Blades By Baz

Humble beginnings – looking back on my first knives.

Part of my journey building things, was to invent creative ways to fund my projects, without breaking into the family income.

I made a couple of knives out of a bandsaw blade and a lawnmower blade. My friend Alistair saw this on a forum and invited me to Tharwa Valley Forge, near Canberra, for a knife-makers meeting. Karim Hadad, (the owner), gave me valuable advice and critique on my knives and then gave me a fistful of the correct steel to go and practice on. He has supported me with sound advice and encouragement ever since.

First knife – Bandsaw blade, tie wire and scrap wood. The bloke I gave it to, burned the snake in it.
Second knife – Lawnmower blade, (complete with bolt-hole), copper pipe, brass pins, random scrap wood.

One thing led to another and I built two of my own forges out of scrap metal. With sound advice from Karim and other knife-makers, I learned how to design and improve my knives. Each knife became a wonderful way to thank someone for helping me with my builds, as I gave them away to those who had given freely to me. I made over 60 knives and gave them away. The knife-making community got behind me for the Iron man project and brought my skill levels up very quickly so I could sell knives to fund the suit.

Scottish Dirk etching
Scottish Dirk Brass casting
First forge utilising scrap metal
Second forge for longer blades
Heat-treating, (Hardening)
Dramatic improvement
My signature style of blade for a time
A change of styles.
My first cold-stamp thanks to Dar at Andrew Smith did the graphic design for me. Great job gents.
20 ton press for my stamp made of scrap metal.
Small improvements with every knife.
Basic tools, but effective. Grinder kindly given to me by Russell, (RSLT knives.)

My very first Japanese Kitchen knife, forged from scratch, under the experienced tuition of Adam Fromholtz, a very talented knife maker.
Hammer finished skinning knife,
Two hammer finished 1075 bushman’s knives with mustard patinas, one random splotch and the other in a faux-hamon style.
300 layer pattern-welded Damascus fighter. Deer antler handle with Australian Hardwood and recycled brass cast pommel.

1075 carbon steel whittling knife. Stabilised red gum handle with recycled brass and G10 fittings.
1075 Japanese Santoku. Hammer-finish.
Japanese Kwaiken. 1075 steel and Australian Hardwood.
New blade stamp on it’s way thanks to the talented and very hard working Dar Lu, looking after me. From this point forward, the last few knives with my old Baz stamp on them will become rare, limited edition blades. There are currently four knives finished and three in progress. After that, there will be no more Baz stamps.
Carbon steel blade, Australian hardwood handle.
Set of three, hammered finish, high-carbon kitchen knives. Teak handles with brass and G10 spacers. The teak is recycled bench tops from the Australian National University in Canberra. The reason teak is so valuable is for both for its elegance and its durability. Beyond its beauty, it also possesses some natural properties that other woods don’t have. Google, “teak” to learn more. Amazing wood. These three knives are the last ones to have my Baz stamp on them, so they will be collectors items one day. From now on, my blades will be stamped with the new stamp you see watermarked in the bottom right of the photo.
Experimenting with a leftover Damascus stub. Managed to forge it out without any de-laminations into something usable. Handle from a dead branch of a Banksia I pruned a couple of years ago. Brass is recycled bullets cast into solid bar.

An elegant hunter-style blade. High carbon steel blade, stabilised myrtle handle with recycled-ammunition, brass guard.
Japanese Kiritsuki. Hammered finish, high carbon blade with stabilised Coolabah burl handle.
Two Kiritsuki. High carbon steel, hammered finish. Australian hardwood handles.

A fun blade made from a Damascus billet stub and some deer antler.

SUPER Kiritsuke. Extra long blade. High carbon steel blade, hammered finish. Mallee burl handle.
Japanese Santoku. High carbon steel, hammered finish, Mallee-burl handle.
Latest. High carbon steel, hairy oak handle scales. Edit: Just realised after I put the photo up, that I have to put an edge choil in it. Rest assured I will take a diamond file to it and put one in before it goes to it’s new owner.
High carbon steel kitchen knife. hammered finish. Walnut handle scales.

7 December 2018

I just finished this Damascus Chef’s knife today, after weeks of fussing over the blade design. It actually started out as a Bowie, but every time I put it to the grinder I stuffed it. Every time I tried to correct it, I made it worse!

My thanks to a handful of talented knife makers who gave me advice and guidance on this one, Including all the team at Tharwa Valley Forge, Karim Hadad, Jackson Rumble, Matt McVicar, Adam Fromholtz and Leila Hadad, as well as some experienced guild members who helped me make some decisions on what to do with it. ABS MS Shawn McIntyre and Peter Del Roso in particular. Cheers gents, I was ready to throw it over my shoulder. Practice makes perfect! I’m very happy with it now. The Damascus steel is a sixteen layer twist pattern billet I forged some weeks ago with Matt McVicar.



Japanese Santoku. High carbon steel blade, hammered finish. Hardwood handle scales.

My first friction folders.

Just finished. Friction folder evolution. My own design, using the same angles in my makers stamp, translated to all parts of the knife. This one is a prototype. There are a couple of angles I am going to change ever so slightly to the order of perfection, plus I am going to taper the thickness of the thumb lever for a perfect fit. That being said, I love this knife and I am seriously thinking of keeping it instead of selling it.

Offcuts from the ends of Damascus, (*modern) billets. 
I love these random chunks of metal. You don’t know who made them or how they were made, how many layers or anything. Inspected through the bucket of stubs, looking for any that might be OK, then bash ’em out and see what you get. Some de-lamination here and there, but these are rejected off-cuts for a reason. Forged, ground and polished, then dropped in thick-as-mud, cheapo coffee overnight to see what happens in the morning.
I let these knives just happen organically, improvising and adapting as the metal takes shape. It’s a lovely organic process, a bit different to my usual planned procedural blades.
Turned out OK.
*Modern Damascus – because so many keyboard warriors get precious about calling it Damascus….
The two steels are 1075 and 15n20. Essentially the same, but the 15n20 has a little bit of nickel in it. They are stacked in alternate layers, then hammered together while super heated, then manipulated into patterns, forged into a knife, ground, highly polished, then etched in ferric chloride, coffee or both. The steel with less nickel in it absorbs the stain of the coffee. Coffee is also acidic, so it etches the metal. 

Here’s another small stub, squashed out and turned into a cute little paring knife. A little cheeky file-work on the spine for fun.

Another cute little blade made out of an end stub of Damascus. The stub was no bigger than a mintie, looking like it had been left on a car dashboard all summer…

Forged into a bar, then stretched and flattened, beaten to shape, ground and polished. Coffee etched last night for 5 hours.