RIS­ING TAL­ENT

DUNNOTTAR FORGE MAKES SE­RI­OUS STRIDES IN IM­PRES­SIVE TIME

Knives Illustrated - - News - STORY BY JOSHUA SWANAGON, PHO­TOS BY JACK KEITH

Afriend re­cently con­tacted me and said, “Hey you need to check out a friend of mine, Jack Keith at Dunnottar Forge.” Well, when I hear some­thing like that, my in­ter­est def­i­nitely gets piqued. Af­ter fol­low­ing the sug­ges­tion to check out Dunnottar Forge, I found my­self in awe of his mas­ter­ful work and was sur­prised he hadn’t come up on my radar be­fore. The more I dug, the more I re­al­ized he had only been at this for two years. I am com­pletely stunned at the level of qual­ity he has been able to achieve in two short years. I can only imag­ine what he will be do­ing in an­other five years. This is def­i­nitely one knife­maker to watch.

01 The Gift That Keeps on Giv­ing

Back in 2015, Jack Keith de­cided that his fa­ther-in-law needed a good re­tire­ment gift. Since Jack does most of his hunt­ing on his fa­ther-in-law’s prop­erty, he fig­ured that a hand­made knife would be the per­fect thing. So, us­ing his Har­bor Freight 1 x 30 grinder and a few files, he started his bucket of shame. Un­de­terred, he did fi­nally get the knife made, but a sub­stan­tial amount of time had passed. But that’s ok—it was enough to fuel his pas­sion for knife­mak­ing, and now we all ben­e­fit.

02 The Chal­lenges

Al­though equip­ment and time are high on the list of chal­lenges, with con­stant up­grades to be more ef­fi­cient, Jack finds his big­gest chal­lenge in the time away from fam­ily. Hav­ing a full-time ca­reer out­side of knife­mak­ing means that Jack is up late nights and week­ends cre­at­ing his mas­ter­pieces. But the true sac­ri­fice comes in miss­ing his 7-year-old daugh­ter’s gym­nas­tic events. His fam­ily is be­hind him, how­ever, know­ing that his pas­sion could be­come a life-changer.

03 Do What Moves You

Be­cause he feels that too many knives are bought only to live in a safe, he prefers to make tools that will be used daily, such as cut­lery and camp knives.

04 Mas­ter­mind on the Belt

Al­though Jack can forge, he is limited by the abil­i­ties of his lo­ca­tion and opts to work mostly with stock re­moval.

05 Ma­te­rial Pref­er­ence

Jack prefers to work with Da­mas­teel the most, but also works in CPM-154, D2 and 1095 or 1095-based Da­m­as­cus. To re­ally give his knives the high-qual­ity look he achieves, he prefers to use or­ganic ma­te­ri­als for his han­dle scales, such as nat­u­ral hard­woods, spalted and fig­ured/burl woods—do­ing much of his own sta­bi­liz­ing and cast­ing in house. For the fin­ish­ing touch, he likes to use ti­ta­nium pins.

06 A Lit­tle of Both

Jack prefers to make cus­tom knives, but you can find an 8-inch chef knife, a 6-inch San­toku and a small knife re­ferred to as the CHIB, if you would like some of his pro­duc­tion work.

07 Or­der­ing

Jack nor­mally takes 4 to 6 weeks to get an or­der out, which is re­ally quite amaz­ing—but ex­pect longer turn­around times around hol­i­days, es­pe­cially Christ­mas. At the time of this writ­ing, the books are open for 2017, so if you want some of his work, this would be the time. KI

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