From Broken Saw Blades to Damascus Steel
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Ed Storch from Mannville has been making knives for more than 55 years. they ranged in value from $100 – $1200
“I have been making knives since I was 12 or 13 and I turned 68 in February so it has been a little while” explains Ed Storch, one of 18 exhibitors at the first annual Metal Art Show and Sale held at the Reynolds Alberta Museum on September 29th and 30th, 2012. “My first knife was made from a broken saw blade and axe handle on the farm at Hanna. I just wanted to make my own knife and as I remember it, I didn’t want my parents to know what I was doing.” Glancing at his display of knives ranging in price from $100 - $1200 Storch wistfully disclosed, “I wish I still had that very, very crude knife now”.
Displays of hand crafted jewellery, knives, and blacksmith art were scattered among the antique vehicles, farm machinery, vintage aircraft and industrial machinery in the Reynolds Alberta Museum in celebration of Alberta’s Culture Days weekend. And, thanks to the generosity of the Museum, visitors were granted free admission to attend this special show and sale. Exhibitors included:
Art and Jewelry
Amy Skrocki - Paragon of Design by Skrocki
Charlie Barnett - Charlie Barnett Saddlery
Ric Pollock - Folk Art by Ric
Les & Judy Short - Northern Lights Metal Art
Doug and Mary Wilson - Collector Items
Laslo Harangozo - Broken Anvil Forge
Brian Herrick - Hot Flash Forge
Shawn Cunningham - Front Step Forge
Ed Storch - Storch Knives
Irvin Brunas - Brunas Blades
Clare Broeksma - knives and jigs
Roger and Diane Hatt - Hatt Custom Knives
Jay Kemble - Kemble Knives
Esther and Duncan Ferguson - Metal Work by Duncan
Gerry Kievit - G. Kievit Custom Knives
Morris Nesdole (and John Hopkins) - Custom knife maker
Rob and Marilyn Ridley- Canadian Knife maker Supply Ltd.
Larry Strandquist - Hand Crafted Custom Knives
Storch became serious about what was then, his hobby. “I went to Olds College in the early 1960's to learn blacksmithing and how to heat treat steel. Then I attended classes at Lakeland College in Vermilion to learn how to source knife makers' supplies and how to finish handles and blades to high standards.” Today, Stroch makes between 40 – 80 knives a year with each taking between 4 and 40 hours to complete depending on the complexity of the order.
“I try to divide my time into thirds. A third filling custom orders for knives, a third on personal development and a third attending shows like the one at RAM here today to keep my name in front of people.” The majority of Storch’s knives are special orders by clients outlining specific features and details. “I view my knives as an investment in the future, a legacy to be passed from one generation to the next. My knives are in use worldwide by professional chefs and cooks or for skinning animals.”
How to get started with knife making.
Storch explained, “There are two basic ways to create a handmade knife from steel. The easiest way to get started in knife making is to start with stock removal. You get a piece of stock steel and grind away everything until it looks like a knife”. With stock removal, the knife maker removes pieces and shapes a piece of stock steel by cutting, grinding and shaping it into a knife. The knife is completed by heat treating (hardening and tempering), attaching a handle and polishing it. Designs and artists logos/i.d. may be added.
“Once you have mastered stock removal you can carry on with Damascus. It’s more expensive and a lot more work.” The Damascus knife is the ultimate challenge in a blacksmith's ability. “But when I have a Damascus knife making class in my shop, I have to open the large door to let the testosterone out it’s so much fun. I have studied under world-class knife maker Brian Lyttle and credit Brian as an inspiration and teacher in the art of pattern welding, also known as Damascus steel.”
Damascus knives are made by sandwiching different types of steel, similar to a deck of cards. The stack is heated in a forge and fire welded or hammered together on an anvil. The stack is drawn out to the desired length. It is then cut and restacked and re-welded until the desired number of layers are produced. The process is continued over and over and creates a single piece of metal containing layers of different metals producing different designs in each knife.
Once the knife maker decides how he wants the blade to be shaped, he uses a chisel and hammer to systematically cut away all the extra metal scraps to form an outline. Additional hammering along the exterior thins the metal to form the edge of the knife. Once the knife blade has been shaped and hardened, the handle is installed. Although many of the exhibitors used deer antlers, there were dozens of different types of materials.
Many of the exhibitors at the Metal Art Show and Sale teach classes. Stroch concludes. “A lot of the people here today are past students. It’s nice to meet with them and see some of their work.” Haven’t had so much fun in my life as making knives. I am having a heck of a good time making something useful out of a bar of steel.”
- The Old Car Detective Father and son with 1959 Cadillac hardtop Jamal Salam of Mississauga, Ontario, owns an American icon, a 1959 Cadillac two-door hardtop with the biggest tailfins in town! His Series 6337 Coupe de Ville came from Arizona ...
- Why Annexation? One of the questions that was asked at an Edmonton informational session last week has stuck in this reporters mind. The question was a simple one “What is the need to annex since the people remain the same regardless ...
- “We’ve a Lot of Work to Do” Those were the words from Tim Brockelsby, a Senior Planner for the City of Edmonton, at the conclusion of Edmonton’s second of five planned conversations with Leduc residents affected by Edmonton’s proposed annexation ...
- Leduc Rural Crime Watch Award Cst. Mcfarlene, President Cor De Wit, Mayor Whaley. The Farmers’ Advocate Office (FAO) has announced that the Leduc Rural Crime Watch Association has been awarded their 2013 Award for Excellence. The award was established ...
- 13,000 HOUR DONATION Executive Director, Petra Pfeiffer, thanks Jeannie Blakely on Appreciation evening. Whenever there is a crime or tragedy, there is a victim. The word ‘victim’ does not adequately describe the complexity of circumstances ...
- RURAL CRIME WATCH The organization had been undergoing a serious decline in interest until the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012 when the community experienced a rash of break-ins and thefts. Membership spiked and with increased monitoring ...
- Wetaskiwin Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast City of Wetaskiwin Mayor Bill Elliot shows the ribbon shirt which was given to him by Laron Northwest on behalf of the Samson Cree Nation and Maskwacis. Wetaskiwin's 23rd Annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast was held at ...
- Kids Making a Difference The 19th annual Leaders of Tomorrow Awards Program for Wetaskiwin and area was held at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum the evening of April 7th. This is a program to recognize the good kids who are making a positive difference ...
- Leduc City Citizens of Distinction Annual ceremony hosted during Leduc’s Volunteer Appreciation Banquet. The City of Leduc is pleased to announce the following recipients of the 2013 Citizens of Distinction Awards: Brianna Day Athletic Achievement ...
- Lakedell 4-H Beef Club Our club has been keeping busy. In February we had our beef supper on valentines day with a great turn out. On the 15th our club attended the Red Deer Rebels game. We also had Public speaking on the 28th. All members ...
- Spring Fling Mercedez Swallow creates a spotted puppy at the Spring Fling trade fair in the Wetaskiwin Drill Hall. Wetaskiwin Chamber of Commerce hosts new features - Hosting successful events has challenges. But observing a steady ...