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January 16, 2015

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The Hammer In

October 19, 2011

This past weekend I attended a Hammer In at Haywood Community College.  It was VERY informative.  There were classes for 1 and a half days on knifemaking, from start to finish, engraving, and steel making.  It kind of blew my mind, but I am a diligent note-taker so I didn’t have to remember it all. I spent the first part of Saturday in the knifemaking seminar, where the instructors basically went over any troubleshooting questions we had about the whole process.

Jason and Bert explaining the ins and outs of knifemaking. They were very knowledgeable.

For the second part of Saturday and most of Sunday, I hung out with David Burnett (and another man whose name, unfortunately,  I cannot remember), and made carbon steel out of regular steel.  It was really cool!  they cut the steel bar into coin-like slices and slowly put them into this little furnace that they made, along with tons of natural charcoal.  The steel would get super heated, melt and absorb the carbon from the charcoal, thus becoming carbon steel!  Woo-Hoo, Science!

Cutting the steel bar into discs on a big, scary cutting machine.

The furnace that burned about 1 and a half of those buckets of charcoal to make a little bit of carbon steel.

David Burnett hammering out the very small amount of carbon steel we got out of the process.


I can’t wait until the next one in the spring!  If you are interested, go to  to check it out!




October 16, 2011

This week my uncle and I made a ladle instead of a knife.  I hammered out the copper bowl and Ronnie worked on the handle.  It came out beautifully!  Enjoy!

Just started to hammer out the shape of the bowl.

Finished hammering the bowl.

The handle in the vice to file out the sides and smooth them out a little.

The copper nailes we used as pins.

Finished ladle, back side.

Close up of the bowl.

My little red rooster.

October 16, 2011

I finished my 2nd successful knife, and she is a beauty!  Unfortunately, I left my cell phone that had all of the pictures of the process on it on top of my friend’s car and the SD card was destroyed, but not before I uploaded a final picture of the finished knife.  Here she is, sorry there are no process pictures.

Took the wind right out of my sails.

September 13, 2011

Started on my second knife this morning! I got all the way through to the point of the final hardening quench when low and behold, we noticed a small crack at the base of the blade. 3 Hours of work and all of it for a broken blade. I must admit I was a little crushed and was very close to crying when I realized that it’s nothing to get that upset about. Cracks happen.

My uncle Ronnie couldn’t figure out why it cracked. He looked at it through magnifying glasses and a loupe, but the carbon crystals (which are beautiful by the way), were evenly dispersed and nothing crack-worthy was apparent. We are going to try again on Thursday, I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂

Here are some pictures of the knife’s fateful, short life.

The forge, heating up my blade and anvil.

Stretching out the tang.

Cooling down slowly before the final quench.

A rough grind to get off all of the scaley black carbon.

Aaaaand it's broken.

A closer image of the break. It started as a fracture on the left and Ronnie broke it off. It was definitely unusable as a knife. So sad.

Back in School…I’m already exhausted.

September 12, 2011

That’s right, four people who read my blog, I’m back at Western Carolina University for my senior, and hopefully final year!  It was a long summer full of work and not much else.  I did go on a few fun excursions though.  Charlie, the kids and I went to Carowinds in July, and have been camping a couple of times.  And this weekend I am off to Atlanta to see some old friends and my dad before the school year gets out of control.

Why would it get out of control, you ask?  Well, mostly due to my class load.  I am taking NC History, Southern Appalachian Culture (Anthropology), Philosophy of Art, Stress Management and Wellness, Cherokee, and an independent study in knife making with my uncle.  It’s quite a load!  But it is proving to be super interesting.  My professors are great and it will certainly be an informative semester.

I finished my first knife yesterday and I am very proud of it.  I hammered it and shaped it and my uncle did the handle.  I observed.  Here are a few pictures of the process.


Just shaped the tang and drilled holes for handle.

After final quench, getting ready to do some fine sanding.

Handle on with epoxy, letting it cure.

Handle on with pins, just trimmed, getting ready for final sanding.

Done and Done! Yeah, I know I probably shouldn't have a knife out in a car, but...


So, there it is!  I will be starting another one tomorrow, hopefully, and I will keep the pictures coming!



We have a new addition to our home!

June 7, 2011

Mom got a rescue dog from Brother Wolf Rescue after our dog of 17 years, Buster, died.  His name is Gizmo and he is the bestest, cutest, most loving dog in the world!

Isn’t he the CUTEST?  He is a papillon mix and has radar ears.  Love him!