Knife-Forging Class 202
From Sept.12th to the 14th, we conducted one of the best traditional
Japanese Bladesmithing classes to date.
It was a non-stop, educational, action-packed bladesmithing course from
Thursday evening until 11pm Sunday night! The students were great and
they readily absorbed the lessons that I taught them. Everything went
smoothly and, by the end of
the course, we had six
absolutely gorgeous hand-forged knives. Read what Bob
Worthington, one of the attendees, had to say:
recently, I attended Murray's Bladesmithing 202 Course and, while I may
know a thing or two about Japanese knives, I knew absolutely nothing
about how to actually make one. Needless to say, I was fairly
apprehensive about my ability to feel at ease in the shop and working
with all the power equipment, let alone actually making a knife with
them. Murray did his
best to assure me everything would be fine, but the
unknown still held its grasp.
arriving the first day, Murray had us jump right in and I started
working with the power hammer. His easy-to-understand explanations and
guidance made me both feel at ease and confidant as I became familiar
with its use. Murray did this by giving us practice time on different
materials, both soft and hard. This
to me was invaluable as
I got a good feel for using the hammer and its affect on the steel
being hammered. In no time I started forging my knife as Murray stood
right there supervising the whole process. Murray even suggested we
make a small "letter opener" from a piece of steel that was cut off
from the forged knife. While Murray performed the critical heat
treatment on my blade, he guided me in heat treating the small blade. So now I have a knife that I can
say was forged and heat treated 100% by me. Very cool.
had a great mix of allowing me plenty of hands-on work, yet stepping in
when things got critical. This is what the course was like the entire
three days. At each step
of the knife-making process, Murray was right there to instruct, guide
and assist me.
No corners were cut, either. I learned to make my knife the way Murray
makes his -- traditional Japanese methods with strong attention to
quality, detail and craftsmanship. Needless to say my knife is a
beautiful piece of Japanese cutlery that I made with my own hands. When
I showed my wife and friends the cut off piece of metal I started with,
the small knife I made on the side and then the Gyuto I made, they were
in shock. They just
couldn't believe that I, Bob, made it by hand.
Sometimes when I look at it, I have a hard time believing it, too, but
I've got the pictures and videos to keep that from ever happening.
"But, honestly, I got much more
out of the class than a knife --
the knife-making skills, both physical and analytical, the knowledge,
the history, the friendships, the breaking up of pine charcoal, the
target shooting, the mosquito bites, the language lesson, the raisin
bread, and so much more. Murray
did an excellent job of instruction,
and I give total credit to his ability to make me feel comfortable
every step of the way. After the end of each class day, Murray also had
options for us to do various things, so the fun never ended at
6:00. Murray and his family were very gracious hosts, too, and made me
feel at home while in theirs.
I can't thank you enough for an incredible experience that will surely
be long remembered. When
the class was over, I had this overwhelming desire of wanting more.
I wanted to drive back to the shop Monday morning to start another
knife. I enjoyed everything involved with knife making and truly found
myself wanting to do it again. When I told my wife this, she jokingly
asked if I was still planning to get on the plane to come home. I am
grateful for the time we spent and
I can't recommend enough that everyone take this class, or any of his
classes for that matter. Thanks again.
with Bob Worthington and John Marcus
"I found out about Carter Cutlery while searching
for a DVD on knife sharpening. I
liked Murray's straight-forward approach.
