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Historical Inspiration This forum is dedicated to the discussion of historical knife design and its influence on modern custom knife work.

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Old 04-20-2006, 09:47 AM
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J.Arthur Loose J.Arthur Loose is offline
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Introductions & Ideals.

This forum has been fairly quiet, and I'd really like change that.

Being Smiths, and especially Bladesmiths, makes many of us hardheaded, stubborn and opinionated. I place myself firmly in this category. Those who are not willing to bear the fire, the exhaustion and the inevitable failures of our Craft are simply weeded out. It has always been thus, and the Svartálfar serve as Smithing archetypes for good reason.

Historians are just as bad. Putting the two together is asking for trouble.

When this forum was established, Alex gave me the power to name it. That's a responsibility, as names affect the things that are named. I chose "Historical Inspiration," for a few reasons. The first is that there needed to be a place where folks who wanted to talk about re-creations & archeology could do so. That's the "Historical," part. I chose the word "Inspiration," because I think it is important to be Inspired. It is the wellspring of creativity.

So I'd really like folks to make that an important part of the discussion.

I'm going to introduce myself, and I'd like it if others would do the same.

Edited to add... I'd like this thread to simply be about each person posting; let's make responses in new ones.


Last edited by J.Arthur Loose; 04-20-2006 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 04-20-2006, 10:15 AM
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J.Arthur Loose J.Arthur Loose is offline
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I was born in New Mexico. My folks were archeologists. As a child I was always fascinated by the Indians and their appearance, which was often defined by lots of jewelry. For some reason this stuck in my head, and years later, when trying to figure out what to do with my life, I realized that the objects people wear and carry can define them in interesting ways. It was the cultural expression of the Navajo and Hopi jewelry that drew me into metalsmithing.

Absolutely jaded at a very young age toward the insipid corporate culture around me, I became curious about what my own "native," culture might have once been. It led me to appreciate the Heathen era in Northern Europe... often maligned for a variety or reasons. During my teens I broke my back in an automobile accident, and in that moment I lived through a mere two days of the thing folks describe as "my life flashing before my eyes." I also met an aspect of my soul and my work was laid out for me. Smiths in the Indo-European tradition tend to have an injury affecting movement; a club-foot, a hamstringing... or a back that ocassionally keeps me in bed for a week or two.

I think it is important for folks to have a strong sense of who they are and where they come from. I think there are reasons why history sucks in school; just as there are reasons why some cultures have almost been destroyed by those consolidating political & military power. In my own way, making blades is all about handing folks that power back. I want to re-sacralize the world, and everyday life.

I can think of no better way than to do this than to make objects of power, as a blade will always be; and to make them beautiful objects of contemplation, inspired by the power of mythology. I feel like I'm on the verge of realizing this vision.


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Old 04-20-2006, 11:21 AM
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Dodd Dodd is offline
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Location: Sunshine Coast,BC,Canada
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Hi there.

My name is Andrew Dodd, and I have a prob...oh, wrong group.

I live in Canada, where I always have. My parents are of scottish desent, which can include various elements of 'celtic', irish, pictish and scandanavian, to mention a few. I was always read to about the equal importance of mythology (spirituality), science (thought) and action (physicality) though tales like the Lord of the Rings, the sagas, scottish/Irish/Welsh tales, and the histories of our lineages.

I found that the value system I was developing in my early years parallelled buddhism, and so used that as a guideline for years, getting into esoteric buddhist martial arts, where I had an accident and broke my back.

I spent some time contemplating my life, healing myself and expanding my conceptual vision of what processes define life. I was able to relate all the tales of inspiration to my mental skills as symbolic conceptual references and to my physicality and then things got interesting, noticing parallels between different aspects of cultures, individuals, and all manner of groups and processes. My martial arts training expanded as did my teaching.

A knife to me was always either a kitchen tool or a a threat to be disarmed, and it wasn't until I started teaching children that I developed an understanding and appreciation of a knife as a pragmatic tool and symbol.

My first real knife I had made for me [Bark River Knife and Tool Evolution One]
I started asking a LOT of questions, and getting answers which inspired more questions, the aquisition of knowledge, and skill of action.

I started making my own wooden training tools for my class, and through one of these online forums, I met some people and went to a knifemaker's show.

