IRONSIDE EDGE WORKS
Creating the Divine Companion
Ironside Edge Works was started in July of 2017, established as a brand (Originally “Ironside Armoury“) and as a full-time operation to create Combative Knives.
My original motives for pursuing the art of knifemaking was somewhat selfish… I needed a quality Combative EDC Knife for myself, but could not afford to buy one from some of the talented makers around me at the time. I decided instead to put my creativity into shaping metal, and soon I had crafted my first blade…
My background in Combative Arts has given me certain perspectives, both learned and imparted by mentors, which influence the design of the knives I make. I typically use Pikal blades for my own Combative style, so I’ve devoted a lot of time to making and perfecting this unique style of knife.
But I also consider myself a minimalist and heavily influenced by traditional Japanese swordmakers, for whom each part of the sword has a practical purpose, yet can also be beautifully crafted. I’ve never held the belief that form should follow function – the two should co-exist. I like to think my knives speak to the soul, as well as protect it.
My style will, and has continued to develop since my first blade (pictured left). But I feel my knives fill a unique niche of being wholly practical, extremely robust Combative edged weapons, designed with a singular purpose, that are also carefully considered artistically and crafted to showcase their natural aesthetics.
The blades I make are typically shaped from High Carbon steels like O1/Bohler K460. Though old fashioned, it has been used for edged weapons for centuries and to some degree I appreciate that it requires more care and maintenance than modern stainless steels. These blades will rust if you neglect them, but they age so very well. More recently I’ve begun working with exotic Japanese carbon steels like Hitachi Aogami and Shirogami, these super steels produce some of the most exquisite blades available.
The exception to the above are blades made from more modern powder metallurgy steels, such as Elmax, which fall into the category of high carbon stainless steels.
While I have always tried to keep my process entirely hands on, but in 2019 demand for my knives has meant its time to embrace certain modern production techniques. Every single blade is still finished by hand, by human touch, but some more mundane tasks are left to CNC processes. Every knife blade however is beveled and ground freehand, polished, etched, assembled by hand, and laboriously sharpened on Japanese water stones. While this “low tech” approach has its drawbacks, chiefly being slower, it also produces a more unique piece honed by a human touch.
This can be seen in my work. Each piece is unique. Each one has its own characteristics that make it special. No knife blade leaves without being felt in the hand, treated with the reverence such a weapon deserves.
The idea of a tool having such reverence that it is considered a “Divine Companion” may be quote lost in today’s world, but in centuries past it mean’t a lot more to carry a weapon – in particular a finely crafted blade.
A quality blade finished to high standards, and beautifully adorned like that of the Samurai’s katana was not a common item. For many people it was the only blade they ever owned, quite likely passed down from one generation to the next. It was an item that you looked after because your life could very well depend on it.
In our modern age we are no longer used to looking after things. Perhaps this is why I love high carbon steel, because it forces you to look after your investment. It needs to be treated with care, and as it ages it wears its scars, its imperfections and its history quite visibly. Much like we change with time and age so too will the blade.
When we adopt this approach to the bladed tools we carry each day, knowing very well we may depend on it to protect us, it becomes more than a simple object and it becomes a Divine Companion.
This symbol has great meaning to me, considering too what it is that I create. An ancient symbol with many meanings through the centuries, it does to this day also symbolize the balance between life and death, creation and destruction. I create these blades so that they may protect life, but this sometimes means taking it.
Due to the handmade process, each Knife model is produced in small batch quantities, every month. This means there are a limited number of any given model available each year for purchase. Ironside Edge Works produces less than 300 knives per year in total.
Currently there is only one way to get an Ironside Edge Works knife, and that is to order it. Everything is currently Made to Order.
I try to keep waiting times down to around 5 – 6 weeks, but occasionally this can run longer due to logistical and other unforseen delays in getting supplies, etc.
Very occasionally I will have something ready to ship off my workbench. This is very seldom and usually gets snapped up quickly, so keep a look out on my Instagram and Facebook pages.
ONE-OFF & CUSTOM ORDERS
On occasion I have projects which are unique and will only be released as a limited run, never to be repeated. In these instances once they are sold out they are gone. It will be to your benefit to follow Social Media pages for announcements of these special one-off projects if that kind of thing interests you.
Custom Projects can be considered, and is entirely dependent on what the project is, as technical capability (both in terms of my own skills, and equipment) can be a deciding factor on whether or not I accept a project. To some degree I may not accept a custom project if I have little to no interest in it. The time that custom projects divert away from my other business needs to be worth it both monetarily and creatively – if my heart isn’t in it, it’s simply not worth it.
That being said, I welcome the chance to work on custom projects, especially in the realm of Combative EDC blades, Combat Survival blades and to varying degrees Traditional Japanese Blades.