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ABS Journeyman test of production knives?


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I have not.  I think, in fact I'm sure, that the bend test would be the tough one for most production knives.   Have you got one in mind?  A 10 inch chef could do the rope,  and maybe the bend, but the chop would eat up the edge.  A production camp knife I would expect to fail the bend.

I've got a coil of rope and a bending vice, let's do it.

 

Geoff

Only to be for ABS purposes.  You could still run them through the test, it just wouldn't count.

Geoff

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1 hour ago, Geoff Keyes said:

I have not.  I think, in fact I'm sure, that the bend test would be the tough one for most production knives.   Have you got one in mind? 

Well, first manufacturer that came to mind was ESEE with their "legendary heat treat", next would be TOPS and some KABARs

To be clear, thinking of their 1095 offerings......but that said I would love to see other manufacturers and steels take on this test.

 

I have a reason for this line of thought, I'm still learning and I recently gained some new insights following some youtube videos and a related answer here

 

The idea that I could do better than production (some) super steels using the simpler steel types available to me is very appealing.

 

1 hour ago, Geoff Keyes said:

I've got a coil of rope and a bending vice, let's do it.

Geoff

I have a TOPS and KABAR (Becker) but they were very expensive and hopefully I can sell them some day...........and there's and ocean between us. :D

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The ABS tests don't really say much about the quality of the knife, per se; rather they test the ability of the smith to forge, heat treat and grind to meet a set of (somewhat  arbitrary, somewhat contradictory) criteria....

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I believe it is mostly to make sure the maker understands the basics of HT and geometry, not to dictate how a knife should be made. I've heard someone actually passed the test with mild steel knives to prove how geometry matters.

Edited by Joël Mercier
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IMO: The ABS testing, both at the JS and MS levels, is more about control of process than anything else. This is true for the performance and presentation portions. The testing is designed more to test the maker's abilities and processes than it is about the quality of the blades.

In some ways,the performance test knife is a lot like the ABANA/CBA journeyman Grill. Not very useful in and of itself, but it demonstrates the smith's process control.

Edited by Joshua States
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All of that is true, IMHO.  I am an ABS JS, so I have some experience here.  The test knives are meant to test the smiths ability to put a hard, durable, edge in a package with a soft, flexible spine, all in a package 10 inches long.

I don't know about a mild steel test knife, it's hard to see how the edge would withstand the chopping and shaving parts of the test.  I have seen a mild steel blade sharp enough to cut a rope, but just once.  It would not cut a second time.  I made all of my latter stage test knives (I broke quite a few before I really nailed the HT) without points, like big razors.  It helps with the chop test and there aren't any parts of the test that require a point, so why do it?

The presentation suite is meant to show your ability to work to a high standard.  None of the testing is designed to tell you, as a maker. what or how to make knives in your shop.  The hope is that you will continue to do work of a similar quality, but that is up to the individual maker and not the ABS.  The ABS only cares about the test knives and the performance standards of those knives.

You can get amazing results with fairly simple steels.  I made test knives out of 5160, but switched to 1084 and got much better results.  I don't think I ever found the edge of the performance envelope of either steel.

Geoff

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I cannot for the life of me figure out why anyone would actually want to own a knife that they knew would pass that test if it were tried. Unless of course it were able to pass the J.D. Smith standard and spring back to almost straight after the bend. :)

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1 hour ago, Joshua States said:

I cannot for the life of me figure out why anyone would actually want to own a knife that they knew would pass that test if it were tried. Unless of course it were able to pass the J.D. Smith standard and spring back to almost straight after the bend. :)

One of J.D's student actually made one that completely sprung back. I've seen the vid, it was quite impressive. My guess is the knife was integrally tempered quite hard and the spine was just thin enough. 

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Thank you gents for some fascinating insights.

5 hours ago, Joshua States said:

I cannot for the life of me figure out why anyone would actually want to own a knife that they knew would pass that test if it were tried. Unless of course it were able to pass the J.D. Smith standard and spring back to almost straight after the bend. :)

That was actually my next question, which would you rather own and use, something in the size from ESEE or TOPS, or a knife that would pass the test? 

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Ok, I misunderstood the question.  I would lean towards saying that you would be hard pressed to find a production knife that would pass the performance test or at least all elements of it.  I imagine that you could find a knife that would do the hanging rope cut,  chop a 2X4 into twice, and then shave the hair off your arm (or leg if you're into it) but I think that the bend test would be a problem.  I don't think most commercial knife factories consider doing a 90° bend with their blades and don't differently harden the spines.

That leaves me with a question.  If you wanted to buy or make a knife to use why would you want a knife that would bend like that, unless it would straighten to true.  Even then I would suspect that it would have cracks all through the blade that would leave it weakened.  I would wonder if the blade that straightened back out was made with a mixture of martinsite and bainite.

Doug

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48 minutes ago, Doug Lester said:

Ok, I misunderstood the question. 

I was under the impression that a JS test knife is as good as it gets....obviously didn't think that through.

The topic that's actually on my mind is what performance we can get out of the same steel as opposed to a production knife company.

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Gotta love the little smile on JD's face after the second 2x4 bites it.

9 hours ago, Doug Lester said:

Even then I would suspect that it would have cracks all through the blade that would leave it weakened.

Shayne Carter has a video of him doing the MS test (practice) with a Damascus blade. He completes the bend and it has a bend set in the blade. So he cold hammers it out straight and repeats the entire test with the same blade.

 

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  • 2 years later...

I had a pre-test blade (one that I made to test my process) that I bent 90 and it came back to within about 10 degrees of true.  I then bent it 90 the other direction and it returned to within 10 degrees of true.  I repeated that test over several years (90 each direction) until it failed during the 17th test.  That was a 5160 blade.

I know a maker who made a 5160 test blade and after 3 temper passes, buried the edge in wet sand and drew the spine to blue/white with a A/O torch 10 times.  A group of us tried to break that blade for over an hour and finally gave up and went for beers.  The edge never cracked and it returned to within a couple of degrees of true each time.

Geoff

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