Robert Griffith combines eighteenth-century blacksmithing techniques with contemporary designs. Damascus steel, which has been used to make fine swords since the fifteenth century, is his primary material. It is made of alternating layers of hammered and folded iron and steel that create an immensely strong weapon. He is heavily influenced by traditional American folk crafts, and blames modern technology for the “extinction” of Damascus steel production. Griffith studied metalsmithing at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, and at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he also taught classes.