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Nine New Journeymen Bladesmiths

February 28, 2013

Journeymen Bladesmiths

The American Bladesmith Society’s rigorous admissions test is not survived by everyone—here are nine who did!

Earning the Journeyman rating from the American Bladesmith Society is a milestone in the career of any smith. Here we meet nine who have reached that milestone.

Nine Who Passed

The nine new JS Smiths are Michael Christensen, Michael Deibert, Daniel Erickson, Dana Hackney, Kenneth Hall, Dietrich Podmajersky, Steve Randall, Bob Singleton and Dave Wenger. Each received his JS certificate from Dr. Jim Batson, ABS President. A short biographical sketch of each new JS follows in alphabetical order.

Michael Christensen

Michael Christensen was born on a farm in north central Iowa in 1943, the son of a farmer and a schoolteacher. As a boy, Michael loved hunting and fishing, and he seldom left the house without a pocketknife. He attended Iowa State University, earning a BS in science education. After a couple of years teaching and coaching, he returned to college and earned an MS in biology. He worked for Upjohn Pharmaceutical Company for a few years, and after graduating from the University of Loyola School of Dentistry, he worked for more than 25 years in the VA Hospital system.

Mike Deibert

Mike Deibert is a native of Bellevue, Ohio, the son of a railroad machinist and a registered nurse. He attended Mecca Community College where he earned an associate degree in graphic arts and later a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Bowling Green State University. From 1987 until 1993 he served in the Ohio National Guard as a combat engineer.

Daniel Erickson

Daniel Erickson began his life in Missoula, Montana, in 1970. Daniel studied architecture at an area college for two years where he learned the relationship between form and function. During his college days, he discovered photography and found that this art could be a visual vocabulary. “One can change the angle, strip away the distraction, and capture the essence,” is how he explains it.

Dana Hackney

Dana Hackney was born in 1949 at Ft. Clayton in the Panama Canal Zone. His father was a career soldier who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, retiring as a Lt. Colonel after 30 years of service. His mother immigrated from Germany to the United States as a child and later received her RN from the Michael Reese School of Nursing. She enlisted in the U.S. Army as a nurse and met Dana’s father at Camp Polk, Louisiana, where they were married.

Kenneth Hall

Kenneth Hall is a native of North Carolina, and lived in various areas of the Tar Hill State as his father, a pastor, moved from Elizabeth City to Hickory and later to Raeford. After high school, Ken attended North Carolina State University and earned a degree in electrical engineering. After working in this field for a number of years, including a 14-year stint in Washington, D.C., he returned to his native state and today has his own consulting service in the electric utility industry.

Dietrich Podmajersky

Dietrich Podmajersky was born in Amarillo, Texas, in 1972. Dietrich earned an Associate of Art degree in Industrial Design from the Art Institute of Seattle. Later, in 2001 he attended a three-day class in the Basic Art of Blacksmithing, and in 2005 he completed the Introduction to Bladesmithing course at the W.F. Moran School of Bladesmithing in Washington, Arkansas, where his instructors were Masters Michael Connor and Harvey Dean.

Steve Randall

Steve Randall was born in Okinawa, Japan in 1960, where his father was a Chief Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force. Steve earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Wayland Baptist University in 1982, the same year that he received his commercial pilot rating. He has worked for US Airways for the past 24 years. Today, he’s based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Rob Singleton

Rob Singleton was born in 1964 in Asheville, North Carolina, and following graduation from high school, he attended Haywood College in nearby Clyde where he majored in Fish and Wildlife Management. After this, he joined the U.S. Army where he served in the 101st Airborne Division, the famous “Screaming Eagles” of “Band of Brothers” fame. After his hitch was over, he worked on the Asheville Fire Department, retiring in 2011 as a captain.

Dave Wenger

Dave Wenger was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1978, which was where he would become a journeyman tool and die maker, but when this industry “went south,” he followed his dad’s footsteps and became a professional landscaper.

Best Of The New Journeymen—George Peck Award

After the judging is complete for the journeyman ratings, the judges select what they consider to be the best knife in the room. This session, they chose a large Bowie made by Michael Deibert, who received the George Peck Award.

Journeyman Smith Requirements

  • ABS Member for two years
  • Knife must chop two pine 2x4s with no damage to the 10-inch test blade
  • Must sever a 1-inch hanging rope with one swipe (after the board chop)
  • Knife must shave hair after the two previous cuts
  • Blade must bend to 90 degrees without breaking
  • After passing the above tests—five carbon steel knives are made
  • Five knives are reviewed by a critical seven-member judging panel
  • Work must be approved by a majority of the seven-member panel

By B.R. Hughes
Photos furnished by the Journeymen

We have a new and improved website

November 19, 2012

Check out our new-and-improved website @ www. ! We have all the cool things found in the magazine and more. Take a peek and let us know what you think

Guard Your Valuable Knife Collection With a Liberty Safe

January 9, 2012

Story and Photos by Abe Elias

Liberty’s top-of-the-line safe model looks more like fine furniture than a safe.

Want to put an end to your anxiety, especially when you’re on vacation, wondering if some lowlife has broken into your home and stolen your prize knives? Buy a safe.

After all, knives should be protected as things of value — and they are valuable — and not just in dollars. They also have an emotional worth and are a personal expression of what you find desirable. The monetary value extends beyond the purchase price.  There is also the time and money it cost to go find them.

Therefore, if you have taken the time to collect them, it is essential to protect them. Here’s how to do it. Read more…

The Last-Day Dash

December 19, 2011

By J. Bruce Voyles


It was just an hour before the end of a Texas Shot Show. I was late for my plane, so I took the header off my display panel.

