For the 2015 Bladesmithing challenge, students from the University of Florida formed a team and partnered with former UF faculty member and bladesmith, Stephen Bloom, to create a blade. He invited us to his forge to teach the team the history and processes that go into forging a blade, walking through each step starting with choosing materials through the formation and shaping of the wooden handle, giving a very hands-on experience.
In the spirit of the competition and historical accuracy, we chose to create a curve-backed blade, a knife that’s popular for hunting or skinning. Modern Damascus steels are more accurately referred to as pattern-welded steels. Today’s alloys prevent the need to layer and weld different steels to achieve the desired mechanical properties. However, bladesmiths still utilize these techniques for their visual appeal. The excellent demonstrations and guidance allowed the team to independently forge the blade from start to finish.