Cold Iron Blog

What does ‘Story Telling’ have to do with bladesmithing?

Posted by on Jan 23, 2013 in About Me, Welcome | 0 comments

What does ‘Story Telling’ have to do with bladesmithing?

On my homepage you see the tagline ‘Storytelling through the forged blade’.  I thought I’d take a second to explain what I mean by that.  I believe that a forged blade can tell a story in multiple ways. The most obvious is the story that it tells about itself and it’s intended purpose.  For example.. a skinning knife. Elements of it’s story are the facts of itself.. a thin, sharp, lasting edge that is comfortable to hold and has the right edge geometry to do it’s job.  Then the story evolves as...

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For the Love of Iron

Posted by on Jul 12, 2011 in Techniques | 7 comments

For the Love of Iron

                                                                                                                                                                       Cold Iron Gold is for the mistress — silver for the maid — Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade. “Good!” said the Baron, sitting in his hall, “But Iron — Cold Iron...

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A Small Iron Hatchet

Posted by on May 23, 2017 in Available, Axes | 0 comments

A Small Iron Hatchet

Here is a small hatchet made from 19th century grain elevator wrought iron with W1 tool steel edge and hafted with hop hornbeam (locally called ‘ironwood’).  The total length including head and haft is just over 13″.  The head measures 4.25″ from poll to edge. The cutting edge measures 2.25″.   This little axe will make a wonderful camp tool.. but could also be used in a historical re-enactment context. The small size is made for in a lot of mass behind the cutting edge.  It also throws very nicely.  The...

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Gastropod

Posted by on Apr 27, 2017 in Available, Other | 0 comments

Gastropod

Here is my ‘Gastropod’ with high density 1095 shimstock and 15n20 on the sides (sparsely). The blade was differentially heat treated to display a hamon. The bolster is cast bronze and the grip is stained boxwood. The matching ‘netsuke’ for the sheath is stained walrus ivory and is strung by a silk braid made in Japan for this purpose. It is inspired by an original netsuke. If you are familiar with this concept you will know that what I have here is only inspired by the idea. Classically in Japan these are small...

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Loveless Inspired

Posted by on Apr 27, 2017 in Available, Hunters & Puukkos | 2 comments

Loveless Inspired

I’ve been in a sort of creative rut the last few months and decided that I needed to ‘reset’ some things and go back to the roots of where I started. Also… after reading a book on Japanese craftsmanship (the ‘Unknown Craftsman’) I started thinking about things made in an American context that fit the ideas put forth in that book. What I’ve made might seem like a surprise to some.. but to me the knives made by Bob Loveless, especially his drop point hunter, are a paradigm of utility, high craftsmanship...

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English Ball-Grip Trade knife: An Interpretation

Posted by on Mar 22, 2017 in Hunters & Puukkos | 3 comments

English Ball-Grip Trade knife: An Interpretation

I recently saw a picture of one of the unusual knives worn during the Great Lakes Fur Trade… the English ball-grip trade knife.   Knives were very important to the traders and trappers during this time period and they were often traded for furs and other goods.  In the 18th century these trade knives were often English in origin and sometimes only the blades were traded and given grip made from wood local to the Great Lakes region. Partly because I live right in the heart of Fur Trade country and partly because I love the lines of...

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‘Black Knife’

Posted by on Mar 15, 2017 in Available, Hunters & Puukkos, The 'Black Knife' series | 2 comments

‘Black Knife’

Here is an update on my on-going quest for a standard, utilitarian (and hopefully aesthetically pleasing) knife that I can offer from my shop at a cost reasonable to my customers but also friendly to my one-man-shop business. I’ve been increasingly interested in the concepts of art versus craft. In Japan, Scandinavia and elsewhere there has been a movement towards an appreciation of beauty in the utilitarian items made by craftsmen for everyday use. Things such as rice bowls, tea cups, spoons and other items that people can easily take...

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Vígnestr: ‘War-Needle’

Posted by on Mar 10, 2017 in Swords and Historical | 2 comments

Vígnestr: ‘War-Needle’

This is a massive, near sword-length spear inspired by those used in the 9th and 10th centuries of the Viking age. Archaeologists call these ‘lances’ and the distinct carving in the socket suggests that these were made in the Germanic regions of Europe and imported into Scandinavia.  My version was forged from a failed pattern-welded sword billet and was made by combining 5 separate layered bars together and inserting into an iron socket… a common way to construct spears at the time.  While mine is fairly accurate in...

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‘For-Eldra’… a Relic Viking knife

Posted by on Feb 27, 2017 in Swords and Historical | 1 comment

‘For-Eldra’… a Relic Viking knife

Here is a belt-knife based on those that were carried during the Viking age.  The blade is composite pattern welded and is composed of two twisted bars and one of straight laminate forge welded together.  This was a very common way to make blades during the Viking age.  In this case I have done a very deep acid etch and forced rusted finish to make the blade look like an archaeological artifact retrieved from a bog.  I’ve decided to give a strange aura of magic to the knife by contrasting this artifact blade with an ‘unusually...

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Viking Period Carving class

Posted by on Feb 22, 2017 in Other | 0 comments

Viking Period Carving class

  This April I will be hosting master wood carver Jay Haavik for a 5 day class in Viking period wood carving.  This is a wonderful opportunity at a very reasonable cost due to the subsidies of the Viking Connection organization based in Fargo, Minnesota.  The class will be held at my forge in Northern Wisconsin located in the Chequamegon National Forest and 5 minutes from Lake Superior.  Bayfield, the ‘Gateway to the Apostle Islands’, is only 20 minutes away and one of the top tourist destinations in North America. The...

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The Log

Posted by on Jan 13, 2017 in Other | 2 comments

The Log

I have a piece that I’ve held onto for some time that I’m now putting up for sale. It is a Japanese style knife inspired by the sunken old growth logs found in the bottom of Lake Superior. The wood for the saya is itself from an old growth white oak log that was recovered by divers. Logs like these sunk to the bottom of the lake near Duluth, Wisconsin while being transported via log raft from the North Shore of Lake Superior. The oak sunk into the mud where it was preserved through the absorption of tannic acid and minerals. On...

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Scottish Dirk: Brass and Cherry

Posted by on Jan 10, 2017 in Swords and Historical | 2 comments

Scottish Dirk: Brass and Cherry

Here is another early style dirk of the Scottish Highlands.  The grip was carved from a huge cherry root given to me by a friend. Root wood was commonly used for the carving of dirk handles so I thought I would try it out to add a layer of authenticity. For the blade I elected to attempt an inlaid brass spine like you see on several of the original weapons. These brass spines are sometimes thought to be a ‘blade catch’ where the opponents blade slides down the spine catching onto the softer metal.  But the real reason is likely...

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