“Dave’s work is something I have both followed and collected since I first discovered him. They are works of deep meaning, exhibiting elegant functionality with all of the core classical elements of feudal Japan.
As a collector of high-value antique arms & armour, and also as a 3-decade student of Japanese martial arts (including the katana and tanto), I first encountered Dave’s work while pursuing non-mass produced, modern edged weaponry that also encapsulated the aesthetic that defined much of feudal Japan. Of all the results I found, none came even close to being in the same league as Dave’s work.
While I was quite impressed with the photographs he posted, and the truth and purity behind the methods he employs, to actually hold one of Dave’s masterworks in hand is what made me realize the unbelievable rarity of such an experience.”
“In describing Dave’s work to one of my martial arts colleagues, the rough analogy I used was the following: “Picture going back 300 years to obtain a top blade from a Japanese feudal era master smith, but without the need for a time machine…”
Above my fireplace are beautiful and rare swords from the Muromachi and Edo eras in Japan, as well as museum pieces from Italy, Germany, and Spain. However, it’s Dave’s work that sits on display on a kaidan dansu (Japanese step-chest) in my bedroom. Why? Despite being modern pieces, they resonate most with the values I place in such items.
Describing these works is like looking on the internet at fine art: words do not suffice, nor is there any substitute for the profound and masterful design Dave is capable of. And when I wish to immerse myself in a time and place that I will never be able to go to, I return again to the collection of works I have from Dave’s forge.”
“Since purchasing my first piece from Island Blacksmith, I have followed the works produced by forge over the ensuing years with great fascination. The life within these works is a function of more than just refinement, training, experience, and dedication to perfection. They go beyond these attributes by exhibiting a vision that apprehends at the most profound level the real meaning of truth and elegance in form and substance.
I consider myself most fortunate to have the works from Island Blacksmith in my home. Everyone who visits my home is introduced to a museum of artifacts that include ancient Babylon, feudal Japan, medieval Europe, and so on. But I never fail to proudly show off the works of Island Blacksmith that I have amidst my large collection of extraordinary history.
Those who see these pieces believe them to be perfectly preserved antique examples of unrecorded master blacksmiths. On such occasions, I then proceed to tell the true story behind my collection from the island forge, and the story never ceases to amaze my guests.”
“It is not often that Dave makes his work available, and in more conservative times, I am left simply to admire what he exhibits on his website. However, when the chance does arise, I carefully peruse his website, and plan out my next acquisition. If I could purchase the fell extant of his work, I would not hesitate to do so. Regardless, I am honoured just to have the pieces I have, and I express my ongoing appreciation to Dave for sharing his gift with the world.”
“The knife arrived today and it was worth the wait. What a beauty. I love it so far and I haven’t really studied all of it yet. The lacquer finish is exceptional when the sunlight hits it. Thanks for everything!”
“Ahhhhhh, this is so inspiring – I don’t think I really have it in me to do this type of work, but for most of my life I’ve thought that no one was actually making genuine hand-crafted blades like this. Incredible!”
“I conducted a cutting test today and it sliced through a rolled tatami mat very cleanly I was very impressed. I am really quite pleased with the form and function of blade. It is a very nice and sturdy short sword.”
“It’s everything I hoped it would be and more. It does feel incredibly solid, it carries very well (in regard to both its profile and weight), draws and returns butter smooth. I’ve used it a little already and I’ve never had a blade this thick slice so well. The maker’s extensive knowledge of Japanese blade geometry is very apparent here and the execution is flawless.”
“The fit is incredible. I took it down the day I got it and the way everything comes together is sublime. Not a hair too loose or tight anywhere, as perfect any anything I’ve ever handled. Immensely impressive considering the methods used to create it. This piece will always be the flagship of my collection and although it’s wabisabi, it’s perfect to me.”
“Its absolutely gorgeous…seriously I’m blown away even though I’ve seen the photos already. Its final finish is astonishing, just stunning, the whole color scheme of this piece came together beautifully. I love the knife, the blade feels alive to me. I like the color of the steel and the fact that it is differentially hardened. The knife has great weight, which I was not expecting, and the peaked spine is a touch I marvel at.”
“I am stoked to see and hold the knife. I am a bushcraft instructor with my own small company here in the Netherlands and I will carry it as part of my personal kit for doing daily jobs in the field.”
“All arrived, thanks for the great packing job. I’m in love with the camp knife, and the small blade edge is great. Thank you very much, made my day.”
“Thank you for all your hard work, I love my new knife, it’s my new favourite song.”
“I first want to congratulate you for your tremendous dedication and work! To be honest, I had no intention to buy a tanto when I landed on your website. But I couldn’t resist when I saw the purity of the lines of your tanto/knives, especially [this one].”
“I never thought a simple object could be a work of art but you have opened my eyes. Very cool. The world is a better place with your creations in it and God has really blessed you with artist’s eye and skill, strength and patience.”
“You make « reclaimed » and « scrap » look like National Treasure.”
“I wanted to let you know that your package arrived today, and I am absolutely thrilled, delighted, and honoured! As you know, I have a wide variety of arms and armour, ranging in age and quality. It’s one thing to see the photos and read about it, but a whole other ballgame to hold and examine your work.”
“The kotanto arrived today and I am speechless; it is even more stunning than the photos show. The first thing that caught my attention was the weight and balance, well done. The blade and fittings are meticulous. This is truly a special piece in our collection and I am grateful to you for parting with it.”
“Dave at Crossed Heart Forge is up to some seriously cool stuff. I love his focus on salvage and reclamation, and how he can translate this mentality into works that defy the mainstream bias against the reuse and repurposing of manufactured materials, by creating highly desirable objets d’art that anyone can engage and enjoy.”
“The meticulous attention to every detail widens the void between journeyman and master in the craft.”
“You know, we take a lot of care in curating our site, so I’m honestly excited about all of the artisans we’ve covered. If I absolutely must pick three, I have to mention Dave Friesen from Crossed Heart Forge. Dave uses traditional Japanese blacksmithing to create beautiful knives and I’m telling you, these are more than just knives; they’re pieces of art. You’d never guess from looking at them but Dave uses reclaimed and recycled materials in his work. That means you’re getting pieces that are absolutely original and unique.”
“I wanted to take this moment to praise your work as it is truly outstanding in my opinion. The detail and time you spend creating your art almost brings tears to my eyes. It does so because this world we live in today has mostly lost craftsmen such as yourself. People that put heart and soul into creating. It is heart warming to learn of a man that goes out there and says I will do my best and produce something truly worthy no matter the time spent or cost, the quality of my work will not be sacrificed to today’s disposable world in which it appears that nobody appreciates, cares or is willing to pay for true excellence, I am going to create the best possible blade to exacting standards lost in the past.”
Representation in Private Collections
Alberta – Calgary, Edmonton, High River, Westlock, Youngstown
BC – Bowser, Campbell River, Courtenay, Cowichan, Cumberland, Errington, Gabriola, Nanaimo, Nanoose Bay, North Saanich, North Vancouver, Parksville, Qualicum Bay, Qualicum Beach, Spider Lake, Surrey, Tofino, Vancouver, Victoria
Manitoba – Brandon
Northwest Territories – Fort Smith
Ontario – North York, Ottawa, Richmond Hill, St. Agatha, Toronto, Waterloo
Osaka, Takarazuka, Tokyo
Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington
Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Ukraine, Wales