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Metal and Wood

Doug Sanders

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Following up on Jim Kelso's latest piece he has shared with us- a beautiful moth of various metals gently resting on a stone made of wood, I started thinking about the combination of these two materials- metal and wood- in one piece.


Of course, knives exemplify this best, so what thoughts go through a knifemakers head when deciding on handle material, especially if wood is chosen?


I want people to get all philosophical here :lol: . Metal can be the yang to wood's yin- or the opposite even. Metal comes from the bowels of the earth, wood is the outpouring of the earth's richness. Wood feels warm to the touch ; metal cool.


On a more practical level, the shininess of metal seems -at first glance-inappropriate in combination with wood, but the two work beautifully together. It's a tricky balance...

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Guest DFogg

Steel has a limited range of color options especially in polished blade form. It can have visually stimulating aspects, but the power comes from the form. Working laminated steel patterns or the crystal patterns in the hamon the blade can become busy.




If the blade is busy, then I wouldn't want a fancy grain such as a figured or burled wood. I would choose for color and how it blended with the color of the fittings. Carving can enhance the flow of the piece. I like ebony and bloodwood and use them a lot.

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Guest ford hallam

Beautiful piece of steel artistry, Don.


It always seems a shame to me that the very tradition bound contemporary smiths in Japan can`t seem to go to the places you do in your handling of the medium. I had a look at some of the other pieces on your site too, meant to comment then but did`nt want to gush too much. :P


Doug, I reckon the choice of materials used in making is similar to selecting ingredients for cooking, they must compliment or be in contrast. One of my favourites is, predictably the Japanese sword. Consider an immaculately polished gleaming icy blade, that etherial mist gently carressing the taut curved edge, the body of the blade running powerfully down towards the bare tang, an ancient gnarled root, as though painted by Rembrant. And this juxtaposition seperated by a softly glowing pure butter gold collar. Oh, `ve come over all flushed! :D

And don`t get me started on the rest. Porn for metalworkers! :lol::)


Ford, (off to have a cold shower.)

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it just happens!!!!!

if i try it stops the flow

if i relax

the knife will tell me what it wants

some call it the muse

i get a mental flash of what i have

i build on it

and the next flash is the next step

the knife kinda tells me how it will look good


or use prints

as a matter of fact i,m really weak

when i have to transfer from side to side


part of the real fun of knife makeing is leting it grow

on the anvil and on the bench


i,m not haveing to take a stick and beat the collectors off

but the things ive made this way(and its been a pointed effort)

really really please me

for the past few years ive tried

to divorce my old stock removal self from my new forge to shape


i call what i,m doing now hillbilly baroque(broke);)

organic not polished

etched or textured and carved \


baroque opossum

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Guest ford hallam
Who really knows why we make the aesthetic decisions we do?


Doug, ultimately it`s all down to biology and/or sex. ;)


ford B)

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Hey Larry-

Gary Snyder's got nothing on you! Thanks for the prose....

Who really knows why we make the aesthetic decisions we do? ;) Intuition I guess B)


i didnt mean to prose on u

boy u cought me cold!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i didnt mean to prose on u

i cant help my self!!!!

my daddy raised me on the bible, erskin caldwell,and lenny bruce

i got duped by ginsberg and e.e.cummings early

i think there,s a deep place where the bladesmith and the poet warrier all exist as one

or at least they do in my head lol

and now when i write

i write what i think as i thought

which ant common syntaxxxxx

kinda like if jed clampet had a car wreck w/ ginsberg or cummings

u would have jed ginsberg

or e.e. clampet


word possum

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