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Emiliano Carrillo

Bloom Knife

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Hey guys! 

Here is a knife I made as a gift for William Short, the leader of Hurstwic, as a thank you for inviting me to Iceland on an iron making expedition this summer. We went and created iron for the first time since the 1250's in Iceland, after Norway forced them to start importing iron instead of making it. There are however, about a bazillion (scientific term) iron rich streams and bogs in Iceland, and naturally occurring Kaolite, plus many archaeological sites where a lot of iron was produced, such as Eidar where ~1000 tons of iron were produced over about 300 years. Added to the fact that there are other sites where bloomery furnaces are found, on farms with an iron rich stream nearby, and where forest used to be, on a body of water connecting to or on the ocean, it seems iron production and export was very common in Iceland. Bill first got interested in all of this after seeing Eidar, and after some experimenting at home it was time to go. I'll probably post something more about that trip in the bloomers and buttons forum or something, but at any rate! He was kind enough to bring me in as a consultant during the experiments and learning at home, in preparation for the event in Iceland, and he invited me to go with them. As a thank you, I wanted to make him something in the style of what an imagined settler of Iceland could have carried. We had a feast in the reconstructed longhouse of Eirik the Red and gifts were given, which is when I presented this secret gift to him! 

Without further ado, here's the photo essay!  

 

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One of the bloomery furnaces we ran at Bills house during the year of prep for the festival. The actual material for his knife came from maybe the second or third smelt I believe. 

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A small collection of the bloom we had made over the year, sliced up into easily workable sections for forging. Most of it was steely bloom as opposed to iron, so this particular material needed a bit of extra careful folding and forging. I chose a piece I liked the look of and began to fold it. 

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Two folds in! Looking surprisingly good considering the nature of this material. 

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Some nice sparks from the bar 6 folds in. 

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After 5 more folds (total of 11) it was ready for forging. I forged and ground the blade quickly and then hardened it in water. You can see the artifacts of hardening, which will be visible in the final product. 

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Skip forward another 6 hours or so, and you have a finished knife! Sitting on a piece of bloom and a chunk of boxwood.IMG_1583.jpeg

 

I started designing some carvings based off a Norwegian church carving. I designed on the sheath in pencil and then began the carving, the entire process from starting the design to finished carving took maybe 2.5 hours which I am very pleased with! I am beginning to feel more comfortable with these styles of decoration

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Half way there. Here I am about to complicate the knots on the right side of the sheath nearest where the leather strings will sit, and I chose to make some unresolved lines as well. Most of the period art I have seen seems to have some lines that don't quite go anywhere. I think this is wonderful, and wanted to add some of that into this piece. 

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A shot in more natural light showing how well the stippling brings out the definition in the carving. 

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And done! Aside from dye that is. The runes say who it was made by and for whom. I also added the grace lines, to visually complicate the knots. Above the runes you can see the extra knots I added that aren't resolved. It was definitely odd making the carving 'imperfect' but I quite like the result! 

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Dyed! After a few minutes when it is dry you can buff with a paper towel or some other soft rag to brighten the high spots and matte the lower ones. 

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And some finished shots/video!

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The second video shows the blade moving in the light a bit, showing the hamon. 

 

Anyway, hope you guys enjoy the knife!

-Emiliano

 

 

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  • Like 9

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Loves it. Great stuff Emiliano. Glad you posted that second video. The pattern in the blade is deceptively complex.

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Too cool!  Both the knife and the project!  I am as deeply envious of you as I am happy for you that you got to participate in that event. :lol:  Is the sheath sewn at all?  I'm not seeing any stitching or rivets...

Since Emiliano didn't post the link to the event, I will: http://www.hurstwic.com/iron/

Be sure to look at the slide show!  

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Knife and sheath are both awesome!

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Posted (edited)

Great stuff! It will be a while before I can view the vids. Liz is using most of the bandwidth on a work call.

Edited by Joshua States

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I saw this on FB, really awesome stuff! The knife, and I'm sure the journey was pretty cool too. 

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Such a cool knife, and an even cooler process.

I totally agree that the unresolved lines on the knotwork add something, It looks a lot more real and historical this way.

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Love it all, you did something thats on my bucketlist with amazing results!

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You know how much I love your stuff Emiliano.  This is no different.  I love that steel.  And your leather tooling is gorgeous.

