The “Handles and Guards” book by American Bladesmith Society (ABS) Master Smith Joe Keeslar is the ABS’s best selling item. This 127 page spiral bound book has detailed diagrams and describes many methods of work for making and fitting handles and guards. The idea for the Handles and Guards manual came from Dr. James Batson, ABS Master Smith, during his tenure as ABS Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Book Preface by Dr. James Batson
Joe Keeslar is a master craftsman in metals, wood, and leather. I am an admirer of his forged knives, particularly his unique style. His file work, wire inlay and engraving add a special touch to his knives. As president of the American Bladesmith Society, I had several pamphlets printed on making knives. There was nothing available on Handles and Guards. Having seen Joe’s excellent demonstrations on Handles and Guards, I asked him to write a pamphlet.
I never dreamed that a pamphlet I envisioned would turn into this masterpiece you are about to read and, hopefully, digest. I want to thank Joe not only for his contribution to the ABS as a board member and president but also for the time, for his illustrative skill and willingness to give us the benefit of his years of knife making.
February 5, 2008