If you have any questions that are not covered by our Frequently Asked Questions below, please email us and Owen will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
How do I commission a knife or sword
I am happy to accept commissions for knives or swords/axes. Please email me and I will let you know if your project idea is the kind of thing I make. I take a 50% deposit upon accepting a commission, the remaining 50% and postage is payable upon completion. Please have a look around my website before contacting me about a commission to see if my style of work is right for you and check that my prices are acceptable.
Do I have to be 18 to buy a knife.
Yes. We will only sell a knife to someone who is over 18 years of age. We verify age by using a professional age verification service that checks your age against the electoral role if this does not work then we may require identification or a quick face to face video call to confirm that you are indeed over 18 years of age.
How do I sharpen a carbon steel knife
Your knife will arrive to you sharp. I sharpen my kitchen knives with a convex edge, this is a sharp and very durable edge.
The best way to maintain the edge is by stropping the knife on a leather strop, this will keep the blade edge at its optimal sharpness.
Or use a butcher’s steel, this is a great way of keeping the blade at a good working sharpness. I would recommend a non-abrasive smooth steel as opposed to one of the ceramic or diamond ones. Keep your strokes gentle and do an even number of strokes on either side of the blade.
The easiest way I have found of sharpening your kitchen knives is with the Spyderco Triangle Sharpmaker. It’s a very easy to use sharpening system that will bring your blade back to a razor edge.
I have no connection with the Sharpmaker, however it’s what I use in the kitchen to keep my knives sharp. It’s simple and very effective and comes with a useful DVD. I am also happy to offer a sharpening and maintenance service for my knives POA.
I offer a guarantee against faulty manufacture for the lifetime of the knives. This does not cover abusive use of the knives or wear and tear. The handle materials on these knives are natural and as such, must be looked after. These knives will not respond well to being left soaking in a sink or (and it pains me to even think of it) put in a dishwasher. I would consider both of these actions as knife abuse. Use them, clean them, dry them and they will remain beautiful for years to come.
How do I care for a carbon steel knife
Your knife will arrive sharp, please take care when using it!
High carbon steel makes for a great kitchen knife and will sharpen to a wonderfully keen edge, which keeps well.
There are a few things that you should do to care for your knife to assure that you have a long and wonderful relationship together.
Firstly, your knife will come lightly oiled, wipe the oil off the blade with a kitchen cloth before use.
After you have used your knife in the kitchen wash it in warm water and washing up liquid with a cloth or dish washing brush and dry it immediately. (If you leave a carbon steel knife wet it will rust)
Do not soak the knife in the sink as the natural handle materials will not appreciate it.
Your carbon steel knife will patina with use i.e. it will gain a thin coat of black magnetite (black iron oxide). This is quite normal and the layer of patina will protect the blade. I personally love the changing patina on the blade, it warmly reminds me of the timeless old sharp kitchen knives I admired so much as a child.
However if you want to clean the patina from the blade please use the Micromesh provided with the knife. Micromesh is a very fine abrasive cloth and if used wet while washing up will bring your blade back to a shine without damaging the blade or Damascus pattern. The Micromesh can be used again and again, just let it dry when you have finished using. If you wish you can give the knife a wipe over with vegetable oil to refresh the handle and coat the blade.
Be careful cleaning your knife blade as your knife is sharp!
Washing and then immediately drying your carbon steel knife is the one small duty of care that is required to keep your knife in tiptop condition.
NEVER PUT YOUR KNIFE IN THE DISHWASHER, these knives are made from carbon steel and the handles are wood, bone and horn. Washing your knife in a dishwasher will trash your knife.
How strenuous are the activities, do you need to be strong to forge?
forging is a physical activity so you must has a reasonable average level of fitness and be able to stand whilst working for a whole day. I am always happy to help out if any students find the forging strenuous and I have lots of power tools to speed the processes up!
Do I need any prior experience?
no prior experience is needed for any of my classes . I am happy to take newbies through to experienced professional smiths alike and am experienced in making sure that students of any level get the most out of the classes I run.
Is there any local accommodation?
Yes have a look at our accommodation list
What hours do the classes run?
Classes normally run 9 am (arrive from 8.45) and should finish at 5pm. We have a short coffee break in the morning and lunch around 1pm.
Is lunch provided?
Lunch is not provided during the courses at bushfire forge. we normally have a lunch break of between 40 minutes and 1 hour. you are welcome to bring your own packed lunch to the class or there are shops and a fish and chips shop around a 6 or 7 minute walk from the forge. I provide tea , coffee and biscuits for students during the course.
What clothes should I wear?
Safety equipment is provided for all the classes but please ensure that you have non-flammable clothing and sturdy shoes (preferably leather). No shell suits, fleeces or synthetic materials please (cotton and wool are perfect).
Do I need to bring any equipment?
No, all tools and safety equipment is provided . if you have your own PPE or a favourite hammer feel free to bring it.
Do I need to bring any equipment?
No, all tools and safety equipment is provided. If you have your own PPE or a favourite hammer feel free to bring it.
Will I be making my own knife?
Yes each student makes a knife/ axe / sword that is there’s to keep at the end of the class
Do I get to keep what I have made?
Yes, you will be making your own knife / axe /sword which is yours to keep at the end of the class.
Location, getting to the forge
Bushfire forge is located at East Wickham Farm, Wickham St , Welling . DA16 3DA.
The forge is a 10 minute walk from Welling station which is 35 minutes out from Charrring Cross station in central London.
google maps put the post code DA163DA in and Owen bush is marked as a location on google maps. (link?)
By car the best location to put in your sat nav is 25 Wickham St , East Wickham Farm is opposite no 25 Wickham St.
The closest airports to bushfireforge are London city airport gatwick airport Heathrow airport and stanstead airport.we are around a hour and a half from Heathrow airport by car /taxi or public transport . We are around a 50 minute drive from Gatwick or 1 1/2 by public transport. we are around a half hour drive from London city airport or 40Minutes by public transport. we are around a hours drive from stanstead airport or 1 hour and forty minutes from Stanstead Airport.
Are there any age restrictions?
The minimum age to attend a class on your own is 18. I am happy to take students from the age of 14 as long as they are accompanied by a parent who is also enrolled on the class .
What is the difference between the 3 day bladesmithing class and the 3 day kitchen knife class?
The 3 day kitchen knife class is a specialist class aimed at making a specific kind of knife and we work on making a kitchen knife including a handle over 3 days students should also have a small paring knife blade finished i can supply handles for it to take home. the 3 day bladesmithing class has a little more scope as we are spending 3 days working on just blades . in the past students have made blades as varied as KUKRy , bushcraft knives bowie knives seax and kitchen knives, we do not make handles on this class but I do run a separate 2 day handle making class to finish up more complex knives than are made on the kitchen knife class.