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            On September 18-20, 2015 a history making event happened in Kansas City, Missouri at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown.  The American Bladesmith Society and the Knifemakers Guild joined together to hold the first International Custom Cutlery Exposition (ICCE).   The ICCE showcases 160 tableholders from both organizations featuring their custom made cutlery and other products and services.  

            “It’s no coincidence that this ‘super show’ of handmade knives is being held in Kansas City,” said Mr. Baskett. “We held all but one of our shows in Kansas City from 1972-85, and the ABS was conceived in Kansas City, Missouri as well.”  

            “We are combining our memberships, our knowledge and experience, and our resources to host a show that will be extremely attractive to knife collectors, hunters and those who use cutlery in their professional and personal knives,” said Harvey Dean, Chairman of the ABS . “The important thing is, this show and our willingness to become united as one organization enables us to work as a team to provide our methodology in knife making that will benefit knife users and collectors.”  This event is an excellent educational opportunity for those interested in making knives as well as those interested in owning or using a handmade knife.  Some of the best educational opportunities you will ever have are at your show table.

           Both organizations are on the cutting edge of custom knifemaking, providing support and structure for members with the intention of making better, more durable collectible artifacts.

            The Guild originated in February 1970 when A.G. Russell invited several fellow knife makers to display and market their creations at the Sahara Gun Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. They officially formed the guild later that year in Tulsa, Oklahoma to promote custom knives and assist their makers, and to – among other things -- encourage ethical and professional business conduct.

            Guild members are known for making knives by the process of “stock removal/grinding” in which a piece of steel has everything removed that does not resemble a knife. Guild members’ grinding wheels provide and restore the blade’s gross shape while providing a good cutting edge angle.  It also creates a relieve by honing with a secondary angle until a burr appears.

            Conversely, ABS members heat the steel in a forge before hammering it into a blade, and will grind only as the final step in the process to finish up the blade and sharpen the edge.

            The ABS, which was formed in 1976 thanks to the guiding vision of the late W.F. “Bill” Moran, is comprised of bladesmiths who pride themselves on representing the cutting edge of forged blade design and performance. Its membership, which represents six different continents worldwide, is intent on  preserving and promoting the “ancient” craft of forged knives through education, testing and certification, and to pursue the production of the ultimate in high performance cutting tools.

 

            “The ABS was incorporated as a non-profit entity to promote educational, scientific and charitable activities involving the art of forging metal for the purpose of using knives as tools and art forms,” said  B.R. Hughes, Secretary and one of the Founders of the American Bladesmith Society. “Our educational programs inform and educate knife makers, users and collectors about the art, science, technology, history, care, use and culture of forged edged tools and artifacts.

 

            “In addition, we are proud of our associations with Texarkana College (Washington AR), Haywood Community College (Clyde, NC), the New England School of Metalwork (Auburn, ME), the Southern Ohio Forge (Troy, OH) and the Anvil Blade School, La Forge d’ Ostiches, and Heavin Forge Bladesmithing School,” Mr. Hughes added.

            For more information about each organization click on the links below.