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Don gave me this blade five or six years ago and said, "Make something beautiful with it". Hmm, ok, so it rumbled around in my mind until last fall. It was a slow process figuring out the transition, theme and all the details, but I think it came good in the end.

I didn't find out until it was almost finished that it was Don's last patterned blade. I knew it had to be one of the last, but THE last. I'm glad I didn't know as I was working on it.

Below is a little of what I've written. More to be read here:   Kelso Journal

And a slide show with more photos here:    Fogg/Kelso

In keeping with the persona of a hunting knife, I chose to represent features of the Vermont woodlands that would be familiar to a skilled, observant woodsman. These include tracks of the Red Fox, leaves of Red Maple, Beech, and Red and White Oaks, and a feather. The feather was modeled from the Ruffed Grouse, but altered in shape and color to fit the surroundings. I chose a feather as a sign of passage, which in the case of birds, could be molting, conflict, flight or death. Feathers have such deep and subtle beauty. My wife Jean and I have a collection and I always wonder, when finding a single feather, what the story was. The tracks, leaves and feather are all signs, marking activity and transition, the meaning of which is read by the skilled woodsman.

This project has been very satisfying for a number of reasons. I was touched and honored when Don gave me the blade to finish. I did not realize until the piece was nearly finished that it was his last patterned blade, which greatly enhances the meaning for me. Don is a legend in the smithing world, and rightly so. Apart from his technical innovations, he has an artistic eye, both for pattern and form, which is rarely, if ever matched. In addition, his Bladesmith’s Forum stands as an unparalleled online resource for beginning and accomplished knifemakers.

 

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This is very moving and thank you for posting along with your journal.

It makes me feel like I can always keep trying to express inspiration regardless of what I lack. Just seeing what you guys accomplish makes every step towards what small limits I can do, satisfying.....or at least in trying!

Thank you, Gary LT

 

 

"I Never Met A Knife I Didn't Like", (Will Rogers)

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Well done sir  !!..................................B)

If ya can't be good don't git caught  !!                                        People who say stuff can't be done need to

                                                                                                        git the hell outta the way of people who do stuff   !!!

Show me a man who is called an expert by his peers         

And I will show you a good man to listen to ......

Show me a man who calls himself an expert

and I will show you an egotistical asshole...............!!

 

                             

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Outstanding 

"The way we win matters" (Ender Wiggins) Orson Scott Card

 

Nos, qui libertate donati sumus, nes cimus quid constet.

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From your words and these pictures I can truly tell how much of an honor it was to have Don entrust this blade to you. All I can say is the trust was rightly placed and you have done the blade justice. The finished knife is a true inspiration of craftsmanship, as are its makers. 

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I just found time to look at this, and read, and view the slide show a couple of times. Masterful work, as always Jim. I have to admit that I looked at the knife slide show before reading the blog post. I love to look at work that I know will have a story behind it, and a story to tell on its own. As I looked at the photos going by, I saw the woods, I heard the birds and smelled the loamy smell that only the earth can bring. You have truly captured the spirt of the woods and the woodsman in this piece. 

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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Thanks very much Joshua, Wes and Gerhard. The lyrical content means ever much more to me.

Gerhard, yes end-grain with bark on the sides. It's one of my favorite bits too! I did the bark first and puzzled over what to do on the top, and the light-bulb went off...

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"Make something beautiful with it."

 

Mission accomplished!  :)

James Helm - Helm Enterprises, Forging Division

 

Come see me at the Blade Show! Table 26R.

 

Proud to be a Neo-Tribal Metalsmith scavenging the wreckage of civilization.

 

My blog dedicated to the metalwork I make and sell: http://helmforge.blogspot.com/

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14 hours ago, Jim Kelso said:

It's one of my favorite bits too! I did the bark first and puzzled over what to do on the top, and the light-bulb went off...

I have a confession. When I first saw the "bark" I thought to myself, "whoa, there's a stream trickling through the woods." Then I saw the rings of the tree and I thought, "Wow. There's an old log in the stream. Man, that Kelso is incredible."

10 hours ago, James Helm said:

"Make something beautiful with it."

Mission accomplished!  :)

I couldn't agree more.

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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I love it! Thanks for sharing it, Jim!

The collars in front of the bolster are a nice touch. The feather is just awesome.

The wood grain of the end of a log on the top of the bolster is a great touch, too.

Tell Don he's missed!

Dave

 

-----------------------------------------------

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly." -- Theodore Roosevelt

http://stephensforge.com

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12 hours ago, Joshua States said:

I have a confession. When I first saw the "bark" I thought to myself, "whoa, there's a stream trickling through the woods." Then I saw the rings of the tree and I thought, "Wow. There's an old log in the stream. Man, that Kelso is incredible."

I couldn't agree more.

A couple others saw the bark as stones, which I can totally see now. It's all good...

10 hours ago, Dave Stephens said:

I love it! Thanks for sharing it, Jim!

The collars in front of the bolster are a nice touch. The feather is just awesome.

The wood grain of the end of a log on the top of the bolster is a great touch, too.

Tell Don he's missed!

Dave

 

Thanks Dave!

I'll pass that on to Don.

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That is some beautiful work by both of you!!!

Man I feel honored just to be able to even comment on it here!

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14 hours ago, Jeremy Blohm said:

That is some beautiful work by both of you!!!

Man I feel honored just to be able to even comment on it here!

Thanks very much Jeremy! Much appreciated...

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Jim, you did a beautiful job on making that knife look more like a sculpture than most knives.  Very impressive work.  I'm sure Don is proud of the work you did.

Chris

 

www.chrischristenberry.com

WHEW!!!  If I could only know now what I "thought" I knew back then....................

 

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