Bio – Dave J Friesen

Crossed Heart Forge - Island Blacksmith

Inspired by the Japanese art of swordsmithing, Dave began making knives in 1990. His approach brings together a fusion of cultural and artistic styles from his experiences in Africa, North America, and Asia.

Highlighting the potential for creative transformation in discarded objects, most of his raw material is sourced from worn out tools, farm machinery, and sawmill equipment. Even the softwood charcoal that fuels the forge is made by hand in a charcoal kiln from scrap wood.

Based out of Crossed Heart Forge in central Vancouver Island, Canada, Dave hand forges reclaimed carbon steel into blades, using techniques of the Japanese classical tradition to turn rusty scrap and natural materials into collectable heirlooms.

My goal as an artist is to explore transformative process by creating knives from natural and reclaimed materials. My approach as a craftsman is to work within the creative constraints of the classical tanto form and nihonto handle mounting technology, building on the foundation of 13th century Japanese swordsmithing aesthetic and technique.






Press & Events

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Please include a photo credit and link when using photos from the website or press kit.


Jourdan Causey, LA – Blacksmith Photography Project
Sage Learning, Vancouver Island – Field Trip Demonstration
Craig Heritage Park & Museum, Vancouver Island – Artist in Residence


Craig Heritage Park & Museum, Vancouver Island – Railway Days Demonstration
NikkeiTV, Vancouver – Forge visit and interview
Shop Teachers of Nanaimo, Vancouver Island – Professional Development Day Demo/Tour
Craig Heritage Park & Museum, Vancouver Island – Artist in Residence
Neighbours of Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island – Article


Craig Heritage Park & Museum, Vancouver Island – Crafter in Residence
Craig Heritage Park & Museum, Vancouver Island – Blacksmith Shop interpretive sign design, copy writing
The ForgeCastEP 123 inspiration of the week (17:26-21:17)
Jordan Wende, Vancouver Island – Short Film


Book Project – 2011-2020 Portfolio: A Decade in Review
Craig Heritage Museum, Vancouver Island – Crafter in Residence
Jordan WendeBlacksmith Photography Project
Parksville, Vancouver Island – Museum Forge Renovation project
Swordsmith style kajiba installation project wrap up


Jason Hawk – Consulting for the fuigo and charcoal forge seen in Mountain Men Season 8
Mr. Chickadee – Consulting for the forge and fuigo for the Japanese timber frame smithy
Parksville Museum, Vancouver Island – Featured Exhibit
The ForgeCast – EP 28 inspiration of the week (20:00-24:30)
Swordsmith style kajiba and charcoal kiln build project 2018 Fall to 2019 Winter


Jason Hawk – Consulting for the charcoal kiln design seen in Mountain Men S7 E11
Trevor Komori, Vancouver – Short Film
Masters at Work by Marco Kruk, Amsterdam – Curated Video
Men at Work, Italy – Curated Video
Parksville Museum, Vancouver Island – Demonstrator
Knives 2018: The World’s Greatest Knife Book – maker listing


Full Press, Issue II – Video Feature
Parksville Museum, Vancouver Island – Artist in residence
Knives 2017: The World’s Greatest Knife Book – maker listing


GhostRipon, Japan – Tsukimi Tanto – デイブ・フリーゼン – 鍛冶屋
The Old School House Arts Gallery, Canada – Summer artist in residence
Knives 2016: The World’s Greatest Knife Book, Joe Kertzman, ed. – Custom Knifemakers Directory
The Samurai Carpenter, Canada – Video Interview
The Homelab, Canada – Artist Spotlight
MadeFor, Australia – Feature, Australia – Article


The Village Christmas Arts Faire, Qualicum Beach – Scabbard Carving Demonstration & Exhibit
Soul of Steel Documentary, Canada – Studio visit and interview
TV Tokyo, Japan – Studio visit and interview
Only the Road Knows, USA – Article
Art of Blacksmithing & Metal Workers – Curated Videos
Canadian Knifemakers Guild, Canada – Member
Coastal Carvings Gallery, Canada – Multi-artist open house event
Blade Magazine, USA – Knifemaker Profile, May 2015 Issue


Bladesmiths & Blacksmiths – Curated Video
The Art of Timelessness – Article
Whalesong Studio, Nanaimo – Gallery Invitational
Men at Work, Italy – Curated Video
Art of Blacksmithing and Metal Workers – Curated Videos
Canadian Knifemakers Guild, Canada – probationary membership
Man of Many, Sydney – Top Three Artisans
Handmade Men, Australia – Interview (also here)
The Method Case, Spain – Featured Project
Ljudbildspel, Sweden – Curated Video
Verygoodlord, Paris – Du côté de chez Dave, le forgeron
Curated Vimeo – People Making Things
SpellBrand, New York – Made By Hand
BoldJack, Slovakia – Featured Maker Video
Those Who Make, San Francisco – Featured Maker Video


The Owl Designer Fair, Victoria – Sharpening Demonstration & Workshop
Makers of Stria, Vancouver – Featured Maker profile
Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens, Canada – Juried Artisan Festival
Reclamation Administration, Portland – Featured Knife Project
PechaKucha Blog, Tokyo – Top 5 most watched presentations for August (but watch it here), Japan – Presentation of the Day, Aug 22 (but watch it here)
The Old School House Arts Centre Artists In Action – Handle Making Demonstration
Craig Heritage Park and Museum Event – Bladesmithing Demonstration
55th Annual Nautical Days, Canada – Juried Exhibit & Demonstration
Qualicum Beach Summer Artisan Market, Canada – Juried Exhibit & Sharpening/Polishing Demonstration
Eyes On BC Magazine, Canada – April Feature Article
Metal Artists in Action Event – Bladesmithing Demonstration
Imadene WOA Conference – Copper Smithing Workshop
PechaKucha Nishinomiya #16, Japan – Guest Presenter
Coastal Carvings – Permanent Gallery Exhibit


Nanaimo Art Gallery – Drift Show – Studio Visit
Craig Heritage Park and Museum – Blacksmithing Demonstration
The Old School House Arts Centre 100th Anniversary – Bladesmithing Demonstration
Qualicum Beach Summer Artisan Market – Saya Making Demonstration & Exhibit
Coombs 100th Anniversary – Bladesmithing Demonstration


Osaka Municipal College of Design – Guest Lecturer, 1 Semester
Pecha Kucha Nishinomiya Vol.8 Japan fundraiser/relief – Presenter


Barkerville Blacksmith Shop – Guest Blacksmithing Demonstration


Calgary, Alberta – One-on-one Introductory Blacksmithing Teacher


Kensington Heritage Crafts Fair – Blacksmithing Demonstration


Japanese Sword Presentation – Hand Drawn Illustrations