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Collaboration with Robert Burns WIP


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So, Robert and I met recently and as always happens when bladesmiths get together, ideas started flying. So, we're working on a collaboration project. After a little planning, I got started today. So, we figure that we'll share with folks here as it progresses. To keep it a little fun though, I'm starting the work in progress thread without telling you all what we're making. I think it will be kind of fun. :)


Starting with a big hunk of wrought from my special stash. I bought this quite a while ago from Karl B. Anderson. I started with one of the pieces on the left. 3"x1/2"x11".




Look at that wrought goodness!




Into the forge!




Look at the strings of slaggy goodness as it gets forged down....




3"x1/2"x11" becomes 2"x3/8"x22"




All cleaned up and shiny! Bet you can't guess what's coming next! :)




That's all for today. I have to get a refill on the propane bottle.

Edited by deker
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Got another little bit of time in the shop and kept going on this one. Can you guess what it's going to be yet? :)


5 layers of wrought iron with 4 layers of really thin, shiny stuff...Is that NICKEL? :)




Stacked and ready to go into the forge




I just love taking pictures of the forge....




Squished and welded




From every blade a little scale must fall...(or, my attempt at being artsy :) )




Forged out to 2"x17"x3/8"




Welds look pretty good, but the flash makes the colors look backwards




Bad picture, but more realistic colors



Edited by deker
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Looking forward to what you do with this! Damn, I need some nickel.


Me too! I'll give one hint. I realized today that I may need more mass, so I'll be welding up another billet just like this one so I can combine the two! :o

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ok, I am not going to guess, since I almost certainly won't get it (beyond a large bladed thingy with a single edge). I may even be wrong there.


but I am game to watch the progress.

please visit my website http://www.professorsforge.com/


“Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” E. V. Debs

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So, over the weekend I forged out a billet identical to the first (so I skipped taking pictures of that...).


Today I took the two billets and combined them into one larger one. I only got a few photos though since my cellphone battery died on me...So, all the secrets of making a random pattern are still mine! :)


I had to fire up the temporary "big" forge since the final layup was just a little too tall for my normal forge.




All prepped and ready to get welded. With the added 9 layers of nickel in this layup this yields 99 layers. this left my brain to come up with a lot of song references while I was working on this. I still have "99 Luft Baloons" stuck in my head...



Gettin' hot in here...
Then my battery died....
The final billet is 3/4"x2-1/4"x12". There was a surprising amount of material loss putting this billet together. It started as 1 piece of 1/2"x3"x11" wrought and then I added a piece of 3/4"x2"x10". Sure, there was a bit of grinding things clean, but no more than usual. Lots of scale generated by the wrought though. I'm just not used to this much material loss on something as (relatively) simple as a random pattern...
I'll post a picture or two of the completed billet tomorrow. Next step is to start making it into something... :)
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As promised, here's a look at the finished billet:


All forged out

A quick grind and etch of a window
A closeup
Another closeup with a flash to bring out more detail. Weird how the flash sort of inverts the colors...
There's more fun inside! This end cut shows the difference between the two wrought iron pieces that were used. I made sure to alternate them in the final stacking to add some visual interest to the final pattern.
Stay tuned for our next episode, where I'll start actually forging more than barstock! :)
Edited by deker
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  • 3 weeks later...

This project isn't stalled, I've just been a little busy.


In our latest installment, I forge out some steel for Robert to work into a blade...


A shot of what will be the core bar for this blade. It's 1084/15n20 twist with a little something different in the layup.




For the outside of the billet, some of the previous wrought/nickel




Forge out the wrought/nickel into a bar




Stack it up! The order here (from the inside out) is 1084/15n20 twist bar core, 15n20 for fun, wrought/nickel outside.




Tacked together and ready to weld




Getting hot...




All welded up.




I added a little bit of a point so Robert will know which end is grabby and which end is stabby...




Add some laddering to mix things up a bit and add some more fun to the steel




I ended up in a rush from this point as I was getting ready to head out of town, so I forgot to get pictures of grinding the ladders clean, forging out the final bar, and what it looked like with a quick etch. Sorry!


This bar is with Robert now, so maybe he'll post a picture of an etched window.

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So I received this beautiful piece of steel the other day and had to take a quick picture of it. This has a TON of beautiful activity in it and I will get to forging it in the near future.



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  • 1 month later...

Got back to a bit of work on this today. Time to let the cat out of the bag. Robert has been working on a bad-ass knife (hopefully he'll stop in and give us an update) and I needed to get a drift made for the matching woods axe. So, I forged this one today out of 1.5" round 5150. I used the press to do some of the (very) rough tapering, but it was mostly hand forging due to the front-to-back taper...a lot of hand forging... Here's a picture of the new drift next to the billet that will be the axe body.





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  • 4 months later...

Well everyone, after many delays and design changes I have finally finished the knife portion of this project and here it is, fossil walrus with bronze, leather spacers, and wrought iron guard.



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  • 3 weeks later...

I really like the offset emperor node on the sheath...

Jake Cleland - Skye Knives


"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."


Albert Einstein

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  • 3 months later...

Sadly the axe on this project died an untimely death when I was folding over to weld and the wrought tore on me...The pieces have been reforged and will like on in some San Mai pieces, and I'll start again for an axe at some point in the future.

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