It all starts with a bar of Steel and an idea.
We'll be walking through the steps of creating an integral (one piece) Ulu, this is my take on a traditional Inuit utility knife. Keep in mind that this process is extremely simple (taking roughly 3 hours start to finish) compared to my more advanced work, some of which I will spend 80+ hours creating.
Step one: Turning a bar into a point
The normal operation temperature of my forge is between 1900 F and 2000 F, high carbon steel moves like incredibly stubborn clay at these heats. It takes roughly an hour of high speed, high impact hammering to turn a bar in to a smooth point of the correct length for a handle.
Preparing to forge the blade bevels
I often forge blades two at a time. It normally takes 30-45 seconds of heat to get an already hot blade up to workable temp. Once at that temp. I have maximum about 10-15 seconds of time to forge my piece before it needs to go back to the fire. This requires me to plan what I will be doing, where I will be striking, and what I'm trying to form before I take the piece out.
When I do this two at a time, it is constant motion and planning, ensuring neither piece overheats, and keeping in mind two separate projects simultaneously. It is a state of Satori, or Zen for me. My mind is solely focused on the blades.
The bevels have been forged in.
The geometry of the blade is absolutely key in how it performs. A 3 Degree difference in angle on one part can be the difference between your blade being keen as a razor, or barely able to cut butter. The discoloration on the blades at this point is caused by oxidization from the forge. I forge the edge down to about 1/16th of an inch.