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Ricasso Thickness


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I am entering into the world of bowies and fighters. However I am running into a bit of a problem. The thickness of the ricasso. With many of my skinners and hunters it is pretty easy to work out due to the thickness of the blade. With my race knives there is no real ricasso to speak of.

 

I am doing this to try and get my JS stamp next year and did not get to look at enough examples this year at Blade Show. I normally don't due big blades because they just don't sell for the clients I have. Thing is the ABS wants bowies, fighters, and hunters for your presentation blades.

 

So here I am with trying to make a blade that will pass but I dont want to make it too thin or too thick. I can balance them very well however I dont want the look to be off.

 

Any advice?

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It doesn't matter how thick or thin it is.
What matters is that the ricassso is square within .002 on each corner of the plunge and the shoulders of the of the tang/ricasso transition.
It should be flat and the blade should taper from the plunge to the tip and the tang from the shoulders to the end of the tang.
This is how you have a block to find all of your centers with.
I frankly don't like it but I understand it.

So if you're starting stock is .25 don't forge it. Forge everything from the tang to the ricasso and the tip to the plunge.
Then as long as you're careful with the grinder when you clean the ricasso it should be just under that .25".
If you have a surface grinder you're set, other wise its tougher.

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Ok, JJ, are these really the rules or is this something that someone thought this was going to be how they judged a knife regardless or what the rules actually said. I ran into plenty of the latter at class on knife judging class presented at an ABS hammer-in. I came away totally disillusioned with the ABS and it's judging process with answers like "I guess the maximum length of a blade would be about 10" long" and "if someone came to me for the practical test they would have to chop through a knot in the 2X4 even though there is nothing in the rules calling for a knot to be chopped. I will never joint the ABS or submit a blade for judging.

 

Doug

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The rules are clearly stated.
As far as I can see they, the MS who do the judging follow the rules.
As far as chopping through a knot,
Just find another MS.
They are given some leeway on how they judge the stress test.
I can tell you that cutting through a 2X4 your knife will pop a knot out because the gap you start with is pretty wide.
When I chop a 2X4 my first blows are probably 7" apart and taper down to a V.
That knot will pop out. You'd blow through it.
Beyond that, its not in the rules.
That's just silly to say to someone and I would find another MS.

No one will tell you the ricasso has to be square.
IDK if they take a Micrometer to it.

The blade does need to taper because that's how they claim you can tell its forged.
Of course we all know that you can grind a taper.....such is life.
I try not to take it too seriously.
I am an ABS member but its really to keep me moving in a specific direction.
The thing about the test is just to have a basic standard of what a clean knife is.
tight fit, clean finish.
The stress test of the chopper is odd.
I have listened to ABS smiths who say its the worst test.
Why would you ever want a knife to bend?
But those are the rules made up by the old guard and they won't change till that group of people are gone.
Again, grain of salt.
Its not for everyone and I wasn't interested in it for years.
If one goes to the ABS forum and ask the question that was asked by OP I have seen them say it doesn't matter how thick the ricasso is but the plunges must be crisp and even on both sides.
The reason ricasso's are true to each corner is just to give one something to work off of.
This is the answer I got from Kevin Cashen.
I don't like the look of perfectly square ricasso.
I think everything should taper. I think it looks better.
Once I get my JS I can make them however I want.
Like any political orginization if we choose to participate we must jump through hoops.
Again, such is life.

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I typed out a long reply on my phone and just lost it.. I just passed 7-7 with two knives that did not have riccosso. that said practically You will need at least two that do have that form of construction, the judges want to see that you have control over your process, that you can make what you intend to make. you could pass with out a riccosso but your knives would need to be perfect every one of them. Most of the judges I spoke with prefer to see variety on the table to see that the maker has range and skill beyond one knife style.

