About Willslock Forge

Willslock Forge is a small bladesmithing forge based in Staffordshire, England. I focus on making traditional, durable and beautiful tools using locally sourced and upcyled materials. Given the deep history of the local area, I try to incorporate Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Celtic designs into my work. Many of my knives are inspired by or based on archaelogical finds from around the British Isles and other places in Europe.

All of my knives are hand-forged using traditional bladesmithing techniques. I prefer to use carbon steels such as 1095, O1, 1084, 15N20 and EN42 as they are able to be effectively heat-treated using traditional methods. For the historically inspired blades I use the same techniques that were used thousands of years ago to fire weld carbon-steel and antique wrought iron together in order to create laminated knives with tough & flexible iron spines but hardened steel cutting edges. When I am lucky enough to find some, I also use antique historical steels such as old crucible steel or pre-industrial bloomery steel.

I forge as close to finish as possible, creating the knife profile and setting the bevels on the anvil. My aim is to make my knives with minimal use of power tools, and I take a lot of inspiration from historical knives and smithing techniques. After the initial forging, I use hand files to shape the bevels. Once the blade is about 90% sharpened, it goes back into the forge for the heat treatment, where it is hardened and tempered to give the steel maximum strength and durability. I often use a diferential temper on my monosteel blades, leaving the cutting edge harder but the spine softer. The blades are then cleaned, given their final sharpen using whetstones, hand sanded and polished up.

The handles are all carved by hand and made from locally sourced wood, bone and antler - I avoid using any plastics, resins or synthetic materials. Wherever I can, I try to repurpose salvaged and upcycled materials in order to create beautiful new knives and tools. I usually leave a brut de forge, or forge finish, on most of my blades because I like that the hammer marks tell the story of the knife's creation on the anvil, and the forge finish differentiates the knife from all the mass-produced, factory made knives out there.