Quality crafted knives are hard to come by nowadays. Companies are big fans of mass-producing blades and handles. Ben Seward saw a need for knives that will last generations, so he took it upon himself to provide meticulously crafted knives for hunting, tacticality and collecting.
“I think I really started making knives because as a boy, I had a bad habit of breaking my store-bought production knives. Hearing rumors about the performance test Journeyman Bladesmiths were required to take piqued my interest,” Seward says.
Seward made the decision to try his hand at making knives around 2009 when he became more invested in the world of bladesmiths. “I met someone involved in the Arkansas Knifemakers Association, found out about the Little Rock Knife Show, and the monthly knife maker meetings in Maumelle. One thing led to another, and I fell in love with the craft. Taking a bar of steel, heating and hammering it to shape is fascinating, but the end result of a polished, high performance knife is particularly rewarding,” Seward says.
He turned his fascination into something real when he started attending the W.F. Moran School of Bladesmithing in Old Washington, Arkansas to perfect his skills. “At the W.F. Moran School of Bladesmithing I learned the fundamentals of forging and heat treatment under the tutelage of Master Smiths JR Cook and Mike Williams,” Seward shares.
The school was the first of its kind in 1988 as a partnership between Texarkana College and the American Bladesmith Society. The bladesmith school recently underwent some changes with the first self-directed online bladesmithing course and a relocation to Texarkana College’s main campus in Texarkana, Texas. The Master Smiths teaching at the school have been forging knives for decades, so it’s no wonder that Seward has an impressive portfolio of creations.
Since his time at the school, Seward has achieved the Journeyman Smith ranking from the American Bladesmith Society. He has been making knives full-time for seven years, and the passion for the craft hasn’t run out. “I enjoy making pattern welded damascus as well as San Mai (carbon core laminated with stainless cladding). I’ve made knives for military personnel, security, and law enforcement, as well as hunters and collectors,” he says. His website breaks down the styles of knives he makes into “Hunters, Art, Bowies and Fighters, and Tactical/EDC.” There’s a knife for everyone and every purpose. “Whether you are a seasoned collector looking to add a fine Bowie or dagger to your collection or someone new to custom knives looking for the perfect everyday carry knife, we’ll be able to work together to make a blade to be passed down for generations.”
Forging on, Seward continues to make plans for his business and his professional career as a bladesmith. “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the market for me a bit, but part of being a successful maker is adapting to the ebb and flow of the markets. Going forward I’m hoping to expand my standing in the world of art knives. I’m looking forward to testing to achieve Master Smith ranking in the American Bladesmith Society in the near future as well as teaching the craft to new bladesmiths coming on.”
Crafts much like forging metal and other tradesman skills that must be learned and practiced date back thousands of years. Techniques and materials have since evolved to fit modern life, but the purpose of the practice remains the same: to create practical art that will last many lifetimes.
See what Ben Seward can craft for you here.