This is no joke: a blacksmith walked up to me at a bar last weekend. Granted, it the Deluxe Coffeeworks bar but the story still holds.
Now I’m not sure about you but when I am asked if I would like to make a knife, there is no other answer than “hells yeah”! So off I went to Conrad Hicks‘ studio in Obz to make myself a kitchen knife. The smell of burning embers, hot metal and car oil set in a warehouse with heavy metal tools on the walls and a retro Chev truck was an unexpected sensory overload. I was quiet for a while. I tried to explain what was going on to my camera. I don’t think I managed to, so you might have to go through yourself.
Conrad is a Fine Arts major who makes tools. Bowls with worn copper undertones, rustic knives in varying sizes, chunky stools and pieces of wall art made out of molten slabs. It’s something quite incredible to behold because it’s a reality that most of us don’t bother to conceive of.
So about my knife. It started off as a bolt from a train until we turned up the heat and flattened it down. I wish I had taken more pics of this beginning process but I’m trying this whole “live in the moment” stuff. My journalistic side isn’t agreeing with the methodology.
I got to use a hammer and heavy tongs to re-heat the metal before taking it to an anvil (yes, an anvil) to beat the daylights out of it. It was a deeply satisfying process to truly create something.
It took about 2 hours to melt and reshape the bolt into a knife that is deliciously rough around the edges, a choice I made when I was polishing it. The blade is sharper than my Wusthof (my fault) and the first thing I did when I got home was dice a tomato. Cue Glomail voice: “Like a hot knife through butter” – it swanned through those tomatoes. I’m hooked.