AWARDS 2024: Judging & Prizes

AWARDS 2024: Judging & Prizes

Australian Knife Making Awards 2024 Live Stream summary slides

Wed 22nd May 2024 at 8 PM AEST, your hosts Riley Burns (Nordic Edge) and Kevin Room (Australian Knifemakers Guild) had guest Jackson Rumble, Master Smith on the live stream.

Link to live stream recording on Youtube: LINK

Topics covered 

  • The 6 judging criteria your knife will be scored on
  • The scoring matrix 0-8
  • The judging comments
  • Judging knives only by photos - limitations
  • Coaching - how to benefit from the judging comments
  • Reaching out for more help if wanted
  • PRIZES - all 12 prizes for the 12 winners across 4 categories
  • Giveaway Quiz

At the bottom of this page is the link to the Youtube Live stream to catch up on this week's info.

And remember: The AWARDS entries close this Sunday 26th of May 2024 at 4 PM AEST! Link to entry is only on the Australian Beginner Knifemaking Group on Facebook: LINK

Here are the summary slides: (The first 4-5 are summaries from other streams, before hitting the new topics)


Your hosts for the AWARDS 2024 are Riley Burns, Events Manager for Nordic Edge and Kevin Room, the President of the Australian Knifemakers Guild.

What are the AWARDS?

The AWARDS is a free-to-enter, beginner friendly knife making competition held every year in May.

The event is organised by Nordic Edge, partnering with the Australian Knifemakers Guild (knifemaker guild australia) who judge 3 of the 4 categories. Providing helpful feedback to the makers as well as scoring the event.

You can enter a single knife in a single category by Sun 26th of May 2024 and there are trophies and prizes to be won.

How to enter the Awards?

You need to be a member of the Australian Beginner Knifemaking Group on Facebook as this is a competition for makers in Australia and New Zealand only.

You need a (free) google account to enter a knife in the form, this is so you can upload photos in google forms.

You provide your name and address (in case you win a prize) as well as some info on yourself, and details of the knife.

What are the categories in the AWARDS?

Like at a physical Australian knife show, the AWARDS have different categories. But unlike at a show, here there are categories for beginners as well as more advanced makers. This is to separate out the groups a little bit, giving new makers more of a chance to take part.

Beginner Categories:

  • Best Knife From Kit (making the handle on a commercially available blade)
  • Best Beginner Outdoor Knife (making blade and handle - must have metal guard/bolsters, monosteel)

Advanced / Open Categories:

  • Best Chef Knife
  • Best In Show Knife

Do you qualify as a "Beginner" maker?

The "Beginner" categories are for newer makers, or makers who might have been making for years but are not taking part in physical knife shows selling their knives, are not members of a Guild, not won in these AWARDS before, or consider themselves "advanced makers" by the standards of their work. The guiding principle is that you need to decice yourself what category to enter in, and if in doubt maybe go as an Advanced maker in an Open category.

The Open categories are open to any maker in Australia or New Zealand who wants to take part!

Note there are several other criteria per category, check out the live stream for Categories to catch all the details.

What photos to take?

To enter your knife you upload 4 photos, there is a whole live stream session on how to take better knife photos with simple equipment. As well as covering in detail what exactly you need to take photos of in order to score well. Catch up on that live stream for more details.

In summary you need 1 overview photo and 3 detail photos.

Guest: Jackson Rumble, MS

Jackson is one of the most well known knife makers in Australia, known as a great guy and teacher, as well as one of only three ABS Master Bladesmiths in Australia!

Jackson took out the award for best Journeyman Smith when qualifying in 2019 and then again the best Mastersmith applicant in 2023 when he went back and blew the judges away with his knives.

Jackson joined Kevin and Riley to discuss becoming a Master smith, as well as judging and coaching knife makers.

Jackson has again this year put his hand up to volunteer in the Guild as part of the judging panel. The Guild has now for 5 years taken on judging the AWARDS, and it is something makers keep telling us is their favourite part. After the competition, sitting down with their knife and the scoring sheet for their category.

Going over the judging comments and taking onboard what they can learn.

What are the AWARD knives scored on?

The 6 scoring criteria are made from a cut-down version of the Guild Assessment Critera for joining the Guild. This is done to try making it simple to score a knife from your photos and is meant to single out the best knives in each category. The judges spend quite a bit of time on this so take as good photos as you can!

Scoring a 4?

The scoring itself is a matrix across the 6 criteria, giving each area a score between 0 - 8 points.

The default score is 4 meaning anything that is "ok", not visible, not relevant to this a 4.

The judges score up (5-8) if they see something that is done well, and down (0-3) for visible issues with the knife.

There is also a separate criteria for Technical Complexity where the judges are free to give extra points, again to help separate out the best of the bunch.

Judging Comments and Coaching

The judges only have your own photos to go by, this can be a challenge. Another point the guys raised is that the judges are volunteering their time to do this - please take any feedback in the spiritt it was meant.This is not your mate clapping you on the back saying "yay- you made a knife!". These are some of the most experienced makers in the country critically looking at your knives comparing it to the scoring criteria and the other knives submitted, trying to give you some pointers for what to work on next in your maker journey.

