Last year on Twitter I stumbled across Blenheim Forge, a company producing hand-forged knives in a railway arch underneath Peckham Rye station and a short walk from our flat.
I noticed a couple of handles were inlaid with sheep horn and we got chatting as I was sure my Dad would have some sheep horns from his flock laying around somewhere. Fast forward six months or so, and on Saturday me and Mr K finally dropped by the forge to delivery a couple of Hebridean ram horns along with a single deer antler.
Whilst they may look slightly gruesome, the horns are a natural by-product leftover from sheep-farming – Dad will send good ones to shepherds crook makers and carvers, but there are only so many horns a crook carver can carve! Next time I visit Dad I will get a few pictures of the collection of crooks he has and share a few stories with you, as it’s a really interesting and niche craft that not many people outside the shepherding, farming and country pursuits circle, will know about.
The guys at the forge were so excited and we can’t wait to see what they do with the materials. We had a look at a few of the knives in progress, some containing 220 layers of forged steel, lovingly crafted into strong, fine blades secured in smooth wooden handles and stunningly beautiful. It’s always fascinating for crafters to see fellow crafters at work as we have some understanding of the work that goes into the products our artisan hands create. I’ll keep you posted with any updates we receive about how the horns and antler are used.
You can see the work of James, Jon and Richard, and browse the knives for sale over on the Blenheim Forge website and keep up to date with their work in progress on Instagram and Twitter. The forge will also be open along with other members of The Arches Studios as part of the Dulwich Festival on the 9th, 10th, 16th and 17th May from 11am-6pm, with a late night on Friday 15th May from 6pm-9pm.
There is a lovely interview and a bit of background about the Blenheim Forge guys over on the Kitchen Cooperative blog.