BLADE Magazine

2023 ABS Awards: Who Earned What From The Foremost Bladesmith Society

ABS Awards

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

ABS master smiths Heather and Kevin Harvey won the W. W. Scagel Award for running their highly successful Heavin Forge Studio & Bladesmithing School in Belfast, South Africa. It was an especially momentous evening for Heather as she won the Margaret Moran Silver Slipper Award as well.

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

New ABS master smith Jackson Rumble won the B. R. Hughes Award for the top knife submitted by a successful ABS master smith applicant. The spectacular quillon dagger with an integral guard is from his set of five knives submitted for MS judging. The 9.5-inch blade and pommel are of a mosaic damascus of 1075 carbon and 15N20 nickel-alloy steels. Handle: African blackwood. Overall length: 15.5 inches. Jackson’s price for a similar knife: $10,000. (SharpByCoop knife image; image of Rumble and Neely by B. R. Hughes)

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

One of the happier groups of new ABS journeyman smiths you’re likely to see proudly display their JS certificates. There were 19 new JS’s in all. Here are 12 of them. For the full list, see the story.

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:

NEXT STEP: Download Your Free KNIFE GUIDE Issue of BLADE Magazine

BLADE’s annual Knife Guide Issue features the newest knives and sharpeners, plus knife and axe reviews, knife sheaths, kit knives and a Knife Industry Directory.

Get your FREE digital PDF instant download of the annual Knife Guide. No, really! We will email it to you right now when you subscribe to the BLADE email newsletter.

Click Here to Subscribe and get your free digital 2022 Knife Guide!
Exit mobile version