The American Bladesmiths Society has developed a rigorous certification program that challenges bladesmith's abilities. Through the process of attaining certifications, bladesmiths learn through the journey.
The testing consists of two distinct parts; performance test and show knives.
The performance test is performed in the presence of a mastersmith. The blade should be able to shave hair, chop through a 2x4 twice, chop though a free hanging hemp rope, shave hair once again and then survive the bend test of 90 degrees. There is a video of Ben's bend test below.
After sucessful completion of the performance test, the applicant will then begin their show knife set. They must present 5 practically perfect mono steel knives for a group of mastersmiths to judge. This is only performed once a year in Atlanta at the Blade Show.
Ben passed unanimously. The photo above is the photograph of the passing set and the bent knife is the knife from the performance test.
The Journeyman Bladesmith testing is purely voluntary. It is a way for those that like to challenge themselves, an outlet and a certification.
Ben will be testing for Mastersmith in 2024.
One of the most difficult parts of the performance test is the 90 degree bend test. The applicant must clamp their knife into a vice and with a pipe, bend it to 90 degrees. The knife should not crack or bend proving that the bladesmith has properly hardened the cutting edge while keeping the spine soft enough to bend. This must take place under the watchful eye of a mastersmith.