Nick Turner is a metal artist based in Canterbury.

Using the skills acquired since serving my apprenticeship 30 years ago with Mace Engineering, I create knives that will be passed from one generation to the next. Each knife is carefully crafted by hand – no two pieces are identical.

Understanding the tasks expected of the knife is the first step to every design. Steel is selected to ensure that it will have the correct balance of edge holding and toughness. Handles are shaped to fit the hand.

The key to making a great knife is careful choice of materials and controlling processes throughout the build. I use new steel for blades, heat treat using a state-of-the-art kiln, and verify hardness on each blade with a hardness tester.

Damascus steel knives

All of the Damascus used in my knives is made by me. It starts as sheets of 1084 and 15N20 which are stacked and forge welded together to form solid steel bar. It is then given its unique patterns by bending, twisting, and cutting these layers.

Once the knife is shaped from this steel it is etched to reveal the pattern that is highlighted by the different elements in the steel. This pattern is why Damascus steel is also referred to as pattern-welded.

Large seax blade close up, Oct 2019
Damascus blade close up, showing layers of steel revealed by etching.

Carbon steel knives

My carbon steel knives are made from a steel called K150 – a German tool steel that is now out of production. My supply is what is often referred to as new old stock – it is new steel that has sat in a warehouse. It is very similar to ANSI 52100 which is a steel well known in the knife industry as a great all-rounder it is tougher and more wear resistant than the Damascus.

Blade Care

Both carbon steel and Damascus steel knives require some care they are not stainless and will rust if left wet. They require cleaning and drying after use. Over time they will patina and develop a grey hue.