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Additional Criteria For Js Presentation Judging

#1 User is offline   ZackJonas 

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 03:40 PM

I passed my JS performance test a couple of weeks back with JD Smith. We were both very pleased with the result--after the bend, the blade is straight as an arrow, and the handle (full tang) is only 7 or 8 degrees off of straight.

I'm getting my presentation set ready, and I have a question about the judging criteria. The document "Judging Guidelines" seems fairly unambiguous about the criteria the judges will be evaluating, but a recent discussion with another MS raised two questions--one specific, one general.

1) I had handed the MS one of my knives, and after giving it a good looking over, he used the edge of the guard (blade-side) to scuff a line across his thumbnail. I can't remember his exact wording, but the gist of what he said was that other than the edge, there should be no sharp lines or corners on my presentation knives, that the judges would count that against me. (Note, he did not mean that lines should not be crisp, but that the corner from the spine to the bevels should be slightly rolled, etc.) I know that this is not present in the Guidelines, but I was wondering whether this has become an unwritten part of judging "lore." JD believes it to be completely incorrect, but he suggested a post on the Forum to find out.

2) I guess more generally speaking, how much subjectivity is there in the judging process? I'm not talking about whether a judge likes or dislikes the design of a knife--more like the above issue, which I've got two MS's telling me two different things on. Are judges free to dock applicants based on criteria that are not contained in the Guidelines?

Thanks for any advice!

Zack Jonas
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#2 User is offline   BrionTomberlin 

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 08:00 PM

Hello Zack. Congratulations on the great bend. I will give my thoughts on the questions.

First on the sharp edges. This is not something I would count against you or your knives. I might mention it if I notice it, but that would be it. I was told something similar about my guards and from then on have slightly polished the sharp edge to tone them down. I normally use a foredom with a fine jewelers polishing point to just go over the sharp edge. No it is not in the guidelines. We are concerned with the fit, finish, and design, for the most part. We normally do not have the time to go over every little detail. Twenty to twenty five sets of knives and two hours do not allow the judges that much time. No, this will not cause your knives to fail the judging.

Second, as far as subjectivity goes. That is one reason why there are seven judges, to alleviate that issue. We are all looking for pretty much the same things. A good finish, no stray scratches. Good fit, guard to blade, handle to guard, pins flush, the blade straight, and no misplaced glue or sloppy areas. The design should be attractive and have flow, no chunky handles. broomstick handles, etc. While the style of knife may not be a favorite of mine, I am looking at how well you execute it. So yes we are all looking for the same things. How well you can make the knives.

I hope this will answer the questions and I am sure more will add to my answers or correct them if need be. With J.D. being your mentor, I think you will do fine.

Brion
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#3 User is offline   ZackJonas 

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 03:22 AM

View PostBrionTomberlin, on 03 October 2011 - 10:00 PM, said:

Hello Zack. Congratulations on the great bend. I will give my thoughts on the questions.

First on the sharp edges. This is not something I would count against you or your knives. I might mention it if I notice it, but that would be it. I was told something similar about my guards and from then on have slightly polished the sharp edge to tone them down. I normally use a foredom with a fine jewelers polishing point to just go over the sharp edge. No it is not in the guidelines. We are concerned with the fit, finish, and design, for the most part. We normally do not have the time to go over every little detail. Twenty to twenty five sets of knives and two hours do not allow the judges that much time. No, this will not cause your knives to fail the judging.

Second, as far as subjectivity goes. That is one reason why there are seven judges, to alleviate that issue. We are all looking for pretty much the same things. A good finish, no stray scratches. Good fit, guard to blade, handle to guard, pins flush, the blade straight, and no misplaced glue or sloppy areas. The design should be attractive and have flow, no chunky handles. broomstick handles, etc. While the style of knife may not be a favorite of mine, I am looking at how well you execute it. So yes we are all looking for the same things. How well you can make the knives.

I hope this will answer the questions and I am sure more will add to my answers or correct them if need be. With J.D. being your mentor, I think you will do fine.

Brion



Thanks Brion, that was about what I expected. I appreciate the answer! Cheers -Zack
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#4 User is offline   BrionTomberlin 

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 08:05 PM

You are welcome Zack. Glad to be of help. I look forward to seeing your test knives.

Brion
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#5 User is offline   Karl B. Andersen 

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 06:49 PM

Zack, in your first post you said, ".......a recent discussion with another MS.....".
Now I don't know if this guy was trained as a judge, or not, but let me point out that showing your knives to a "Master Smith" is one thing, while showing your knives to a trained and experienced judge is another.
I witnessed something that wasn't pretty a little bit ago when a guy showed his knives to two Master Smiths, neither of whom had any experience in "judging".
So all he got was opinions - not unbiased "judging".
There were hard feelings involved.
I have since vowed to not show any of my MS knives to anyone OTHER than trained judges.
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#6 User is offline   BrionTomberlin 

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 08:09 PM

Hello Karl. As far as training goes, basically it is done by being a judge. There are no set training criteria for being a judge. One thing that is being done now is allowing a Master smith who would like to be a judge to be an observer during JS judging. By doing this you learn how the process works, time management, and how you have to look at the knives. You will also observe good ways to break bad news.
As I have said before, it is best to go to Hammer Ins and have as many Master smiths look at your knives as possible. One may see something another missed. Attend the JS and MS judging criteria classes at Hammer Ins and do so more than once. Also when you ask a Master smith to look at your knives tell them you want them critiqued, not just looked at.
Again have the knives looked at by as many Master smiths as possible. The more pairs of eyes you have looking at them the better. Also have your wife or girlfriend look at your knives. It is really amazing what they will see. Hearing, what is this? from your significant other usually means another trip to the shop for me.
Brion
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#7 User is offline   Ed Caffrey 

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 07:44 AM

Brion is onto something in his post... Showing presentation knives to AS MANY DIFFERENT MS AS POSSIBLE.... It's not only the fact that different eyes will see different things, but you also must realize, that an individual's personality is going to come into the picture too. There are folks who's personality simply will not allow them to give a good, solid critique, because they simply do not want to hurt someone's feelings. I have to admit that there was a time that I struggled with the same thing, but I realized that I was doing no favors by being that way, and that if I sent someone to the presentation judging believing that their knives were "good to go", and they failed.....they'd likely come looking for me with a 2x4! :)

I tend to be pretty hard, especially when critiquing knives that will be presented for JS or MS judging. Of course there is always that distinction between "will you LOOK at my knives?" and "will you CRITIQUE my knives?" :)
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#8 User is offline   Karl B. Andersen 

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 12:07 PM

View PostBrionTomberlin, on 28 December 2011 - 09:09 PM, said:

Hello Karl. As far as training goes, basically it is done by being a judge.



That's my point, Brion. I want my critiques from ...'Smiths' - whether Master, Journeyman, or whatever - who have experience in critiquing and judging work other than their own.
Being a Master doesn't magically make a person the best "judge" of other people's work.
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