighted-place-by-earnest-hemingway
  7. Thanks Bryan! If you haven't already done so, check out this interview I did with Don back in 2013.
  8. Episode #5 is now live. Cheers! Dave https://www.buzzsprout.com/335183/1398409-episode-5-terence-this-is-stupid-stuff-by-ae-housman
  9. Thanks Josh! Glad you enjoyed it.
  10. All: We were going through some old footage from AF 2012 and found a raw, unedited interview with Don. There are some parts that should be edited (some zooms, pans, some times where I'm asking him questions with no microphone) but it's still amazing. Don is a great speaker, and so eloquent on the philosophy of the craft. Here it is, no edits, just the raw footage but I think it's still pretty amazing. Enjoy! Dave https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6X22DSdnzE
  11. I do have a long list, but I'd be happy to take suggestions, Joel. I do have to be cognizant of copyright, however, so old stuff is fine (anything older that 1919 is generally non-copyright). I can do selections of copyrighted works under fair use doctrine, but would need permission to recite the whole work. Episode 3 will be released in a couple of days. I'm reading a short story by John Steinbeck in this one. Thanks! Dave
  12. Very cool! What's the steel mix? Any wisdom to impart on thickness/sharpness of the cutter used to "smear" the feather? Have you noticed that different cutter shapes produce different feather angles/lengths? Dave
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