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Matthew Parkinson

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Everything posted by Matthew Parkinson

  1. This is another of the Pictorial mosaic patterns I have been playing with. I saw a photo on the news showing Maui in the distance from the Lahaina side on the island, I thought I could make that shape so I decided to try and then auction off the knife with 50% going to Maui Strong, a 501C that is doing a lot of great work in Maui to help recover from the wild fires. Auction will be on my instagram page starting tomorrow (9/23/2023) Specs 8" blade 13" OV 2.125 heel 7.5 OZ Blade 1080/1084/1095 and 15n20 steel Handle Figured stabilized Koa furniture, sterling silver (bolster butt cap and pins) bolster was cast, but the butt cap is fabricated and is Bezel set in place.
  2. Hey guys Ashoken is coming up sept 15-17th we have some pretty awesome demonstrators this year and we will be sharing the the center with the Northeast blacksmiths meet (they have the BEST tailgating!!) MP https://myemail.constantcontact.com/Announcing-the-Ashokan-Blade-Seminar.html?soid=1132235123880&aid=f-sWwnyvYKc
  3. hollow is 4 sided, 3/4" wheel it was fun! I don't think I have one from the back, but I had coop shoot it and haven't see those shots yet so maybe? body of the sheath was cast , I did have to do a bunch of patching , I think I would fabricated it next time.
  4. This one was the last one I made for bladeshow, based on on original in a friends collection, these little daggers were carried by women as protections, the guard shape and silver sheaths seem to be a standard of the style. The blade on this one is made from CT river blacksand, it was a direct reduction in a crucible with equal weight of charcoal fines and a small piece of cast iron form a previous smelt to help consolidate .. very inefficient method do not think I will be repeating it. The guard is cast sterling silver, as is the sheath, the sheath is tipped with a ruby. The handle is carved from stabilized dyed birch .
  5. just got home I had a table in the ABS section.
  6. most of the recently finished old work was made for something. this one was originally for a class i was teaching , then I was going to finish it for a show that never happened with covid.. but it worked in this case!
  7. This sword is another one that has been sitting around unfinished a lot time.. I made the Wootz in 2019, forged the blade and got it fitted up in early 2020. for Peter Johnsons scabbard, little did we know that a month latter we would be in lockdown. In the class the sword was assembled but far from finished. .. it sat for a long time as other projects took precedence. I wanted to get it done last year for blade but the week I was going to start the scabbard fittings at Matt Berry's place he got covid so I panned it for another year. It seems this year things worked out so .. I finished it out for my table at blade show next week (11Q) Wootz blade, damascus fittings, sterling silver backstrap over ray skin. scabbard is felt lined wood core with linen and leather wrap and sterling silver mounts.
  8. I'll be at blade.. if I survive the shop this week getting ready anyway.. table 11Q. The materials are a mix of 1080 1095 and 15n20 the etch was a pain on this one . it was a lot of cycles polishing back to 1500 couldn't get the back ground to darken evenly so I left it bright.
