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Paul Cooper (left) and J.D. Smith, Bladesmithing, 2007; Boston, Massachusetts; Photography by Billy Howard
Paul Cooper (left) and J.D. Smith, Bladesmithing, 2007

Boston, Massachusetts
Photography by Billy Howard
Sheath and Dagger, circa 1997, damascus steel, silver, African blackwood, Private Collection and Folding Knife, circa 2005, mocomegane, steel, mother-of-pearl, James T. Treacy Collection; Apprenticeship - Bladesmithing: John D. Smith (b. 1949); Roxbury, Massachusetts
Close up of damascus steel dagger; Apprenticeship - Bladesmithing; c. 1997; John D. Smith (b. 1949)
Dagger; Apprenticeship - Bladesmithing; 2006; Paul Cooper (b. 1972); Woburn, Massachusetts; Steel; Knife: 12-1/4 L x 2-3/4 x 7/8 D in. Sheath: 9-1/2 x 2-1/2 x 1 in.; Collection of Paul Cooper
Paul Cooper hammering; Apprenticeship - Bladesmithing; 2007:
verticle bar Artist
John D. Smith
Roxbury, MA
Web Site
verticle bar apprentice
Paul Cooper
Woburn, MA
Bladesmithing, a craft as old as the Iron Age, is the hand-forming of edged implements such as knives and engraving tools. Master bladesmith J. D. Smith specializes in making knives and swords for superior edge holding, strength, functionality, and beauty of form using pattern-welded steel, or Damascus steel. Smith began as an apprentice blacksmith at the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Park under the instruction of Steven Nichols. After mastering traditional smithing skills, J. D. turned his attention to the more specialized area of bladesmithing. Eventually, he joined the American Bladesmith Society as an apprentice and advanced through the journeyman grade on to the rank of master bladesmith, a status held by fewer than seventy other individuals worldwide.

Paul Cooper works as a full-time machinist in Woburn. Paul has been studying under J. D. since 2004 and was awarded a Traditional Arts Apprenticeship in 2007. Paul says that J. D. has helped him refine basic bladesmithing skills and shared his knowledge of many of the subtle techniques. By the conclusion of their work together, J.D. has high hopes of his apprentice achieving master status as set out in the bylaws of the American Bladesmith Society. In 2010, Smith was awarded another Apprenticeship, this time to work with Zack Jonas.
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