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So it's about time for bi-yearly photo dump ;) I mean to just post more often here and it never happens... so I apologize again for the flurry of photos that is to come, but hopefully you guys enjoy! 


I'll start with a smelt that Matt Berry and I did in January as a follow up to a previous smelt at Dragon's Breath that I ran for their yearly hammer-in. We used local iron sand from the beach a la Japanese and ended up with some really nice steel. I wanted to up the ante with the second smelt and built the furnace to provide a better yield (theoretically). It worked a charm! We charged 19.2 kg of ore and got 6.8 kg of steel out of it. A 35% yield! And not just any steel, it's as high quality as the tamahagane I have forged from Japan. At three folds it was already nearly flawless and forged like butter! So first is the bloom! We had to build the furnace in 16 degree weather and built a fire inside to mitigate freezing and cracking. The next day we fired it up and somehow managed to get the furnace through the whole smelt! That was a trial in and of itself.

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The aftermath of the furnace.



This was how it ended up post extraction, the furnace fell during the night.



Preliminary spark check! I didn't think the whole thing could be like this, but it certainly was. 



We had to heat it back up and cut it under the power hammer because it was too solid to cut by hand. Nice and solid inside!



One half as is, and the other half forged out prior to any folding. 



First fold done!



3 folds...



I forged a small replica of a knife Peter Johnsson had made and hardened it without clay to see what the steel would do.



And success! Over 64 RC out of the water. This one is making its (overly complicated) trip to Peter now! 


With success behind me, I decided next thing to do was forge a tango from the rest of the bar. I chose a Bizen school shape which I am drawn to and prepared the blade.



This one still has a fair ways to go, it still needs a habaki and proper mountings. This is the first blade I'm happy enough with to give it the full treatment. There are a few things to change, like the spine it a little too tall, but that can be fixed! It has exceptional activities present in the blade and the hardening is actually pretty reminiscent of some Soshu work that must also have been done without clay! This one also reached over 64 RC out of the water and ended up nice and straight. For blades like this you introduce a downward curve during forging/normalizing so that the blade ends up straight out of the water, instead of curved, basically you're adding negative sori.  




While we're still in forging territory, I played around with fire strikers while working on a sword blade for another project that will likely be posted soon! 

I made a top and bottom tool with some round 'teeth's forge the squiggly iron and then took some 1075 and folded it on itself. 



Afterwards a little flux!



And presto! There was some grinding to clean up the ends afterwards, but not too much! I also cracked it during the hardening but it makes some nice sparks! I plan on making more of these soon, they're a greta shape to forge and will make a great addition to a viking kit!





Jumping forward to the end of February I went down to NYC with some of the usual suspects and enjoyed the opening of Peter's amazing dedication to the goddesses! 



There was a lot of time spent at the Met enjoying some recent additions to the arms and armor gallery. From left to right the man of the hour Peter Johnsson, Owen Bush, Jordan LaMothe, Dakota Slack, and Rusty Griffin!



And the group shot during the opening! Out of frame is Rusty but there's Jordan, Dakota, me, Sixt, Peter, Owen, Brett, Scott, Isabel, Michael, Zack and Rasmus. A rowdy group for sure! 





Jump forward a couple more weeks and I went to Maine to NESM for a seax class! Here you have Eric doing the initial forging of the edge billet we made. 



We folded to 480 layers of 15n20 and 1084. Man having access to a power hammer makes for fast work!



We made a few different kinds of twist bars so students could choose what they liked! These twists are all based on historical Viking Age or earlier patterns.



Cory doing some twisting! Most people assembled their billets from 4+ bars. 



Jay holding his monster seax!



Once we had blades forged and cleaned up we hardened and tempered them overnight! From left to right is Jay, Matthew, Eric, Cory, and then two I made as different demos.IMG_5300.jpeg


I wanted to do bolster construction with these. I brought a moose antler that we divided up into small chunks for bolster making. Here I am fitting the bolster with a couple of drilled holes, a jewelers saw, and some needle rasps. 



This one was meant to be a through tang construction as a demo on making a seax with peened construction. 



And glued! Kind of... We bedded the tangs in the handle once things were fit up so that we could remove the blade during the shaping process to make sure everything was perfect. 



A shot of Cory doing the front detail on his bolster. A useful trick is to trace the blade shape with pencil before doing this so you can make sure things are staying even in case of a slightly uneven fit of the bolster to the blade.



And finished! A class photo on the last day. From top to bottom, Cory, Eric, Matthew, me, and Jay!



And some closeups! Cory's first



Then Eric's! He used a sweet piece of steel made in a previous NESM course for the edge. Look at those nicely matched interrupted twists!



And Matthews!



And Jay's! What a crazy piece of work! 





