The Birth of Artemis – Hand crafted custom knives by Jay Fisher

Artemis - a Custom Chef's (Butcher Pattern) Knife by Jay FisherArt exists in on canvass, in sculpture, and we’ve obviously established that it comes in the form of furniture. It comes on parchment; you know that if you’ve been paying attention to our blogging and newsletters! Our question is: How many of you would figure that art comes in the form of a blade?

The full story of this amazing custom hand crafted knife, known as “Artemis,” by Jay Fisher – Named “The Best Living Knife Maker” in the 2007 Best of the West Sourcebook by True West Publications – exists in a two part article: Part I of the story is featured in Artisans Quarterly Review Vol. 2 Issue 2, Part II will be released in Issue 3 this August.

“Many fine knifemakers exist in the world. Some Excel at making weapons, others at creating art. At his Enchanted Spirits Studio in Clovis, New Mexico, Jay Fisher does both. In the blade business since 1988, Fisher makes knives, many featuring gemstone handles, for collectors, museums and people who really know how to use ’em (101st Airborne, Special Forces, USAF Pararescue).”  –from the 2007 Best of the West magazine

Those of us that put our blood, sweat, tears alongside a mix of creativity, passion, and often obsession into what we produce tend to gravitate towards others with the same tendencies. We understand each other, and we have a true appreciation for what goes into creating a unique object, painting, sculpture, or … come to think of it even a Novel.

(Interlude … Novel … Yeah we’ve done that too … Stanley D. Saperstein’s “Sharpshooters” is the offspring of several years of writing, research, editing, more editing, and oh did we mention more editing? – Dr. David Martin of Longstreet House Publishing is responsible for the editing, and nearly his own strangulation by Eric when he announced the book would be manually “Type-Set” after all the iterations Eric went through in digital formats. Don’t fear though, Dave is alive and well and now appreciates the benefits technology and camera ready printers have to offer!)

Anyway – here’s the point: Knife making is one of the dirtiest, most difficult, tedious, and in many steps dangerous trades. On a daily basis the exposure to silicates, high temperatures, extreme noise levels, abrasives, presses, and a host of other dangers (can you say sharp objects?) takes its toll on the body of the artist. Your day as a knifemaker is spent in breathing apparatus, head phones, welding masks, and other protective gear. You’re often vibrating and wet … not so much fun.

Part of being a Master in the trades of woodworking is learning to make carving tools. This follows many of the same steps as knifemaking. I’ve tried my hand at a forge, pumped bellows and hand cranked blowers standing beside a coal forge. (At some point I’ll publish stories from growing up on a living history farm.) I’ve run many of the machines involved in knife making, both modern and historic. I’ve had metal shavings in my eye, burned myself on glowing metal, and ground my thumb on a wheel. I’ve even had a buffer snatch a piece from my hands and fling it at me; obviously I lived to tell about it. All this has taught me that I don’t know my ass from a hole in the wall compared to what a master knifemaker understands about metalergy & stone and how to work it; it also gave me a true appreciation for what it takes to craft a knife like Artemis.

When you meet a knife maker at a show, you see the person; you look over their display in most casing having no true conception of what this artist put into his or her work. When you are ready to read and learn about the life of a knife maker, visit to Jay’s website site, www.jayfisher.com. Plan to spend the time you would put into reading a novel. Oh, BTW, just as a head’s up; once you’re finished reading over a hundred pages of detailed information about his art, his life, and his business, you’ll have discovered Jay is likewise an author; pending publication in about a year you’ll have time to finish reading through his website before it’s time to buy a copy!

(http://www.jayfisher.com/Table_of_Contents.htm … this will give you some perspective on the depth of Jay’s website.) To the untrained eye some of his content may seem sarcastic or even arrogant, this is strategic in nature as it filters out the individual that is … I’ll state it bluntly … unworthy of the efforts that Jay will put into a commission. These are my words, my interpretation. Visit his site and read with the perspective of someone who is looking for the best man for the job and you’ll find that his words quickly morph into earned confidence and a sincere pride in his work. If you still don’t get it … well … walk away.

