There has been much recent discussion regarding the introduction of our new Texas Ranger Knifemaker certification level.  I would like to take some time to shed more light on how it fits within our charter as a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization and how it differs from LoneStar Knifemaker certification.

First, how does this new certification fit within our charter as a non-profit educational organization?

 – According to Article III in our Bylaws, our Mission Statement contains the following:

“The mission of the Guild is to bring knifemakers together, in order to perpetuate the art of knifemaking; to promote and encourage an interest in knives and blades, to provide educational opportunities for the exchange of ideas, techniques and innovations; to promote displays of individual works and collections; and to promote knifemaking with integrity and high standards of workmanship.”

 – According to Article IV in our Bylaws, our Purpose Statement contains the following:

“The Guild is organized exclusively for scientific, charitable, and educational purposes, described more particularly as follows:
1.         To educate and inform the public about knifemaking, metalworking, and other forms of art and craft techniques associated with knifemaking.
2.         To aid, assist, and teach members to develop their skill level and to work toward high standards of quality and workmanship.”

– In the opinion of the Board of Directors…

The creation and implementation of certifications such as LoneStar Knifemaker and Ranger Knifemaker fit well within the mission and purpose of the TKG.

Think of it this way, every educational institution, whether it be a primary school, college, or technical school, will offer its student body a well-defined and well-regulated level of certification to strive towards such as a High School Diploma, Bachelor’s Degree, or a Certification of Proficiency.  Since the TKG is an educational organization, the Board of Directors has created similar well-defined and well-regulated levels of certification for our membership to strive towards in an effort to develop higher standards of workmanship.

– These Certificates of Completion ARE meant to…
          –     Are meant to facilitate camaraderie with other well-respected organizations such as the American Bladesmith Society and The Knifemakers’ Guild in our mutual effort of promoting the art of knifemaking
          –     Are meant to create a tiered level of goals for our membership to work towards
          –     Are meant to recognize and promote the many different techniques and artistic styles employed by knifemakers

– These Certificates of Completion ARE NOT meant to…
          –     Not meant to compete with other well-respected organizations such as the American Bladesmith Society JS or MS ratings or The Knifemakers’ Guild voting status
          –     Not meant to create an exclusive “good ole boy” club where we pat each other on the back and look down on those who choose not to be tested
          –     Not meant to force all participants into a box where everyone has to make the same style and design of knife in order to be accepted

Second, how does the new Texas Ranger Knifemaker certification differ from the LoneStar Knifemaker certification?

The LoneStar Knifemaker certification has been part of the Texas Knifemakers’ Guild since its inception in 2015.  Under this level of certification, the maker must proficiently demonstrate the fundamental skills of knifemaking by submitting three knives to be inspected by a panel of three judges made up primarily of Board Members.

The Texas Ranger Knifemaker certification builds upon the foundation of the LoneStar Knifemaker.  To earn a certification as a Texas Ranger Knifemaker, the knifemaker must have held the LoneStar Knifemaker status for at least six months and must also demonstrate an advanced level of proficiency across four knives while utilizing more complex construction and finishing techniques.  The knives will be inspected by a panel of three judges made up of Texas Ranger Knifemakers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Do I have to hold one of these certifications to be considered a good knifemaker?
A:  Not at all!  These certifications are only for those makers who would like to further their educational career within the Texas Knifemakers’ Guild.

Q:  I am a member of another organization, can I be grandfathered in?
A:  Yes!  ABS JS and Voting Members of The Knifemakers’ Guild will automatically receive the LoneStar Knifemaker certification once they become paying members of the TKG.  ABS MS who live in Texas will automatically receive the Texas Ranger Knifemaker certification from the TKG.

Q:  Why does the Texas Ranger Knifemaker require eight disciplines?
A:  The Texas Ranger Knifemaker must be able to demonstrate the ability to utilize advanced construction and finishing techniques.

Q:  Why does the Texas Ranger Knifemaker limit me to only using one slab-handled knife and only one knife with segmented scales?
A:   The Texas Ranger Knifemaker must be able to demonstrate the ability to utilize advanced construction and finishing techniques.

Q:  Do I have to submit all three knives for LoneStar Knifemaker at the same time?  Do I have to submit all four knives for Texas Ranger Knifemaker at the same time?
A:  Yes, all knives must be present at the time of inspection.

Q:  If I fail inspection for LoneStar Knifemaker or Texas Ranger Knifemaker, can I be retested at a later time?
A:  Yes, you can be retested after a waiting period of six months.

Q:  If I fail inspection for LoneStar Knifemaker or Texas Ranger Knifemaker but at least one of my knives did pass inspection, can I resubmit the passing knives for a later inspection?
A:  Yes, you can resubmit the same knives for inspection after the six-month waiting period.  However, be aware that you may have a different panel of judges and each knife will be re-inspected.