The Complete Bladesmith – ($4800, 10 days, approx 70 hrs)
This intensive program is a consolidation of several individual courses. The student will enjoy a perfect balance of hands-on involvement as well as lecture topics. They will be introduced to the essential tools and equipment of the modern bladesmith and learn how to safely use them. Upon completion of the course, students will possess a strong foundation in the fundamentals of knifemaking, bladesmithing, knife care, sharpening, leatherwork and maintenance, should they choose to pursue it as a hobby or career.
Hands-on techniques will include:
- Selection of steel
- Propane forge operation and maintenance
- Forging techniques and hammer control
- Traditional annealing techniques
- Scale removal
- Heat treating
- Anatomy of a 2×72 grinder
- Introductory grinding techniques
- Introductory hand-sanding techniques
- Handle attachment
- Simple leather sheath making
Lecture topics will include:
- Different types of knife handle construction techniques
- Overview of different blade geometries
- Introduction to basic heat treating and metallurgical principle
- Sharpening and maintenance
- Overview of leather sheath making design and construction
Course Schedule – Workshops can be taken back to back or separated out. It is important not to leave too much time in between, as it is detrimental to the flow of the program. We will formulate the most beneficial timeline upon enrolment.
5-Day Camp Knife Build
This day starts with a primer on shop safety, followed by an overview of knife design, forging and construction techniques. The student will use this information to design and formulate a building plan for a camp knife. We will move forward to hands-on forging a. By the day’s end, one can expect to have a knife blank completely forged out.
The student will be introduced to the various machines and equipment used in a typical knifemaker’s shop. Following a discussion on grinding technique, we will shape and prepare the blade for heat treating. Basic metallurgy and heat treating practices will be taught through lecture and practical application. We will finish the day with hardening and tempering the camp knife.
Day 3 consists of refining the blade finish and preparing the blank for handle and guard fittings. We will cover material selection and delve deeper into handle construction. This will be an arduous day of grinding, filing and monotonous hand sanding. We will take every opportunity to discuss aspects of knifemaking to pass the time as your arms slowly fall off your body.
The knife literally comes together on day 4. We will fit and attach a handle to the blade. In the afternoon, as the epoxy slowly cures, we will discuss the aspects of designing and building a leather sheath.
The day will begin with final sanding and fishing the knife handle. The student will then make a leather belt sheath to fit their camp knife. The course ends with knife sharpening lessons.
2-Day Intermediate Heat Treating Workshop
This day starts with a brief recap on the simple heat treatment that the Camp Knife build required. We will expand that knowledge to gain a deeper understanding of the metallurgy involved.
This day starts with a safety recap and dives directly into practical application of metallurgical principles with hands-on experimentation and performance testing.
2-Day Sheath Making Workshop
Students will design and make a simple sheath for a knife they have either brought in or made during a previous class. You will also be provided with the necessary skills and resources to accumulate the tooling and materials to continue your sheath making journey at home.
The workshop will include:
- An overview of sheath styles and construction techniques
- An introduction to leather crafting tools and materials
- Fitting the sheath to your knife
- Hand gluing, stitching and dying
- Sheath sealing and finishing
1-Day Program Recap and Action Plan
We will reflect upon what you have learned and formulate action plans to further develop yourself as a Bladesmith. You will be given useful contacts for supplies, educational resources and online communities specific to the craft.
Due to the intensity of The Complete Bladesmith program, it is limited to one student. Price includes all materials and basic safety equipment. Travel and lodging are at the student’s expense. There is an apartment above the shop that is available at a discounted fee, for students who wish to stay on premises . A more complete list of personal gear as well as logistical information will be established upon enrolment.