Ray Rogers Handcrafted Knives




While I still intend to remain primarily a stock removal knife maker I have begun to stretch my horizons a bit. Since it has proven to be difficult or impossible (or out of my price range) to get damascus in the sizes and shapes I need, I have decided to make my own. This is the story of my own little hammer-in that accompanied the arrival of my new forging press on Sept. 7, 2005.



This is the press, built by Ron Claiborne, who drove 2700 miles to get here and teach me how to use it. There is a large collection of dies laying at the foot of the press.

When we needed to weld something we called on Kelly's skills as in the picture above. Kelly Cupples and Sam Fogler drove to Seattle to pick up the press from the freight dock and then drove another 5 hours to bring it out here to me. They did this for someone they had not even met at that time and I cannot begin to express my gratitude to them. Kelly supplies steel, powdered steel, welding supplies, safety equipment and all sorts of things for knife makers. Obviously, he goes the extra mile (many miles!) for his customers so if you forge your blades you should get to know this man:

Kelly Cupples
509-949-5231
octihunter@charter.net



After the billet is welded together, it goes into my new home made forge and brought to welding temperature.

A gentle squeeze with the flat die makes the weld, then after a few more heats the same die can squash the steel and widen it.

Ron Claiborne (aka Bowie) uses the drawing dies to stretch out a 15 pound billet.

Heat and squish, heat and squish...

The outside of the billet gets a lot of scale on it that must be removed before the billet can be cut, stacked, and re-welded to gain layer count. Kelly does the grinding to remove the scale...

Kelly and Bowie mark the steel at even increments prior to hot cutting it...

Bowie hot cuts a billet...

The steel will be cut into several pieces, re-stacked, and welded again...

In this picture, the squaring dies are used to square up a can of powdered metal...

Bowie twists hot steel to create a twist pattern in the steel...

After twisting the steel is squished a little...

and then squished more until it becomes a bar again...

At one point, Bowie demonstrates how to forge a blade by hand. The hammer he is using was hand made for me by Romey Bromwich, a blacksmith and knife maker from Montana. Everyone agreed it was an excellent hammer. Notice that Bowie had to stand on a booster block to use my anvil. Although he is rather sensitive about it, Bowie is only 3' 4" tall ....

Bowie celebrated his 60th birthday while he was here. Not being able to bake a cake, I did the next best thing and created some Birthday Booze. Happy Birthday Bowie!!!

We worked late into the night...





Kelly catches a few well earned winks - good thing he was still wearing his safety glasses...

Sleeping inside the house is the best way to avoid crotch sniffing bears, as Sam was to learn this day...

Sitting around the wood stove in my Waucondaminium and drinking Bowie's birthday present, talking knives well into the evening...

If I don't learn to use this thing at least I'll have the fanciest trash compactor in Wauconda!

After a few birthday snorts, Bowie tries to offer KoolAid laced with a date rape drug to a bear. I didn't have the heart to tell him it was a male bear. Fortunately for Bowie, the bear turned out to be gay. The whole incident was em-bear-assing and I'm trying to forget that I ever witnessed such a spectacle...



Here's a couple of knives using the steel we made here today:








NOTE: The pictures on this page depicting animals and people in close proximity were created for your amusement with Adobe Photoshop. Nobody around here is quite that stupid!!




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Ray Rogers Handcrafted Knives