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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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June 16, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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June 16, 2010
 

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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, June 16, 2010 1B Knife Type: Coffin handled dagger Steel: 88 layers of 1084 and 15N20 Damascus Handle: Frame style with Celtic Finally, the knife nice shine. When the layered Dhabi and a fighter knife to an knot file work and ebony scales was placed in a vice and pres- billet of steel is folded, fiat- alligator hunter. Other knives Photo submitted sure was applied to the blade tened, twisted and otherwise in new homes will never leave \ to bend it at a 90-degree angle mampulated many, many their display cases. without the blade breaking, times, intricate patternsQuesenberry is having a Diana Jorgenson mess things up," he laughed. This last test puts the blade- (resembling etchings) areball. He obviously loves Portola Editor When he was at that eye- smith's heat-treating skills to embedded in the steel. Only what he does. He has come djorgenson@plumasnews.comopening knife show in RenD, the fore, requiring the knife- when the pattern satisfies the a long way in only five he also made the decision maker to differentially heat knifemaker is it ready toyears and not the least of Five years ago, Michael that he wanted to be affiliated treat the edge to keep it really then become a knife, these accomplishments is Quesenberry saw a man with American Bladesmith sharp and retain softness in Quesenberry mentors have outfitting his Plumas make a knife. He was in- Society and to satisfy their the spine -- the concept of told him that his Damascus Pines shop with trigued enough to ask Portola criteria So he became an ap- the Samurai blades. If the work is master level already quality tools and ma- knifemaker Roy Holt to show prentice for three years until entire blade is rock hard, the and technically, he is eligible chinery. Quality knife- him some tips. he was eligible to take their knifemaker has a potentially to apply for that rating next making requires in- Then, he went to a knife journeyman's test. brittle blade, year. But Quesenberry feels dustrial-strength, pre- show put on by the American The Bladesmith's rating for The second part of the test he has come very far verycision tools -- many Bladesmith Society in RenD. journeyman was a two-part is based on detail: symmetry, quickly and is content to wait of which were refur- "I was blown away. I was test before a panel of judges, fit, finish. A panel of seven another year. bished and rebuilt by overwhelmed by the quality The first part tested knife judges examines five of the Right now he makes Quesenberry. and the detail that these peo- performance. Knifemakers maker's best knifes and votes collector grade knives and He admits to lik. ple had put into their knives, had to bring the blade sharp- yea or nay. user knives and is only ing to save money Then and there, I decidedened, for there would be no Quesenberry went to barely keeping up with his when it comes to what I wanted to do. I wanted more opportunities to sharp- Atlanta and successfully orders. He makes culinaryequipment, but he to make knives like that," en it and they were well ad- competed for his journeyman knives, hunting knives, is also aware that Quesenberry said. vised not to invest much in rating last year. The final fighters, Bowies, daggers and " machinery geared He found knifemakers to be the handle for the knife level is that of master smith, is learning to make folding for Such a specialty skill as very generous with their in- would be Journeymen must wait two knifes, his project for this knifemaking is hard to find. formation. Local knifemak- destroyed in the process, years before competing atyear. Being a knifemaker isnot ers in Rend and South Lake First, the applicant had to this level and the tests are He would also like to build just making blades. Quesen- Tahoe introduced him to cut a freehanging, one-inch the same, but this time, in- up some inventory so he berry uses a lot of exotic their contacts, sisal rope in an area marked stead of straight carbon steel could attend a knife show in materials in his work: "Through them, I have off near the bottom. He had blades, they make the blades Boise next November, but pre-ban ivory, mammoth learned from some of the best one swipe'to make the cut.out of Damascus steel, each knife that he begins, tusk, desert ironwood, cherry knifemakers in the world," Then, the apprentice had to Knifemakers make their ends up selling before its wood, ebony, African black- he said. hack through a Douglas firown Damascus steel by forge- completion. Hard to complain wood, burls, leather... He read books; he watched2x4. welding two types of steel in about that. DVDs; he took classes Then, do it again, alternating layers: a high car- His customers come from "A lot of it is trial andAfter that, the blade was bon steel and a carbon and all over the United States and error You'd be amazed atstill expected to shave hair nickel alloy steel. One is dull the world. He recently sold a what you learn when you off skin. in color and the other takes a dagger to the prince of Abu This Quesenberry knife Is called a Forged Integral Hunter of 52100 carbon steel. The handle is nnade of Sambar Stag and it has a Thumb patch and a Sheffield clip. Photo submitted Knives sometimes require holders, like culinary knives or hold- ers the knife owner can wear. Each accessory requires that Quesenberry learn new skills. He hopes to learn engraving--- well, soon, right after folding knives. Each knife is, in itself, a new adventure. Quesen- berry's custom work requires consultation with the cus- tomer and several drawings before any work begins on the actual knife. Quesenberry knives don't stay on the premises for long, so the best way to get a glimpse of his knives is his website: quesenberryknives.com. The old-fashioned anvil in the forefront gets plenty of use in the painstaking work of a bladesmith. Making a quality knife can take anywhere from 15 hours to a full week. Immediately behind, Quesenberry uses a 55-pound striker power hammer to meld a Damascus steel billet. Michael Quesenberry made this dagger for the prince of Abu Dhabi using Devin Thomas stainless steel Damascus in a ladder pattern. The handle is pre-ban elephant ivory with stainless steel bolsters. Photo submitted Photos by Diana Jorgenson Michael Quesenberry's compact forge has to provide the correct atmosphere critical to forge welding. If the environment is too rich in oxygen? "Your stuff just falls apart and makes a big, o1' mess. You just wasted propane, you wasted steel, you wasted your day. Ask me how I know?" joked Quesenberry. Here, Damascus steel "soaks" in the forge. i:ii!i: Michael Quesenberry shows off the knife that made him a Journeyman Bladesmith with the American Bladesmith Society. The knife had to bend at a 90-degree angle without breaking, which it did, and it still had enough spring to partially unbend. r.