Jan 15, 2018
This week I’ve got David Lisch, he’s a blacksmith turned
award-winning Master Smith knife maker, from Yelm,
Washington. A respected innovator of unique guard designs and
Damascus steel that can be seen in his beautiful knives. David has
run a successful blacksmith business for 25 years in Seattle and
now teaches at his school, Oak Grove Forging Facility in Yelm WA.
He achieved a Master Smith rating from the American Bladesmith
Society (ABS)in 2015 and is the 6th Master Smith in the state of
Washington. Now you’ll have to listen all the way to the end of the
interview, because after I wrapped it up with Dave and we said our
good bye’s I always turn off the recorder and follow up with the
guest to see how they thought it went. In this instance, I
ended up asking Dave about the Forged in Fire comment he mentioned,
so I turned the recorder back on and you could hear his Forged in
What We Talked About
- David now fills most of his time making high-end award-winning
knives and teaching classes which fill up in 1 to 2 days after
- He used to have a shop and school in Seattle for 15 years where
he textured metal for Nordstrom’s and other companies.
- When marijuana became legal in Washington state, the warehouse
spaces quickly became grow houses and in turn, the rents were
raised and warehouses for rent were hard to find.
- The increase in David’s rent from $2500 to $3200 eventually
made him move out and buy a property that had both a house and shop
- These days David is incorporating his sculptural side of
blacksmithing to his blades. He recently sold a frog (for $10k)
with a dagger coming out of his throat and a Damascus dragonfly on
- David was introduced to Damascus at one of his friend’s shops,
where a few blacksmiths got together and made some damascus. Then
at one of the NWBA (North West Blacksmith Association) annual
conferences, he traded a hammer he made for some Damascus making
stock. He started making Damascus before he ever made a
- His first knife making class was from Bob Kramer in 2006.
- After joining the American Bladesmith Society he became an
apprentice bladesmith, then passed his journeyman smith
certification, then 5 years later passed his master smith
- In his shop, he has 330lb Wolf Air hammer, 165 lb Wolf air
hammer, 3 hydraulic presses, 10 grinders and 10 anvils.
- He has been a member of the NWBA for over 20 years and he and
his wife have served on the board for 4 years.
- David will be demonstrating at the upcoming CBA Spring
Conference and he will demo knife making for beginners (staghorn
small knife with a 4 in blade) and have separate demonstrations for
intermediate and expert knife makers. Including pinning on a wood
handle for a kitchen knife, shaping guards and finishing
- He makes all of his own gas forges, they are 1 burner venture
forges made from cut up oxygen tanks, 11 inches long. He says it’s
very important to coat the Kaowool inside your forge with a
refractory castable cement. He uses Mizzou castable in his forges,
you can find it online.
A Big Thank You to today’s sponsor – CBA Spring
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