Edited by Matthew Parkinson
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Ok, just to be fair I did go to the ABS website and called up the judging standards. These were dated 2010. Not only did I not see anything about the ricasso being square, I don't even think that I saw the word ricasso. Now it did say that the guard needed to be centered and that the solder line had to be even with no lumps or gaps. It also stressed that the blade had to show balance. I also didn't see the requirement that two of the five blade be six inches or longer, which was a change that was advertised a few years ago. Are these the current judging standards or is there a more updated list? If they are where can they be found? I know in the past there was a problem with an expired or unofficial list of standards floating around on the web which you could run into by searching for ABS judging standards rather than going through the ABS website.

 

Doug

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the judging standards all being in one place is a bit of a problem right now. I do know that it is being looked into and hopefully will be updated latter this year.

there are several additional rules that have been added to the original list of requirements, these include the two 6"+ knives, and that every knife must have a metal bolster or guard.

there are a lot of unwritten guide lines that are floating around, and different judges have different opinions as to what should be made. length of riccosso height and angle of the choil location and shape of the plunges, all of the requirements for these can very from judge to judge, but for JS if it looks intentional they will generally pass you anyway. The best advice I got was if it looks like it should be on the knife do it and if it doesn't look right fix it .

The whole process of going for the stamp was stressful expensive and frustrating, but it was also something that advanced me more as a maker that anything else I have even done.

MP

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Ok, just to be fair I did go to the ABS website and called up the judging standards. These were dated 2010. Not only did I not see anything about the ricasso being square, I don't even think that I saw the word ricasso. Now it did say that the guard needed to be centered and that the solder line had to be even with no lumps or gaps. It also stressed that the blade had to show balance. I also didn't see the requirement that two of the five blade be six inches or longer, which was a change that was advertised a few years ago. Are these the current judging standards or is there a more updated list? If they are where can they be found? I know in the past there was a problem with an expired or unofficial list of standards floating around on the web which you could run into by searching for ABS judging standards rather than going through the ABS website.

 

Doug

Doug,

All of the rules, and the rules changes, are located on the ABS website here: http://www.americanbladesmith.com/index.php?section=pages&id=172

The list of 12 qualifiers (not really rules but good advice) is there. This is dated Jan. 14, 2015.

Just scroll down past the list of 12 to the line that says:

Notices of JS Testing Rule Changes

"Effective immediately, applicants for the JS stamp must have a minimum of two knives among the five submitted with at least 6 inch blades, and all of the knives submitted must have guards/bolsters."

 

ABS Board of Directors

August 28, 2012

 

Per the ABS Chairman and the Board of Directors, December 8, 2015, blades or any component of a knife made in any instructional class will not be eligible to be used for performance tests or presented to the ABS Judging Panel for fit and finish examination for the rating of Journeyman Smith or Master Smith. Harvey Dean, Chairman, December 2015

Edited by Joshua States
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I am entering into the world of bowies and fighters. However I am running into a bit of a problem. The thickness of the ricasso. With many of my skinners and hunters it is pretty easy to work out due to the thickness of the blade. With my race knives there is no real ricasso to speak of.

 

I am doing this to try and get my JS stamp next year and did not get to look at enough examples this year at Blade Show. I normally don't due big blades because they just don't sell for the clients I have. Thing is the ABS wants bowies, fighters, and hunters for your presentation blades.

 

So here I am with trying to make a blade that will pass but I dont want to make it too thin or too thick. I can balance them very well however I dont want the look to be off.

 

Any advice?

If you are not comfortable making Bowies, I would recommend that you either skip it in your presentation set, or start making a bunch of them in basic form to get comfortable. Just make the basic knife and put a basic handle on it. Then make a few more until you have what looks good and clean and balanced. Then you can worry about making one that would pass the test. As for thickness of the ricasso being too thin, Who's to say what is the proper thickness for any style of knife? I make Bowie-ish knives a lot and they are no thicker than any hunter I make. Come to think of it, almost all the knives I make are about the same thickness. (5/32") I had two Bowies and another long blade (carver) on my table last year at ICCE and none of the ABS MS who looked them over said anything about them being too thin. Nobody says a Bowie has to be a certain thickness. If it feels good in the hand, it is right. Bottom line.

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