Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012 Battle of the Bladesmiths

Last month Scott had the honor of competing in the 2012 Battle of Bladesmiths event at the Great Smoky Mountain Bladesmithing Symposium in Clyde, NC. Scott competing agaist ABS mastersmiths Burt Foster and Jason Knight, as well as up and coming ABS apprentice Shelby Mihalevich.

The concept is simple but successful completion is not. Each bladesmith gets two hours to forge, grind, heat-treat, handle, and finish a knife in head-to-head competition in front of a captivated audience. The materials and equipment are provided, but the knife-maker can craft any design they like. This year's competitors were given English walnut slabs, an 8-inch bar of 1084V steel, one 1/8 inch drill bit, three pins, a sheet of 400 grit sandpaper, and a set of grinder belts in 36/120/220 & 400 grits. Here's what they created in just under two hours. Photo by Burt Foster.

Jason's hunter is on the left, followed by Burt's dagger, Scott's hunter, and Shelby's unfinished blade. Shelby's knife cracked during the heat treat stage, so he had to back out of the competition before he was done. Forging and grinding a knife under pressure is difficult enough, but heat treating and handling one in quick succession is a difficult task. Burt schooled the competition with his double-edged, hand-sanded, coffin-handled dagger that he made in 1 hour and 55 minutes. The man is truly a master!
All three completed knives were auctioned off at the event, and proceeds benefitted the ABS. The purchaser of Scott's blade asked him to craft a sheath for it, so Scott took it home, did just that, and fined tuned it a bit as well. Here's Scott first Battle of the Bladesmiths knife slightly retouched, marked, and with a leather sheath.

Thanks Vernon, we hope you enjoy it!

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