Jump to content
Christopher Price

Knifemaker Interview Series, a biography workshop

Recommended Posts

"Cracy meth cracy" i think thats what happen when we meth!

It started a lot for both of us! You started with Ironsmelting and was the first in Poland making your own iron! From ore You found almost in your backyard!

Tell about that felling with your first Bloom in hand!

And Then i will like to hear about when You first made your a real Nice patternwelded knife from homemade iron and steel! And the problems before You found the way to do it right!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is all truth Jens! After getting some basic knowledge I started o search for materials that could allow me to smelt on my own. Didn't really have to look for long time, bog iron ore was lying on my neighbors field, hundred fifty meters from my parents house. Clay was never a problem, had it all over the place. Sounds like it was meant to be this way. I even dug up picture of one of my first blooms. Not so big but, very dense. How did it feel when i held first bloom? It felt like being a wizard, like one of your ancestors ages before you, plus goose-flash and tear in my eye, pure magic!

 

bloom.jpg

 

My first knife? You know very well that I forged it where we met! It was happened during one of Biskupin markets. When I look at it today it makes me laugh, but it looked like this. It was a small wood carving blade for my friend Greg.

 

bloomery knife.jpg

 

 

Talking about problems...

My personal opinion about problems is that they push you forward, it would be to easy without them and plus, you would overgrow your ego. Solving problems is the best thing about all of that. My biggest problem with raw bog iron blooms was that they were hard to work out, much P. If taking them on anvil they would just crash. They felt sandy and didn't want to hold. After some time I found out that it would be nice to build deeper fireplace and try to reduce some more slag before forging, after Jense's conclusion. What really helped it was combine to reduce slag and squeeze bloom with tongs at the same time. All that made it more compact and easy to forge afterwords. After more practice I started to forge more and more advanced bloomery iron blades like one on the picture bellow.

 

bloomery iron blade 1.jpg

 

 

Edited by Lukasz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And you were surprised we gave you the Fiery Beard the first day you posted your work here... :lol: That record still stands. Although, I think Thijs and Jens need them as well! Not to mention Darrell. B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember the way to that beuty! You were very confused that the pattern was not visible as supposed! And we was talking about how to do it and one week later the beuty was born!

I have to say that i find it fascinating the way You work when You got an idea!

And I'm very impressed about your way to scan an item and see how things are made! I wonder if You got Xray eyes?

Lukasz You almost only make items from ancient times! What is your facination about this? One Cut wonder that a person with your creative mind make Copys and replicas of old things! Can You say something about this?

Edited by jensjrgenolesen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just purchased my Xray eyes on E-bay, quite useful item ;)


To be serious, I love to look at artifact closely. Once I spent two hours drooling over pattern welded sword on an exhibition in Copenhagen's national museum. Someone dumped it under pile of other artifacts, leaving only five centimeters sticking out.


What is fascinating about ancient items? Everything! every tiny aspect. It feels like going back in time and experiencing process of creating individual artifact. I can't agree that I make only copies or straight replicas. Sometimes you have to do what people want you to do for them. Viking markets also have some kind of frame. You can't go there with for example mighty Xenas sword, it would look quite weird. Anyway, when I have time to do what I really want I combine different styles and try to create my own style. Lately I am fascinated by Filigree technique and trying to make knife sheath fittings even there is no findings that I know of being used for this purpose.


filigree knife 3.jpg


filigree knife 4.jpg

Edited by Lukasz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are of corse right that its not only Copys You make! But as You say; You find a lot of inspiration in ancient tecnick and way to do things!

And You do it very Well my friend!

I have to ask You about what is on the table just now? And what is the next project You dream about?

You put up a blade on Facebook made by Edvin! Is Edvin a student? A very fine student if so!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Xray eyes are cose

What is fascinating about ancient items? Everything! every tiny aspect. It feels like going back in time and experiencing process of creating individual artifact. I can't agree that I make only copies or straight replicas. Sometimes you have to do what people want you to do for them. Also during creaction of individual item you add yourself intoI am working with multiple thing at the moment, trying out some new patterns. I just finished two blades for Edvin. He makes replicas of sheaths from places like Birka. Really nice work!


Edblad 1.jpg

One of blades for Edvins project


PW blade 112.jpg


PW blade 113.jpg

Couple of pictures of blades I was working on not long time ago.




I also started with bloomery iron pattern welded long sax which i intend to hilt with filigree fittings inspired by Staffordshire hoard findings and on a smaller knife kept in similar style.


filigree and granulation 3.jpg


filigree and granulation 1.jpg


filigree and granulation 2.jpg


I must say that it was quite challenging to do it in forging fireplace but, it went well in the end.





Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is just a joy to see!

I'm so happy to see the progress You do! And I look forward to see your creations in the future!

I will like if the readers Can see some other of the tools and other items of any kind You make?

And Then maybe the final question: I have asked You before! Why do You not use a makers mark?

In my opinion your work deserve!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Took me long time to get back here :) lots of work to do lately.

 

Id love to shear some other photos.

 

firesteels.jpg

Different examples of fire strikers

 

an axe head finished.jpg

Battle ready inlaid an axe head

 

an axe head inlaid.jpg

Eastern style axe head with pattern welded cutting edge

 

SAM_0182.JPG

Iron age spearhead based on Danish findings

 

Germanic belt buckle.jpg

Przeworsk culture belt buckle and belt end.

