First Friday – November 2016

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I was very fortunate to grow with friends and  family who celebrated the arts, and actively created work.  I remember attending galleries in their living rooms, and later visiting showings in Downtown Denver and eventually NYC. We all did this in the tradition of going to visit artworks on the first Friday of the month.

First Friday is a small national holiday at the beginning of the month where galleries open their doors, invite in all the public, and put artists next to their work.

First Friday became an important part of my life and always reminds me of good times looking at people’s creation. During showings, we talked about life, gave thoughts, feedback, and sometimes purchasing work that meant something to me.

Now I create work, and send it in the mail, but never get too much time to share and celebrate – till now.

This is the First Friday of November, and here is a small selection of the work that I’ve been hoarding over the last month for today to share with you.

It’s a sneak peek of what I’ll be formally posting to my portfolio through the next month. The first post is already up.

In this, you’ll see a For Barber’s Use with titanium lined burl, a “buster sword” inspired kamisori, and collaborations with brands that want to share straight shaving with their customers.

Every day I’m honored to make fine razors for you, and my only hope it to continue to improve, and make them a bit faster.

Cheers, happy first Friday, and visit a local gallery if you have some time left in the day.

Week in review

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Week went by very quickly, but many good pieces are done, almost done, and getting good work completed.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks, as some of my most exciting work to date will be posted. A 7 day set, and several jewelry grade pieces, along with some classics will get into some photos.

With Christmas around the corner, I’m close to closing my books for Christmas delivery. So if you’d like a razor under the tree, not many weeks left to get your order in.

This picture you see is an odd one. You’d never guess it’s one of the more difficult set of razors I’ve worked on… and I’m quite proud that you can’t tell I worked on them.

Each and every one of those razors had red rust, and was depinned and repinned. One stray hammer blow and those scales would have shattered (the cracks were present upon entering my shop). I had to source  brass rod and mushroom it carefully so the razors were restored with historical accuracy. Not many of these razors left in the world, and I’m honored I got to restore them.

Age looks good on blades, and I hope whoever restores mine in 200 years will be careful – or I’ll haunt them.

Ironwood for Straight Razors

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Ironwood For Straight Razors

I’ve used woods from many different species of trees, and one that remains a favorite is desert ironwood.

I got this log from a tree farm in texas, and have used it on a dozen or so straight razors since. The grain of the wood is tight, and is among the most dense and toughest woods. Its janka hardness (the ability to dent the wood) requires about 3,260 lbs of force to dent it, while oak, by comparison, takes only about 1,350 lbs.

This particular log had dark stripes, red colors, flame orange, and sapwood that went completely cream color.

I do my best to select excellent specimens for my razors, not only from certain species of woods, but within the grains inside of the woods.

 
Here’s the exact log, and a few razors that came from it.

7/8 Wedge Grind, Iron Wood, Forge Finished – Custom Straight Razor
Custom Straight Razor with Decorative Spinework Filed

Barlow is Coming Apart

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A good friend visited and helped me take apart Barlow (my new power hammer). Some quick snapshots of some of the assembly.

I noted the left chain on the hammer head will need to be replaced. Luckily  I’ll be able to forge them to get it running again. Will be a good test of my general smiting abilities, and it will be odd forging tooling rather than a razor…

A Bigger Hammer at the Shop….

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A new friend is in the workshop.

A bit of rust from many years outside, but I say he looks good for being 108+ years old.

I got this power hammer at the workshop on Friday from a blacksmith higher up in the mountains. Now the hammer is at my shop, I’ll be taking a coffee break every morning or so to get him restored and back in action. Will be removing all the rust, setting a new motor – can’t wait to see what he can do.

Attached to this is an old diagram of the hammer. Once I get a few more moments, I’ll post some pictures of this guy through the restoration process.

Work is moving quick these days, and lots of shipments every week (usually towards the end of the week).

Hope everyone is well, and happy Monday.

-Christopher

P.S. His name is “Barlow”. All my machines are named after razor makers (Wade is my anvil, Wostenholm is my grinder).

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It’s Friday. A good time to share what’s new.

For the last 4 years, I’ve been working out of my home workshop, and it has been a wonderful experience. As my designs developed and became more complex, I’ve found that I needed to grow with tools and processes. Space in my workshop did not grow with the addition of those tools.

I’m proud to share that over 2 weeks or so, I’ve been moving my workshop in addition to working on blades.

My new location is a much larger work space that allows me to bring all my crafting into the same space (forging, handles, adornment, honing, leather work, etc).

This has been one of the biggest boosts to my productivity, and many of the new projects on the horizon are becoming a reality, while existing work is getting done much, much faster (with noticeable improvements in quality and joy in the crafting).

Before long, I hope to add a very humble showroom, and for the first time ever, invite guests to get their blade in person. I have blades to make, but when I feel responsibly caught up, I’ll be making these improvements and announcing.

My new workshop is in an industrial area, and I do believe I’m the only blacksmith among all the automotive craftsmen…. makes for good neighborly coffee chat.

Looking forward to sending out more fine steel, and hope you have a great weekend.

-Christopher

Vintage Pressed Horn Straight Razor

The Efreet

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5/8

Really wanted to make a sleek everyday shaver that is looked a bit like glowing brimstone, dark, menacing, and when all done, I added the crown and called it the Efreet. Really enjoy the look of a grizzled, fiery profile, my Yūrei-zu finish, and a set of black scales with green g10 wedge.

The blade is 5/8″+ wide, gliding through the toughest of beards with agile and smooth shaving. It has a slight smile and keen bevel. The forge finished shank is black with markings from my hammer and anvil. To me, this trademark of my custom work shows all the craft involved in making this piece from start to finish, anvil to sharpening stone.

The forgework and unique jimping (notches at shank) also makes this piece an absolute joy to shave with and hold in the hand.

 

Only One Made, Buy it Here
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