View Full Version : What do you call yourself?


Bob Warner
08-15-2001, 08:41 PM
I was talking with a few people over the weekend, some knifemakers and some blacksmiths. I happen to call myself a bladesmith and the @$% hit the fan. Almost everyone told me that I could not call myself a bladesmith because I have not been awarded the title by an organization. The blacksmiths told me that to be a "Smith" of any kind you have to apprentice for a million years shoveling coal, and on and on and on. The knifemakers are all newbies and don't forge so they did not say anything. The discussion turned to the Knifemakers Guild and ABS and that I would have to join one of them and have them award me a journeyman bladesmith and then a master bladesmith title.

What do you people think? I know we have some journeyman and master bladesmiths from the Knifemakers Guild as CKD members. What do you think of non-members calling themselves bladesmiths?

I consider myself a bladesmith because I forge my blades (not all but most). I also don't believe I need to join an organization to get permission to call myself anything. I also don't need an organization to tell me that I make a decent knife, I do enough destructive testing to know how good my knives are.

What do you people think?

george tichbourne
08-15-2001, 09:09 PM
Anyone who heats and beats is a smith, status within any individual group is secondary.

primos
08-15-2001, 09:18 PM
Bob,
The people you were dealing with were either messing with you to get a rise out of you, or they are completely full of crap.

The Knifemaker's Guild does not award the status of Journeyman or Mastersmith. That's strictly within the American Bladesmith Society.

Members of the American Bladesmith Society have the option of testing for their Journeyman of Mastersmith status. Whether or not they go for their stamps, if they forge blades, they're still bladesmiths.

You do not have to be a member of the ABS to call yourself a bladesmith. If you are forging your blades, then you are a bladesmith.

According to the bull these morons laid on you, guys like Daniel Searles, James Black, and Bill Scagel could not be classified as bladesmiths, since none of them were in the ABS. The organization was not even created until 1976. So according to those nitwits who were badgering you, nobody could have been a bladesmith before 1976.

However, there is an out for you if you want to appease those meatheads. If you are forging your blades and you join the ABS, you will automatically and officially be an Apprentice bladesmith. That ought to shut them up. :)

steve filicietti
08-15-2001, 11:14 PM
Bob, regardless of what people think, you are by by the methods you use ,defined as a bladesmith. Iconsider myself a bladesmith.

primos
08-15-2001, 11:26 PM
Dang right! Steve Filicietti is an outstanding bladesmith.

Steve, I can't wait to see more of your work.

ERIC ELSON
08-16-2001, 12:06 AM
I call myself a Knifemaker.....

I would definatly consider you a bladesmith by any definition of the word!!

regards

Eric

ansoknives
08-16-2001, 01:47 AM
Ya..What Eric said!........I call myself knifemaker...and sometimes some other things that I won?t type here....but that is mostly when I screw up something.

Bob Warner
08-16-2001, 05:34 AM
I really don't care what they do or don't think about the topic. I consider myself a bladesmith and I will call myself a bladesmith. I just happen to be the type of person that will jump into an arguement like this with both feet. I was just curious what the rest of the knifemaking community thought about this. I do like knowing that I can drop some big names that never belonged to any organizations that even these people would call a bladesmith.

In the defense of these people (Kinda) they always want to argue with the knifemakers. It is due to some previous encounters with arrogant knifemakers, so these guys don't particularly care for knifemakers "attitudes". And I agree that some knifemakers can have a big ego.

One of them said (in front of a croud) that making a knife is the easiest thing in the world. So I handed him a piece of post tensioning cable and said make me a knife out of this. Two hours later, he gave up trying to forge weld it. Twenty minutes later I passed around a knife out of the same cable. I told him that the arrogance was his, the ability was mine. If he would check HIS ego at the door, he would be able to learn how to do "the easiest thing in the world," from a BLADESMITH.

winstonknives
08-16-2001, 07:26 AM
A lot of people today want to be knifemakers. Few are willing to spend the time it takes to learn. I find that most are not even willing to buy books about knifemaking. This does not happen overnight. I made my first knife in 1974. I do not think I have missed a day since reading my books over and over. Even though I have built hundreds of knives since I did not truly feel that I had arrived until last year. I built a "Hawbaker Special Muskrat" slip joint. In my humble opinion it is a fine knife. After 27 years I now call myself a knifemaker. You can steer someone but you can not make him learn. He has to do this for himself. Thanks to all of you for sharing your knowledge.

