- Written by Bruce Barnett
One of the benefits of working for a mining company with sites all over Australia and NZ is you get to collect quite a few Frequent Flyer points. So after returning from Blade 2010 Qantas was keen for me to return to the US again for only $322 return. How could I refuse?? It just happens that the inaugural Rocky Mountain Knife show in Boise, Idaho was on the weekend following the Adelaide Custom Knife show and my mate Bill Burke MS was only too happy to have me back again.
Quickly rounding up a few extra blades to take for both shows it was off to Adelaide where I had a very successful show as well as winning best forged blade. Headed off to the US on the Monday and arrived with a shiver as Boise was getting a decent sprinkling of snow. Up bright and early hoping to harvest an elk before the season closed but was beaten to the shot so ended up assisting with the skinning of the beast. Bill skinned the animal with one of his small 52100 pronghorn skinners which was onto its 3rd elk with out the edged being resharpened. Pretty good steel when heat treated properly. I took a couple of bearings over with me that I just happened to have a good supply of and forged out a blade and heat treated it with Bill’s recipe and sure enough they are 52100. I gave up cutting rope after approx 100 cuts, my hand was getting sore from holding the tang. The edge was still fine.
Also had a go at forging out a 25cm Gyoto (Japanese Chefs knife) in a san-mai construction using a piece of 52100 sandwiched between 416 stainless steel. It held together and I have brought it home to heat treat and finish. They look especially cool when etched on completion. Also did some laddered billets in 1080 & 15n20 that I will get some blades done for Melbourne in May.
Myself, along with two US gents, John Connor and Shane Carter, also used the opportunity while at Bill’s mini hammer in before the show to conduct our performance tests on one of our own forged blades for our ABS Journeyman Smith ratings. The test has to be witnessed by a Master Smith and we had Bill Burke, Shane Taylor and Wade Colter in attendance along with a few JS in Gary House, Erik Fritz and Mike Quesenberry. The actual test involves cutting a free hanging 1” hemp rope, chopping two 4x2’s in half, the blade must still shave and then has to be able to bend 90 degrees without breaking. My blade was the max allowable 10” of 5160, triple quenched and tempered and along with John’s and Shane’s, passed the test. I now have to present a panel of Master Smith judges 5 forged blades at Blade 2011which must have a high enough standard of fit and finish etc to then earn a JS stamp.
The weekend came along and it was into town for the Rocky Mountain knife show. This was the 1st time for this show and it turned out a very successful show for most with it getting a lot of good reviews from some well known makers who had been hanging out for a good show on the west coast. Caught up with good friends in Ed Caffery, Bruce Bump, Raymond Richard and made some new ones.
Spent another few days quality forging time with Bill and then got out to come home just in time. Talking to Bill after I got home and they got 2&1/2 feet of snow the day after I left. So next years travels are already planned with our own AKG show in May, then Blade show in Atlanta in June, a week with Shane Taylor MS in Montana having a go at engraving and damascus patterning and the following weekend meeting up again with Shane, Bill Burke and Erik Fritz at the Quigley shoot. They are now running a mini knife show at the Quigley shoot and a condition of entering knives in the show is you have to shoot. Hitting a target at 800yds using open sights with a black powder 45/70 could prove to be an interesting weekend, as well as a lot of fun with a bunch of top blokes.