Photos can be misleading, you might get judging comments back that you can see are due to a photo misrepresenting your knife. But if several judges comment on the same thing, it might be something you should look into further. If you feel your blade might be too thick and judges notice that in the photos, take this onboard and spend some time working on this.

Most of us spend a lot of time working away at a knife, wanting to improve our skill at the craft. This is an opportunity to get someone to critically review your work and comment what they -as a very experienced knifemaker - think you could focus on to continue growing as a maker.

You could consider this as some free coaching, and even reach out to your State Rep in the Guild if wanting to discuss further. Maybe bringing your knife to a State Rep or knife show for more help on what to focus on in your making.

Trophies too?

Each of the 3 winners across each of the 4 categories get a trophie, the below is this years trophy!

Now onto the actual prizes sponsored by our Partners

Best Knife from Kit - 1st Prize is a custom folding knife kit from Smoko Designs!

Best Knife From Kit - 2nd Prize is sponsored by Heimdallr & Freyja Traditional Leathercraft, and is a custom knife sheath made up for your knife by Christiane! 

Best Knife From Kit - 3rd Prize is sponsored by 84Engineering, and is a $100 gift card to use towards grinders, accessories or abrasives from their website!

Best Beginner Outdoor Knife - 1st Prize is a Pro Photoshoot as well as a copy of the Australian & New Zealand Custom Knifemakers Book. This is sponsored by Rod Hoare Knife Images who help make lasting memories of your work. Check them out on LINK

Best Beginner Outdoor Knife - 2nd Prize is sponsored by On The Mark Engraving, who help makers with custom stamps for their logo or makers mark. They also help with graphics work in case you need some help making your actual logo, as well as stamps for leather, ceramics, steel and other materials. The prize here is a metal makers mark for knife making, stamping hot steel. Check them out here LINK

Best Beginner Outdoor Knife - 3rd Prize is sponsored by 84Engineering, and is a $100 gift card to use towards grinders, accessories or abrasives from their website!

Best Chef Knife - 1st Prize is sponsored by Karim and the team at Tharwa Valley Forge. The prize is $200 towards hands-on workshops at TVF! Tharwa Valley Forge is by far the biggest knife making school in Australia and an amazing place. Host of many Blade Symposiums, Guild Knife Camps as well as thousands of classes over the years it is truly a special place. Check them out here LINK

Best Chef Knife - 2nd Prize is sponsored by Nathan from Northern Iron Forge in Queensland. Nathan is making the winner a custom hammer of their choice for hand forging, up to 4 LBS! Check out Nathan's work here: LINK

Best Chef Knife - 3rd Prize is sponsored by Austech and 3M. Sunil and the guys at Austech are passionate about educating makers on the best abrasives for the job, at the last Sydney show they came and spent the weekend with the Nordic Edge team the whole weekend to show knife makers how selecting the right abrasive for the job saves both time and money. The prize is $100 towards abrasives for the lucky winner! 

Best In Show - 1st Prize is a free table at a knife show of your choice within 12 months! Select a KAA show or the Guild show in Melbourne or the Canberra Knife Show at Tharwa Valley Forge and Nordic Edge and get a table paid. The prize is sponsored by Nordic Edge, your knife maker supplier in Australia: LINK

Best In Show - 2nd Prize is a great prize from Oblivion Blades. Jezz has made a special billet of steel up for the winner, a CuMai billet with core of 52100, copper, nickel and mild steel sides for contrast. This will make a spectacular par of knives, the billet is almost 1 kg of goodness! Check out Jezz steel billets and custom knives here: LINK

Best In Show - 3rd Prize is another prize from Nordic Edge. The BigMert v2 Carbide Faced File Guide is the original "super sized" file guide with twice as big carbide strips as the normal version. Launched in May 2024, this is the new V2 with flat bottomed holes for the screws, allowing the carbide strips to be adjusted sideways should this be needed for blades with sides that are not parallell. Check out the new BigMert here LINK

Then it was time for the GIVEAWAY QUIZ:

This sream had 3 more prizes to give away.

GIVEAWAY 1 was won by the person answering right on the question, winning a hand made Bench Strop for razor sharp knives made by Tobias Binkert from TB Woodworking, Victoria. Check out the bench strop here LINK

GIVEAWAY 2 was a set of padded knife cases from Nordic Edge with deluxe leather cover and soft fleece padding.

These come with canvas or leather cover, in different sizes. Check them out here LINK

The third and last GIVEAWAY prize for this stream was the official AWARDS 2024 Tee, the Contender.

Check it out here if wanting your own: LINK


The AWARDS are almost over for this time, the entries closing Sunday 26th May at 4 PM AEST.

Then judging starts at 6 PM on Sunday, and on Wednesday 29th of May 8 PM it is time for the WINNER ANNOUNCEMENTS!

We could not have done this without all the great sponsors and partners coming together to provide prizes and their time supporting the AWARDS!

To watch the Live Stream, check out this link:

22nd May 2024

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