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Jared Ondovchik, Bladesmith

 Jared forging a blade at his metal shop in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Jared forging a blade at his metal shop in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Jared Ondovchik, Bladesmith

Jared Ondovchik, owner of Artifact Metalworks, forged his first knife out of both curiosity and necessity after his pocketknife went missing. Since then, he’s developed a successful business, hand-making beautiful and functional knives for chefs, outdoorsmen, farmers, adventurers, home cooks, artisans and anyone who seeks a good-quality blade.

Jared grew up in Western Pennsylvania, just outside his current home in Pittsburgh. His grandparents and great-grandparents worked in the steel mills that defined the region until they closed in the 1980s. Both his father and grandfather were avid hunters who exposed him to guns and knives at a young age. He loved the knives most of all.

“It was really important to my dad that I always carried a pocket knife. Then, when my grandfather died, he left me a shotgun and a buffalo skinning knife. The gun has almost always lived in my dad's gun cabinet, but I've carried that upswept skinner with me everywhere I've ever lived.”

Jared’s philosophy is that form should follow function. While each knife is unique, ranging from handsome kitchen choppers to bad-ass skinners, they are first and foremost well-designed and useful.

“I love the satisfaction that comes from working with a hard medium like steel. It's amazing to me that something so strong can be manipulated and changed in so many ways. I still can't believe how using heat can change the way the different elements inside the steel relate to each other on a molecular level. It's incredible. I especially like blades for that reason; because there's an extra challenge of changing the material in some way to make it a functional tool. I enjoy the struggle of finding a balance between ensuring the blade can hold its edge while maintaining its strength and integrity.”

Jared gets inspiration from all over, but is primarily drawn to forms that are raw, natural and classical. Many of his pieces are inspired by the original blacksmiths of the Iron Age in Northern Europe, but more recently, he’s been studying the work of Japanese bladesmiths. 

I love the satisfaction that comes from working with a hard medium like steel. It’s amazing to me that something so strong can be manipulated and changed in so many ways.