I am a self-taught blacksmith, bladesmith, metal fabricator, welder, machinist and leather worker who operates Rugged As Iron Works (https://www.facebook.com/RuggedAsIronWorks). My Ironworks is located in Kingston Ontario and operates part-time, producing small batches of rugged, hand-crafted axes, blades and other forged items.
I have been cold-working metal for over twenty-five years and blacksmithing for over fifteen years. I started blacksmithing because I was no longer satisfied with just bending sheet metal and wire. I wanted to make things from steel like knives and tools that you simply couldn’t do cold. Because I started learning how to blacksmith before Forged in Fire became popular and blacksmithing became cool, there weren't the same resources available as there are today. Consequently, I am a self-taught blacksmith and this has always been a hobby for me. It took time to acquire the skills, experience and equipment necessary to produce high quality axes, knives and other forged items. It also helps that my workshop is where I go to unwind, get some exercise and make something physical; it’s a great break from a desk job. As I slowly approach retirement, I am also happily looking forward to spending more time pounding hot metal.
I lean towards the bladesmith variety of blacksmith and prefer making axes and damascus knives. I have made over 70 axes and hatchets in the last two years, which was unexpected as I started making them only to recycle my overflowing pile of leaf-springs. I make bearded axes as I find the broad-headed style more impressive than a regular axe, and they excel at chopping and carving while still being good for splitting wood. Some of my more recent axes are made from railway rails, because there is just something satisfying about making an axe out of something that used to hold up entire trains.
Over the years I have made around twenty knives, half mono-steel and half damascus. I love making the damascus knives as the patterns that form are elegant, and so interesting to the eye. The coolness factor comes from knowing the knife you are holding is made from two different steels forge-welded together, folded and hammered over and over until the two steels are intermixed in hundreds of layers. Damascus is also a challenge, because while I can make a mono-steel knife with a grinder and a propane torch, you need a really hot forge, the right metal and the know-how to make a damascus knife and not all smiths can do that. You also need a really big hammer or a really big arm, preferably both. However, given the large time commitment damascus knives take (10-20 hours) I tend to only make them only by commission.
I also make a variety of other things or provide metal fabrication and machining services when requested or as time permits. I make decorative hooks for hanging things, rounding hammers and other blacksmithing specific tools and equipment. I can cast aluminum as belt buckles or hard-to-find tool parts, and brass for knife guards. I fabricate metal artwork, plant stands, and small items by request. I also perform small welding and metal repair jobs at request, although I am not a licensed welder.
I take pride in my work, and I offer a limited warranty with all my products. If you manage to break a product through normal wear and use, I will do my best to repair it at no cost or at a reduced rate.