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How far have you travelled on the Journey?


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Hi All,

 

I thought I would start a thread to see how far we have all come from the humble beginnings of when we first got that glint in our eye and made that first blade to where we are now.

 

I would love to see pics of your first ever blades and of your most prized creations to date.

 

Thought it would be a good inspiring thread for the new and old and everyone in between.

 

 

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This'd by one of my earliest ones Rob (1970's) made entirely with an angle grinder froma piece of burst sawmill bandsaw blade so most likely 15N20. Did a lot of work with it and if it was the only knife I had today I could stiill do most of what I need to do (hunting wise) with it.

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Lots  of them (over 450 in last 4 years)  betwen then and now with the last one away being the River Sunset bowie

 

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Great idea. I love seeing before and after pictures as well as seeing how someone progresses as their skills improve. As soon as my skills progress past crap so that people can tell the difference between my first and latest knife I'll post some pics.

 

Gary, I wish my first knife looked as good as yours. Or my second. Or third...Maybe my tenth?

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3 hours ago, Garry Keown said:

This'd by one of my earliest ones Rob (1970's) made entirely with an angle grinder froma piece of burst sawmill bandsaw blade so most likely 15N20. Did a lot of work with it and if it was the only knife I had today I could stiill do most of what I need to do (hunting wise) with it.

k2.png

k1.png

 

Lots  of them (over 450 in last 4 years)  betwen then and now with the last one away being the River Sunset bowie

 

IMG_0327.JPG

IMG_0324.JPG

 

Awesome Gary. Very good early  knife that has obviously been well used and still going but you can sure see years of your making shine through in that Bowie . 
 

I will dig out some of mine after I get home from work.

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Here's my first "sword." I made it when I was about 13 years old from an old file. Not forged. The copper wire on the hilt is from telephone wire that I stripped the sheathing from. The pommel is a large brass nut that I filled in with braze (hence the bubbles). I think the guard was a bit of brass from a backing plate from an old boat. 

 

And here's another short sword I made a couple years ago. 

 

Long road . . . many miles left to go. 

first sword.jpg

jachelt.jpg

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First knife about 25 years ago,band saw blade stock removal.Brass pierced scales with buffalo horn underlay.

 

 

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Edited by DanM
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5 hours ago, Dave Stephens said:

Here's my first "sword." I made it when I was about 13 years old from an old file. Not forged. The copper wire on the hilt is from telephone wire that I stripped the sheathing from. The pommel is a large brass nut that I filled in with braze (hence the bubbles). I think the guard was a bit of brass from a backing plate from an old boat. 

 

And here's another short sword I made a couple years ago. 

 

Long road . . . many miles left to go. 

first sword.jpg

jachelt.jpg

That was a great effort Dave, I would have given anything for that when I was 13 let alone make it and that short sword just speaks for itself....awesome 
 

 

 

4 hours ago, DanM said:

First knife about 25 years ago,band saw blade stock removal.Brass pierced scales with buffalo horn underlay.

 

 

cartouchejef1.jpg

yanoni2 002.jpg

very cool Dan.

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Here is one of my first and one from down the track. Still on the road too.

 

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This is the last thing I made for my self.Two holsters and a sheath. Had to quit. Health went to hell. Didnt even get a bDSC00739.jpgelt made to match it. Sold every thing off when I quit.Didnt even keep my first pieces. kidterico

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started on this addiction about 4-5 years ago..

 

My first completed knife was this one. firstfinished.jpg

Made it as a going away gift for my friends dad who packed up and went the expat route in Costa Rica. Still has it, still uses it to slice limes for his mixed drinks. 

And then I have this one, which is done other then a sheath and a sharpening. But its the best hamon I think I have ever done, and it feels just wonderful in the hand. 
lastfinished.jpg

Have my KITH tanto in the works right now ( sitting wired and clayed up in the garage right now. I am kind of hoping to surpass this one with that one. 

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I took my first blacksmithing class 22 years ago this month, October of 1998.  Did a lot of ornamental stuff before trying blades.  Here's #1 (the little one with sheath) and #3:

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You can't tell from the pics, but the blade and guard of #1 are welded cable.

What am I most proud of?  Let's see... there's this repro of the last tomahawk presented to Meriwether Lewis, accurately dimensioned and using antique wrought iron:

 

ML full left.jpg

and the blades of the Maldon Foes collab between me and Petr Florianek (Petr did the handles and scabbards):

posterkopiebig.jpg

And my trowel: 

Alan's trowel finished 2.jpg

 

But yes, it's a never-ending journey.  Now I'm getting into 19th century folder patterns, while still doing the hawks and Fiery-Bearded stuff.  The latest is the mini-barlow, three months old (I think...).  It's been polished up a bit since then.  

