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/Defensive Knives.
My original motives for pursuing the art of knifemaking was somewhat selfish… I needed a quality Defensive 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 methodology, 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 Defensive 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 simple High Carbon steels like O1/Bohler K460. Though old fashioned and “low tech”, steels like these have been used for edged weapons for centuries and to some degree I appreciate that they require more care and maintenance than modern stainless steels. These blades will rust if you neglect them, but they age so very well. Some of my Knives are made from Hitachi Aogami and Shirogami steels. These more rare Japanese steels are modern and high tech but still carry a tradition in them. They are as close as we can get to traditional Tamahagane in an off the shelf mill steel.
Breaking from tradition, I do also offer blades made from N690, Elmax and occasionally VG-10. These high carbon stainless steels exhibit very high levels of performance, and are suitable alternatives to traditional carbon steels.
I have always tried to keep my process entirely hands on, but since 2019 the increased demand for my knives meant that it was 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 (without mechanical guides), 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 quite 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.
BUYING A KNIFE
2020 has changed a lot of things around the world and is a year that will no doubt have repercussions for many years to come. The reality for me is that being forced to take 2 months off work during CoVid-19 lockdown has put a lot of pressure on this small business.
It also forced me to think about how I want to work in the future. Taking orders and forcing myself to make knives to spec has been tiring, and is even more daunting now with a very large backlog which I must overcome.
As of July 2020 I will no longer be taking any custom orders.
I simply don’t have the energy to be both creative, pursue perfection in my craft and manage customer’s expectations on a daily basis. So there are no more Waiting Lists, or Order Bookings.
If you wish to own one of my knives you will need to wait until I make it and put it up for sale. I make approximately 8-10 knives a month for sale. Which models I make are entirely dependent on how I feel, what materials I have available and what I can see there is a need for on my social media pages.