Last update
2014-02-24
 

- Jonny Walker Nilsson - Swedish Bladesmith and Knife Maker -

 


Jonny Walker Nilsson, Smith and Knife Maker
I was born on May 24th 1956, and I live in Akkavare close to Arvidsjaur, a small town near the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland. I have seven children.
I have always enjoyed hunting, fishing and woodwork and the knife is an importent tool for these things. The first time I studied
a real sami knife I realised that the design is as important as the sharpness of the blade.
I decided I wanted I to make a knife like that... and so I did.

Competitions
I made my first knife in 1988, and have successfully competed in this art form since
1993. I have won a great number of contests, most notably the Swedish Championship and the Nordic Championship.
I am very proud of the annual award in my name, given to the maker of the most beautiful knife of the Nordic Championship show.
I am a member of the Swedish Knife Assosiation

Material
I work mainly with reindeer antler horn and Arctic hardwoods. The pieces for my knives are chosen according to shape, density and coloring. To get the best density I prefer to use horn from reindeer antlers that are fully grown and have been shed.

 


I collect large burls from trunks and roots of Arctic birch from the forest surrounding my home town. After air-drying for at least a year the wood becomes stable, allowing me to select the best pieces according to hardness, color and grain pattern. Sometimes I combine exotic woods and different horns or bone in the handles. The shafts of my knives have decorative inlays of thin bark and horn plates. The knife handles and sheaths feature decorative spacers of thin bark, bone or tinplate.

- Engraving -
Engraving is my specialty, and to keep up my mastery of the craft I engrave for about four hours every day. My engravings are inspired by the ten thousend year old Sami culture in Lapland. I use a high-speed steel tool for the freehand engraving. Each cut is made twice to form a "v", into which bark powder from birch, alder or pine mixed with a binding agent is rubbed. Elaborate knives feature three-dimensional inlaid and engraved bone plates and design innovations such as bent bone pieces. My knifesignature is JN.

- Mosaic and Damascening -
I make my own mosaic and damascene patterns and I do my own forging, grinding, etching, heat-treating, coloring and polishing. The blades are mostly UHB 20C and UHB 15N20 with Rockwell 57-58 hardness and pure nickel. I won first prize in the Norwegian Championships in Elverum, Norway in June 2006, for a blade in the large Damascene-blade class. My blade stamp is JWN.

 


- Publications -
Knife making is popular in Scandinavia, attracting thousands of artisans and many collector from all over the world. Collectors in Europe and the USA have been familiar with my knives for a long time. The Swedish Royal Family owns some of my craft products. I have been published in number a of Swedish, American, Frensh and German publications. I was featured in the world's no. 1 knife publication, Blade, in May 2001, in a long article entitled "A Need For A Swede". Several of my knives are included in the book Knives Annual. I am featured in the book "Svenska knivar och knivmakare" (Swedish Knives and Knife Makers) by Samuel Karlsson.

- Exhibitions in USA -
· ECCKS in New York 2000-2006,
· The Blade Show in Atlanta 2003,
· Solvang Invitational Custom Knife Show in Californien 2003-2006,
· AKCA Invitational Show in Orlando, Florida 1999,
· CMWE in Seattle Washington 1999,
· Annual shows in Boston 1998-2005
· Harvard University Scandinavian Club in 2000.