HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I want to
heartily wish you a Happy New Year for 2009 and I pray this year will
be full of Peace and Joy for you and your family. Last year was an
exciting year and this year looks like it might be even more thrilling!
Whatever this New Year brings you, I hope that you are able to meet it
with good health, vigor and a renewed supply of optimism.
various sales campaigns that we held in December were a smashing
success. Especially popular was the "Buy Two
Knives, Get One Free" offer, followed by the "Two
For One Bladesmithing School Tuition" offer. The
revenue generated from these sales put Carter Cutlery in a very strong
position to end the fiscal year and to position us for a strong start
in 2009. As Carter Cutlery continues to grow and prosper, we look
forward to more opportunities where we can "Exchange
In Abundance" with you. I want to sincerely
congratulate those of you who took advantage of the offers, and
thank all of you for your continued patronage and support.
December 10th, I conducted the last Traditional Japanese
Bladesmithing Class of 2008. The class was very special
three reasons: 1) The class was about my absolute
type of blade, the Kuro-uchi Series; 2) the students
family consisting of a father and his two oldest sons; and finally, 3)
they are all dear friends of mine.
two-day class was fast paced and smooth-flowing. At the end of the
second day, the students had a fine 5.5-sun
Kuro-uchi Wabocho, perfectly forged, heat-treated
and sharpened to take home with them. Here is what they had to say:
you so much for the knife class. Those two days were a dream come true.
Ever since I was small, I have had a fascination with knives, swords
and the process of making them. The value of the class was enormous
-- not only did you show me exactly how the Japanese have made
knives for hundreds of years, you gave me the confidence that with
time, devotion and hard work, I can make a good quality knife. You
filled the days with your passion for teaching -- history, practical
skills, and survival skills. I really can't thank you enough. I'll keep
the lessons I learned about knife making with me for the rest of my
life. I really appreciated your passion as well. Thanks
want to thank you so much for the opportunity to come and learn and
watch you at your forge. It was amazing the gifts that God has given
you. I was blessed from the first moment we walked in. Your teaching
was excellent. I knew you to be a craftsman by your knives, but few
true craftsmen have the ability to communicate their passion like you
do. God has truly gifted you. I appreciated the way in which you
explained the concepts behind what you were doing with the metal... it
truly made it the experience of a lifetime. Wow, I could never have
imagined the care and forethought that goes into every knife. The
fellowship with you and your family completed the experience. I
appreciated the way you spent the time on purpose, teaching us and I
really appreciate your giving heart."
Home Services, LLC
just wanted to write to you and THANK YOU for the wonderful
bladesmithing class that you taught for my sons and I last week. I have
known what a great craftsman you are for some time now, but until last
week I never realized what a gifted teacher you are.
enthusiasm, your patience (with an old man who could barely flatten a
piece of wood, and two eager boys who were ready to learn as much as
possible), your thoroughness, your safety precautions, and your sincere
dedication, all combined to produce one of the best experiences that my
sons and I have ever had together. The fine knives that we completed at
the culmination of the class were a bonus that capped the class off
with a crown of excellence."
have finalized the New 2009 Japanese Bladesmithing
Schedule and the classes are beginning to fill up.
the schedule, select
your course of choice and register to attend what will be
your best experience of 2009!
Carter Cutlery Shop
Mystique of Kuro-uchi Blades|
have often wondered when the exact moment was that I decided to be a
professional Japanese Bladesmith. It all happened so naturally that I
honestly can't put my finger on it. I suspect it was sometime
around my first visit to a rural Japanese village
remember stepping into the shop, and then into the semi-darkness of the
forge area, which seemed much darker than it was, having come from the
bright sunlight outdoors. Looking back, I can almost taste the unique
smells of sulfur and phosphorus in the smoke that was emanating from
the forge fire, and recall being fascinated by the dancing sparks that
jumped from the fire and disappeared up into the chimney. I distinctly
remember an utter sense of timelessness as the scene at the forge
revealed to me no clues as to what time of day it was, or, for
that matter, what year it was, or even what century it was. Looking at
paintings from the 1500's of Japanese Bladesmiths at work
will prove that the scenario has virtually remained unchanged for
hundreds of years.
attention was drawn to the slender bar of carbon steel that was buried
in the burning pile of pine charcoal embers. When the bar was a dull
orange color, the smith deftly removed the glowing bar from the fire
and hammered the end section rectangular. He then cut off about an inch
of it and left it smoldering on the anvil.
must have been really mesmerized by the shimmering heat waves coming
from the steel section because before I knew it, the smith had heated a
larger section of mild steel and was busy hammering away at that,
creating a void with a hot chisel in which the carbon steel section was
to be inserted. I watched in awe, thinking "How can he split
the steel so perfectly like that completely free-handed?!"
When he grabbed the still-smoldering steel core with his bare fingers,
I was about to yell out a warning, but he flicked it in the void and
was done before I could utter a word.
billet disappeared into the pile of embers again, and as more air was
blown into the fire to make it hotter, a frenzy of sparks exploded from
the flames. When the billet was swiftly removed from the blazing fire,
my eyes hurt to look at the center of the fire where the steel had just
been. I later learned that the intense white flames in the center of
the fire reached over 6,500 degrees Fahrenheit, more than
half the temperature of the sun. The billet of steel was
brightly glowing yellow, with the occasional tiny spark jumping from
the billet and bursting violently like miniature fireworks. I
think I remember a very faint hissing sound coming from the steel, but
I could be mistaken. The smith's hammer became a blur as he
busied himself welding the two dissimilar metals together. Not a minute
had passed before the two had become one.
billet was reheated to a dull orange color and forged repeatedly until
the steel was shaped into a beautiful blade -- straight, thin and wide,
masterfully tapered from the back of the spine to the tip. The smith,
satisfied with the final shape, stamped his mark on the blade and then
put it back in the fire again. Now the fire was burning softly, void of
dancing sparks, but instead, the most beautiful flames I have ever
seen, purple and green in color, were waving back and forth between the
pieces of pine charcoal. The gentle flames reminded me of tall seaweed
moving with the water in the ocean.
evenly-heated blade was carefully removed from the gentle flames and
then thrust forcefully into the trough of water used for quenching
blades. As the blade first entered the water the smith let out a fierce
battle cry that took me by complete surprise and made my heart skip a
few beats. As the blade gave up its heat to the water, it hissed and
spattered and made the water steam. It was a violent transition.
Finally, the soul of the blade was born.
smith then examined the blade for failure. Discovering none, he
proceeded to grind an edge on the blade using natural wet stones.
Minutes later, the edge was gleaming, contrasting exquisitely with the
rough black surface of the blade. After final light passes on the
finest sharpening stone, the blade was finished. Even I could see that
the blade was sharp enough to shave the most sensitive hairs on the
face, let alone slice vegetables, fruits and meats.
of this took place before my very eyes, in one single afternoon. Having
started with two pieces of useless material, the smith had created a
blade of heirloom quality and ultimate utility that would serve a
family for many generations. I think from this point I was hooked on
The Riddle of Steel.
I personally look forward to hearing from you
again this year.
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Sharp and may God richly bless you!
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