  9. This one was sitting around Half finished for several years. I first made it as a sample piece for a western sword class i was teaching at NESM figuring on finishing it out for one of the shows that year.. well I didn't do any shows and got over whelmed with commissions and it sat. A customer saw is wanted it so it got finished out! blade is 350ish layer random pattern 15n20 /1080 the fittings are a lower layer pattern weld (30 ish layers) the pommel and nut are set with Lapus in silver. It felt really nice in the hand around 2LB total weight 30" blade 36" overall. MP
  10. this is the other half of the billet from the Ashoken Nights chef i donated to the whiskey tasting fund last ashoken, Pictorial mosaic blade, bronze bolster figured Koa handle. T his will be on my table at blade show 11Q MP PXL_20230515_175348736.mp4 PXL_20230515_173014378.mp4
  11. This is a subject that opens a very large can of worms.. Money, commissions, running a business, balancing life and shop and mental health in and around the business/ shop.. it is all connected. talking about it is very good but there is no right way every one needs to find a different path, one that is right for them. I have been full time as a smith for over 20 years. For a long time blades were a side business the main being railings/ironwork. Around 10 years ago I made the switch to blades only. Well that is a bit of a misnomer, I have multiple revenue streams almost different businesses. First are the knives and swords I make on commission and on spec, I teach in our school, make and sell tools , I also teach out side of the shop and a number of schools, do paid demos, have a patreon and write a column for Knife magazine. The last 5 years have been the most successful I have had from a financial/ business stand point. Even Covid only shifted things around rather than put a real hole in my income. (to be honest part of that was PPP loans but even with out I would have been ok) That said my commissions have become the most time consuming portion of my work but the least success full from a financial standpoint. Before the pandemic I limited my books to 3-6 months out and would not take orders past that time, when the lock down started I took extra orders and pushed out to a year. (figuring a bird in the hand) once a design was settled I took 50% deposits. Several things happened to mess this well laid plan up, my 1 year of orders is out about 3 years right now, fist once lockdown opened back up I had other commitments, shows out side classes demos all of these needed time scheduled out of commission work not to mention several tool repair projects that lingered and took a lot of my time. My mental heath started to take some strain from the perceived expectations of those high dollar commissions (much as Gerhard mentioned) as well as being late Made keeping contact with the clients become difficult. All of this was coupled with some health issues that have slowed my ability to complete work. Nothing life threatening , but several years ago I developed a auto immune disorder after getting Lyme and it has left me with all sorts of fun symptoms that come and go. Just when I was just able to start moving forward getting the auto immune in control I caught covid at blade.. that turned in to long covid and set off the worst auto immune flare I have ever had.. last winter was hard. I finally delivered the sword that I took and order for in April 2020 in march 2023 a full two years after I planed to have it finished. I had started that sword in dec 2021. I offered several times to refund the client but he refused, I did so in part because financially the commissions have become unimportant, the rest of my income streams are by far the majority of my income yet the commissions slow every thing else up and take up far to much of my time. I have one more commission left on the books and likely that will be my last, if a take any others it will be something I want to make and short term and with in 3 month start time. That said the rest of the guys in the shop have gone a different route. They are out 3 maybe 4 years now. how they work it is $100 non refundable deposit gets you on the list when your name comes up they finalize details and costs they then ask a 50% deposit , remainder due on completion. Will all of those commissions pan out? no but then they made $100 for nothing and they can then move on to the next person in line. This have the advantage of not having the pricing be invalidated by rising costs from the time the commission started until it is built, as well as allowing for rising price points/ labor costs. I know of several makers that ran into that trap with long back logs and deposits. I know of one maker that was in the situation of working on orders that the total value was less than the deposits on new orders.. his price point in the 3 years had tripled not a great situation to be in. I know if this happening with dealer orders as well, unscrupulous dealer, filling a makers order book then artificially pushing the second market value of the makers work up.. locking them up for years. just something to think about. MP
  12. Thanks Dick! Yeah the coop pic highlights a different part of the bolster, I think to help highlight the blade a bit more. . the Yew was actually from my front garden. when my wife and i bough this house 17 years ago there was a stump in the front planting bed , My grandmother in law that was living with us at the time tried to dig it out and finally gave up and reburied it.. about two years ago my wife decided to redo the bed. she and my mother in law dug it out axed and chain-sawed the roots and finally got the root ball out , the color of the wood was all over the place from purples to reds and pretty solid, so they saved it for me. I dried it and cut it in to blocks then sent it out for stabilizing. this is one of the planer sections these two paring knives are made from the same stump.
  13. Dick is defiantly one of the major influences in this direction of my work! He is one of the first I ever saw work in what I have been calling pictorial mosaic, this is the third sucsessful blade in the style for me, the first was Whiskey Sunrise then Ashoken Nights, the Babba Yagga Pattern I did last fall was not successful but also in this vein. I just returned from the NCCA show in Mystic CT took home best forged knife for this one!