 

skladany sierp na 4.jpg

10th century folding sickle

 

 

If it comes to stamps, I am using them since some time on everything I forge. I think that you have to be very good in what you do before you mark your work. I also didn't pay attention to it before interest in my work grew bigger. It was also difficult to find mark that would be simple, content your initials ( Polish in this case :)) and remind of something from interesting me historical period.

 

Pattern welded blade 111111 2.jpg

My mark

Edited by Lukasz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You make me happy! Allways new ideas and so nice craftmansship, and finaly You find your stamp!

A nice stamp that fits well to this beauty of a knife!

I wish You all the luck You can get, and I´m looking forward to follow You in the future!

All the best my friend!

And now I give the interview scene to You.

 

And thanks for sharing Your thoughts and work!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That folding sickle has got me! Wow! I'd love to see more of it... Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It feels like going back in time and experiencing process of creating individual artifact. I can't agree that I make only copies or straight replicas. .... Also during creaction of individual item you add yourself intoI am working with multiple thing at the moment, trying out some new patterns.

 

I also started with bloomery iron pattern welded long sax which i intend to hilt with filigree fittings inspired by Staffordshire hoard findings and on a smaller knife kept in similar style.
I've been a bit behind on reading this, and just now got a chance to really look at your amazing work Lukasz!
(I'm pretty happy that this chain is exposing some good quality work that may not be well known here in North America, and also bridges iron smelting and bladesmithing.)
I have always thought that the *best* of contemporary artistic work than is strongly based in historic objects does exactly what you say - and your work illustrates. Not blindly copying the past, but creating new objects that look as if they were 'lost masterworks'. The North America art tradition (at least for the last two generations) has often completely ignored the past. Art students (I was one) are encouraged to explore their *own* ideas, often at the expense of ignoring both long known principles of design and also solid technique. (My first year design instructor once told us 'Inspiration without Technique - is just masterbation'.)
I did want to poke in here - now that Jens has started to run out of questions (?)
Lukasz, you are showing objects made from your own bloomery iron, but also good examples of the Northern European 'Pattern Welded' method.
How are you determining / producing the needed different carbon / alloy contents for the starting component plates?
I have worked with a very wide assortment of ores and prepared analogs here for my own iron smelting. But honestly, I do not feel *I* can control the results of an individual smelting process - outside of picking a specific starting ore.
I certainly would be interested in some observations you might have on controlling your furnace product.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Darrell, great that you ask.

 

Gladly we had in Poland one man Jerzy Piaskowski, who had done fantastic research on many findings by cutting of examples from swords, knives, iron blooms, bars etc. Some were saying that what he did was wrong. Truth is that it was the best that could be done. Because of all this research I could study some very important aspects of working bloomery iron.

 

About iron blooms

 

From what I know there is almost no evidence of steel blooms with significant carbon content in Poland and if there are it would not be enough to produce good cutting edge after hammering out all impurities. Most of blooms is rather with low carbon content or different P variations. I don't know much about Scandinavian steel blooms. Many knives show non oxygen case carbonizing and very uneven carbon content throughout the blade. Skip's Aristotele furnace is as I remember described in one of Piaskowski's books Archeology of Gdansk vol. II as Norwegian method from Xth century. It looked almost the same just with small difference. Instead of using furnace, deep clay fireplace was used. That is how I produce steel for cutting edges. All kinds of iron ore I worked with were incapable of producing steel in straight reduction. Personally I think that slag content is to high against content of iron oxides. I had similar problem with carbonizing in Aristotele furnace. Every time I used raw bloom I got nice, solid but low carbon iron. After cleaning bloom by welding it few times before and than carbonizing finall effect was high carbon steel.

 

 

 

About pattern welding bloomery iron

 

Modern pattern welding associates with welding low carbon steel with high carbon steel, nickle, nickle steel etc. Examples on findings show in some cases using P iron to create sharp contrast. Bloomery iron with P content of not more than 2% combined even with very low carbon P free bloomery iron will give good contrast and will be strong enough to withstand daily use.

 

bloomery iron blade 3 1.jpg

Pattern on blade above was forge welded out of P bloomery iron and hematite boomery iron

Edited by Lukasz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful!

 

Is your carburizing hearth similar to Mark Green's?

 

I ask because I just located some high-P ore...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Basicly it is the same. Deep bowl shaped hearth with air hole about 5 cm above bottom. I even tried it in regular smithing hearth buy using four flat soap stones to create shaft and it worked just fine.

 

You are going to have lots of fun with P Iron Alan :)

Edited by Lukasz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That sword blade pic you posted last is just gorgeous. It has such a different look than the same pattern would in 15n20 and 1084! A very interesting alternate way of creating contrast, too.

 

If I may be so bold as to ask a question Lukasz, have you worked with modern steels very much, specifically pattern welding and heat treating them? If so, would you care to comment on differences you see in methods that work, between modern and ancient steels?

 

I ask because I've been pattern welding and HT'ing with modern steel only, and would love to move to smelting when I can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for sharing so much of yourself and your process. I really enjoy this stuff. I hope to learn smelting and hearth melting over this summer (continue with it).

beautiful and inspiring work!

 

Darrel - you got a lot of us started on this more realistic or more historically-inspired path. Thank you, too.

 

kc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who do we need to poke to get this going again?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Find someone you want to interview and have at it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haha! It would be neat to see this thread back in action though. We all appreciate your sacrifice! B)

Edited by John Page

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or it could be you, John! Whoever wants to take the initiative.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose I could have another go at it B)

Matt, want to be interviewed?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...