Here’s the latest blade to come out of the shop this week. It’s also a piece that Jeremy and I had been wanting to make for almost an entire year. The blade is san mai forged from 1084 & 15N20. Fittings are all mild steel. Handle is lace wood, copper, leather and ebony. I forged a companion knife out of the same steels designed to be kept in a small pocket in the sheath. Blade is 15″ & overall is 22″. Construction is all traditional, using a peened nut to make a compression fitting for the assembly. Here’s some pictures of the process and finished piece. The sheath is veg tanned leather with forged s-chain. This particular piece is available at Pyrates Treasure at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. Price for a similar set is $900.
A few months back, I showed off some great pieces of wood given to me by my friend Ed DeHart of Merlin’s Magic. It’s with sadness in my heart that I say that Ed has passed on from this world and onto the next. My thoughts are with his family at this moment as they deal with this tragedy. Ed, you will be missed greatly, you were a true friend who never gave a damn about what you said and meant everything with honesty and sincerity. Keep it groovy, brother!
Only two months to go until classes begin, so let’s do a little promotion to get the ball rolling on something new! From today until October 31, you can register online using promo code JWS1015 to receive 10% off each registration! We’re using the money from these early registrations to fund new equipment the shop needs in order to launch an entirely new program in early 2016 that will focus on getting wounded and disabled veterans into the forge for classes. The equipment we need doesn’t exist commercially, so we’ve had to design new mechanical hammers, grinding stations and even quench tanks in order to make them as safe to use and as accessible as possible to everyone – all from the ground up. This is such an awesome opportunity for our shop and we want you to join us in the adventure! Not only will you get to participate in a great class, but you’ll be helping our servicemen have the same chance! Please share this and help us make this new program a success!
Starting out on your own with a new venture often means having to do things on a limited budget. It’s not easy, there’s always a lot of work to be done in making face to face contacts, social media marketing, actually making product, general maintenance and adding infrastructure necessary for day to day operations. Granted, I’ve been doing this a while, but for the past several years I’ve been under someone else’s roof. Now I’m standing here, out on my own, and while it’s not a bleak horizon I’m gazing at, it can be a little daunting and more than a little draining. Let me tell ya, a blacksmiths shop takes more than just a nibble from your wallet with equipment costs and set up, even when you have 95% of what you need. Anyway, it really makes you get clever when you think about things like marketing. Sure, I could put an add in every towns newspaper between here and NYC, but how many thousands would that cost? Facebook is great, so is Google+, I’ve been featured on Instructables, I’ve put up Craigslist ads – where do I go next? Well, I think I figured it out. I turn to you. Yes, that’s right, I’d like your help in getting the word out. One of my primary focuses is teaching – I absolutely love it, and I’ve even been told I do a good job at it, lol. I’ve got my classes listed up on Eventzilla, but let’s face it, as a booking application it’s wonderful – for marketing, it sucks. Where marketing really works for me is right where my demographic is, (that’s marketing 001 for ya), but I can’t be everywhere and there’s far too many places where my ad would work, but I’ve never visited or even heard of. So that’s where I want your help. I made a simple poster, it’d in PDF format, it can be printed out on your inkjet or laser printer in color or b&w – it doesn’t matter. All I’d like you to do is print it out, perhaps pre-cut the little tabs at the bottom, and the next time you’re at a place with a community bulletin board, hang it up. Don’t make a special trip, just print it, put it in your car and the next time you’re somewhere where you think would be a good place, drop it off. Where? Any place with a community bulletin board is good – like Home Depot, the gym, Lowes, Tractor Supply, your local gun shop, a community center, the grocery store, the laundromat, a shooting range, a fabric store, a booth at a Renaissance Faire (wink wink nudge nudge to some of my friends at PaRF and elsewhere), your table at an event, the recycling center, Kmart, Walmart.. the possibilities are endless! Just don’t put it up where it’s going to get ripped down for not being allowed! We’re in a new digital age, and while all this online stuff is great, there’s still something to be said for good old fashioned street team work. Whether you’re in the same town as me, or out in New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio or even halfway across the country, it doesn’t matter – there’s always someplace I haven’t thought of. I’ve had students from as far away as Washington state, it just proves that people are willing to travel to what they’re looking for. So please, if you can help, I’d truly appreciate it. Thanks for the support!