ABS cutting competetion


National Living Treasure & Subject Matter Expert
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Mar 31, 1999
On May 1 and 2 The ABS is having their annual spring hammer-in and cutting competetion. This year it will be their chose of knife, bowie or camp knife as well as their chose of steels used. Do any of y'all want me to post the results and what they have to cut once they are through.
Hey fisk that would be great,I know alot of people here would love it if you would do that for us, and thank you for taking the time, Chris. Top of Texas Knives


Can you explain the parameters of the competition?

Another yes vote here. This is really good information which we want to hear about. Thanks for offering to post the results.
I cannot tell you before the contest as to what they will cut this time. I am careful to never let anyone know before hand so they do not prepare their knife "special". Being as I set up the test I am not allowed to enter. I practice various ways of cutting here at the shop during "play time" to make sure it can be done, just difficult.

I can tell you some of the things they have cut in the past.
Chopping 2x4's for time. Fastest time was 7.049 seconds.
standing a ciggerette up in a 30 cal casing and trying to cut the cig in half without knocking the shell over. They have not done this one yet.
Shaving a business card without cutting it in half. Not hard to do just different.
Standing a coke can full of water on a stump and cutting it in half without spilling the water in the bottom half. The following contest we did this with empty coke cans which was harder to do.
Hanging a one inch rope by upholstery thread-cutting the rope without breaking the thread. This has been done only 4 times in comp.
Cutting 3 inch green bamboo.
Hanging a 3 inch strafoam ball by a thread and stabing it with the point for penatration of point testing.
Slicing a tomato with the sharpend clip.
Hanging 3-3/2" dia. woven straw bundles and cutting with one swing.
We have done some others that I cannot think of right now. I have some new wrinkles to put on them May 1&2 that will be really neat.
We have had a lot of knives fail. We have had some break out chunks in the blade. It is always their chose of steels so we have had a large range of forging steels used. All knives must be a max of 10" blade length. OAL not to exceed 15 1/2". Thong hole required as well as one visible pin in the handle. These last two are for safety you know.
We had a couple of Journeyman smiths who did outstanding last time and I look for them to do well again. They beat a number of the Mastersmiths.

I tried to get a folding knife hammer-in going but just could not get the people interested in coming to it. We had a folding knife cutting comp. the two times we did have the folder setup.

In the fall is open class. Anything you want to bring. Last fall we had swords, battle axes lots of kurkeris [none of them came near placing] bowies, camps. Be intersting to see what shows up this fall as well. Test are harder to do. One boy with his bowie beat everybody except one sword. That boy is good with his performance. When I tested him for his JS and instead of the traditional 2 2x4's and one rope I had him cut 12 2x4's and 10 ropes. Still shaved and passed fine. He sure was tired though. We will go for the judging of his quality to get his JS this June.
I guess what I would like to know would be what these tests are supposed to do? For example, some of the cutting tests you mentioned, seem to favor a very thin edge to be able to slice an item without disturbing it. Obviously, edge retention is another issue with the chopping.

What about toughness testing?

In other words, when all is done, the winner will the winner because his knife is...?
With light toughness requirement for the blade and or edge, it looks like the optimal design would be a very thin, very hard edge. Are there any pictures or specs of past winners? It is no surprise that a khukuri would place poorly as they have very thick edges are are generally designed for much heavier work. I would be curious to see how a khukuri like blade with a similar strong recurve but with a very thin hollow grind would do.