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Christopher Price

Knifemaker Interview Series, a biography workshop

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Good question, Peter... I'm looking forward to this.

 

Batter up, Ray. Then you gotta pick another victim. :P

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Alright, final question from me... And anyone else who wants to pick your brain for more knowledge and awesome insight can feel free to chime in.

 

But I will ask what Chris last asked me, who is your current, living, inspiration, why are they your inspiration, how have they affected you, and what would you say to them (or what HAVE you said to them) if given the chance?

 

The only one I can think of is Wayne Goddard. I first contacted Wayne about 7 years ago. At the time I figured he'd just be to busy to even reply. We have developed a pretty good relationship since. Luckily there's 120 miles between us so we don't get in each others hair. I'm sure you've heard of "killing two birds with one stone". Almost everytime Wayne does something different he is not only physically making what ever it is but he is also writing a story at the sametime.

 

The one thing that has impressed me the most about Wayne is his commitment to his wife and their marriage. For over 10 years Wayne's wife has been battling the Big C and Wayne has been there through thick and thin. If I were to look for a role model he would be it.

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Thank you, Raymond, for gifting us with your unique perspective on bladesmithing. I know we all appreciate it, more perhaps than you realize. I get a lot of PM's about this thread, it's turning into a real gift to the entire community.

 

 

Let's coast a bit through the holiday weekend here... and then we can resume. I don't want anyone feeling pressured.

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Raymond has asked me to punt one more time, and I respect his wishes.

 

As we continue this conversation, I do ask that you only agree to be interviewed if you are comfortable performing the follow-on one. I could interview everybody on the site, but I don't think that exposes either the people I don't know, or does justice to the community aspect of this. No disrespect to those who couldn't continue... I know things come up, and we are all very busy people. Check my blog link in my sig to see my personal demons. But I'd like this to grow forward as a community effort, so I ask that if someone approaches you for an interview, please consider that it's really 2 you're signing up for.

 

 

With that out of the way, I introduce to you our next victim.

 

Sam Salvati.

 

clap.gif

 

 

Sam: I will skip the traditional introduction question for now, and get right to the heart of the matter. How can you stand to have forged so many blades, without seeing them through to the end? I understand the shop access and tool availability issues, but dang... a pile of unfinished work like that would either cause me to get up and build, or give up altogether. How do you sustain your vision, and continue exploring new work, without seeing the end results at a more traditional pace?

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Yaaay Sam!!!! :lol:

 

 

A true brilliant mad man... B) haha

 

Don't go easy on him Chris!

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Sam: I will skip the traditional introduction question for now, and get right to the heart of the matter. How can you stand to have forged so many blades, without seeing them through to the end? I understand the shop access and tool availability issues, but dang... a pile of unfinished work like that would either cause me to get up and build, or give up altogether. How do you sustain your vision, and continue exploring new work, without seeing the end results at a more traditional pace?

 

 

Chris, first let me say I am honored, and secondly I hope I don't make an ass of myself :D .

 

Your question is a very good one, and one I ask myself sometimes, but usually I am able to ignore it in my mind when it comes up, not the case now so i guess I will finally have to answer it. The shop and equipment availability was a part of it, and it is also just a big fat EXCUSE. In fact, I managed to do one of my best (and only) finishing jobs I have done yet after I lost my last shop and was stuck ramshackle in my garage. I won't make an excuse like "oh it must just be I have bladesmithing ADD" or anything like that. My passion is smithing, I was trained as a blacksmith originally, my favorite part of the process has up until now been the forging of the blades. I don't have much experience making and fitting guards and pommels or handles, but I know how to forge. It is my connection to a craft in a small way that since I first read about I have wanted to do and be a part of, and a part I feel I do well at. For awhile now that has been enough, it would calm the restlessness of creativity in my mind. I say for awhile because now it is getting to the point where it does not do so, or maybe it is I haven't forged a new blade in weeks and weeks now. The other reason is, I want to do things right. I read alot over many forums, and would like to say I have amassed a good bit of knowledge and have read a few different points of view on the subject of metallurgy and the other processes involved in making a knife or sword. I learn something new everyday, new technique, new style or just a new way of looking at things. One overriding outlook I see pop up is the approach to blademaking with the understanding of a practical approach to it. The "laws" of steel have been written long ago by those who heck, INVENTED the steels we take from industry and other areas for our own use. I respect that alot due to the sheer amount of work involved as well as the knowledge behind that. So the information is there to get the best out of the steels we use, and with that information then the rest of the aspects of making a blade come down to pure and simple artistry! When you have a solid strong base to stand on and build off of then you are free to focus on everything else, and the science and artistic creativity will go along beautifully hand in hand together, each complimenting the other. So, back to the main point, I want to do things right. I want mainly to be able to heat treat and control the performance of the materials involved themselves at least to a level I am comfortable with, the rest comes along on it's own. Most of the unfinished blades I have posted so far have come to that point in the process, ready for heat treat. It is the last obstacle I see in my path, my final excuse :) .

