Wuertz 2020 Hammer In

Victor Creazzi

King of Bondo
I'm attending this March 14-15 2020 in Casa Grande, Arizona

I went last year and thought it was well worth it. $175 with a limit of 150 tickets. Last year there were more than 150 participants.
*the price is set to increase after 12/31/19

It is not what I think of as a 'hammer in' because there is next to zero 'hands on' for the participants. More of a teach in. The presentations are done very well with expert videographers getting close to the work and displaying on multiple screens in real time. Seeing what is going on at the grinders is as good as it would be if you could be the one person who could get close enough to have that vantage point, and you are still close so you can ask the presenters questions during the presentation. I was very impressed with how well this worked.
 
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Bruno

Administrator
Staff member
I think that format is great if you have a couple of people who know what they are doing, and many people wanting to learn how.
 

Victor Creazzi

King of Bondo
Sounds like a good learning environment. What subjects are expected to be covered?
Last year Vince did sword scabbards too. I was thinking that I have zero interest in sword scabbards, but I'm here and I may as well go listen for a while. Vince's woodworking skills and the many tools that he had made for his craft combined with his ability to talk while he worked made his presentation among the most interesting and entertaining of all of them.

There is a bit of show and tell, meeting others, and craft conversations, going on slightly remote to the presentations. I'd estimate that about 50% of the group attended each presentation. It's not like there is nothing to do if the presentation does not interest you. You can just wonder around and find interesting and productive conversations to either participate in, or just listen and learn.
 
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RezDog

Member
I looked through the Link, and it does sound very interesting. I’m a little surprised because you have not made knives and the focus appears to be all knives.
 

Victor Creazzi

King of Bondo
There is plenty of overlap in the crafts, especially if pattern welding techniques interest you. My razors were very well received last year.
 

RezDog

Member
You make very nice razors. Your pattern welded with uni-Steel edges are amazing. Also chilling with other skilled craftsman is always inspiring. I think it is an amazing opportunity for both you and them.
 
Reactions: 32t

Bruno

Administrator
Staff member
There is plenty of overlap in the crafts, especially if pattern welding techniques interest you. My razors were very well received last year.
I've noticed that razors are often received well.
I've been able to get steel from various expensive brand name smiths from time to time because noone sees what we do as competition. They would not easily give steel to people who make hunting knives because they do the same thing. But to many I am just that weird guy with his razors :)
 

Victor Creazzi

King of Bondo
The Hammer In was a great success with 120 participants. Seems like we just got under the wire with the virus. Whether it was a good decision to attend or not remains to be seen, but I'm glad I went. Might be the last gathering of this type for a while.

As things were getting worse in the news I was regretting spending cash on the way down thinking that if things really got bad cash would be a good thing to have. On the first day of the meet I sold a razor... Cash problem solved!

My wife was attending a conference near the Hammer In and after picking her up we toured the desert for several days and had a great trip home.
 
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Bruno

Administrator
Staff member
Did you attend any special demonstrations or things that were especially noteworthy?
 

Victor Creazzi

King of Bondo
This year, I got more out of talking to the other participants than the demos. I made a lot of connections with people who I may visit or who may visit me in the future. One guy comes though the Denver area frequently for work that is based 5 miles from me. Another couple have a friend 8 miles from me that they usually see every June.

I met a guy who makes wootz and tamahagane from iron sands that he mines himself in the AZ desert. I've got his card to see if you know of him, but it is presently in the bedroom where my wife is still sleeping. He had a wootz cake and and a few knives.

Talked to some people about stainless clad San Mai.

One of the demos was a slightly different take on tong making which I can't wait to try. The offsets are done differently and ostensibly better.

Saw a lot of knives that people brought to show their work.

Unfortunately Mareko was not able to come because of the virus. He was going to talk about S grinds.

Hopefully, I'll be going again next year.
 

Bruno

Administrator
Staff member
I met a guy who makes wootz and tamahagane from iron sands that he mines himself in the AZ desert. I've got his card to see if you know of him, but it is presently in the bedroom where my wife is still sleeping. He had a wootz cake and and a few knives.
Yes I would like to see if I know him or if we have mutual friends. That is a rather small group of people and it's always good to make more connnections.
 

RezDog

Member
In the coming years I hope to learn about making good quality tool steel. His info would be great. There is an amazing amount of black iron sand in this area. My niece is a carver. My dream is to learn to make steel and carving tools, so that I can make her a set of carving tools and she can make a large carving and the full circle will be made on Haida Gwaii. There are two areas of knowledge that I seriously need to work on. Making good tools and making good steel. Both are very broad areas of knowledge that will require a lot of knowledge gained and applied. i know Mike makes steel, and this is a second person in North America, so a guy can’t have too many Yoda types. I’ll check his site next.
 

Victor Creazzi

King of Bondo
Talking to him in person was much more interesting than any info on his site. He was understandably guarded about exactly what he was doing. He did say that he researched the water sheds that he mined in, to hopefully include other natural alloys such as manganese. He didn't consider recipe wootz using chemically analyzed steels and irons as really doing it.
 

32t

Member
I believe all the old guys used a recipe and any good cook can substitute something and understand why it will turn out similar.
 

Bruno

Administrator
Staff member
In the wootz community there are people trying to emulate the exact way of working of hundreds of years ago. They go as far as making their own clay crucibles and experimenting with clay recipes because some are more prone to cracking than others. From a historical perspective it's interesting, but it doesn't make better or more 'real' wootz. And it makes it much harder to make wootz, because it ignores technological advances like being able to control temperature etc.

There is a secretive streak running in some of those guys. Same as in smiths I think. Personally I don't have secrets. I can explain everyone how to grind a razor or make damascus or whatever. Unless you are willing to put in the same amount of hours and effort, none of that is going to magically help you make a razor :) But then for me this is just a hobby. For example Howard doesn't share his heat treatment for L6 swords and that is perfectly understandable because it's his daily bread and butter.
 
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