Damascus Steel Knife Making by John Neeman

Damascus steel knife making by John Neeman image

I thought I’d bring another familiar face back into the fold today as we revisit the work of traditional craftsman John Needman and his “Birth of a Tool” film series, which documents one of his tools being lovingly put together by hand. Previously I’d brought across the first instalment of the project where many of us enjoyed seeing one of his beautiful axes being cast and hammered into shape, skipping the second film with it releasing so close to the first. Since then however I’ve been waiting in anticipation to see what would come next, and in the past week John has come through with the third and final addition of the series that highlights one of his trademark creations, the Damascus steel knife.

Creating from his workshop in the forests of Latvia, John now has a team of two others helping to design and make the ever-growing selection of handmade tools they have devised together. Each tool combines the age old techniques of both blacksmithing and woodworking, with a premise on creating a small number of quality objects that will stand the test of time. His tools are certainly unlike anything else I’ve come across in my time searching for handcrafted goods online, taking his work to the point of artistry in my opinion.

The film beneath is a rather candid and nostalgic presentation of the overall process, which matches the approach of the craft perfectly I felt. These tools are really for the individual that is passionate about making on a daily basis and is going to give each object the use and dedication they so deserve. These are items that you want to hand down over generations because they will age so well and gain further character over time. I’ve personally loved seeing John’s project develop and grow over the years and I can’t wait to see what is next in store in the coming months and years. If you work by hand yourself I’d recommend doing the same, In the meantime however press play and see what you think to his handiwork yourself in the video below. Enjoy!



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