EMBERBORN – forgin knifes

On Friday we meet at KUD France Prešeren, Teja performed Indian dances. We are all happy that things are finally opening. Meanwhile, Gregor mentions that he’s going to make his knife at EMBERBORN on Sunday. It’s not entirely clear to me what he’s talking about. Explained to me that you go to the blacksmith and make yourself a knife there. He is passionate about cooking in Teja bought him this as a birthday present. The decision was to join. On Saturday 18 years old nephew had a birthday and is strenuous to wake up the next morning.


I woke up at 7am, slowly getting up, followed by a shower and breakfast. A little after 8 AM I picked up Gregor in Trnovo and head towards Dolenja vas near Cerknica. We stopped briefly at a gas station to buy cigarettes and Radenska, Gregor visited the toilet. From the highway we went at exit Unec and went towards Cerknica, at Podskrajnik we turned towards Dolenja vas, there we turn right and went to the last house. There the third member of our team Marko was waiting for us with owner Lenart around 9 AM.



We slowly got to know each other and looked around the estate (haystack, smithy, workshops), and went into the house. There, with the coffee that Gregor made, we drew the design of our future knives. I choose the shape of a Santoku knife. This is a Japanese type of knife that is a versatile kitchen knife and excels at all types of chopping and cutting on the kitchen board. The term santoku means “three virtues” (san means “three”) and can refer to the various ingredients we prepare with it (meat, fish, and vegetables), or the ways in which food is prepared: cutting, chopping and dicing. Lenart explained the whole manufacturing process to us. We also take a look at a couple of examples of his products. On the way to the smithy, we met his wife and kid.



In the forge, cut 3 pieces of 1095 steel (0.95% carbon) with a ‘flexor’ (angle grinder). Now heat the gas stove (approx. 1200 C) and place two pieces inside. When the piece is heated, it is grabbed with tongs and placed on the anvil and begin hammering it. When the piece has cooled, we put it back on the fire. Lenart showed us how things are done. When you look at it, it looks pretty simple. The idea is to thin the steel from 5 to 2 mm and to give the piece the right shape. Of course, in the meantime, it is necessary to leave it to Lenart to fix it a little behind us. In the meantime, we also straighten the piece with a mechanical hammer. Finally, we imprint the symbol of the master. My back is a problem in between and the others happily pound on my piece. There is metal music in the background and Marko brings bacon and teran.


Trip – retrieving gas

In between, we run out of gas while forging and went for a new supply. We all get into the old TAM fire truck and drive a good kilometer away, where we take a new batch and have one drink in a nearby bar.

gasilski kombi TAM
fire truck TAM



Once we had forged the pieces into approximately good shape and to the right thickness we went to grind to the final shape. Draw the design from paper on the piece and start sanding on a belt sander. Everything sparkles there and we got to the desired shape and of course, let Lenart finalize it.



Hardening is a process where the steel is rapidly cooled after heating. This makes the steel gain in hardness. The steel is heated to just under 800 degrees C. It is cooled in oil. Drill a hole in the handle, hang the piece on a stick, which is placed in a vertical oven. When heated enough, place the piece in a vertical pan with oil. The procedure is repeated 3 times.



Hardening is a heat treatment process used to increase the toughness of iron-based alloys. The metal is heated to a certain temperature and then allowed to cool on air. The temperature determines what hardness we want to achieve. For knives, the temperature is just over 200 degrees. We inserted the pieces so that they would not bend during the process and placed them in the oven for a good hour.


Since we had one hour available, we drove to Cerknica for lunch. We stop in Valvasor inn, went inside because there is no room for everyone outside. Joined by Sabastjan, who explains about the La Toye Jackson concert in Veliki Žablje. We are also joined by Teja with Sven and Davor and Zarjan. When we got our strength back with lunch and a drink it was time to head back. Lunch is included in the experience.

Hardness check

On return, we took the pieces out of the oven and wait for them to cool. The pieces are sanded. We check the hardness, which is somewhere between 61 and 65 HRC, with specific files. Another sanding follows and coat with teak oil.



Now it’s time to handle. First, we choose the material from which the handle will be made. It is also necessary to choose a plastic piece between the handle and the blade. There are pieces available that are included in the price, but you can choose something more special for an extra charge. I choose ebony and some yellow finish. Co-sufferers choose some combinations with plastic. The handle needs to be drilled, sawn, fired. glued and finally grinded into a user-friendly handle.


Lenart does most of the work. The final sanding is done with a mask in protective clothing. The rest of us spend this time throwing an ax and a spear, the kids are running around. Marko brings his wife.



When our knife got its final shape, it needed to be sharpened. This again means sanding on a belt sander with a different sandpaper granulation and different speed. In between, Sven and I play sudoku. Finally, cut the paper, shave the hair to check the sharpness of the knife. We packed our knives and pay what we owed. The toddler gets two pieces of steel with a stamp and they are overjoyed. We head home, where I arrive after 11 p.m.



It costs € 180 per person for one person, € 140 for two and € 120 for three. The price includes the process of making a knife, basic material, lunch, drinks (self-service in the refrigerator), and of course in the end you take the final product home.


When the idea was first mentioned to me I was a little in doubt. But today I can say in retrospect that I am glad I was part of the whole experience. It is definitely necessary to consider the price here, which is not negligible. But in the end, I spent the whole day in the company of people who are important to me, and on top of that, I got a souvenir, which is also very useful (I will have to cook more now). I would suggest maybe 2 and not 3 members to go as in our case so that it doesn’t drag on too much and you don’t lose focus. The experience was made better with an authentic environment and Lenart himself, who loves being a smith and didn’t complicate for the whole day.


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