  14. I started this piece around the first of the year. I got the welding done and the blade sat around until I had time to finish it out now that blade show is on the horizon, as well as the Mystic Knife show this weekend, it seemed like the time. The blade is forged of 15n20/ 1075 and 1095 steels. the bolster is sterling silver, ( Lost wax cast) the handle is stabilized yew root. I have one other blade from this billet forged rough ground and heat treated I am going to try and get that one finished for blade show as well. I have been calling this one A New Dawn.
  15. As predicted the blade was full of flaws, o ground and etched it any way to look at the finished pattern. mixed results.. I think i may try welding up the last one again with a really thick jacket and a LONG soak MP
  16. I tried forging out one of the three bars and it just fell apart I tried to re weld it with flux and it would hold then fall apart finally i just needed to concede defeat. I boxed one of the remaining bars with 1/8 1080 and tried welding it again . i soaked it at 2000deg for 10-15 min then set the two sheets first before gently hammering from all directions. even with the added width the billet buckled a lot upsetting it today i ground off the 1080 and tried forging it into a blade.. it held together better than the first bar, but I was forced to flux weld a bunch of joints to get it to hang together. I managed a blade but I am not confident it will not have major weld flaws. I hardened it and gave it a quick grind to knock off the scale then tossed it in temper. hopefully ill have time tomorrow to grind it. PXL_20230117_201351649.mp4 PXL_20230117_201925983.mp4
  17. oh i know why this happened , my forge over shot the welding temp by 200 deg and the case failed, I massaged it back together but was not 100% it worked. the EDM was an experiment , I was hoping the smaller kerf (0.002) and accuracy would make up for the cost, it dosn't look like that will be the case , this one spend 6 hours on the machine for 2 cuts .
  18. well we have a good news bad news sort of situation here. good news I got it back from the EDM shop. Bad news is the bar has a bunch of flaws. looks like at least one of the three pieces I can save, the thickest I am going to try casing with sheet and rewelding , I may add another edge bar on that one as well to get a little more Mass to work with. The other two I have a few ideas but they may not be salvageable
  19. there are two bars one on each end that are not really part of the pattern just 30 layer straight bars , these are more or less sacrificial for the tang. I did a pattern bar rather than a solid 1075 because i had them in the right size and I figured they would be less obvious if the ended up in the blade. Like I did for the Ashoken knife, Ill saw cut the transition so that there is a clean transition to the the heal with out any drag up that would happen if I forged in that transition.
  20. I started this one around Holloween. This is more in the same vane as the Whiskey Sunrise and Ashoken Nights. the concept was based around some bars I had laying around from another project, I really don't even know what they were from, but I realized I could make the house. and then i got the idea to do it like a paint by numbers.. make a drawing and just fill in the blanks on top, when I first did the drawing I had forgotten the Baba Yagas house has chicken legs.. so i adjusted the drawing.. the back ground is 1075 and i use thin sheets of 15n20 to frame and outline every thing. I was trying to get sense depth and distance. the trees are 200 layer bars cut at 45Deg the mountians was a some left over tiles from a mosaic i did a few years ago. slowly I filled in the back ground and built up the picture. Once I had every thing fit I Tig welded the frame together. then surface ground every thing close to flat. from here I welded on thin covers to each side (22 gauge) I weled this up an drew it out a bit . the welding process was the flats then narrow then long back to flat back , slowly consolidating everything in all directions . after several heats the pattern started to show through the sheet (as it succumbed to scale ) I did see one or two flaws open up but i was able to massage them closed and use a touch of flux to get them to weld them shut. The forge was acting funny the day I welded this and it over shot the temp I normally weld at by a couple hundred deg. I suspect that was my issue. I surface ground the flats to 120 grit and did see any flaws. I gave it a quick etch a that point. PXL_20221126_200410585.mp4 I squared up the other two corners and passed this off to a friend of a friend that works in an EDM shop. He is going to slice the billet into 2 -1/4" thick pieces and 1 -3/8" thick. from then Ill forge several blades. The thick one I have ear marked for a cleaver.. likely do a chef out of one as well. That's all until I get them back from the machine shop. MP PXL_20221125_222649870.MP
