I was interviewed for an article by Steve Shackelford discussing who I felt were the hottest makers and their hottest knife. My responses can be found here or for the full article on page 56 – 63 in the October 2017 issue of Blade Magazine. Below are my responses. The makers should come as no surprise.
My list included four ABS Bladesmiths and one Bowie by each maker on it:
Ben Breda’s in stag; a stag model with a san-mai-constructed blade by Shown McIntyre; Wess Barnhill’s bowie, also in stag; and a feather-Damascus model by Steve Randall.
“Breda’s knife shows why he is consistently included in conversations about the best ABS journeyman smiths. His hamons pop, and his Bowie’s Damascus spacers adds just the right touch of class and eye appeal. His handle ergonomics create a seamless fit. The balance of his knife gives it more of a fighter feel than that of a Bowie.”
“McIntyre’s knife is an excellent example of the flawless technique needed to forge steel in the san-mai-construction method, and is about as good as such blades get. The overall execution featuring perfect balance combined with the fit, finish and flow of Shawn’s bowie leaves no doubt the he is among the best ABS master smiths in the world.”
“Big, balanced and beautiful is how I describe Barnhill’s Bowie. It exhibits the excellent execution of a large knife whose balance belies its size. This beast of a Bowie also has some beauty to it. The stag handle is bracketed by contoured spacer of stainless steel and bronze, and a fileworked raised pommel. The artistic touches complement a knife built for serious use.”
“Steve Randall’s Bowie is one of the finest the smith has made and shows Randall’s ABS master smith stamp was well earned and well deserved. The feather -pattern Damascus from the guard to the tip moves this knife to warp speed! The fit and finish is flawless. “