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Journeyman Smith Test Set
Product Description for Journeyman Smith Test Set
Maker: Michael Rader, M.S. (click to see more by this maker)
Item num: 89471
*** This is handmade and one-of-a-kind ***
Item weight: 68.00 oz.
Description: Among the most collectible knives of a maker's career are the knives submitted to become a journeyman smith and mastersmith. When a bladesmith tests to become a journeyman, they must first complete a performance test. The apprentice forges a knife to shape from carbon steel. This knife is then put through some of the most difficult tests, showing the bladesmith's skill at forging and heat treating. First, the knife must cut through a 1" thick section of free hanging hemp rope. Next, a 2x4 is cut in half -- twice. Then, showing that the knife has not been dulled by the arduous cutting task, the knife must still shave hair. Finally, The knife is put into a vice and bent to 90 degrees. Having passed through this performance test, the bladesmith makes 5 knives that are judged on fit, finish, and artistry. Typically, the bladesmith spends many more hours than on their typical knives, as these will be judged for any slight flaws. This set of 6 knives -- 5 knives judged on fit, finish, and artistry, and the performance knife -- are the knives that Mastersmith Michael Rader submitted to become a journeyman on June 16th, 2006. His skill and artistry are clearly visible in these knives.
The first knife is a Drop Point Hunter. The blade was forged to shape from 1074 carbon steel. The handle is formed from stabilized mesquite burl with ebony inlay. The fittings are formed from bronze. This knife features a blade that is 5.9 inches and an overall length of 11-2/3 inches.
The Fighting Claw was forged from clay tempered 1074 carbon steel. Using this traditional Japanese heat treatment technique, Michael created a knife with a soft, supportive spine and a keen, long lasting edge. The gently undulating heat treatment line is called a hamon. The handle is formed from stabilized maple burl with stabilized and dyed maple accents. The guard and finial are formed from stainless steel. The blade measures 7-1/2 inches. The overall length is 12-1/4 inches.
The Full-Tang Bowie was forged to shape from 52100 carbon steel and clay tempered using the traditional Japanese technique. Many knifemakers and collectors feel 52100 is among the best, if not the highest performance steel used in modern knives. Stabilized mesquite burl scales are set on a distal tapered full tang. The guard and frame are formed from titanium. The overall length is 13-3/4 inches, with a blade length of 9.1 inches.
The Long Dagger was forged to shape from 1074 carbon steel. The stabilized redwood burl handle is surrounded by a guard and finial formed from polished bronze. The blade measures 12 inches, with an overall length of 18-1/4 inches.
The Integral Dagger was forged from 52100 carbon steel. Forging integral knives shows tremendous skill -- an integral dagger is even harder! Peruvian walnut burl and maple burl are combined into a particularly compelling handle. The finial is formed from stainless steel. The dagger ground blade measures 7-3/4 inches with an overall length of 13-1/2 inches.
Lastly, the performance knife was forged to shape from 5160 carbon steel, triple marquenched, and triple tempered. The handle is formed from ipe and is finished with teak oil. This knife still has the curve from when it was bent to 90 degrees. Showing Michael's superior heat treatment, there is no cracking and the blade sprung back significantly after being released. The right side of this knife is marked: "OK (Passed)" and signed by Mastersmith Ed Caffrey, who supervised Michael's performance test. This knife has a 9-1/2 inch blade with an overall length of 14.9 inches.
This set is particularly dramatic and shows off Michael Rader's woodworking and forging skills at their best. The blades are elegantly satin finished for an heirloom quality. It is particularly rare to submit two daggers, as the grinds on these are especially difficult.
Exceptional work throughout! A VERY rare find!
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