Journeyman Smith Test Set (5 Knives and Performance Test Blade)

Product Description for Journeyman Smith Test Set (5 Knives and Performance Test Blade)

Maker: Stuart Smith, J.S. (click to see more by this maker)
Item num: 100370
** This is handmade and one-of-a-kind **
Description: South African bladesmith Stuart Smith was honored as a ABS Journeyman Smith in June of 2019. When a maker tests to become a journeyman, they create five knives that are the height of their work at the time. These five knives are then judged by established masters to determine if the maker's work is up to snuff. Often, prospective journeymen spend 2-3 times as long creating these five knives as they would generally do, as they know that their work will be poured over by the masters. These five knives are generally considered to be among the most collectable knives of a maker's career.
I was very excited to get Stuart Smiths entire set of five Journeyman Smith Test Knives along with the performance knife. This is a rare opportunity to get a truly spectacular set of knives.
Smith began making knives in 2000 after he took a class with Mastersmith Kevin Harvey. Stuart was immediately hooked and quite his job working as a salesman by 2004. Only a few years after that, in 2009, Stuart began teaching classes of his own. Among his many students is Neels van den Berg. Stuart has been very active over the years in the Southern African Bladesmiths Association (SABA) and the Knifemakers Guild of Southern Africa (KGSA).
Knife 1: Puukko with Wild Olive Burl. This elegant hunting knife was forged to shape from 1070 carbon steel. It features a hand rubbed satin finish and is distal tapered, ensuring perfect balance. The contoured handle is formed from wild olivewood burl surrounded by a front and rear phosphor bronze guard. Black fiber spacers assist the handle to adjust to temperature and humidity changes. Blade length: 3.9", cutting edge: 3.6", overall: 9".
Knife 2: Clip Point Hamon Hunting Bowie with Box Elder Burl. This large hunter features a blade hand forged from 1070 carbon steel. An undulating line travels across the blade, showing the transition between the soft, supportive spine, and the keen, long lasting cutting edge. This heat treatment line (called a gunome hamon) is created using a traditional technique used to create Japanese swords. The contoured handle combines stabilized box elder burl with phosphor bronze. A desert ironwood button hides the central pin. Blade length: 6.6", cutting edge: 6", overall: 11.75".
Knife 3: Coffin Handled Vest Bowie with Sneezewood. Like the Clip Point Hamon Hunter, this gent's bowie was forged to shape from 1070 carbon steel. It also features a clay zone heat treatment shown in the undulating gunome hamon. The oval guard, ferrule, and finial are formed from phosphor bronze. The dramatic sneezewood is exhibition grade and immediately grabs attention. Blade length: 7.2", cutting edge: 6.6", overall: 12.8".
Knife 4: Bowie with African Blackwood. This massive Bowie features a 13.6" blade. The long clip brings weight out of the blade yet it feels like a tremendous chopper. It was forged to shape from 1080 carbon steel and features a clay zone heat treatment. It was double quenched, resulting in a higher and lower heat treatment line. The fittings combine bronze and cupronickel. The African Blackwood used is very unusual -- it combined medium dark and dark brown tones and a dramatic figure. Blade length: 13.6", cutting edge: 12.9", overall: 19.4".
Knife 5: Hamon Fighting Bowie with Curly Mabondolo Wood. A dramatic hamon travels across the massive 1070 carbon steel blade. The oval guard and ferrule are formed from cupronickel. The handle is formed from exhibition grade curly mabondolo wood. Blade length: 12.9", cutting edge: 12.3", overall: 18.5".
Knife 6: Performance Test Knife. This is the final knife in a JS test set. It was forged from resilient 5160 carbon steel. First, the knife is used to perform a rope cutting test. Next, it must cut through a 2x4 -- twice! Having chopped through the 2x4, the blade still needs to shave hair, showing that it hasn't dulled. Finally, the knife is put into a bench vice and bent to 90 degrees. It should take and hold the bend but should not crack. It is quite a test! The handle is formed from curly maple and is set with a lanyard tube and brass pins. The blade measures just over 9 inches with an overall length of 14 inches. This test knife is signed by Mastersmith Lin Rhea, who supervised the performance test on 6/7/2017.
I can't say enough good things about Stuart Smith's work. Given the level of work, it is no surprise that Stuart Smith was welcomed into the American Bladesmith Society as a Journeyman Smith with this tremendous set.

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