Ep #113 – David Lisch “The Pilot for Forged in Fire Story”

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 Fire experience.

  

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 posting.
  • 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 space.
  • 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 his tongue.
  • 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 blade!
  • 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 certification.
  • 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 techniques.
  • 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.

Guest Links

A Big Thank You to today’s sponsor – CBA Spring Conference, www.calsmith.org

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