The following is an extract from Jay’s website; we look forward to releasing more details of this project in our next newsletter. If you’re interested in reading Part II of “The Birth of Artemis” please to our newsletter by clicking here:  Artisans Quarterly Review – Newsletter Subscription.

The following text and images in this blog entry are republished from: http://www.jayfisher.com/artemisredriverjasper ; and are the property of Jay Fisher & The Enchanged Spirits Studio. All rights reserved. Check back soon we’ll have some in use photos and cooking projects published shortly!

“Artemis” Fine Hunting Butcher’s Knife

  • Size: Knife: Length overall: 16.75″ (42.5 cm), Blade Length: 11.75″ (29.8 cm), Thickness: .170″ (4.3 mm)
  • Weight: Knife: 1 lb. 6 oz. (624 gm.) Sheath: 1 lb. 5 oz. (595 gm.)
  • Blade: CPMS30V High Vanadium Powder Technology Stainless Steel, Hardened and Tempered to Rockwell C59
  • Bolsters, Fittings: 304 Austenitic Stainless Steel
  • Handle: Red River Jasper Gemstone (India)
  • Sheath: Burgundy Ostrich Leg Skin inlaid in hand-carved Leather, Suede tension bindings, Copper, Brass
  • Knife:  Named for the Greek goddess of the hunt and wilderness, Artemis is a stunning knife. Custom designed with my client for butchering large game at the hunt, the blade design is the venerated historic Hamburg pattern from Germany, with a long straight cutting edge and a narrowing belly with a strong dropped point. The steel he chose is CPMS30V high vanadium crucible particle metallurgy stainless tool and die steel for tremendous wear resistance and high corrosion resistance. I hollow ground it extremely thin at the cutting edge for a superb slicing geometry and razor keen action. The steel is hardened and tempered to a hard, tough 59HRC, and has a useful satin finish for easy cleaning. The blade has a fully tapered tang for good weight control, but there is no denying that this is a large knife. The client wanted a nice vine filework on the spine only for increased tactile grip, and none on the handle for easy cleaning. The balance point is just behind my maker’s mark. For improved control when necked up in close cutting chores, I extended the front bolster about three inches, which gives a great place to grip in chopping or dicing. The sculpted and polished bolsters are all 304 austenitic high chromium, high nickel stainless steel, mirror finished for zero care with the high toughness and extreme corrosion resistance. Three sets of bolsters mount on the nicely contoured handle of the knife, with the central pair at the mid-quillon for durability. The rear bolster has a 5/16″ through-tang lanyard hole for security and hanging. The handle is tight, bedded, and sealed, smooth and polished, with dovetailed bolsters and brightly polished Red River Jasper gemstone from India. This jasper is one of the toughest and hardest I use, with bits of hematite inclusions and fine veins. It’s solid and comfortable and the color is strikingly natural red.
  • Sheath: You can bet this special knife would have a stunning sheath, so I created this unique art in leather and skin. The sheath body is 9-10 oz. leather shoulder, tough and durable, hand-carved with inlay areas to set the burgundy Ostrich Leg skin. I used broad, bold pieces of the skin, designed to accentuate the large scale pattern nicely. The sheath profile and belt loop shape echo a hunting bow form. The massive belt loop and edge welt are stitched with tough black nylon in a zigzag pattern for great strength and to match the tension bindings on the sheath. The bindings are red suede leather, mounted to hint at Artemis’ bow strings, accented with hand-formed copper rings. The sheath has a brass snap at the flap, which secures and completely covers the knife handle for protection. The sheath is dyed, lacquered, and sealed. I knew the owner would want to keep the sheath pristine, so I made and included a custom matching embroidered and double-stitched cotton-poly blend storage bag for the convenient carry.

Artemis will have many great adventures and turn many heads, custom made for a great client and fellow artist.

Thanks, E. S.!

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