 

I love forging, ironwork or bladework, it seems I was supposed to be born way back when there was different craftsmen to do each aspect of the process (and still make a living), bladesmith, heat treater, cutler, polisher (NOT just japanese either).

 

I continue on just forging blades because I know one day very soon I will progress to the next part of my growth in the craft, and it is just a small step onto a larger step and that is actually finishing things, and when I do I will have enough work to keep me busy for awhile :). I understand that I do limit myself in the learning process a bit by not finishing, because I do not see the end result of what I do physically in my hand though.

 

 

I do like finishing things, I like it VERY much in fact, but I like finishing things that are up to a level at least that I can be happy with, and I could not justify putting pearls on a swine. What would a ferrari be like if it had the motor of a geo metro? Or at least what would my old Jeep truck be like if it had a lawnmower engine in it(I am not up to ferrari level yet :)).

 

And yes please, do not take it easy on me :D.

Edited by Sam Salvati

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And yes please, do not take it easy on me .

 

So be it.

 

 

How would you describe your place in life right now?

 

What do you do for a real living, ie, put food on the table?

 

and...

 

What is the worst thing you've done at the forge... and what did it teach you?

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My place in life right now, that is a tough one. I try not to think too much about my current situation, I like to think about what is coming next, but right now I feel pretty good about things. One bad thing though is I am terribly lonely sometimes. it;s not a clinical or mental thing, I just get lonely for like minded conversation and friendship, I am sure everyone can relate to getting the glazed look when you start talking steel and forging and stuff. Alot of the people I knew from high school went off to college, but I stayed around and tried to start my own ironwork/welding business, which did not work out after 3 years of trying. I am really a pretty shy type of person, another aspect I am working on changing.

 

 

I have alot on my plate at work but that is a good thing, I love my job too. I work for Fastenal, some of you may have or have not heard of it. I am an outside salesman. It is a customer service oriented industrial supply company, and by far the best job I have ever had in my life so far. They are international, publicly traded company with a truly awesome way of doing things. Very employee oriented, instead of your regular triangle shaped hierarchy of business, this is an upside down triangle with the outside sales people (me) at the top. They are the real deal, some might think "Ohh eww big business, corporate fat cats making billions at the top while the employees hate they're jobs" but no, it is completely different. The CEO of the company wears 50$ suits and takes out his own garbage. Each person on the store level is like running they're own business, there are hardly any orders from the higher ups as long as you meet your reality based goals, called decentralized decision making, it's very neat. When I first started I thought I could never be a salesman, but the stereo types given them are very untrue, alot of the time it is not so much about just selling stuff to the customer, but helping them out to solve they're problems as far as procurement and management are concerned. Hope that didn't just sound like a pitch :D .

 

The worst thing I ever did at the forge.........I have done many bad things. One of the worst things is forgetting. Never forget what you learn, if you are taught a lesson the hardway or learn it before making the mistake, REMEMBER IT! Write it down, make a journal or log book or find some way to remember it. The saying "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it" is very true, and "past" doesn't have to mean years it can mean days or even hours or minutes. If you learn a new technique or way of doing things then WRITE IT DOWN and share! I hate to hear people say that "So-and-so has forgotten more than you'll ever know", because so-and-so has forgotten it NO ONE will ever know it! Sharing is very important, "knowledge must be shared or it lies dead in the mind"-author unknown. Share the lessons learned and share the mistakes made so you might be able to save someone else the trouble, and share your knowledge to further the craft.

