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Douglas Historical Society Raffles Axe Mill Knife

A Damascus Steel Japanese Tanto inspired knife designed and forged by Master Bladesmith Jim Saviano of Douglas is being raffled to raise funds for the maintenance and preservation of the E.N. Jenckes Store Museum operated by the Douglas Historical Society.

Incorporating steel from a Douglas Axe Factory circa 1850, the Damascus Steel blade is the fourth hand forged, custom designed knife that Saviano has generously donated to the non-profit organization. Tickets are $10.00 each (for the knife or $1,000 cash) and the drawing will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 4, 2014, at the corner of Main and Depot Streets at the Douglas Octoberfest.  Participants need not be present to win.

Saviano is a Master Bladesmith and this latest creation is an outstanding ‘maidens hair’ Damascus Steel Japanese Tanto design with an eleven inch blade and an overall length of seventeen inches. The handle is made of Indian rosewood, and a display stand of exotic wood is also included with the knife.

When asked to explain how he made the steel, Saviano wrote: The first step in making the Axe Mill Knife was to make the steel. This steel is called Damascus or pattern-welded steel and making it is a very labor-intensive process. I started by stacking thirteen alternating layers of two steels – 1084 and 15N20 – each piece about one inch wide and six inches long. The 15N20 has nickel within its composition – this results in the shiny lines of metal in the finished knife. This stack of metal is heated in a gas forge to about 2700 degrees and hammered – at that temperature hammering the layers of steel results in them being welded together. That “billet” is then lengthened to about twice its length, cut in half, stacked and again forge welded – resulting in a billet of twenty-six layers. This process continues until there are about 200 layers.  This piece is formed into a cylinder and twisted, and once again forged into a flat billet about one inch wide, 3/8 inch thick and about eighteen inches long.  The guard (tsuba) on this knife is also Damascus steel, forged in a similar process and containing steel from the axe mill.  However the guard is not twisted to make a pattern, it is partially drilled through several layers to form what might appear as ripples when a stone is dropped into water.  In front of and behind the tsuba are two pieces of nickel silver called seppas, and in front of that is a one-piece copper habaki.

“We are very pleased to be able to offer such a unique item from a local craftsman like Jim. It’s a wonderful melding of the past and the present that all goes to further the preservation of our special history here in Douglas,” Shirley Mosczynki, raffle coordinator, explained. “This year we are again offering the winner the option of taking $1,000 in cash but so far no winner has preferred that over one of Jim’s exquisite knives. We expect this raffle to again be very successful in helping us raise much needed funds to continue to preserve and protect the very special E.N. Jenckes Store Museum.”

Tickets for the raffle will be on sale Saturdays at the Farmers Market at the museum at 283 Main Street (Rt. 16) in Douglas from 9 a.m. to noon and through Society members. Tickets will continue to be sold during Octoberfest until the drawing at 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 4th. If you would like to purchase tickets, please call Shirley Mosczynski, Raffle Coordinator, at 508-476-2460 or e-mail her at [email protected]  or call Vice President John Petraglia at 508-864-0583.