Forged Damascus Chef Knife


Isaiah Washington   

Class runs: November 27 - December 1

 Tuition: $650

 Material Fee: $100

Skill level: Well seasoned beginner and up, must have basic forging skills and some proficiency at bladesmithing as well as some experience with Damascus.

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FULL as of 11/22

       In this 5 day intensive course students will learn how to prepare material to assemble a Damascus steel billet. Material selection will be discussed along with basic metallurgy to ensure the final products will be structurally sound, and have the contrast and quality desired for a kitchen knife.

Starting with 11 layers of steel, students will forge weld and fold their billets until they reach the desired layer count. Students will then learn the process of patterning the material with a wide selection of patterns to choose from. A knife will be forged from the Damascus steel bar they assembled and will be brought through the processes of grinding, heat treating, polishing, and constructing a hidden tang handle. Prior bladesmithing knowledge is required. This class will be fast paced with a wealth of information being shared about the development of pattern welded steel, and the knife making process. 

In order for students to be fully successful, the required skills include basic forging and grinding and proficient understanding of the Damascus process and capability of using power hammer and hydraulic press.


Isaiah started forging steel after he was inspired by a popular online show about forging knives and swords. In 2015 at the age of 18 Isaiah bought his first forge from the New England School of Metalwork, a small buffalo forge run on coal and charcoal. Isaiah began selling his work online and started his business, Zay Knives.

As the intern apprentice at the school Isaiah would help with odd jobs and whatever would need to be done. At the same time gaining knowledge and advice from Dereck Glaser, and Nick Rossi, and many other crafts people that came through the school, who influenced his style as a blacksmith / bladesmith. In 2020 NESM asked Isaiah to be a resident instructor at the school. Now with over 7 years of experience Isaiah assists classes, and teaches beginner level bladesmithing courses here at NESM.