Forging Traditional, Laminated Knives (Saxes) with Shear Steel Edges
Would you like to forge weld your own laminated knife blade using techniques of the Viking and Saxon eras?
In the Viking and Saxon eras knives (then called Saxes) were commonly forged as composites of soft iron and high-carbon steel. When polished these knives had vibrant, flowing patterns in the metal that were particular to these ancient materials. In this class each student will laminate (forge weld) a piece of high-carbon shear steel between two outer layers of wrought iron. This construction allows a blade to be flexible and tough while using the shear steel as the cutting edge. The laminated billet will be forged into a knife blade of the students own design, then ground and heat treated. At this point the student can polish the blade or start a simple wooden handle for the sax, which would have been common on the original pieces. All materials will be provided. The skills learned in this class are prerequisite to the more advanced skills needed for multi-bar, pattern welded blades.
Shear Steel (also offered as a class) was a major source of high-quality, high-carbon tool steel used by early European craftsmen in demanding applications such as sword and knife blades, tool bits, fire steels, etc. It was produced by a two-step process that began with infusing carbon into common, soft iron at high temperature then refining this intermediate product by lamination in the smithy. Shear steel was both costly and tougher to work, therefore it was used sparingly.
I invite you come and learn about traditional techniques of knife forging that go back to the Viking era and earlier!