 

20200719_124933.jpg

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17 hours ago, kidterico said:

This is the last thing I made for my self.Two holsters and a sheath. Had to quit. Health went to hell. Didnt even get a elt made to match it. Sold every thing off when I quit.Didnt even keep my first pieces. kidterico

You sure mastered that leather Work on your journey KT. Wonderfull work.
 

13 hours ago, Robert D. said:

started on this addiction about 4-5 years ago..

 

My first completed knife was this one. 

Made it as a going away gift for my friends dad who packed up and went the expat route in Costa Rica. Still has it, still uses it to slice limes for his mixed drinks. 

And then I have this one, which is done other then a sheath and a sharpening. But its the best hamon I think I have ever done, and it feels just wonderful in the hand. 


Have my KITH tanto in the works right now ( sitting wired and clayed up in the garage right now. I am kind of hoping to surpass this one with that one. 


Well your obviously on the right path Robert. That’s a nice knife.

 

12 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

I took my first blacksmithing class 22 years ago this month, October of 1998.  Did a lot of ornamental stuff before trying blades.  Here's #1 (the little one with sheath) and #3:

 

 

You can't tell from the pics, but the blade and guard of #1 are welded cable.

What am I most proud of?  Let's see... there's this repro of the last tomahawk presented to Meriwether Lewis, accurately dimensioned and using antique wrought iron:

 

 

and the blades of the Maldon Foes collab between me and Petr Florianek (Petr did the handles and scabbards):

 

And my trowel: 

 

 

But yes, it's a never-ending journey.  Now I'm getting into 19th century folder patterns, while still doing the hawks and Fiery-Bearded stuff.  The latest is the mini-barlow, three months old (I think...).  It's been polished up a bit since then.  

 

 


From humble beginnings to outstanding and still going Alan, I Especially Love that hawk. You have made that tomahawk a work of art. Always look forward to seeing your stuff. 
 

Oh! That trowel.......it’s just cool 
 

I thought this thread would be good esp for people just starting out to see if you stick at it there are no limits.

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It was actually two years yesterday that I finished my first blade. I had wanted to become a bladesmith for years and had just moved countries to make that become a reality.

 

As you may notice I liked long knives then and that has only grown on me :lol:

 

But I do think there has been some improvements over this time even though I don't have as much time as I would like to practice

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My first forge was constructed (every time I used it) using a lorry brake drum with bricks for a base and to make space for a Johnny Walker tin with PC fan providing air, powered by a XT PC power supply (XT=old type that still had a switch)

Anvil was a counter weight from an automatic washing machine.

 

I'll post some pics of #first and #last

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I'm still in the driveway on the journey.   I started end of June this year when I suddenly had more time than I anticipated and have been going hard since.  I've got 12 or 13 blades forged,  my first was from a coil spring and I've mainly stuck to simple leaf springs and solid wood scales.  I'm even trying for a little short sword but I need to fix the tang on it.  The top is my first knife,  the bottom is my most recent chef's knife.   

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This is the oldest picture I could find on my phone (2006).

 

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And here's a new guard and handle I put on the same blade just a few months ago.

 

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Here's another knife that is completely new that I made a few weeks ago.

 

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I love this thread idea! For a long time I've been saying that for hammer ins people should bring their very first knife and something recent. I think as a way of helping new smiths settle in and realize that the only thing separating them from the older established ones is a bit of experience and some commitment. It's also a great way to remember where you came from, and how far is still to go! 

 

I still have this 'knife' hanging above my bench at the shop. The bottom one is lost to time, but the top one is the very first knife shaped object I forged, albeit in mild steel. 

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Next, a favorite from two years ago. Made with a lot of silver, some pattern welded steel, bog oak, tooled leather, rubies, more silver, and some antler for good measure. This is one of my most favorite objects I've made, as it pays homage to the history I've grown to love, but also the influences and inspirations I've had from fellow smiths. You can see more about this one here: 

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And something recent! I have meant to post this here but somehow forgot... It's pretty similar in a few ways to the above piece, but is a little shorter and more choppy. Same sort of thing though, lots of silver and antler and pattern welded steel with some silver, wrought iron, some onyx, tooled leather, walnut. 

