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ABS Bladesmithing School - Introduction to Bladesmithing

Overview

Welcome! I recently attended The School of Bladesmithing and decided to document some of what I learned as both a means for self improvement, and out of a desire to share the information and encourage others to attend this fantastic program. The School of Bladesmithing is the only one in the world, and my classmates and I came from all over the United States. We made quite a few new friends, and left with a wealth of knowledge that we'll carry with us for the rest of our lives.

Introduction to Bladesmithing is the first in a series of courses created jointly between the American Bladesmith Society and Texarkana College. The course is taught in historic Old Washington, Arkansas, about eight miles from Hope, Arkansas - made famous as the birthplace of President Bill Clinton.

Photo of my Class

This course is designed to instruct the beginning Bladesmith in the art, and science, of hand forged blade making. Please note: the course only covers blades. Students will not take home a completed knife as handles and guards are not covered in this basic course. There is barely time to cover the topics presented; however a separate course is offered to teach handles and guards which will allow beginners the opportunity to learn the basics from start to finish for creating custom knives.

There are no pre-requisites to attend the course, and 90% of the students in our class had no previous forging experience. Having said that you need to bring a determined attitude and a lot of energy. It is demanding, serious work. It will also teach students the meaning of the word humility. Trust me, it's a LOT harder than it looks.

Topics covered in this two week class include:

  1. Forging to shape
  2. Normalizing and heat treatment
  3. Grinding and sanding
  4. Hardening
  5. Tempering

Our instructors, Master Smiths Joe Flornouy and Mike Williams, also covered a wide range of historical, theoretical and scientific data as well as sharing a number of tips, tricks and secrets. These insights are gleamed from decades of experience and can save apprentice Bladesmiths countless hours of toil.

One final note before getting into the details: It should be stressed that the methods discussed for each of the phases of blade production here are only one method out of a hundred. That is to say, this is not the only way to do itů just one way that works.

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Beginning - Definitions - Forging - Normalizing - Grinding - Hardening - Tempering - Summary



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This page last updated 12/30/2004
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