Mines News

Release Date Thursday, October 21, 2021

Junior Bladesmithing Championship Seeks High School Sword and Knifemakers from Across the United Sates

Caleb Oppelt, winner of Mines’ 2020 Junior Bladesmithing Championship, forges a blade at his home near Goodwin, SD.

South Dakota Mines  annual Junior Bladesmithing Championship is now accepting applications. The competition is open to high school students across the nation who can produce a blade by hand-hammering or trip-hammer forging.

The competition is sponsored by the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering at South Dakota Mines, which is led by Michael West, Ph.D. The department is home to the 2017 grand prize winning sword at The Mineral, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) Bladesmithing Competition.

“The Junior Bladesmithing Championship emphasizes the science that underlies the art and craft of bladesmithing,” says West.

An application form, competition rules and the scoring rubric for the Junior Bladesmithing Championship can be found here. Applications for the 2022 competition must be received by Nov 15, 2021 and blades and final report must be submitted by April 1, 2022.

The winners of the inaugural 2020 championship were Caleb Oppelt and Evan Oppelt of Goodwin, SD; Hunter Hollenbeck of Edgemont, SD; and Thad Malsam, Brandon Valley, SD. More can be found on those winning entries here.

Each summer, South Dakota Mines also hosts a free workshop entitled  “The Science of Swords” for high school students interested in learning more about the craft of bladesmithing and blacksmithing. The weeklong workshop, sponsored by Nucor Steel, is held in the university’s foundry and instills concepts in materials science and metallurgical engineering alongside hands-on bladesmithing and blacksmithing experiences overseen by experienced faculty and mentors.

South Dakota Mines professors of materials and metallurgical engineering will teach the science of metallurgical engineering behind bladesmithing. This will include Jon Kellar, Ph.D., who will teach the processing of raw materials; Brett Carlson, Ph.D., who will teach making steel and forging; and Michael West, Ph.D., who will teach heat treating and hardness testing of blades.



About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.

Contact: Mike Ray, 605-721-7865, mike.ray@sdsmt.edu