HISTORY & LEGACY
Ironside Edge Works was founded in July of 2017 by Lead Knifemaker and Designer Gavin Coleman.
The original motivations of the company were to create simple defensive knives rooted in sound fundamentals of design. As a student of Combatives, Gavin is also the co-founder of The Maul system and during this early period was drawn to creating his own knives for this purpose. After some time and social media exposure, Ironside Edge Works knives were soon being sought by users all over the world.
The makers at Ironside Edge Works are not just artisans, we are also practitioners ourselves. This gives us unique insights into the demands which are placed on the tools we rely on for defensive use. Our focus is and always will be on practical, usable tools. We make weapons which may be called upon to defend the lives of those who own them. The weight of this responsibility is always with us.
While many espouse the concept of “Form Over Function” we disagree. When it comes to the aesthetic we believe both Form and Function should co-exist in harmony with each other. While functionality is always paramount, the aesthetics of a knife should be able to shine through without subtracting from the practicality of the knife. In this way we borrow heavily from traditional Japanese blade making in that everything should have a function, but should also be as beautiful as it can possibly be.
At Ironside Edge Works our knives are all worked by hand, with only a few specific processes done by more high tech or mechanised means to ensure quality standards. Each one of our blades is worked by the skilled hands of an artisan. We take great pride in chasing perfection and striving for the excellence which is expected of our work.
All blades are ground by hand. The skill of freehand grinding a blade takes years to perfect but we have never mechanised this process. This is fundamental to our both our philosophy and the creation of our Divine Companions. Although this rarely results in the mathematically perfect lines which can be achieved on CNC grinding, the ever so slight imperfection of something crafted by hand is what makes it beautiful and unique. A little part of the person who painstakingly crafted it is left behind, and this is what gives a knife its soul.
The materials we use are of the highest possible quality. We use premium grade steels like Elmax, M390 as well as rarer Japanese high carbon steels like Aogami and Shirogami. Lately, with our Bespoke Knives and the Traditional & Contemporary Japanese series, more exotic steels like SanMai or Damascus options are available.
One of the elements Ironside Edge Works has become known for is our Tsukamaki work. Specifically our contemporary interpretations of the traditional Japanese handle wrap which we have developed for modern defensive knives. These handles are among our most exquisite and only the finest traditional materials are used. High quality Silk and Leather Ito is sourced from reputable Japanese dealers, along with genuine raw hide sting ray skins (or Samegawa) which we colour and lacquer in-house. Some of the finest metals for fittings, such as Shakudo or Shibuichi are painstakingly crafted by traditional processes for use on our handles. Lastly, we make use of some of the most beautiful stabilised exotic woods and burls for our handles, too.
There is no aspect of an Ironside Edge Works knife which is not carefully considered by design or by execution.
What does it mean to own a “Divine Companion”? In the distant past the act of carrying a knife or edged weapon for personal protection was much more common place. It carried with it a higher importance than it does in the modern world. For many, an expensive and highly adorned sword was a luxury, and quite likely one which was passed down from one generation to the next. This is especially true in the case of Samurai’s Daisho, of which antiques today can be hundreds of years old.
These weapons only survive now because of how much reverence was placed upon them. These were tools, but they were the tools which both preserved and took life. They were seen as more than just the sum of their parts, they were thought to embody a spirit of their own.
While today we are so used to consuming that we discard even useful items after a few years of use. The idea of looking after and caring for a tool, so that it may look as good as new several generations from now is an entirely foreign concept. We like to think that we produce knives which are important enough to their owners, that they may too become Divine Companions. Respected, admired and relied upon when it matters most.
The Three Tenets
1: Form & Function Should Exist in Perfect Harmony 2: All Designs Must Adhere to the Critical Design Elements 3: No Project Shall Ever Be Rushed. Every Little Detail Matters.
ACQUIRING A DIVINE COMPANION
The decision to acquire your very own Ironside Edge Works knife comes with it a certain amount of dedication on your part, as well as the patience to let the process happen and unfold in the way it requires. We will never rush an order and placing undue pressure on ourselves isn’t conducive to creating the master pieces our patrons expect.
Our waiting list is long for this reason. Depending on the complexity of your order, it may take as long as 8 months to complete, and in certain cases it can be up to 12 months. If you are considering a Bespoke Knife order, you should expect a minimum of 12 months build time, and if you want it completed by a specific individual Maker/Designer – it may be an additional few months before it is even started, depending on that individual’s schedule and prior projects/commitments.
The first step is understanding your needs. We have three categories of Knives:
Traditional & Contemporary Japanese
When you are ready to proceed you may get in touch. A member of our team will gladly assist you with an Order Pack which contains pertinent information about ordering, as well as the Order Form you need to complete to get you started.
We have gone to great lengths to ensure that the day you order a knife from Ironside Edge Works is a day you will remember.