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The road goes ever on, and the difference between the first forgings and the pieces I put out now keeps me motivated to get better and better! The time between the first photo and the last was about 6 years. That's a long time to be doing anything, whether part time or full time, as a hobby or as a vocation, but it's also just the beginning! And this is just the viking stuff! The Japanese stuff is a whole other barrel of monkeys I've barely scratched the surface of, but I'll keep doing both and trying to get as good in both disciplines as I can! 

 

Great idea for this thread Rob :) 

 

 

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A most excellent idea and one that is much needed. It is so easy for any maker to look at someone else's work and think "I wish I could...". 

We all do it. It's always important to realize that this is an art form and it takes time, patience, practice, and more practice. Never stop practicing and experimenting and you will always grow as a maker.

 

I started making knives in 2005/2006. For the first couple of years I was a stock removal guy. I really wanted to get a good grinding process before I started to forge knives to shape. Here is the first knife I made solo, without any help from another experienced maker. It's 1084, 1"x3/16" starting stock. Nickel-silver fittings and a maple handle. It's a blocky ugly thing and it sits in my desk drawer as a silent reminder.

 

1st solo knife V2.jpg

 

One of my favorite pieces is this dagger. It was one of my first attempts at a high-count multi-bar pattern (9 bars in this one), my first time using ivory as a handle material, and my first time casting fitting materials. (all the shibuichi was made in my shop), and my first ever fully take-down construction. I made this in 2015 for the ICCE show. Other than the file work has a flaw and one of the ivory scales developed a small crack while peening the pins, it came out really well. 

 

dagger Compressed.jpg

 

Another of my favorite pieces went through a couple of renditions, failures, redo's, and eventually wound up taking two years to finally finish. It's another take-down frame handle. With a lot of file work.

 

With Sheath V2.jpg

 

File work.jpg

 

My more recent work is viewable in this thread: 

As a bonus, that thread shows most of my techniques and processes, including a number of total failures.

 

 

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Cool thread Rob. I started in 2017.  First object was a nail header.  First blade RR spike Hawk. First knife a chopper. Most recent knife in progress is hand forged 64 layers of folded 1084/15N20.   I'm learning quickly from the masters on this forum. 

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 Bjorn,Gerhard,Chad,Bob, Emiliano and Josh. Thanks so much for your reply and for sharing your work.

 

This was just what I hoped. While it is clear the dedication and skill this craft demands sharing your journey from the beginnings to present shows with determination it is achievable and is a journey of constant progress and self reflection.

 

No one should ever be ashamed of their beginnings or fails as they are the building blocks that pave our way.

 

That being said Bjorn, your latest work is nothing short of inspirational.


Gerhard, I look forward to your pics when you get a chance.

 

Chad, good stuff mate and I like that Chef’s knife. Look forward to see your next.

 

Bob, great work and awesome wood. I really like that small knife. That is something I would use.

 

Emiliano, work such as yours while a good way further down my road gives me inspiration to keep striving onward.  That sax is exquisite!

 

Josh... awesome man. My favourite is that dagger too. You have been a great source of info and inspiration too and always willing to share advice which is for me what this is all about.

 

Gentlemen.. I salute you!! 
 

Hey Doug, you posted as I was writing...great stuff too mate, great patten on that last blade. Thanks for sharing,

Rob

Edited by Rob Toneguzzo
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Love this thread!

First knife made 6 years ago this month (at the same place Alan "learned":)).

 

First Knife_IMG_2044.jpg

 

To my first real commission four months ago:

1.jpg

 

And my personal new EDC one month ago:

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I really like this thread.  It gives me hope that maybe someday I'll be able to actually create the blades that I see in my mind before I begin. Lol

My first:post-43532-0-69963600-1480355962_thumb.jpg

 

The last one I've finished:

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Hi Bill, I would have been very happy if that was my first knife but man that kitchen knife is nice.

 

Hey Alex, that dagger is proof you are on the right road to your goals.

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I had to dig quite far, but I managed to find a picture of my first knife, now 6.5 years ago.

mild steel of course, and the picture is horrible too, but we all have to start somewhere.

 

On the bottom a knife I finished earlier this year, which I'm quite proud of,takedown construction, my own damascus and leather sheath. I also got a lot better at taking pictures.;)

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These posts give me hope for the future, lol:lol:

 

very very first knife shaped object from rebar. It was a going away present to a friend (don't worry, we're still friends, even after this gift, lol)
1ST KNAF (2).jpeg
 

And my most recent blade, and first attempt at a multibar construction
SEAX.jpegSEAX1.jpeg

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