In a word… Absolutely! I took the two week Introduction To Bladesmithing course at the ABS School in Texarkana and it was the best time ever! The instructors were all very good and shared everything they knew. We spent the first week banging away at the anvil. Ended up making two small hunters and two large Bowie knives. The second week included a bit more time at the anvil making a couple more small hunters. Most of the second week was spent at the grinders and learning to thermal cycle, anneal, and heat treat our blades.
The final day one of the Bowies was sacrificed in a blade test that is similar to the ABS Journeymans test. The test included cutting through a hanging 1-1/4″ hemp rope, then cutting through two 2×4’s, then shaving hair off your arm. The final test was to bend the blade over to 90 degrees! The blade was allowed to bend but not break. Happy to say that my blade passed with flying colors. After the test all of the instructors and students signed the blade for a little keepsake to take home.
The course states that you will be ready to take a Journeymans test after this course and it is pretty accurate. This course and a bit of practice will get you where you need to be. I plan on taking my test sometime in 2019/2020.
A special thanks to all of the instructors – Don McIntosh, Brion Tomberlin, and Greg Neely. All excellent instructors and Don helped me more than he realizes – he is a great guy!
I recommend the course to anyone interested in becoming a better bladesmith.