I’m considering testing for Journeyman Smith with the American Bladesmith Society.  My work doesn’t really fit within the mainstream of the work they like/propagate/whatever, but I think that passing trying to pass the test will make me a better smith, and give me an objective judgment on the quality of my work.  We often think we’re unbiased and rational judges of the world and our own work, but often that turns out to be wrong.  So I figured I better take a run at Journeyman.

First step is this 5″ skinner for a friend:

I’m unsure how it will work as a skinner, but that’s the nice thing about making knives for friends – you get real feedback.  It’s forged from 1084 with brass fittings and a stabilized cherry burl handle.  The main point of this knife from the test perspective is fit and finish.

As you can see here I got the fit of the bolsters to the handle to the blade almost perfect.  It could be a touch better, but I think it teeters on the edge of passing from what I’ve seen.  As a side note, I won’t be using brass on my test knives.  The phrase “Brass is crass” has wafted by my ears in discussions about the test.

This second knife is nothing I’d ever submit for the test, but it posed a really good challenge for fit and finish.

It’s a bowie with an 11″ blade made from 80CRV2, which is a very tough steel.  The blade is flat ground with a spine that is 1/4″ thick.   Overall length is 17″.

The fittings are cast bronze, and the handle is stabilized cherry burl.

I like doing filework so I couldn’t resist such a long and wide spine – I ran a vine pattern down it

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