"I then saw that Murray offered bladesmithing classes teaching the Japanese style of
I have been a knife nut for many years both as a user, collector and
small-time maker (stock removal). Within a day or two, I decided to
attend Course 202 -- he had one spot left and I grabbed it.
arrived the evening before the class started, greeted by an energetic
and enthused Murray Carter. I think he was as excited about teaching
the class as I was attending it. I got a quick shop tour and an
introduction to what I could expect over the next three days. The goal -- to build my own Pro
Series kitchen knife.
began Friday morning with an introduction to his Japanese power hammer
and coke-fired forge. Before long, we practiced the basics and I was soon hammering on a triple
laminate that would become my first forged knife. The
first day ended soon, and with Murray's guidance and help, my knife was
hammered out and trimmed to shape.
next two days also passed quickly working on our own knives after being
taught and shown how to complete the next step. The class day was
broken up by a few tea and coffee breaks, lunch and a brief lesson in
Japanese. After class hours, we were offered an array of activities
highlighted by a 100-plus-yard offhand handgun competition.
"The instruction was clear and to
interrupted by many questions. During every hour which passed, our
knives came closer to being finished, our minds were absorbing a ton of new information,
and our bodies were learning new
"On the last night, we ate a great Chinese meal with Murray's family
which was really a treat!!
"What's next? I am
definitely coming back for an advanced class and intend to
acquire the tools necessary to forge blades on my own.
"If you are undecided about taking a class from Murray, I suggest you get off the fence
and go see for yourself what a 17th-generation Yoshimoto
Bladesmith can teach you.
Murray, his staff and family for a great experience.
John Marcus PhD, PTC Instruments"
You can also take a look here
at the Knife Forums website for a great write-up by Bob,
including a lot of photos. There are larger
photos here at the Foodie Forums site, too. Thanks, Bob and
John, for sharing your experiences with us all.
participants and I decided that we should do something special in light
of the dates of the course, which were right after 9/11. After a prayer
and a silent moment for those who had fallen fighting for freedom, we
decided to stamp our forged blades in a special way to commemorate the
occasion. We all stamped a smiley face in the steel, a reminder to us
that the best reaction to terrorism is to keep smiling and not let
ourselves become depressed or paranoid in the face of terrorists. You
can see this
knife here for purchase at our Products website.
exciting part of the class was the elective activity we did on Friday
night after our first full day of class. The students requested a forge welding demonstration
and I was happy to oblige. Earlier that day I had the students forge a
round bar of rusty steel flat in order that they might become familiar
with my power hammer. On a whim, I used that now-flat bar as the outer
laminates on a white steel core, forge welded it and then forged the
welded billet by hand into a knife. The next day we used that knife for
a heat treating and grinding lesson, marked it also with the smiley
face and the
resulting knife is here at our Products website.
Take a look at the forge
welding video clip here, and the hand
forging clip here.
are proud to announce Murray's new entry into the largest and most
comprehensive encyclopedia in the world, Wikipedia. One of our loyal
patrons took the time to assemble the entry from parts of our website
and other literature. Check
it out here
and please give us some feedback. Let us know if you would like to see
something changed or added.
ten years ago at my shop in Tabaruzaka, Kumamoto, Japan, a patron
visited my bladesmithing shop. Apparently he had just come from a
Samurai sword bladesmith who had given him a piece of "Tamahagane."
He gave the steel to me and suggested I forge it into some blades
sometime. I accepted the steel, put it aside for future use, and then
more or less forgot all about it.
few weeks ago, however, I found the steel in a box that we had placed
it in for the move from Japan to Oregon,and so I decided to forge some
knives using the Tamahagane steel. Not knowing the carbon content of
the steel, I forge-welded some white steel in the center for superior
cutting ability and lightly etched the surface to reveal the subtle
laminations of the Tamahagane.
of the neat things about the blades that resulted is not knowing
whether the Tamahagane steel is 50 years old or 500 years old! This
knife is also available for purchase here on our Products website.
was concern that our discounted "seconds" might be purchased directly
from our site and then sold for full retail prices on the second-hand
market. Please rest assured that this cannot happen as any "seconds"
blades are clearly stamped with either a "2" by my Carter stamp or the
Carter stamp is stamped out. It is not possible that anyone could be
fooled by one of these blades if they look at the markings.
Until our next email news,
Stay Sharp and may God richly bless you!
Vernonia, OR 97064
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