 

I believe in helping anyone and everyone who will ask with just about everything I can. It has gotten me into trouble in the past but I still believe it is right. Nothing should ever be lost to time, perhaps too much already has, especially nothing so magical and beautiful as metalwork of any kind. I know of a blacksmith who is the last in his family line, who were german armor smiths going back 300-400 years. He had a small collection of some period pieces that were made by his ancestors, as well as some forged items. He has no apprentices, no son, no daughter. Before the advent of the internet that was all too common a case and there was hundreds of years of experience lost to nothing, it's such a sad thing. Never forget.

Edited by Sam Salvati
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Many smiths have mentioned this connection with history, and recognize our part in keeping the craft alive.

 

What do you see as your role in this process? Is there a particular style you attach yourself to most strongly, that when you're the greybeard at the hammer-in, you "own" the knowledge of?

 

And, how do you deconflict the need to make a living and the need to share your knowledge? Where do you draw the line on getting widgets made and spending time doing education? Would you ever consider apprentices or paid teaching? And do you see the path of the bladesmith as profitable from your age and station in these modern days?

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I hope I did not sound like I meant no one was passing and preserving the information :o . I see and benefit daily from those who do on such an amazing historically unprecedented level.

 

As to my role, I do everything and anything I can to help out beginners. I don't really know enough to take anyone to any sort of advanced type work(maybe forging hehe), but I have the basics down atleast to get them started pretty well and on the path. I give anyone who asks a chance, they might drop it in a month or they might stick with it for the rest of they're lives it doesn;t matter.

 

As to a style, that I have known since the day I made my first. Swords :D . Swords of any shape style construction or material. I am attracted to every single style, every type of steel, every shape and design. I like making knives, they are handy and useful tools, but swords are something al together different, not just a long knife (except grosse messers :)). I would not want to feel I "owned" any knowledge, I would rather feel I am carrying it.

 

I have never personally been in the situation where I had to choose between work or teaching. But it is possible, there are full time blade smiths who offer classes, attend hammer ins to demonstrate, teach at schools. It no doubt takes sacrifices to do so, time away from home and family and work, but I cannot say from my experience. I feel there needs to be a balance as with anything else when it comes to teaching and doing business, but they can go hand in hand also. There are paid teaching positions around, as well as those who offer private classes in they're own home shops.

 

I would love the idea maybe some day of being able to make a living in a shop, with apprentices! Something along the lines of the blacksmith/bladesmith playboy mansion :D. But seriously, not much would be cooler than to have the type of situation that could support a business and apprentices. I would hope someday that I could be lucky enough that someone might want me to teach a class or come and do a demonstration.

 

As to making a living as a bladesmith I am unsure. It is possible that is for sure, it has been done and is being done. As to wether it is profitable or not that is another story. Lately I have seen some maker's prices dropping to AMAZING lows, because not many can afford the work anymore. Seeing some pieces sitting on websites for weeks whereas before they would have not been up more than an hour. Even then though there are flourishing collector and enthusiast sales and some makers it seems doing very well, so I can't say. I am on the fence still as to making a living on the path, it takes alot of work and time and dedication, it can be done.

Edited by Sam Salvati

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On the craft...

Considering your upcoming attempts at photographing the quench (the fishtank experiment), what do you hope to learn from the experience? What do you think seeing the details of the process might reveal?

 

On the business...

I think the low end of knives is fine, because you can get a folder for a dollar at walmart... and the guy willing to split with $3-5k on a fine piece isn't going to quibble much. It's the middle range, that $300-$1000 market that's hurting, the true playground of the affluent middle class, feeling the pinch these days. It's the last love-or-money question... do you see yourself aspiring to be the maker of fine, very expensive work, or are you happy working simply for the joy of it, and if that level of achievement comes, more the better?

 

Now, finally, tell us where you're from, and how you got exposed to all this. How did you make the transition of blacksmith to bladesmith? Is there a family history? Is there a particular name or names that inspired you to take up the hammer and anvil?

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The fish tank experiment, I like that Chris :). My honest reason is, I don't know :D. I hope maybe to learn something I have not already learned about the whole thing, it's something I have never seen done to my satisfaction with it as the central focus instead of just a tantalizing glimpse on a TV show or movie. Seeing it in such a way might reveal something as to why and when failure occurs perhaps, maybe it will just show a sword curving up then cracking, we'll have to see, hopefully something can be learned from it by someone somewhere.

 

I agree 100% with your statement on business, but even now see some $3-6K level slowing up a bit. The market is very up in the air, as little really as I see and know of it. For now, I am happy working simply for the joy of it. Maybe one day sell some fine expensive works, if it comes it comes. I will never stop trying to do better with each one.