A gentleman in a suit was walking the aisle with a notepad in his hand. The guy from the booth beside me had already packed up and left.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” the gentleman advised.

“I wish I didn’t have to, but I have a plane to catch.”

Little did I know that the gentleman was Jerry Van Dijik, the guy in charge at the SHOT Show. Read more…

Four New Knives on the Market

December 14, 2011

Ken Onion’s Fixed-Blade Hunter for CRKT 

Hawaiian knifemaker Ken Onion designed his hunting knife for Columbia River Knife & Tool only after concluding an extensive field-testing program spanning more than five years. He made dozens of custom skinners and gave them to Alaskan guides, professional hunters and taxidermists in exchange for their feedback. He kept modifying the design and sending out more knives, which have now been used to skin more than 60 Alaskan bears and have been proven on deer, elk, moose, antelope, hogs, sheep and cattle.

The result is a knife that works well for skinning, gutting and deboning, as well as the fine-detail cuts preferred by taxidermists and even kitchen and camp chores. It is called the Onion Skinner. Read more…

A Handmade Collaboration Begins

October 28, 2011

The Story of How the Elishewitz/George Collaborations Came to Be

The OD Green G-10 scale features the logo of both Allen Elishewitz and Les George. The G-10 back spacer matches the scale, and a stainless steel lock bar insert ensures a solid lock up and clean release.

By Les George

In June of 2009, Allen Elishewitz and I sat having lunch with our wives at a restaurant near his house in the Texas hill country. Allen looked at me and said, “So, you want to do a project together?”

I’m always eager to learn, and most of the time to try something new. I didn’t have to think to hard to get my answer, “Yes.” Read more…

Shawn Knowles: Maker of Visual & Visceral Knives

October 18, 2011

By Les Robertson

(top) A Shawn Knowles Camp knife, 416 single stainless steel guard, CPM-3V blade, with a curly koa handle. (bottom) A Knowles Fighter, 416 double stainless steel guard, CPM-3V blade, black micarta handle. Price for each is $450.00 (PointSeven photo)

Knives are both visual and visceral.  First we are attracted by how the knife looks…then how it feels in our hand.  You would be amazed at how many times I have witnessed an imaginary knife fight in front of my table, testing the balance and feel of the knife in their hand.   Personally, I like to see that as it almost always guaranteed a sale.

I am guilty of something similar.  When I pick up a big knife especially one in a tactical configuration, I find myself asking the question; “is this something I would have carried as a Rifle Platoon Leader in the 101st Airborne?”  When it comes to the fighter built by Shawn Knowles the answer is a resounding “yes.” Read more…

Knifemakers in Their Own Words: Jim and Joyce Minnick

October 15, 2011

This Husband-and-Wife Team Describe a Different Style of Folder 

This Jim and Joyce Minnick knife was inspired by the movie, The Book of Eli. (Photo: PointSeven)

By Joyce Minnick

I was inspired after seeing the movie, The Book of Eli. The whole ambiance of the movie contributed to the design elements. About that same time, we found a set of dinosaur-tooth handle material we had bought in Italy the year before, and forgotten that we had it packed away; it was the perfect handle for the piece.

The knife, concept and design became one entity at that point. Jim worked on the blade design so it would flow with all the other elements. It was quite a challenge for both us. The handle material just barely fit, and could never have been replaced had it broken. Ron Skaggs was the first to see the design in our shop, and after studying the design, Skaggs told Jim that it was very rare when someone comes up with a new, original design concept in this business.

Jim and I were both thrilled, as we consider Skagg’s artistry innovative and top-of-the-line. We both enjoyed the challenge of this piece as well as the rewards of knowing that the two of us had combined our efforts in creating it. Jim likes to refer to the style as “Future Tech.”

This locking-liner folder resides in the collection of Ron Stagnari. Doug Ponzio made the Damascus. Its blade length is 3 inches with an overall length of 7 1/2 inches. The bolsters are high-carbon steel, treated by black oxide with a mirror-polished, contrasting hammering in the metal, which includes 24K gold inlays.

The Fantastic Tactical Folders of Dustin Turpin

October 13, 2011

By Les Robertson

Three Dustin Turpin Knives. (Top) His “Repentance” folding dagger features green micarta scales and a flipper opening, his “Big Chief folder and Rogue model on the bottom are handled in carbon fiber. (Voyles photo)

Dustin Turpin builds a fantastic tactical folder.  He offers his knives at a price that will appeal to the entry level buyer; while at the same time will have the seasoned collector shaking his head in disbelief.  The head shaking will be the direct result of the quality and attention to detail that Dustin offers.  Arguably Dustin builds the best sub-$400 Tactical folder being offered today!

Dustin’s primary focus is tactical folders. He has always been a big fan of the classic tactical locking liner folders and this was what he offered. Read more…

The Wilson Tactical Neck Knife Works!

October 6, 2011

A Sturdy User Design

The Wilson tactical neck knife comes with skull fob and Kydex neck sheath.

By Abe Elias

Neck knives are a hard category to pin down. If you wanted to hang a machete off your neck you can say you just got yourself a very large neck knife.

I tend to look at neck knives as something versatile it can either hang from your neck or act as a small pocket fixed blade or  be used as a small belt knife. When you decide to carry a neck knife you have to be real about what you want. If you are looking at a small carry you are looking at a blade with not enough leverage or grip to really put the boots to it, and use it safely. If you are looking at a large knife then you compromise weight and concealment. The Wilson Tactical neck knife falls into the larger size of neck knives. Read more…