Focus on the Maker: Nejc Mušič
The other night I had the great pleasure to run across Nejc in one of the many forums I frequent and saw this seax that just spoke to me. Though I'm sure that he thought I was a scammer initially, he was gracious enough to share his story with us and I will do my best to transcribe it below.
Nejc had always been an artistic type of fellow. He had tried his hand at small woodworking projects, art and the like until one day he fell down the youtube rabbit hole. Watching the magic of transformation known as bladesmithing (or knife making if you prefer) he had a "hold my beer" moment and dove headlong into the addiction.
Starting out with stock removal he made his first three knives with some files, a drill, and a determination to learn. Now several years down the road into the twisting journey of the art he crafted this elegant yet brutal seax. The blade itself is crafted from stone washed 80crv2 sporting a false edge similar to a clip point and clad in stabilized osage orange pinned with carbon fiber which contrasts the blade nicely.
He didn't have his one burner propane forge that he uses now when he started but he did have the afore mentioned determination and crafted a makeshift forge from a barbeque grill and a hairdryer to force air. Nejc is learning more forging now versus stock removal so he has a 5 inch cube to bang on. I'm willing to bet he'll be upgrading this as soon as he finds out about how fun playing with fire is!
Nejc knew that files weren't a long term solution so he teamed up with his brother and they engineered a 2x72 belt grinder from steel pipe, an old longboard, and a motor they had lying around. Over the years this evolved through several phases until he upgraded to his Batko 3000XL made in his neighboring country of croatia.
For belts Nejc prefers to start with a worn 40 grit to start breaking down the corners and then switches to a newer belt to grind to 80% of bevel. He then switches over to a 120 and then finally moves into a 400 grit to round off the finish.
For the heat treat, Nejc has a labratory furnace repurposed for this task that allows him to control his heat to a scientific level. He normally does three thermal cycles and before the final and quench. Though he started with Canola he now uses a fast oil similar to parks 50 for the steels he works with.
"In the beginning I was inspired a lot by other makers that were making then what looked like unachievable levels of craftsmanship in their work. I made a lot of different blade styles, I didn’t get stuck on one design to make over and over, that’s what I think really helped me get my “eyes trained”. That would be one of my biggest tips for someone starting out, to make as many different styles/shapes (hunter, tanto, bowie, chopper…) approaching it this way will always give you a new experience, compared to only making knife design over and over."
Very solid advice! As adults we learn by doing and doing often. Nejc is inspired by many solid makers to name a few:
- Argus Knives from Croatia
- Walter Sorrels on Youtube
- Kyle Royer
- Bob Kramer
- Grant Chambers
In closing, I'm very glad that Nejc chose to share his story and journey thus far. I find it inspirational in itself of the varied backgrounds, inspirations, and methods each of us come from in this journey. So thank you very much Nejc!
You can get in touch with Nejc through any of these mediums: