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Ladder pattern Damascus Steel

I have been forging blades for people since the late 1980's and during this time I have gone through several key stages.

They have included several happy years as a part-time maker followed by a few years as a full-time maker, and then back in a full circle to making part-time again. These stages were interspersed with one or two career moves and severe illness, which kept me out of the picture for quite some time.

In honesty I prefer to keep my forging part-time now and despite a lot of interest from clients (or perhaps because of it) I have no real wish to go back to making full time.

My 'proper' job is software engineering and IT network, file/print/web/email server and VPN installations.

The one gives me the time to indulge in the other without the prerequisite of having to rely on it to put bread on the table and keep a roof over my head, and so my status as a part-time bladesmith is fine by me since it allows me far more freedom than I ever had when forging full time.

I have worked for a great many museums in the UK, Europe and America, where historically accurate pieces have been commissioned. My work has also found its way into the hands of gamekeepers and deerstalkers, military personnel, martial artists and appreciative collectors. I usually leave my blades unmarked or etched with my Hunters Moon logo.

Collectors have their preferences but so do makers. Mine are about evenly split between Japanese and Norse forge welded blades and simple, straight, fixed blade and hidden tang knives for day-to-day use in the outdoors.

I can make folders, lock back, liner lock and whatnot, but I don't enjoy them and so I prefer not to do them.

"Make it sharp and make it strong" was something my Grandfather used to say when he taught me the basic fundamentals of working metal for blades at the forge. As a farrier I thought what he could do with hot iron and steel was magical, but despite his (and my) best efforts I never managed to produce a set of shoes I'd be happy to see a horse wearing. On the other hand, he raised an eyebrow more than once when he saw me pervert the skills he had so carefully tried to teach me when I raised medieval helmets, shields and armour from sheet steel, copper and, when I could get it, bronze, and of course, there came swords.

A legacy of my misspent youth and the natural progression of a young mind...

The bottom line is this - I love forging blades and I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of trying to make each blade better than the last in terms of material manipulation.

If I had to sit and grind out 4 inch drop point hunting knives for the rest of my days I would close the workshop doors and lock them forever.

The forge is where I belong and, as such, it is where I intend to continue working.

I have spent time as a survivial and martial arts instructor and the one point I keep talking about with other makers is the number of knives being produced these days by people who have little idea about how a knife is actually used.

Anyone can clone another makers work but when making a knife you have a unique opportunity to put something of yourself into it.

Those who have met me at shows or seen me on TV will have some inkling of what drives me. I hope you get a feeling for that from this site.