David Winston

foxcreek
08-16-2001, 02:03 PM
bob, that makes me madder than a wet hen at a feather pluckin! You can darn well call your self a bladesmith if that's what you do. As with all other endeavors there are going to be some folks out there that are just plain full of it! I guess there are some "knife makers " out there who cant stop at calling them selves bladesmith, but add "world'sbestexpertbetterthanyoutnyahnyahnyah' to there title and come off at being hoss-hineys.

MJHKNIVES
08-16-2001, 03:18 PM
Bob,I tend to get a little hot under the collar,about the semantics game,and partisanship.It was a lot worse in the 80-90s,but it still pops up.I call myself a knifemaker,got no problem with you calling yourself a bladesmith.I like it all,,just happen to make mine by grinding.

KandSKNIVES
08-16-2001, 07:43 PM
MR. WARNER, I THINK YOU ARE TWICE BLESSED. YOU CAN GRIND A BLADE OR FORGE ONE. IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE IF YOU BELONG TO THIS GROUP OR THAT GROUP. A MAKER CAN BELONG TO MANY ORGS. AND STILL NOT BE ABLE TO MAKE A REAL QUALITY KNIFE. WHATEVER YOU CALL YOURSELF, THE QUALITY OF YOUR WORK WILL STAND ALONE FOR EVERYONE TO JUDGE AND I BELEIVE THAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE.
KEN (WWJD)

CKDadmin
08-16-2001, 09:38 PM
Bob,

Next time, tell them you are an official "CKD Bladesmith." If seen some of those certified Bladesmith's work that looks like $#@# ...

Alex

ghostdog
08-17-2001, 08:03 PM
Bob that is an awesome story you told about the cable. Great presence on your part.

I have made 5 knives by forging and 4 of them are pretty good to my eye. I don't care what them guys say, I consider myself a newby bladesmith.

ghostdog

gary mills
08-30-2001, 07:12 PM
bob,
as a newbie who will probably never forge blades but i have the greatest respect and admiration for you folks who do .people like you set a great example for all of us.and we need you.and your guidance.so to me you are a journeyman bladesmith.
if and when i learn to make decent honest knives i fully intend to call myself a knife maker. i may even add the word custon in front of that and them that don't like it can go to hell.
stand by your beleifs you are a master bladesmith.sincerely
gary mills

col Jim
09-05-2001, 10:30 AM
Hi Bob, I just read the story about the cable knife. Great story, can you tell more about how that is done? I have seen cable damascus, have no idea how it is done.
Thanks
Col. Jim

Bob Warner
09-05-2001, 12:56 PM
Col. Jim,

I take a piece of post tensioning cable that is about 3ft. long and heat about 3-4 inches on one end, using the rest for a handle. When it gets hot I hammer the end square (about 1"). Then I flux it with Borax and reheat. Take it up to welding temp and then weld the 1" square. Reflux the welded spot and reheat the cable but about 6-7 inches this time. Take it out of the heat and flux it all, reheat to welding temp. Pull it out and put the square part in the post vise and with a pipe wrench twist the cable to make it a tighter twist. This will weld the cable. Reflux and reheat to welding temp. Pull it out and tap the entire length of the weld from the square end towards the handle, welding anything that you did not get the first time. This is usually not required but I don't want anything missed. If you twisted tight enough, you have squeezed out all impurities already. Continue until your piece is long enough for your knife. If you want a big knife, hammer it flat and fold it over and weld. This gives you more mass to pound into a bigger blade. Forge as usual but I always flux lightly between every heat, let the flux melt and stop dripping before putting back into the forge or it will eat you refractory if you use ceramic wool. Don't hit it cold (cooler than forging temp) or you can break the welds. When your knife is done and heat treated and tempered, etch with ferric acid or muratic acid for desired effect.

Other may do this differently but it works for me.

J Loose
09-05-2001, 01:22 PM
Excellent story, Bob.

It can be odd interacting with the blacksmithing community in general because knifemaking encompasses so many different things... We use so many of the same tools but I often feel we get to know the material a little better than -many- ( but certainly not all ) blacksmiths. On the other hand... I can't really work larger than a straight sword and so lack many of the traditional blacksmithing skills involving large work... or traditional locks/ hinges.

On to the original thread qusetion: I call myself a Metalsmith... as are many of you who can also work non-ferrous metals.