Dan Pečnik, White Fire Forge, Slovenia
Dan lives and works in Lohača, a remote mountain village in Slovenia, and has been a bladesmith since 2011. He is pictured above in his shop, White Fire Forge. His youth belies the quality of his work!
Dan specializes in knives and axes, with a particular interest in the axes used by King Ragnar Lothbrok (or Lodbrok) who was, depending upon your choice of expert, either a real Viking leader or a myth or maybe an amalgam of real characters. Whoever Ragnar was or was not, the men cited as his sons are generally agreed to be real historical figures.
“I never make wallhangers. I give a life time guarantee on all my forged work, wood is alive though and cannot give guarantee on that obviously.”
The best steel is very difficult to obtain in Slovenia, so Dan's steel mostly is ordered from Germany. His axes are forged from 1055 high-carbon steel, quenched and sharp. Except for grinders, Dan does not use power tools.
In addition to the blades, Dan also hand-carves and fits the wooden handles and even harvests and dries the handles himself from local sources. He mostly uses straight-grained ash but sometimes goes with stained walnut. Dan's close friend handles the leatherwork, and Dan is learning from him.