  21. First hit is on the flats to set the sheet to the surface , then on edge to start to consolidate the welds. I normally do three or four welding heats, with a soak in the forge between. Incidentally I am doing none of this with flux its all "atmospheric" . MP
  22. Last year (2021) Kevin Cashen begin a Tradition at Ashoken of raffling off a knife to the attendees in support of the the annual Whisky tasting Sat night. I volunteered to do this years knife. Sadly I was not able to make it to Ashoken this year. Due to a screw up with my schedule I was teaching that weekend. how ever I did make this knife to donate , made sure it got there and they managed to raise enough to ensure the tradition will continue! On to the work. This Knife is a bit of an experiment. The idea is an extension of the Whiskey sunrise knife I made last spring. That Idea being to create a scene in the damascus, to treat the blade itself as a canvas. The Idea of telling a story in the steel has captured my imagination, and this blade was another step within that idea. this is the layout of the billet from the top down the "frame" and sky is of 1075 the tiles that make up the trees are a mosaic the 'Moon" is 15n20 there is a single tile of "campfire" pattern set into a frame of 1084 the edge bar is 150 layer bar on edge. I tig welded the corners solid and then welded on thin sheet metal cover to each side of the billet . I then forge welded it under the 4B . after drawing it out a bit the block was around 5" long 5/8" thick and 1 1/2"" tall from there I sawed the billet in half. one of the pieces I Pre cut a point on the bar to help preserve the shape and I also cut a slit to forge into the tang, saw cutting this prevents the pattern being dragged up as the tang is forged in. I forged the blade to shape. profiled and heat treated it. a quick etch after grinding and polishing on the grinder up to 800 grit shows the pattern. I finished the knife off with a bronze bolster stacked black and red G10 spacers and a stablized Koa handle I also gold leafed my makers mark. The pattern is a memory of a fire in the darkness surrounded those that share my madness , it is an amalgam of my memories of Ashoken. Enjoy! MP
  23. It is mostly skill, sometimes the steel just hates you and doesn't cooperate. I figure that's fair i burn it and hit it will hammers. In fact this is very planned and based on experimentation and control in the forging process, parts of this did things I didn't expect (though looking back I probably should have) so going forward I will likely change my methods. This is still early in the concept, wail a successful piece it is not the vision i have in my mind, but it is a step toward it. MP
  24. Those that know , know. Last year at the Ashoken seminar Kevin Cashen started a New tradition by donating a knife to raffle off in support of the Saturday night whiskey Tasting/ Memorial I volunteered to continue the tradition and to do this years knife. This is an experimental pattern weld I did for my donation , the steels are 15n20 1080 and 1075, the handle is stabilized Koa and the bolster/ pin are bronze, the edge bard is 150 layer the spine 1075 the rest is mosaic tiles of 1080/15n20. the Idea is a moon lit tree line with a roaring camp fire, the image in my mind, represents some of my fondest memories of the fellowship I have felt attending Ashoken.. There is a more detail build through forth coming on my Pateron but i am happy to answer any question on how i did any of this. I will not be about to make ashoken this year (double booked with a teaching job) but the knife will be there and will be raffled off.. Tim Nue already mentioned how he is looking forward t it being in him kitchen I suspect he will be buying more than a few tickets. MP PXL_20220913_211809783.mp4
  25. I had a pro pic done of this one at bladeshow, just got the image back from Sharp By Coop, This one also won the ABS Moran award (best knife in the style of Bill Moran)
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