The Thirty-Sixth Annual Seminar


The New England Bladesmiths Guild’s seminar is one of the oldest and most prestigious hammer-ins in America. This year is no exception, as we have spent the last several months assembling a lineup of demonstrators to live up to this tradition.


Our 2017 demonstrators and lecturers include:



Kevin Cashen – With a lifetime devoted to the research and study of the history, science, and methods of forged blades, Kevin Cashen is one of the most respected experts in his field. Kevin has been an American Bladesmith Society approved instructor for almost 20 years. He has taught classes ranging from intro to bladesmithing for beginners, to blade metallurgy for master instructors, at locations including local events, international symposiums and colleges and universities.


Jim Kelso – Jim strives for his work to be an expression of Nature; just as a frog, a tree, or flake of gold, without exertion, express Nature. By Nature, Jim means not just the physical world or man’s mental processes, but the unseen force that enlivens all creation. Jim’s specialties include: design and hand-crafting of boxes, vessels, jewelry, sculpture and netsuke in non-ferrous and ferrous metals, wood, fossil ivory and other natural materials,edged weapon design, hafting, scabbard making, ornamentation and custom firearms engraving.

Bill McGrath – Bill McGrath has over  40 years experience in Filipino Martial Arts and 30 in law enforcement. He teaches classes in edged weapon defensive tactics around the world. Bill is President of Pekiti-Tirsia International. He is certified by the F.B.I. as a Police Defense Tactics Instructor and by the State of New York as a Police Firearms Instructor (pistol) and is a Life member of the NRA.

Justin Mercier – Justin Mercier has been a bladesmith and a blacksmith for ten years, and is currently one of the Rhode Island representatives for the New England Blacksmith’s organization.  He has been a student of archaeology since his high school days when he assisted New Hampshire state archaeologist  Donald Foster and received the prize for the study of archaeology.  He is a collector of mid to late iron age weapons with a focus in studying period construction methods though examination of construction details from artifacts.

Nick Rossi – Nick has been working , full time, at the New England School of Metalwork since 2011.  Nick currently operates Rossi Knives out of his studio in Portland where he creates dynamic, one of a kind cutlery and jewelry. His work is most influenced by Japanese, Southeast Asian and Scandinavian design as well as literature, fine art and nature.

Sam Salvati – Sam is a professional blacksmith and instructor. For him, shaping steel is both therapeutic and inspiring and feeds his passion for blacksmithing and bladesmithing. Sam is engaged by almost all aspects of steel working, from welding and machining to heavy industrial forging to fine artistic forging, but bladesmithing holds a special place for him.

Tim Wright – Tim has been making knives since 1975. Although he makes all kinds of knives, he is most known for his fantastic, extremely precise, interframe folders. Tim has three stated goals as a craftsman: 1. To steadily improve my craft until I am no longer able to do it. I have no plans to retire.

  1. To educate people on what I feel is important about this craft. I would like knife making to be better because I was involved in it and also leave this earth just a smidgen better than it was when I arrived.
  2. I would like to find a student that I can pass my knowledge, and perhaps my tools, on to so they can avoid most of the dumb mistakes I have made and take this craft to the next level, after I have become plant food.

Tim Zowada – In the modern era, Tim was the first craftsman to make custom razors, full time, in the US. He was also the first modern razor maker to use Damascus steel of his own manufacture. Since then, he has continued to innovate by making his “Tim-ahagane”, from iron ore he collects himself. As far as we know, Tim is the only person in the world currently crafting razors from steel made entirely by himself.



The “open forge” time has been a great opportunity for participants to share and learn forging techniques from some of the most experienced smiths in the business. Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity.


Don’t forget to bring along any knives, or knife related items, that you may have for sale or just want to show off. The Ashokan knife show and exhibit is always an excellent presentation of a variety of knives and swords.  Also, don’t forget the opportunity to obtain equipment, tools, and other items from the tailgate sales surrounding the pavilion on Saturday.