With these inspirations in mind, I drew up a concept for a skean, an Irish fighting knife native to the 15th and 16th centuries, in honor of Bridget (Mohan) and Ben (Flanagan)'s shared heritage. I included the materials Ben & Bridget had requested: oak (the sigil of the Flanagan family) and something native to New Hampshire (where Bridget grew up). These I answered with Irish bog oak, which spent most of its 1000 years as wood submerged in a peat bog being slowly but fully tanned black, and antler from a moose that lived and died in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
I also began to prepare a special steel. I started with alternating layers of 1095 and 15n20, and folded these roughly to 48 layers. Then I rotated the billet 90 degrees and folded again to 48 layers. This was after asking Owen Bush how he goes about making pattern-welded steel that is intended to imitate the ethereal and indecipherable patterns of wootz crucible steel. I really did not succeed in doing what he does, but continued to follow his directions to make something new to me: this billet folded in two planes was then "laddered", which means many grooves cut into each side for pattern disruption and then forged flat again.
The surface of the material is then smooth but the currents within it are roiling and turbulent, like ink dripped into a glass of clear water. Some semblance of this is visible in the fire-scale on the red-hot billet pictured above.
I ground a single-bevel pointy blade with a false edge on the portion of the back by the tip (which is just a beveled bit on the unbeveled side)
From there on, the blade was a challenging but ultimately triumphant series of issues. It warped drastically in hardening, but after tempering it, I was able to grind it back to straight and true. Then I carved and fitted the handle of bog-oak, moose antler, and copper. It was ready to be brought to final finish, etched to reveal the pattern, and assembled.