SIMPLISTIC WITH CLEAN LINES
This is Högström Knives
Nordic/Japanese with a twist of medieval describes my style the best I think- simplistic with clean lines. Letting the well thought out shapes, overall design and the quality materials themselves also be the main decorative aspects makes for an interesting piece.
I like to think I’m making something that is pleasing to look at, as well as comfortable to use with great attention to detail, fit and finish. The design aspect is very important to me so I make a detailed sketch of almost every knife and then try to follow that as closely as possible when creating the piece. I believe in doing as much as possible by hand and in letting a task take as long as it needs until I am satisfied with the outcome.
I have a background in fine cabinet making, so perhaps my attention to detail stems from there. What I like about knife making is that you can incorporate so many different materials into one piece. Steel for the blade, different metals for the fittings and an array of choices for the handle material; wood, ivory, coral, amber etc. and last but not least – fine leather or wood for the sheath. In furniture making you usually only work with wood-different kinds, but still just wood.
I make mostly daggers, fighters and what I call “Kwaikens” but also swords and folding knives. I do not like to make the exact same knife twice so I can make a variation of the same theme if requested, still making each knife unique and one of a kind. I am drawn to letting each and every piece speak for itself, getting its own “identity” so if you have something particular in mind Im not opposed to working with the client on his ideas as long as its within my realm.
From time to time I work with other makers, combining our art. Previously, I have collaborated with Kay Embretsen, Roger Bergh, Conny Persson and Johan Gustafsson. I have an ongoing effort with Don Hanson III producing about one piece every other year, give or take. Don designs and forges the blade, without any input from me – I am left totally in the dark. When I receive the finished blade the challenge is mine to create a handle and fittings that goes with the blade, stylistically. Working this way pushes my creativity to new heights and different solutions, new ideas and techniques are often “born” then.
MY IMAGINATION IS MY MOST PRECIOUS TOOL
Workshop & Process
I primarily use 1050 carbon spring steel and damascus of various compositions and on occasion, stainless steel for the blades.
For the 1050 I employ a clay “tempering” technique that gives the blade a beautiful temper line (hamon) as well as a hard edge while maintaining a flexible core of the blade. These blades are rough ground and then finished off by hand with files and sandpaper before the final stage of etching the blade to bring out the hamon.
The picture show a group of guards just after the pour. This time I chose silver and poured a total of 445g/ just under 1lb. The next steps are to carefully fit each guard to the corresponding blade, finish the knife and lastly give the fitting an attractive texture
When it comes to damascus, I tend to lean towards a simpler random or a twist pattern that goes with the overall simplistic scheme of my knives. These blades are worked and finished in a similar fashion as the carbon steel ones. I use stainless steel, mostly Damasteel stainless damascus, for folders, art knives ( for ex. Skull Cleaver and Druid Sickle) and some full-tang dress-knives, my Tuxer model, or upscale hunting/skinning-knives
For the handles and wooden sheaths I use rare exotic hardwoods, ancient ivories and bone material from all over the world. Even large pieces of natural amber has found its way onto a couple of my knives. A few wood favorites are Snakewood for its amazing striped grain pattern, Masur birch, Eucalyptus , and Redwood burl for its sometimes silky appearance.
DISCLAIMER: All natural materials, such as ivory and bone come from long dead specimens. I do not use anything that is “fresh”. Nothing is harvested from animals that have been hunted and killed solely for their tusks, bones, hides etc.
I spend a great deal of time locating the right pieces of handle material, particularly fossil walrus ivory but also musk ox, different types of high denisty bone material and amber, to name some. In the last few years I have gotten fonder of working with materials of the rare sort. It gives the knife an even more unique look to add a piece of walrus or bone that you cannot find just anywhere. This can be seen on my knives with great frequency these days, often in great colors stemming from the mineral rich soils where the fossil material was once buried for many many years–sometimes thousands of years.
I carve all my fittings in wax; everything is carved individually for each knife– I do not use any molds. I then cast them using the lost wax casting method. That means the wax carving is placed in a flask, plaster is then poured in and allowed to harden. Later, the wax is melted out of the flask leaving an imprint in the hardened plaster. After baking the plaster in a high heat oven for serveral hours, the flask is ready to receive the melted metal pour. When the metal has cooled down a little, I quench the flask in water, thus desolving the plaster “mold” and leaving me with the end result, the fitting for a knife. This process is exciting and nerve racking at the same time, as there is little or no room for error. I always feel very relieved when the casting is a success! The metals I cast are copper, yellow & white bronze and sterling silver-these can be antiqued, blackened or left in their natural state.
Aside from the casting equipment, I have a belt grinder, drill press, band saw, buffer, disc sander and some great ideas for new projects!
Thank you for your interest in my work!