Next up I was supposed to go to Germany in a few weeks time for the KNIFE show hosted by the Deutches Klingenmuseum. Of course, with recent world events that wasn't; going to happen! Though they did decide to keep the kitchen knife contest open! Basically the prompt was 'the perfect cooking knife', so here's what I came up with! 


I started with some oroshigane made with Pavel Bolf during Ashokan. I made a 7 inch Japanese style knife, a sujihiki.



It was hardened with no clay into water using a technique called zubuyaki that I learned from Pavel. Once polished you can see all the fun stuff in the steel! 



Once the blade was finished it was time for the rest! I had a sudden thought while driving from the shop one day about how I should finish this up, but it seemed ridiculous. I haven't ever seen someone do something like this for a kitchen knife, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to try! Worst case scenario it doesn't work out! I decided to make a traditional style of handle, a D shaped grip, using iron, bog oak, and silver. First was making the tenon. The collar isn't round, it is forged oval, so I had to rough in the tenon and then clean up to match the ferrule by hand. 



Then file finished and inlaid using ten-zogan!



Applying the patina, little by little. It is a forced rusting called sabitsuke. 




A little bit of fussing and assembling and you have a finished knife! 










Next is a slightly older project that recently found a new home. It was a collaboration with Jordan LaMothe. He made the blade and sent it my way for finishing. I choose some dark dreamlike themes based the blade, kind of light a 'starry night' with fewer stars! Seeing these two one after another actually makes me realize there's a lot of common motifs between these pieces I've made lately. Well to be honest you can't go wrong with bog oak and silver!








Next we come to the most recent couple weeks, the quarantine! My job has me working from home 30 hours a week (my regular schedule) so I've been doing a lot of bladesmithing related work at home as well, just because I'm already there! So I have jumped headfirst into some sheath work and other various projects that needed finishing.


First off, a hairpin for my girlfriend for her birthday based off an original from somewhere that's escaping my brain at the moment... Carved from cow bone with a garnet in a silver bezel.






Next is a couple of sheaths made for some knives, the zoomorphic one for the seax made at NESM and the other two for some other pieces!



The one on the left is for a seax Luke Shearer made and sent to me for finishing, and the rightmost is for a piece made from bloom I just finished recently. 



And now dyed!




I finished out the black one with silver rings and silver fittings. The blade is made from bloomery steel for the edge, high and low carbon iron and steel for the twist, and an iron spine. The bolster is finished the same way the ferrule of the kitchen knife was. I am super happy with how this one turned out, and honestly may just keep it for myself!IMG_2258.jpeg













Next one is the sheath for the demo piece from the NESM class! Based on the sheath fittings of a broad seax I found in some archaeological PDF! The tooling is based on some zoomorphic art from the Viking Age.  















The two together. A pretty handsome pair I think! 




Next a little guy made from some unknown antique tool steel I found at my old shop. Hardened with no clay as is becoming my custom. The carving is rough but a good step towards making decent carvings! I got some really fantastic help from Jeff Helmes in regards to carving better. A garnet is inset in the handle in a silver bezel. I'll probably make a simple sheath for this one and use it as a letter opener ;) 



Some cool cloudy activity in the blade. 




And last but not least the most recent one! I made this one yesterday. I'm getting pretty quick at this! Pretty proud of myself, the whole handle and assembly took me about 5 and a half hours! Made from the same billet as the zoomorphic one. It's based on a German seax from the 6-7th century. The fittings are mild steel with diver salvaged white oak for the handle. It has a very nice flat profile for the handle as is evinced by the shapes of the front and back plates on these seaxes! The peen on the back end is ground flat and polished again. The handle actually feels really good, the narrow section fits in the crooks of your hands really well! The blade is etched deep for really nice chatoyance, and shows a nice hamon in the right light. 




















And a 'family' shot showing a bunch of them together! 





Anyway, as usual, my profuse apologies for the 100,000 photos and the book of text, but hopefully you guys enjoy! 




Edited by Emiliano Carrillo
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Fantastic work Emiliano, as usual.  I've seen a couple of these posted on Facebook, but it is great to see the whole family and some of the development.  Really wanted to attend your seax class, now I'm even more sorry I missed it.


Maybe after this craziness ends you would consider coming to Rochester and teaching a similar one at the Arc and Flame school.

Edited by Dan Hertzson
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Awesome work bud. Good to see what you’ve been up to. I’m trying to choose a favourite here and I just can’t. Gorgeous work all round.

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


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

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Next level tremendous work! Total inspiration, thanks for sharing.

"Old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes" - Tom HALL - Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon wine.


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Yeah seeing all this stuff together is great, I really like your style of work.


Your hamons are also looking awesome.


I totally forgot about the kitchen knife prize, I planned to make something for that, but I got caught up in some other projects.

Its a shame I didn't get to meet you in Solingen, but maybe next year.

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Thanks for sharing.  This post might have changed my mind about the seax and I just might have to forge my own someday....

RIP Bear....be free!


as always

peace and love




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