Did you know that Arkansas has 16 Master Bladesmiths? This is more than any other state in the nation. Master Bladesmith is the highest rank that a knife maker working in the forging method can attain.
A chance to see some of these knife makers is coming up via the Arkansas Knifemakers Association. According to a news release sent by Ellen Korenblat of the Historic Arkansas Museum, the Arkansas Custom Knife Show is Feb. 16-17 in the Robinson Center Exhibit Hall in Little Rock. There will be 152 tables at the show- 112 will have various styles and sizes of handmade knives. The remaining tables will have knife-making supplies, leather products and knife related books. Table holders are coming from 28 states and Taiwan. Thirty five are from Arkansas.
Twenty eight of the makers are Master Bladesmiths. The remaining knife makers will be Journeyman Bladesmiths, Apprentice Bladesmiths and others that work in the stock removal method. Many are members of the American Bladesmith Society and several are members of the Knifemaker’s Guild. Awards will be presented for the best knife in the following categories: Hunter, Fighter, Folder, Bowie, Damascus, Miniature, Camp knife, Art knife, Bird & Trout and Pearl handle. Awards will also be given for Best Sheath, Best Historically Inspired Knife and Best of Show. Knives can be bid on during a silent auction both days.
Of note, on Friday afternoon, Feb. 15, beginning at 2, a cutting competition will be held on the Log House grounds of Historic Arkansas Museum to determine the winner of the Best Performance Bowie. Competitors will use a specific style of Bowie knife that they made to cut various objects at five stations on a timed basis. The public is welcome to view the competition free of charge.
Also of note that folks can see: The Knife Gallery at Historic Arkansas Museum features contemporary custom knives, alongside historic knives, and is home to the American Bladesmith Society Hall of Fame.
Knife show hours are: 10-5 on Saturday, 10-3 on Sunday. Admission is: $10 for a two-day pass. For more details on the Historic Arkansas Museum, click here.