 

ORIGINS!!!!!!!! That is a tough one. Like many, my first introduction to swords was books and movies. I have to admit that one of my inspirations was NOT any of the LOTR books, heck I still haven't even read one (except the Hobbit). The books that sparked my sword and smithing fire were :unsure: the Redwall series. I started reading them in high school and now have the entire series, and await each new one. The descriptions and battles and characters might seem simple in comparison to LOTR and others but it leaves me more of my mind to wander and immerse into the story. Anything with swords really, I read it. Swords in a movie, I watched it. I guess it showed, because I got my first sword first time I asked for it for christmas when I was 11. That was a whole new world! It was Excalibur, it was Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, it was Caladbolg, it was Claíomh Solais, it was really a production sword modeled after the sword from Conan :D . It was dreams made real though, shining steel to instill fear in the hearts of my enemies (branches and cardboard boxes). It stood up to quite a good bit of abuse, then broke (tang snapped clean off halfway down the handle). THAT was one of the defining moments that got me to begin to pursue the craft. I decided then that to get a sword that would be high quality enough I was gonna have to be involved in every aspect of it's creation, and to understand what makes a good sword and what makes a bad one. I slowly ventured onto the internet for answers to all those usual cliche questions, is there masters still taking apprenticeships, are there any apprenticeships available, can i make swords from leaf springs, how do I make a sword and got the same answers everyone still gives :D . I got very discouraged at first, but kept up asking questions seeking out answers and truth. I slowly learned about steels and they're different names, what the heck this heat treating thing was, and how to get started on the path. One piece of advice I kept getting was to make yourself valuable to someone who would be able to teach you, and in these modern times that was to learn to do artwork and forge ironwork type stuff and work metal AND/OR welding and fabrication. So I started looking into blacksmithing schools or welding classes, and I started to assemble a small setup to try and teach myself in the meantime. I joined ABANA and started drooling over the works in the Anvil's Ring and Hammer's Blow, and wishing I could do work like that. Bummed around the house for a year after high school like that, not really getting anywhere or learning much of anything, and was warned by my parents I either had to get serious or get a job :blink: . And it seems, luck/the fates/God/gods were on my side because lo and behold in the next issue of The Anvil's Ring there it was, a small article in the classifieds. "Now accepting applications for Grafton Blacksmith Apprenticeship Program, Paid position from mid May through mid October, involves working in historic blacksmith shop" I damn near FEINTED.

 

The clouds parted, sun beams shined down, angels trumpeted holy tones!!!!!!!!

 

I called the number and got in contact with my future master, Payne Junker of Junker Studio (www.junkerstudio.com). He mailed me an application and I filled it out and sent it back. Drove 6 hours north to VT for a half an hour interview, had some lunch afterwards and drove 6 hours back (big thanks to my Mom and Dad for the ride). I like to joke that if I didn;t get the job I would have drove 6 hours back to kick his butt then 6 hours back:D. Got the response within a couple weeks that I had got the job. Spent 6 months learning intensively, spent 1 or 2 days a week at his modern fully equipped shop learning modern fabrication techniques, power hammer and gas forge work, MIG welding, plasma cutting, finishes, cold forging and press work. Spent the rest of the week working in the historic late 1800s shop, where I found one of my major loves about the craft, demonstrating. The job requirement in the shop was two 1 hour demos a day Wednesday to Sunday, I was nonstop all day. As much coal as you could use, as much steel as you could use, and all the time in the world :D in a fully equipped (period 1800s) shop, it was heaven on earth. One bad thing though Payne was not a blademaker, didn't know anything about it nor didn;t want to. So i learned to forge and forge and forge, then forge some more. Every month or two I would try a blade and fail miserably.

 

Successfully completed the 6 months, and got my certificate of completion, thanked Payne profusely and returned home to NY. Used what money I had saved in VT and started buying equipment to setup here at my house in NY. My first fullsize anvil came that christmas and it was a massive step up from my 22 pound HF. I had a setup, and started working making artistic ironwork and hardware and pretty much anything anyone wanted. Started going to the Ashokan bladesmith seminar and seeing the light:). I started the shop exodus, moved from one to another all the while studying and trying things. Got heavy back into the forums and started sucking up as much information as possible. No family history behind it, as far as I know. I slowly made the transition by giving knives a try again and again, but I don't see it as two worlds, I enjoy one as much as the other.

