There’s a lot of produce at the farmers market, but some of it would be hard to prepare without a knife. That’s where Wild Mountain Forge comes in.
The Mancos-based family business sharpens knives and sells hand-forged kitchen and bushcraft knives at their shop and at the market, said Bladesmith Dave Root.
The business has been in Mancos since about mid-April, he said. Previously, Root and his family lived in Santa Fe.
Root has been blacksmithing for 10 years and focusing on knives for little over a year, he said.
Unlike most Western blacksmiths, Root uses traditional Japanese bladesmithing techniques. His blades are a thee-layer laminate with a high-carbon core.
“I forge in solid-fuel forges, which means in charcoal, basically. It creates a carbon-rich environment when the steel is very hot when you’re forging it,” he said. “(The blade) will let off its carbon or absorb carbon if it’s in a carbon-rich environment. The carbon is ultimately what gives you the hardness in the steel.”
Root’s Japanese technique also differs from a Western one because he quenches his blades in water instead of oil and bevels the edges after the blade has hardened instead of while it is being forged. These both work to increase the strengthen and harden the blade, he said.