My name is Branch Shepherd, and I make knives and some metal jewelry. I hand forge and heat-treat all my blades. Working the steel on an anvil does not always make a better blade than grinding one out of a bar of steel.
However, forging does offer some consistent advantages...
Versatility: A ground knife is limited by the size of the original bar stock. Forging is more like sculpting with VERY hard clay, the shapes possible are only limited by the smith's imagination and skill.
Pattern welding: Different metals into one mass for better performance and beauty. This is an ancient practice from the times when steel was difficult to make, so it was forge welded to iron in layers to make it go further. After forging and finishing, the blade is etched in a light acid to bring out the contrast between the different metals.
One of a kind: The hand-forged knife is difficult to reproduce due to the nature of its creation. If you just want a fine cutting tool you are not going to buy a custom knife. The Benchmades, Gerbers, and Cases of the world make superb blades for the same, or less, money. What the bladesmith can do is adjust the materials, form, and appearance, to suit the buyer. He can fit the knife to its user and its intended purpose. This gives a personality or "life", if you will, to the blade that a production knife cannot equal. The bladesmith truly has the largest selection.
I also produce all of the leather sheaths and furniture for my knives, so that those are to order as well. If you are interested, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, put 'knife' in the subject line, and we shall see what can be done.
I also produce crosses made from copper wire and Horseshoe nails for $10. 1 dollar shipping one cross, 50 cents for each additional cross in the same order(USPS).
!!!NEW!!!--Knife sharpening service available. Kitchen Cutlery, hunting knives, pocket knives etc. around $3 per edge
!!!NEW!!!FOR SALE!!! Primitive Camp Knife, 5160 steel differentially tempered blade. No power tools used, finish is hand stoned. Convex edge, Very sharp. forged in finger rest at point of balance. $125.00
!!!NEW!!!Rustic Neck Knife, 1095 with forge marks left in, maple handle,mosaic pins. Comes with a leather neck pouch sheath. $50.00 for one just like it!!
!!!NEW!!! Pattern-welded letter openers!! Just $50.00,Initial etching available. many handle material options available.
!!!NEW!!!My new Oliver or Treadle Hammer, it sure saves the arm!!
!!!NEW!!!My Personal work knife. Blade: 1095 differentially tempered, convex ground wicked sharp. Handle: Quilted maple, Brass Guard, Aluminum Pommel due to extra long handle(I wear 3x-4x gloves). hand tooled leather sheath. $150 for similar knife
!!!NEW!!!Prototype interpretation of an Iron Age Folder, cira 600AD. Blade:1095 2.5" 3/32" thick convex grind, it will shave ink from news print. Handle scales: carved Maple. No power tools, primitive crafting. production photos to come.