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On 10/5/2019 at 3:03 PM, Charles du Preez said:

Loves it. Great stuff Emiliano. Glad you posted that second video. The pattern in the blade is deceptively complex.


Thanks Charles! It was a pretty 'simple' forging, the layering is a result of how I usually forge this material, alternating the direction of folding every few folds. Basically like making ply wood out of steel! The hamon it took is quite beautiful though, that second video brings it out quite well! 

 

 

On 10/5/2019 at 3:05 PM, Alan Longmire said:

Too cool!  Both the knife and the project!  I am as deeply envious of you as I am happy for you that you got to participate in that event. :lol:  Is the sheath sewn at all?  I'm not seeing any stitching or rivets...

Since Emiliano didn't post the link to the event, I will: http://www.hurstwic.com/iron/

Be sure to look at the slide show!  

Nope not sewn, I usually glue this type of sheath! I've found the glue is stronger than the leather itself and doesn't let go, so no need to stitch other than aesthetics. Of course I'm not sure how historical this construction is, but hide glue was plentiful and does a wonderful job joining leather! And yes good call I forgot to post the link! Thanks Alan :) it was a surreal experience, and brought together several of my loves in this journey!
 

 

On 10/5/2019 at 9:14 PM, MikeDT said:

Knife and sheath are both awesome!

Thanks Mike! 

 

On 10/5/2019 at 11:00 PM, Joshua States said:

Great stuff! It will be a while before I can view the vids. Liz is using most of the bandwidth on a work call.

Thanks Joshua! They're basically just fly-bys of the knife and sheath, the second one shows a bit of the activity in the blade!

 

On 10/5/2019 at 11:03 PM, Zeb Camper said:

I saw this on FB, really awesome stuff! The knife, and I'm sure the journey was pretty cool too. 

Thanks Zeb! Yes absolutely the trip was I think the best I've ever been on! Smelting and a beautiful country, what more could you need? 

 

On 10/6/2019 at 8:11 AM, Pieter-Paul Derks said:

Such a cool knife, and an even cooler process.

I totally agree that the unresolved lines on the knotwork add something, It looks a lot more real and historical this way.


Thanks Pieter! It was a hard decision to make because it's so easy to get into the modern mindset of making things perfect, but it really 'worked' for the project. It looks a little more organic to my eye this way! 

 

On 10/6/2019 at 12:20 PM, Karim said:

Love it all, you did something thats on my bucketlist with amazing results!


Thanks Karim! It was certainly on mine as well :) hopefully there is more to come from all of this! 

 

On 10/6/2019 at 2:38 PM, Wes Detrick said:

You know how much I love your stuff Emiliano.  This is no different.  I love that steel.  And your leather tooling is gorgeous.

Thanks Wes :) the steel was a wonderful surprise! I've yet to polish any larger knives from the period, but having looked at some axes I have and photos online, it seems the steel is quite close to what you could expect from that period in history! The leather was a lot of fun, I'm getting faster and finding a bit more of a style in the knotwork I've been doing. I'm still a bit of a ways away from being able to design good knots all from scratch but there's time! Thanks for the kind words brother! 

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1 hour ago, Emiliano Carrillo said:

I'm still a bit of a ways away from being able to design good knots all from scratch but there's time! Thanks for the kind words brother! 

Yeah I know that feeling. Leather tooling designs has always been just at the fringe of my artistic abilities, whether it is American Western motif or otherwise.

It's a cultural thing that becomes easier the more you immerse yourself in the style. When the visuals are all around you, the shapes become engrained in your psyche and you can start to see them with little effort. I think you have gotten to a level of ability that replicates the period very well. 

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This is an awesome story and a beautiful knife. I love the simplicity of the blade but with such amazing steel and a lovely sheath.

 

As always your skill and speed of work blows my mind my friend!

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Really awesome story and blade, Emiliano! 

 

You're living my dream :P.

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3 hours ago, Will W. said:

Really awesome story and blade, Emiliano! 

 

You're living my dream :P.

I can't decide if when I grow up I wanna be Emiliano or Jake...….

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Nice work

Early Iceland was covered with thick Birch forests. A Silver Birch handle would have been more appropriate than Boxwood.

 

 

Edited by Harry Marinakis

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