Damascus Ring Dagger with Red Bushwillow
Mastersmith Test Knife, BR Hughes Award

Product Description for Damascus Ring Dagger with Red Bushwillow
Mastersmith Test Knife, BR Hughes Award

Maker: Neels van den Berg, M.S. (click to see more by this maker)
Item num: 106676
*** This is handmade and one-of-a-kind ***
Blade length: 10.90 in.
Cutting edge length: 10.45 in.
Total length: 16.40 in.
Blade height (at heel): 0.98 in.
Blade thickness (near bolster): 0.21 in.
Blade thickness (at midpoint): 0.21 in.
Blade thickness (near tip): 0.10 in.
Item weight: 10.60 oz.
Blade: Heat colored twisted Ws damascus forged from 1075 and 75Ni8 carbon steels
Bolster: Antiqued bronze fittings
Handle: Hand fluted red bushwillow with fine silver twisted wire
Description: Neels van den Berg was honored to become Africa's third mastersmith in June 2022. Van den Berg is a powerhouse and creates some of the most dramatic forged knives coming out of South Africa. Visiting Neels' workshop on visits to South Africa is a real treat. His forge is pretty much in the middle of nowhere -- or at least if you kept driving down the road, that is clearly where it would end. The twisting road travels through beautiful veldt populated by zebra and other wild animals. Neels is well known for his war hammers, spike hawks, and highly refined art knives. This exceptional Ring Dagger was made as part of Neels' Mastersmith set. Additionally, this Ring Dagger received the BR Hughes Award for the best knife by a master smith applicant. This dagger is featured on page 44 of the October 2022 issue of Blade Magazine.
Coming back from Blade Show with mastersmith test knives is one of the great highlights of each year. When a bladesmith tests to become a mastersmith, five knives are made by the applicant that are the height of his work. These knives are judged by ABS mastersmiths on fit and finish, as well as general artistry. The standards are exacting. Becoming a mastersmith is often considered the height of a career in knifemaking.
The 10.9 inch dagger ground blade was forged to shape from Neel's own damascus, combining 1075 and 75Ni8 carbon steels for excellent toughness and edge holding. It is hollow ground and perfectly symmetrical. Daggers are one of the hardest blades to grind because it becomes extremely obvious if the blade is not ground perfectly.
The central column of the handle is hand fluted stabilized red bushwillow. This South African wood has a tremendous swirling figure. The top of each of the flutes features twisted fine silver (.999) wire. The antiqued bronze ring guard and pommel surround the fluted handle. The pommel can be twisted to disassemble the knife if cleaning or maintenance is needed. Take-down construction requires tighter tolerances and shows Neels' focus on the small details.
Exceptional work throughout!

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