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Kelso/Anger collaboration: Lunar Nocturne


Jim Kelso

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After some discussion with Nick Anger about a collaboration, I gave him a drawing derived from the shape of an Amaryllis leaf, which I had been thinking about for a while as a blade shape. A few days later he had forged a rough version of the leaf shape. This initial maquette was extremely useful and allowed us to discuss steel pattern and shaping choices for the final blade.

 

Although I had not settled on a theme for my work on the knife, I knew I wanted to incorporate an iron field into the pattern-welded steel that could be engraved apart from the hardened steel. Nick and I discussed making a wood-grain (mokume) patterned blade and strategically forge-welding iron within the pattern, in an area balanced with the overall leaf-shape. He proceeded to make the overall shape in a beautiful wood-grain pattern using 15n20, 1080 and 1084.

 

I think Nick’s blade exhibits mastery in several ways but particularly in the balance of form harmonizing with the patterned steel and iron. Also, technically, it was quite difficult, first to meld the materials, and then, through the sequence of shaping, heat-treating and final shaping to maintain integrity between the hardened steel and the unhardened iron. I was very happy seeing his impeccable result, which was just what I had hoped for as a canvas for my engraving /inlay. Neither of us is aware of any instance of iron and steel being combined in this way, with the iron as a decorative field, in some previous work.

 

An unexpected gift appeared in the steel/iron melding. On the concave side, in the boundary between the patterned steel and iron, there appears a dendritic pattern and bands of carbon migration. These phenomena only became apparent after etching the blade. I think this surprise significantly enhances the beauty of the blade, especially as it appears on the Luna moth spirit side. There is a hint of the dendritic pattern on the convex side in the very far forward point of the iron. This is also not something we have seen in other bladesmithing.

 

The subject of my engraving is the Luna Moth and its remarkable, brief adult life. These extremely beautiful moths only live as adults for 5 to 7 days. Also they have no mouthparts for eating, and they can smell a mate 7 miles away, through their antennae. On the front side of the knife I chose to show the adult flying to its mate using 22k gold to represent its full vitality. On the reverse, the pure silver inlaid moth represents the spirit of the moth on its way to the next life.

 

Overall length: 35 cm (13.75”)

 

I’m very interested in hearing what anyone can add around the dendritic crystallization. It appears somewhat like what is seen in meteorites, so perhaps it is related to the nickel content of the 15n20.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by Jim Kelso
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I haven't been here in forever, but had to log on just to say wow

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Dion Grethen

 

D. Grethen Hand Forged Iron

https://facebook.com/DGrethenHandForgedIron

 

"In fire iron is born, by fire it is tamed"

 

"Never touch the blacksmith's hammer . . . or his daughter."

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Holy cow, Jim!

 

I always love to see you post stuff, and this does not disappoint in any way. 

 

Beautiful, and pertinent as well, as I had to leave my shop door open overnight last month when what I had thought was a dust bunny stuck in the corner turned out to be a Luna moth cocoon. I had just started to close the door after a day at work when I saw the pale green wings, still wet and starting to unfold.  It was a clear night and the moon was about half full, so we turned off all the lights and hoped the new moth would follow the moon when it was dry.  The next morning it was gone, so we have to assume it flew free and found its mate.   And there were no raccoons, possums, or dogs in the shop either, so I call it a win.

 

 20230518_160725.jpg

 

Wish I could help with the patterns in the iron/steel interface, but I suspect it's an artifact of carbon migration.  A wonderful effect regardless, which adds to the ethereal nature of the piece as a whole.  I love it. 

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Reading the post before looking at the pictures I was surprised when I scrolled down, not what I was expecting.

 

Not what comes to mind when I think "knife", but stunning indeed, and most definitely art. B)

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Jim & Nick,

WOW...... beyond words...... so cool how that iron looks like it is just squeezed into a cavity in the blade......not welded....... and I like your story of the circle of life and death.......

I think both of your craftsmanship is lost in how it looks grown ,not made by hands.....thanks for showing this......wow

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There's nothing I can say that hasn't already been said. Love your work. Thanks for sharing

 

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“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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On 6/29/2023 at 5:12 PM, Dick Sexstone said:

Jim & Nick,

WOW...... beyond words...... so cool how that iron looks like it is just squeezed into a cavity in the blade......not welded....... and I like your story of the circle of life and death.......

I think both of your craftsmanship is lost in how it looks grown ,not made by hands.....thanks for showing this......wow

Thank all for the kind comments.

Dick, I was so impressed at how Nick took my concept and ran with it. The placement of the iron within the steel, and how both metals work with the form is astounding to me.

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Wow, your styles combine very well.  No clashing whatsoever.  It would be easy to believe that was a sole authorship piece.

 

I appreciate you (and Alan) teaching me what a Luna Moth is.  I came into my office a few years ago with one of those stuck to the outside of my window.  I took a pic, but never looked into what it was.  It was several inches across IIRC.  It is better appreciate what I saw now several year later than to never have known...

 

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-Brian

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This is absolutely incredible. I don't remember ever seeing such a balance of elements in one knife before. It reminds me of an abstract painting in a way.

 

I especially like the concave curve on the inside of the handle and blade.

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