ABS Lose Two Long-Time Leaders In Passing Of Steve Dunn & Hanford Miller

ABS Lose Two Long-Time Leaders In Passing Of Steve Dunn & Hanford Miller
Hanford Miller (left) and Steve Dunn.

Dunn and Miller left lasting impressions on ABS, students and custom knifemaking.

The American Bladesmith Society lost two of its finest leaders and bladesmithing instructors recently with the passing of ABS master smiths Steve Dunn and Hanford J. Miller.

Steve Dunn

Steve died on May 21. He was 68. Outgoing chairman of the ABS, he was a longtime Society member, receiving his master smith stamp in 1994 before going on to serve on the ABS board of directors and eventually being elected chairman.

“He was a craftsman of the highest level, as evident in the exceptional blades he made, and unsurpassed as an engraver, which he passed on to so many with his teaching,” americanbladesmith.org reported.

Many in the ABS were still recovering from the shock of the news as BLADE® was going to press, ABS master smith Billy Bob Sowell among them.

“I was stunned,” he wrote. “Steve was one of my judges for my master smith stamp. I took his engraving class and his folder class. I’ll miss him.”

According to his bio on the ABS website, Steve began making knives as a hobby in 1988. In 1990 he enrolled in the basic forging class at the Bill Moran School of Bladesmithing, where he started forging damascus. After achieving master smith, it wasn’t long before he began teaching at the Moran School. In 2003 he was selected to serve on the Society’s board of directors.

A strong believer in sole authorship of his knives, he enrolled in a basic engraving class at GRS Tools in 2002. He later studied with Chris DeCamillus on Bulino style engraving and was asked to be an instructor at the GRS school in 2005.

Hanford Dunn

Hanford passed away on March 25. He sold his first knife in 1968. He made knives in the Moran style, including bowies, fighters, camp knives and other large fixed blades, and also period pieces such as reproductions of the cinquedea. His mark was his initials or name within a bowie logo.

In addition to being an outstanding maker of forged knives, Hanford served on the ABS board of directors as treasurer for many years. According to americanbladesmith.org, he was best of friends with BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-of-Fame® member Bill Moran, with the pair being “like two peas in a pod.”

They first met in 1974 in Bill’s shop. Hanford read about Bill in a library book about knives and realized he was only a short drive away from Hanford’s home in Randallstown, Maryland.

“Bill was a great mentor,” the site observed, “and their friendship lasted long after Hanford moved to Colorado in 1976.”

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