Well, since then I've been inspired beyond my means to express.
I'm only now just starting to work with metal.
I look forward to the intelligent and awe-inspiring conversation here with people of greater and greater wisdom.

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Last edited by Dodd; 04-20-2006 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 04-20-2006, 01:19 PM
Jonathan Gage Jonathan Gage is offline
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Location: Bali/Simi Valley
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My name is Jonathan Gage
My father was Sweedish/Brazilian, my mother was English/Irish/Scot and I grew up on the west coast in Hollywood, Ca.
My desire for knowledge and need to express began when I was 16 and worked through a leg problem undergoing chemotherapy for two years. Nothing like a prolonged death encounter to twist ones mind open. I was attending Pepperdine University on dual artistic scholarships where Ray Bradbury spoke to me about absorbing knowledge and I was also inspired with what Leonado Di Vinci was trying to do, to understand all aspects of life using reason and to be a force for creation.
Soaking up knowledge, studying symbolic logic and philosophies, consumed me for the next number of years. In Plato's allegory of the cave, he states the philosopher takes a lonely path toward truth that others would not understand, but that it is the obligation of the philosopher to return from his journey and try to tell others of what he has found even though they most likely will not understand and may even attack him because his words are contrary to their core beliefs.
Throughout this time period I tutored at Junior collages and taught high school in many subjects: Philosophy, Geometry, Astronomy, Physical Sciences, Music, etc. My dream was to become a tutor like Aristotle was to Peter the Great, and when I was 30 I was asked by a millionaire on the other side of the planet to be the teacher of their could I resist.
While I was in Bali, I decided it was time to take the next step in my personal evolution: art is the highest expression of life, it is the voice of the universal subconscious, song of the gods.
I learned how to carve dragons from Balinese master carvers. Dragons for me express a balance of extreme opposite forces, the true nature of the universe down to the atomic level and up to the waltz of galactic superclusters. We should live our lives in extremes, but keep them balanced. That gives us strength and freedom.
Later, Tony Swatton introduced me to knives and I was captivated by how they are statements of perfection, opposing opposites, and all delicately balanced. Knives MUST be balanced. I have been hooked making knives ever since.
I work out of Simi Valley and Bali, Indonesia where myself and my Balinese friends form a knife making studio called Bali Forge. Everything we make has intricate carved handles and I concentrate on migration period art and dragon handled knives.

(and yes Jol, because of my teenage health probem, I do hobble with a bad left foot )

Jonathan Gage
Bali Forge

Last edited by Jonathan Gage; 04-20-2006 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 04-20-2006, 08:05 PM
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cwp cwp is offline
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My name is Carl Price,

I grew up here in Idaho. I had always wanted to make knives as a kid and never got the chance. Graduated high school, went into the Marine Corps, and broke my back (looks like that's 3 broken backs so far, and one cancer, I think you got a line of thought Jól). Anyway, got discharged, went to college and became a computer engineer.

I was looking for a decent knife for outdoors (camping, hunting, etc), and couldn't find one in my price range, so I started looking at making my own. So for the bargain price of thousands of dollars and untold hours, I now have an excellent hunting knife and a habit (oh, and I still end up buying the custom knives).

Anyway, back to playing with steel, my kids want to go out to the shop, and I have some knives to work on.


N-T Porkin' Pig Price

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Old 04-20-2006, 08:57 PM
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McAhron McAhron is offline
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Location: Under the Redwoods in Beautiful La Honda CA
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Im McAhron Verrinder.I have had a life time fascination with metal arts.A couple of years ago I stumbled into the custom/handmade knife arena.I always felt the metalsmith calling was there and thought knife making would be cheaper than some of the other ideas I had(I know,I know,knife making is very expensive)I love this art form and plan on doing it till the day I die.This calling I felt may have been instinctual,as I explained to my aunt about my calling,she being the family geneology buff went on to tell me our family had been blacksmiths,armorers and sword smiths for nearly 1800 years.I am a direct descendant to the McAhrons(many different spellings)of Highland Scotts.The famous Cambletown cross is my great great great great grandfathers,most McAhrons were armores for the Lord of The Isles.Beyond being an artist I am a spiritualist.I am one in the circle of life and believe all things are linked in this crazy existance.The earth is my mother,sky is father,and all humans brothers and sisters.I have no answers but many questions.I believe art is a pathway towards self discovery.It has much to teach us.

