Date: February25, and 26, 2023
Time: 10 am to 2 pm
Course Duration: 2 day class
Cost: $250 + HST
The origins of the Railroad Spike Knife are not well documented, but it’s easy to imagine them being fashioned by the countless number of American Nomads who walked and rode the rails during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Today, the Railroad Spike Knife is a popular forging project amongst both beginner and seasoned blacksmiths/bladesmiths, resulting in the rich variety of shapes, sizes, and ornamentation found in these knives today!
Forging a useful spike knife begins with selecting the right type of spike. Not all spikes are created equal and the best spike knives are made from rail spikes used to secure tracks at bends and crossings. These spikes are identified by the letters ‘HC’ embossed into the head of the spike, denoting their higher carbon content which allows for the finished blade to be hardened for better edge retention and tempered to reduce brittleness associated with hardening.
In this exciting, hands-on workshop, you will forge a Railroad Spike Knife using basic blacksmith tools and techniques to draw, upset and twist the spike into the desired shape of your knife! Considerable time will be spent hand-filing the bevels and plunge lines of your creation using hand files and a filing jig. You will use the heat of the forge to harden and temper the blade of your knife, after which you will complete your project by stropping and honing its edge. You will leave the workshop with a finished knife, completely hand-forged by you!
Please note: Workshop participants must be 16 years of age or older. Those under 18 years of age must have parental consent / a signed waiver.
Meet the Instructor
John Walker, Blacksmith
Metalworking, forging, and casting have been long-time passions of John’s since, as a hobbyist, he first started making knives in a small urban backyard shop some twenty-seven years ago. His first anvil was the head of a ten-pound sledgehammer on which he learned to move and shape hot iron.
Today, John owns and operates Fallen Willow Forge, located on his property in East Gwillimbury where, along with providing ironwork for a log home he built, he does commission forging work and provides blacksmith workshops.
John also operates a mobile version of his forge which is used to provide blacksmith demonstrations at fairs and festivals. He is a regular demonstrator at the Kingston Annual Sheepdog Trials and Festival as well as the Very Victorian Outdoor Christmas Market held in Stratford, Ontario. John is a member in good standing of the Ontario Artist Blacksmith Association.Location:
621 Timothy Street,