A year’s worth of hot hammering results in top results at the 2023 ABS awards in Atlanta.
The American Bladesmith Society held its annual awards program during the 42nd Annual BLADE Show, the largest knife event in the world, and bladesmiths came from far and wide to salute the art of the forged blade.
ABS master smith and ABS president Steve Dunn acted as master of ceremonies for the awards ceremony Friday night, June 2, in the BLADE Show’s host hotel, the Atlanta Renaissance Waverly.
Don Hastings Award
The first presentation was the Don Hastings Award, named in honor of one of the four founders of the ABS who was only the third American smith to forge damascus steel. Don served as ABS treasurer from 1976 until he died of cancer in 1986. This year’s recipient is Jim Crowell, who received his ABS master smith stamp in 1986, has earned an enviable record for his artistry in steel, and has long been a fine bladesmithing teacher and an excellent judge of those applying for bladesmith ratings within the Society.
W. W. Scagel Award
Next was the W. W. Scagel Award, named for BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member William Scagel, the first great American bladesmith of the 20th century who taught many the art of the forged blade. The recipients are ABS master smiths Heather and Kevin Harvey in recognition of their contributions in the field of teaching all about bladesmithing at their Heavin Forge Bladesmithing Studio & School in Belfast, South Africa.
Paul Burke was a Baltimore attorney who served on the ABS board of directors for many years, who obtained the Society’s tax-exempt status and was devoted to the ABS. The Paul Burke Award is named in his honor and was presented to ABS master smith and past ABS president, Greg Neely.
ABS Gold-Medal Knives
B. R. Hughes Award
The B. R. Hughes Award for making the most outstanding knife submitted by an applicant attaining the rating of ABS master smith went to Australia’s Jackson Rumble. Erik McCright won the Joe Keeslar Award for making the top knife submitted by a new ABS journeyman smith.
Bill Moran Award
The Bill Moran Award is given for the best knife made in the Moran style and was presented to Matt Stagmer. Antique Bowie Knife Association Awards go to both an ABS master smith and ABS journeyman who make the finest bowie most representative of a 19th-century style. The MS award went to Josh Fisher and the JS to Mace Vitale.
Margaret Moran Silver Slipper Award
To augment her co-winning of the Scagel Award, Heather Harvey received the Margaret Moran Silver Slipper Award named in honor of Mrs. Margaret Moran, wife of Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer Bill Moran.
ABS Smith Ratings
Jackson Rumble was the only applicant to successfully earn the ABS master smith rating. Head Judge Greg Neely presented Jackson his certificate and stamp.
Those who successfully earned ABS journeyman smith ratings at the show were: Ismael Biegelmeier; Kevin Burgess; Jeff Davidson; Caleb L. French; Jacob Gaetz; James Ingram; Mike Johnson; Andrea Lisch, wife of ABS master smith David Lisch; Francois Mazieres; Erik McCright; Vicente Molina; Trevor Morgan, Jr.; Jim Quick; Jeff Royer; Brian Sellers; Camile Senegon; Jayden Simisky; Bill Thorne; and Henning Wilkinson. ABS master smith and head ABS journeyman smith judge James Rodebaugh made the certificate presentations.
In other honors, Distinguished Service Awards were presented to Amanda Davis, photographer Eric Eggly of PointSeven and Jacob Lutz. ABS Chairman’s Awards were presented to Shanna Maust, Shane Maust and ABS master smith Brion Tomberlin.
And so dropped the curtain on another ABS awards program on the largest stage of the knife world!
Editor’s note: Along with Bill Moran, Don Hastings and Bill Bagwell, the author is a founding member of the ABS, and is also the only surviving one. He has served on the ABS board of directors longer than anyone in the Society’s 47-year history, and written a number of books and countless magazine and other stories on knives and also guns for over six decades. He is a Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer and, at 91, is without a doubt the oldest knife writer/knife magazine editorial staff member extant. His wife Carolyn has been editor of the American Bladesmith, the ABS Journal, for 23 years. Both are knife industry treasures beyond comparison.
Read More On BLADE Magazine And Show:
- A Look Back At BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall of Fame® History
- That Time that BLADE Magazine was Traded for a Horse
- BLADE Show History: It All Started With Two Names
- 2023 BLADE Show Texas Factory And Custom Award Winners
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