Master Smith Testing

In order for a Journeyman Smith to earn the rating of Master Smith in the American Bladesmith Society, he or she must first pass a pre-determined set of tests that measure his or her ability to make a knife that will not only perform to a remarkable level, but will exhibit a level of fit, finish and design that is among the best in the world.

The following links will open a PDF document that can be downloaded

ABS Testing Rules and Guidelines for the Master Smith Rating

ABS Judging Guidelines for JS and MS Candidates

Master Smith Applicant Performance Test Certification Form

Thirty-Day Notice of Intent Requirements for Master Smith Candidates 

Click below to view photos of knives previously submitted to the ABS Judging Panel by successful Master Smith Candidates

Master Smith Candidate Knife Photos

Video Example of Master Smith Performance Test

This ABS YouTube Channel displays a video clip of an actual Master Smith Performance Test to give an idea of the steps involved in a successful performance test.

History of Changes to Master Smith Testing Rules

Per the ABS Chairman we have updated the Performance Test Certification forms for both MS and JS, February, 2017. They are now a two-page form. Performance Test Certificates must be on file with the ABS office before you can be proven eligible to present knives for judging.
Harvey Dean, Chairman, February 2017 – Per the ABS Chairman and Board of directors, December 8, 2015, blades or any component of a completed knife made in any instructional class will not be eligible to be used for performance tests or presented to the ABS Judging Panel for fit and finish examination for the rating of Journeyman Smith or Master Smith.
Harvey Dean, Chairman, December 2015 – The ABS Board of Directors voted at the June 2009 Board Meeting in Atlanta to exclude the “random pattern” as a Damascus pattern used for the Master Smith dagger blade.
Per ABS Chairman, on November 4, 2019, new information was added to page five of the MS Testing rules. See paragraphs 3 and 4 of the 2019 document entitled Master Smith Testing.