Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Contemporary Makers Portraits: Kyle Willyard


Kyle and Laura

Kyle Willyard at Old Dominion Forge has been making fine, hand-forged knives, swords and axes for over 10 years now.  His focus is entirely on the 18th century; that is the only time-period he does.  In addition to period  cutlery, Kyle also casts most of the fine pewter items you will find on this site.  They also stock other items, which you should find useful, but rest assured, cutlery will always be the focal point.
Kyle strives to make some of the most accurate, blades that you will find anywhere.  His cutlery is based on original examples, and considerable research goes into each piece before it is built.  Kyle's work has a "period" feel that is the product of the traditional methods used during construction.  He starts with only the best materials, and hand selects all wood, antler and bone used on his work.  Blades are forged, draw-filed, and polished by hand.  Then, traditional, hand-rubbed finishes are applied to the handles.  He believes the extra touches are worth it.   Old Dominion Forge may be a bit more expensive than some, but you will find the fit, finish and workmanship to be second to none. 

Over the years they have outfitted countless re-enactors and living historians.  In fact, much of their business is from repeat customers, who have been so well satisfied with their work that they often own several  "ODF" knives.  Kyle's blades are carried by some of the most respected individuals in living history, and his customers include the National Park Service; Virginia State Parks, Wilderness Road; various museums and museum shops, and even Walt Disney Pictures.
In August 2002, Old Dominion Forge had the privilege to take on some work for the Jerry Bruckheimer/Walt Disney production, Pirates of the Caribbean.  They made several axes and hatches that were used in the movie, as well as  providing a few swords and knives.  

Kyle worked on several key props for the HBO miniseries, John Adams, including a reproduction of Gen. Washington's battle sword.



one of the antique molds that Kyle uses for his pewter spoons



More images of this spoon can be seen here.


More images of these spoons can be seen here.

Copy and photo of Laura and Kyle from Old Dominion Forge. Photo of Kyle from 2006 Manskers Station Trade Fair by Jan Riser. Photos of pewter spoons photographed at the 2013 Lake Cumberland Show by Jan Riser.

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