 

One of the first names that stuck around with me from before I left for VT and when I came back was Don Fogg, Don and all the information he shares has kept me coming back when things were not working out, and always coming back to drool and learn. One of the first pages I found way back when when searching "swords" online was this page with the picture of the katana

 

http://www.dfoggknives.com/katana.html

 

What you had to say and your approach to the practicality of the sword was real and true Don, and I am very grateful I found it early on to help guide me.

 

Other names, I would have to say just about everyone, from beginner to master anyone making anything I find inspiring in some way. I enjoy looking at every WIP, every completed piece, first knife or first sword doesn't matter. I see everyone's own personality and style anytime I see a new piece, sometimes even as a roughed out blank. I like every genre, every period, every style.

 

OK, hope I didn't bore anyone:D. If anyone has any other questions feel free to ask, if not I'll go with the next interviewee, who has already agreed. Thanks for letting me be a part of this thread Chris.

Edited by Sam Salvati

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Bore us, you have not. Thank you for sharing with us, Sam. Let's give the peanut gallery a day to ruminate, then feel free to pass the torch.

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OK. Chris I want to thank you also for keeping this thread going, it is YOUR thread, and it would not have succeeded nor existed without you.

 

The next VICTIM has already agreed, so i'll wait a day if anyone has anything else to ask if not then i'll go ahead. Next interview I cannot beleive has not happened already :D.

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Next interview is gonna have to wait until next Monday, as I will be in sunny warm FLORIDA for a 4 day weekend for a fastenal employee expo, big tool and vendor show.

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OK, the next victim......uhh, interviewee is none other than the young modest prodigy Chris Moss!

 

 

 

Chris, it is no secret that one of if not your biggest inspirations is Don Fogg, can you elaborate more on this and just what it is about Don and his philosophy and work that inspires you so much?

 

Do you get some of your inspiration from any books or video or other media, if so, which?

Edited by Sam Salvati

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OK, the next victim......uhh, interviewee is none other than the young modest prodigy Chris Moss!

 

 

 

Chris, it is no secret that one of if not your biggest inspirations is Don Fogg, can you elaborate more on this and just what it is about Don and his philosophy and work that inspires you so much?

 

Do you get some of your inspiration from any books or video or other media, if so, which?

 

*grins* first off i wanted to say that i am excited to be interviewed. It is quite and honor. so thanks Sam for picking me.

 

 

Don Fogg was a very influential in my knife-making career.

 

At about 14 or 15 i started played around with old broken knives and kitchen knives. My parents didnt want me buying knives... so i made them instead. I got a little better at making knives, fabricating the whole blade and grinding the profiles, but i didnt do any type of heat treating.. i normally used files, but also used lawn mower blades and engine pushrods.. good steel.. but i never heat treated it. i also did almost exclusively bad hollow grinding. i had a borrowed 6" bench grinder, a 4.5" angle grinder and a dremel tool.. all the rest was done with hand tools. i did a little inlaying.. (i used plumbers rosin cored solder... but hey. i was also very influenced by the Lord of the rings movies for design) one of my best knives before being influenced by Mr Fogg was this one:

4.jpg

or this one:

2.jpg

 

 

Then, while doing research, i stumbled across Mr. Fogg's gallery. i was intrigued by the wavy lines on his knives as well as the artistic flow, the fit and finish and the character of the knives.. it was my first real exposure to class A work. it really blew me away, and really from that point on i tried to emulate his work. I had JUST started forging.. i was forging pushrods in a forge made of tin cans and sand. you can see his influence here:

12.jpg

or here:

IMG_0587.jpg

 

i had an epiphany about 2 years ago when i realized i should take the time to finish the blades of the knives i was making. i was also just cracking the code on hamons. and with the first batch of knives that had hamons i took the time to finish them right. before i had just thought it would be too much work, so.. i just left the knives with the grinder marks in them. this tanto was really the turning point.

my first hamon.. my first polish my first habaki my first real saya

 

IMG_0001.jpg

 

i actually emailed with Mr fogg once or twice about this time, and he recommended i join his forum, which i did, and my work, through the tutelage of the people on here, has progressed smoothly, and at a much faster pace that it would had i not gotten your help.

 

I continue to admire Mr. Fogg's work and has inspired several knives, including:

DSC01645.jpg

DSC02492.jpg

the carving on this handle:

IMG_0071.jpg

and i finally got an integral down...

