I received an email last week announcing that I had won the best knife for the the Metal My Way contest. Now, I'm waiting for my invite to go on Ellen and my invite to pick up my prize at my local Metal Supermarket here in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Here's are some photos of the knife that took the honours and information about the inspiration behind it.
Inspiration & Commission
In Spring 2023, I received a referral to make a custom knife made for a fiancé. This wedding gift was ambitious but I wanted to dedicate the time to make a beautiful piece and gain some redemption.
Because my last cumai billet had copper leak from it's layers and caused me anguish (Fire & Slice EP2) I wanted to kick this process in the ass. But, I wasn't going to come in hot like a madman, I decided to take my time and also have a fall back plan.
The first step was to design the knife and steel and have it approved by my client. She liked what I presented her but wanted a small change on the guard. No problem, it was a simple change. I was now ready to start the commission. 130 layers of damascus cladding, a layer of copper and a carbon steel core.
What can go wrong? A lot! Knowing this, I prepared enough damascus for the cladding to attempt the cumai technique twice. This entails is creating a stack of layered steel and then welding it completely closed so that oxygen can't get inside the billet and to stop the copper from getting out.
My first attempt is still on my work bench. I squeezed the billet on my hydraulic press and copper ran out the side. Becase there was quite a bit of copper runout, I knew I would not be happy with the results for a knife with so much importance.
Somewhat beaten down, I readied the second billet. This time placing more attention on the quality of my welds and also once in the forge, taking more care not to heat the billet over the melting point of the copper (1983'F.)
I had a very small leak so I stopped working the billet. Since I had set the "welds", I was confident that the piece would be fine. Now I had to grind away at the knife to discover if it was okay.
After countless hours of grinding, shaping, hand sanding and etching, I had a beautiful knife that I could present to my client.
She arrived with her father and I gave them a quick tour of the shop. I showed her the knife and she was so happy. She asked to give me a hug...(like I would say no. I like hugs) and she hoped in the car and drove off.
Before discovering that I had won this contest, I thought that my entry had been lost or that I forgot to click Submit because I was seeing all of the other projects being posted by Metal Supermarkets. I thought "Oh well. I'll try again next year." And low and behold, I got the email and now, I'm on cloud 9.