This one-of-a-kind Damascus steel quillion dagger forged by Master Bladesmith Jim Saviano is being raffled to benefit the Simon Fairfield Public Library!
The winner of the raffle can choose the dagger or $1,000.
Tickets are $10. Cash or Checks (made out to the Friends of the SFPL) can be accepted at the Library. The Drawing will be October 24, 2023. 100% of ticket sales will go into the Library’s Building Fund, where it will be saved for renovation.
Jim and his wife Cynthia are both life-long residents of Douglas, as were their parents. Jim attended Douglas schools and received a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Massachusetts. Several years after he began his career, he attended Worcester Tech and pursued a master’s degree in Computer Science. Most of Jim’s career was spent in the computer and management consulting business.
Jim retired in 2000. Looking for a pastime both creative and physical, he took up bladesmithing and has since made over 200 knives. In recent years, he has focused on building more complex pieces, such as this one!
This knife is a quillion dagger and is a sole-authorship piece made entirely by Jim. He has been recognized as a Master Bladesmith by the American Bladesmith Society since 2008. The quillion dagger, probably first developed in the 12th century, is one of the more difficult knives to make, as there are four bevels that must be perfectly aligned, symmetrical and straight. This blade is ten inches of Damascus steel that Jim forged. The fluted handle of ebony adds another five and one-half inches. Damascus steel (patterned steel) is made by forge welding many layers of two different steels and manipulating the result to develop a distinctive pattern. The guard is forged and ground from stainless steel and the stainless-steel pummel is topped with silver and copper mokume gane. Mokume gane is translated to mean wood grain, by which layers of contrasting colored metals are fused together with heat and pressure and worked to produce a patterned mixed-metal laminate.
The Damascus is very unusual. The primary grain is about 120 layers of two steels – high carbon 1084 and 15N20 which contains nickel. The 15N20 shines up well while the 1084 does not — hence the interesting contrast the length of the blade. However, when the blade is moved under light it also shimmers from side-to-side. Jim has tried to duplicate that shimmer in other Damascus blades but has been unable, hence this blade is truly one of a kind — Jim has never seen nor been able to produce another like it.
During the past decade Jim has donated much of his work to charities in an effort to help them meet financial obligations. This year, after learning of the Library’s building program ambitions, he decided to donate this knife to them for a raffle. During his high school years, Jim spent many hours in the library reading and researching. He always fondly reflected on those days of learning and took advantage of this opportunity to give back some of what the library had given him.
Douglas, MA has a history closely entwined with steel. The Douglas Axe Company operated here under one name or another from at least as far back as the 1830s to the 1890s. Here is one of their digitized catalogs. Jim’s gift of time, sweat, and steel is quite on point! Please consider purchasing a raffle ticket, and with this blade we will cut through the accessibility barriers holding the Library back. If you would like to see the knife, it is on display at our circulation desk!