IMG_0131.jpg

 

 

i really enjoy Don's attention to detail and true craftsmaship. The knives he makes are so perfect. The lines are prefect, the fit is flawless the design is amazing.. he is just a very inspiring maker, who has done alot for the knife-making world, and alot for me. i also love his tools section, the ingenuity is amazing.

 

I love how on almost any knife you pick, you could continue to zoom in on any photo and the knife would stay perfect.. the fit just get prettier. the polish more perfect. and i continue to aspire to that level of perfection. i am also always amazed by the originality in his pieces. i have always made a better copier than an artist. His work is awe inspiring without being flashy, and is the perfect blend of the old and the new, like with his japanese work. it is 100% Fogg, but obviously influenced by the japanese weapons.

 

i have been trying to make knives like Mr. Fogg's since i first saw his gallery, and will continue to attempt to do so.

 

i hope that answered your question, and made sense

thanks!

~Chris

Edited by Chris Moss

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Yes it answered it perfectly. You have indeed progressed both amazingly quick and with amazing style, your work is very original but one can still see the styles that inspired it.

 

How do you get your ideas for each piece Chris? Do you sit down with a concrete design to work from or do you just start and let whatever comes out come out?

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Hi all. I just asked Sam if he minded me posing a few questions of Chris and since he did not, here they are.

 

Chris,

 

A few of your posts have been other items besides knives and it seems to me that you are a creative person but, what is it that drives you to create? Or... Putting it another way. Why are you not content to sit around watching TV and doing the things so many other young people your age are doing with their spare time?

 

Speaking for myself, I see you as a very promising young knifemaker although, I'm sure others here agree. Where do you see it going from here? Is this something that you would consider as a career? Either way, what is your reasoning?

 

Do you ever see yourself growing tired of knives, swords, axes, etc. and moving on? In twenty years do you think you will still have pieces going out the door?

 

Speaking personally, I was so excited when I stumbled across Don's website and the Bladesmiths Forum when we first hooked up the internet. I felt like I had found a safe haven, sort of a homecoming, to be able to share with other like minded people. How do you feel the internet has affected your craft?

 

~Bruce~

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Yes it answered it perfectly. You have indeed progressed both amazingly quick and with amazing style, your work is very original but one can still see the styles that inspired it.

 

How do you get your ideas for each piece Chris? Do you sit down with a concrete design to work from or do you just start and let whatever comes out come out?

 

Sam,

Normally i need at least an idea in my head of what i want to do, but several knives have just "happened" that turned out REALLY well. I dont always start with a drawing, but i usually have something i am working off of, whether it is a picture of someone elses work or a drawing. i usually have a drawing around somewhere. If neccesary, i can follow a drawing very closely.

 

here is a piece i made on commission:

DSC02933.jpg

 

and it was made from this drawing:

BillsTanto001.jpg

 

 

However, what i enjoy most is having a drawing and using that as a starting point. That is one of the things that i have enjoyed so much about this Filipino fighter. Like this:

 

here is the inspiration:

pedangsword.jpg

 

here is the drawing on the wood...

IMG_0423.jpg

 

and here is the result:

IMG_0694.jpg

 

so i guess to answer your question, i normaly have a concret design, and sometimes... i follow it!

 

i am gonna answer Bruce's questions in a few minutes (holiday cooking calls)

thanks guys!

~Chris

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Hi all. I just asked Sam if he minded me posing a few questions of Chris and since he did not, here they are.

 

Chris,

 

A few of your posts have been other items besides knives and it seems to me that you are a creative person but, what is it that drives you to create? Or... Putting it another way. Why are you not content to sit around watching TV and doing the things so many other young people your age are doing with their spare time?

 

Speaking for myself, I see you as a very promising young knifemaker although, I'm sure others here agree. Where do you see it going from here? Is this something that you would consider as a career? Either way, what is your reasoning?

 

Do you ever see yourself growing tired of knives, swords, axes, etc. and moving on? In twenty years do you think you will still have pieces going out the door?

 

Speaking personally, I was so excited when I stumbled across Don's website and the Bladesmiths Forum when we first hooked up the internet. I felt like I had found a safe haven, sort of a homecoming, to be able to share with other like minded people. How do you feel the internet has affected your craft?

 

~Bruce~

 

hey everybody! merry christmas!

