Focus on the Maker: Nishan Mood
The other evening I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with Nishan Mood about his experience in the world of knife making. Nishan is a maker with incredible passion and knowledge about this world and the community within. He has been making for 16 years now. This is his story.
Nishan was just a kid when his passion was sparked on a family trip to Knotts Bury Farms of all things. Unlike most kids his age he wasn't attracted to the questionably safe rides, the cotton candy or the flashing lights. He was drawn to one loan craftsman in the sea of people. The ringing of the hammer played to him like the pied piper and led him to an old craftsman plying his trade of fire and steel. Amongst the trinkets on display from the crafter was a knife. From that moment on Nishan has been drawn to this art, hobbie, addiction? However you want to coin it, its a passion.
For this article Nishan chose to exhibit one of his many fine works. This particular piece of art is forged from 1085 and 15n20 turkish twist damascus. It too, like so many good creations, has a story behind it. The damascus was orginally made for a bowie that Nishan had completed and was very proud of and displayed it to some quick criticism from 2 ABS mastersmiths. (I shudder to think what they'd say about my work)This caused Nishan to look at the piece in a different light and instead of taking it negatively, used the pieces of the old to forge the new.
For playing with fire, ok his forge but it doesn't sound as fun, Nishan uses a 2 burner propane forge. As many do he started out with the infamous rail road track for an anvil but has since upgraded to an vintage mouse hole anvil and swears he's never going back to the rail track. I can't imagine why but I'm sure if he didn't have even that he'd be using a rock for an anvil. If you have the bug, you have the bug. For guys just starting out he recommends Emerson, Atlas, or holland anvils.
When it comes to the grinder, Nishan started out with the old staple of every grandfathers shop. The bench grinder. Needless to say it wasn't an ideal situation so Nishan upgraded to a 4x36. While it kind of worked for surface it was nearly impossible to get plunge lines with so he got serious and picked up the staple of his shop. An Ameribrade 2x72 single 1 1/2 hp beast that he says is "Absolutely f'n great".
For belt progression he varies a little from the norm by starting with a higher grit than most. Starting with an 80 he progresses up the chain through 120 using VSM belts, a Hermes Ceramic 220, then finally lands on 400 using a Merit aluminum oxide belt. They have almost the same lifespan as some of the more expensive brands but are at a lower price which means win win in my book.
When it comes time to heat treat the blade, Nishan originally started with the ol' eyeball method and trying to decipher the heat of the blade by the color. Now this method did work for thousands of years but its definitely not the most accurate. Though it worked, he wasn't happy so picked up a thermo-couple and added it to the forge. Still not satisfied with the quality results he modified a jewelry kiln which allows him to maintain the heat requirements for the blade he is working with to a much more exacting level.
Bath time for the blade involves a dip in McMaster quench fast oil, ironically this is actually a medium oil, but it performs well for the steels that Nishan prefers to work with.
Nishan is inspired by and admires many names within the bladesmithing community. His passion for the art is definitely, in my opinion, without question. I couldn't keep up with the names he was listing off so we'll just say it was A LOT.
In closing, it was a pleasure to talk with Nishan and experience a small part of his journey. Thank you for sharing your story Nishan! If you want to get in touch with Nishan for any custom work you can find him at any of the following listed below:
Instagram - Mood knives
FB - Nishan Mood