I too have medical maladies,degenrative disc disorder,arthritus,gerd,and several non-life threatening heart conditions.Remember Pain Is A Reminder Your Still Alive

N'T McAhron Sqwaukin Vulture Verrinder
"to create is to make art"
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Old 06-20-2006, 06:51 PM
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sjaqua sjaqua is offline
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My name is Scott B. Jaqua

I am a 100% American Mutt. I have at least a little bit of blood from every race of man running through my body. And I have more then a few nations and cultures making up my family background and heritage.

From an early age I have always been festinated with history. Most especially the artifacts and what that says about the technology of the past. And like many a young man I was drawn to the study of arms and armour (my 9th grade history project was a 1/3 scale working English infantry mortar of the American Revolution (it was different time back when I was in school)).

It was during this young time in my life that I learned a great deal of the shop techniques that have helped me along the way. I also learned I could make anything I could fully visualize in my mind. All this due to my Father, a genuine Rocket Scientist and Aerospace Engineer. (Look-up Vance Jaqua, online and you will see he is still active in aviation engineering)

When I entered College I found whole world of Historic Recreation. And from that a seed was planted. For over two decades I have studied, taught about and collected historic arms. Five years ago, I finally decided to get off my butt and take that knowledge of historic patterns and technology and see if I could build a forge and make steel do the things I knew it could.

Since then I have been exploring historic arms in a new way. By experiencing the making of them. I have done a few full on reproductions and a good number of historically inspired pieces.

Scott B. Jaqua
The most important right of all, is that of Free Speech. With out that, all your other rights will soon be taken away. So, I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend until death, your right to say it!
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Old 06-21-2006, 08:04 AM
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BrB BrB is offline
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Hey there, My name is Jeff Velasco

I don't post much here, but I am one of the forums biggest fans. I lurch a lot here.

I live in Brazil and run a custom knife dealing website. I am also a hobbist knifemaker and I have been strugling to get a shop running in order to produce with more regularity.

From childhood there are three things I can remember liking the most: to stare and use knives; to read; and history lessons. You can see then why I am here.

My origins are (from mother's side) grandpa: portuguese and british. Grandma side: portuguese (former jewishs from 1500's ) and local indians; (From father's side) grandpa: spanish and black; Grandma: northern italian from the alps. Talk about melting pot...I am the salt bath melting thing myself!

Apart than that, I was born in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, aplace with strong gaucho tradition, and a knife personality of it's own (you have seen gaucho style integral knives around I guess), and that just kept me closer and closer to the subject. But the passion for history just drove me study other styles, specialy europeans, and those of the dark ages are the most apealing to me in europe, and oriental, specialy japanese.

Other insterests include Aikido (I may become a black belt this year, in november if I train hard) and cooking. I would have much more interests if Brazil was as rich in activities as the USA, like the reenacment thing, making bows and arrows, and so much more things that just don't happen around. I am curious guy by nature.

I am gradutaed in International Relaitions, I've got a tallent for languages and I have a small touristic business. I Currently live in an Island with very nice beaches. I am married and my wife runs a restaurant.

Jeff Velasco

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Old 10-07-2008, 07:35 AM
Raymond Luebke Raymond Luebke is offline
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Raymond Luebke

I'm born Raymond Luebke born and lives in MI.
I'm irish/'m 37
I have been into knives,swords since I was an
I'm just a ameteur smith.I draw my flair from the nordic,celtic germanic art. My lov is the germanic migration period.
My favorite things to make are seaxs. handseax,scramamseax,longseax.
WE over here say once you start its hard to stop. I'm in the sca, and others as well. My wife is in to carving as well.I work out of a small shop. Here in AN I make weapons.Or at least I think so.
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Old 11-24-2008, 09:57 AM
Kevin R. Cashen Kevin R. Cashen is offline
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Location: Hubbardston, MI
Posts: 317
My name is Kevin Cashen, I have been making blades professionally for over 20 years, and have always had a keen interest in the older and larger blades made in the past. I live in Michigan. I was happy to find this sub forum and happy to see it under the guidence of Mr. Loose whose worked I have long admired.
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