 

Bruce, thanks for the questions.. i will try and answer them in order.

 

I do other work besides knives, so what drives me to create? To tell the truth, my girlfreind has driven me to creat things that i wouldnt have otherwise. in many ways i use my skills to save money, but i also love giving people things, my girlfreind/fiance especially. I have made her several bracelets, a ring, some simple jewelry and such, but she has also helped me with a couple knives on the design end. for instance, she had a good bit og influence in the making of this one:

 

DSC01649.jpg

 

which was bsed off of this picture of one of Don's knives:

 

ShankIllSingleRW.jpg

 

sort of fired by her intrest and help (as well as not having any school or work) i was able to make this from steel bar to finished knife in two days (a personal record)

 

So i find inspiration from the people around me, but those i love feed my creativity, pushing me to new heights, making me try things i wouldn't on my own.

 

So, why am i not content to sit around watching TV like other kids my age? to tell the truth, because it is BORING. not bashing TV watchers at all (i like to watch TV) but to sit in front of the TV seems like a waste of time when i could be actually doing something. Some of that comes from my upbringing. we didnt watch much TV, and really only had a TV to watch movies. If we (i have 4 brothers and a sister) ever complained that we were bored, Mom would find us something to do, either helping her or chores or something.. so.. we tried to never be bored.

 

I have been building things since i was about 5, from cardboard or paper or whatever i could salvage from the trash (mom took me off of trash duty when nothing ended up getting thrown away.) My grandparents lived with us when i was younger, and my grandfather was a eagle scout back when that meant something. He tought me alot of the "tricks of the trade." my other grandfather (who lived down the street from us for a while) Designed and built remote controlled airplanes, and taught me what he knew. When we moved here to Virginia i signed up to be a costumed interpreter at a living history museum recreating a 1780's post revolutionary war farm, and occasionally we would have blacksmiths come in for special events. That is really all the training i got in smithing first hand, and after they helped me forge a blade from a file, i was almost continually in the maintenance shed using the grinder they used to sharpen lawnmower blades. after that.. it is as they say, "history." i have always been getting my hands dirty, so it was what i am used to. Sitting in front of the TV was never an option. I was also home-schooled, so if i finished my school early, i had time to make things.

 

Is knife-making something i see as a future career? where do i see my future going? In time, i would love to be able to make a steady income off knives. right now i am an apprentice at NASA and am told that my limits are only the ones i place on myself. There are people further down teh road in my position making six figures a year. What i see for right now is that it would be irresponsible to give up a stable job that God obviously opened up for me to pursue knives at this point. In the future i would love to have the luxury of being able to make knives full time, however it is not feasible right now, especially as i am hoping to need to support a family. So, i would like to be a full time maker, however that is now feasible at this time in my life. will it be? probably, but not yet, and at age 21, i have a few years still in front of me.

 

In twenty years do i think i will still be making knives? Yes, i do. there is so much still to discover and mater with knives that i dont see myself growing tired of it. My interests are different now from what they were two years ago, however i have alot of interest in the art, and i dont see that slaking. I think in 20 years my work will be much much better, more refined, and different than it is now, but i think i will still be making peices.

 

How do i think the internet has impacted our craft? i think that the internet has made our craft better, and worse. in my opinion it has allowed for the spread of knowledge on an unprecedented scale. it has allowed makers to communicate with other makers that they will most likely never see in their lifetime. it has also allowed for the "apprenticship" of new makers to older makrs virtually. however it has also allowed in a sense the degredation of our craft because before, a maker would take an apprentice, and not let him sell his wares before they were up to par with where they should be. (i know i sold crap) So without that direct oversite, i think the internet allows the spread of sub-par work. i think that this forum is helping to deminish that, by informing new makers with what the standard is. so good job yall! thanks for helping me.

 

i really have to go.. so i will coem back and spell check this in a bit.

merry christmas!

and a happy new year

~Chris

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OK Chris, one more bunch of questions then I will pass the interview onto you.

 

first, a personal selfish question :D, do you ever see yourself giving a full length sword a try?

 

You work in many different styles, Japanese, now phillipino, among others, are there any style blades you see yourself gravitating to for the future?

 

And finally; you are a very modest person, as well as highly skilled, you are an incredible maker, what would be some advice you would give to those just starting in the craft?

 

Thanks very much for participating Chris, I look forward to your interview.

Edited by Sam Salvati

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