In the world of knifemaking and bladesmithing, the choice of equipment can make all the difference between crafting an exquisite blade or a lackluster one. Neels van den Berg, the founder and owner of Black Dragon Forge, stands as a testament to the pursuit of perfection in this age-old craft. If you're a knifemaker or bladesmith, this article will unveil why Black Dragon Forge should be your go-to source for high-quality tools and equipment.
Neels van den Berg: A Master Bladesmith
Before delving into the offerings of Black Dragon Forge, it's crucial to understand the mastermind behind it all. Neels van den Berg has dedicated over a decade of his life to honing his skills as a bladesmith. This commitment and unwavering passion for the craft have propelled him to extraordinary heights.
In June 2022, Neels earned the prestigious Master Smith stamp from the American Bladesmith Society, a testament to his expertise and dedication. This accolade, achieved after years of rigorous training and craftsmanship, places him among the elite in the world of bladesmithing. Additionally, he's a valued member of the Knifemakers' Guild of Southern Africa, where he earned recognition as a bladesmith in July 2017 and, more recently, was elected to the Executive Committee in August 2023.
Black Dragon Forge: Crafting Excellence
Black Dragon Forge is more than just a brand; it's a commitment to creating top-tier products for blacksmiths and knifemakers. The company's mission is clear: to produce handcrafted, durable, and unique forges that consistently deliver exceptional results. The essence of Black Dragon Forge is captured in its motto: "PRACTICAL - PERFORMANCE - QUALITY."
For over a decade, since October 2009, Black Dragon Forge has been supplying the South African market with their meticulously crafted forges. These forges are not merely products; they are tools that have been refined and perfected through daily use and extensive feedback from the smithing community. The result is equipment that doesn't just meet expectations; it exceeds them.
Building Relationships, Not Just Sales
At Black Dragon Forge, the focus extends beyond transactions—it's about building relationships with blacksmiths and knifemakers. Neels van den Berg and his team are not content with simply providing a superior product; they are dedicated to guiding their customers in fully utilizing these tools to achieve their craftsmanship goals.
Countless hours have been invested in perfecting Black Dragon Forge's forges, all with the intention of shaping the future of knifemaking and blacksmithing. When you invest in their products, you're not just buying equipment; you're gaining a partner in your journey to crafting exceptional blades.
Awards and Milestones
The numerous awards and milestones achieved by Neels van den Berg and Black Dragon Forge serve as concrete proof of their commitment to excellence:
- Pass SABA Performance Test, 13 October 2012, Southern African Bladesmiths Association
- APPRENTICE Classification, October 17, 2012, American Bladesmith Society
- Best Art Fixed Blade 2013, Durban Easter Knife Show
- Best Forged Blade 2013, Durban Easter Knife Show
- Pass ABS JS Performance Test, 8 Feb 2014, American Bladesmith Society
- Best Dagger (Novice) 2014, Durban Easter Knife Show
- Best Forged Blade (Novice) 2014, Durban Easter Knife Show
- Best Bowie 2014, SABA (Southern African Bladesmiths Association)
- Best Forged Blade 2015, Durban Easter Knife Show
- Best Art Fixed Blade 2015, Baobab Custom Knife Show
- JOURNEYMAN Classification, 3 June 2016, American Bladesmith Society (Atlanta USA)
- Best Art Fixed Blade 2016, Baobab Custom Knife Show
- Best Art Fixed Blade - Point of Interest 2016, Baobab Custom Knife Show
- Best Art Fixed Blade 2017, Durban Easter Knife Show
- Member of the Knifemakers' Guild of Southern Africa as a Bladesmith - July 2017
- 2018 ABS International Journeyman Smith Knife Of The Year By Neels Van Den Berg
- Best New Knifemaker 2017, Knifemakers' Guild of SA Guild Show - 18 August 2017
- Best Art Fixed Blade 2018, Durban Easter Knife Show
- Best Dagger 2019, Durban Easter Knife Show
- Member of the Cape Knifemakers Guild - July 2020
- Best Art Fixed Blade 2021, Durban Easter Knife Show
- Best Dagger 2021, Durban Easter Knife Show
- Best Art Fixed Blade 2021, Baobab Custom Knife Show
- Best Dagger, Knifemakers' Guild of SA Guild Show - 23 October 2021
- Best Knife on Show, Knifemakers' Guild of SA Guild Show - 23 October 2021
- Best Art Knife, The Cape Knifemakers Guild Show - 26 November 2021
- Best of Show, The Cape Knifemakers Guild Show - 26 November 2021
- American Bladesmith Society Master Smith Certification - June 2022
- B.R. Hughes Award for the knife judged to be the best submitted for review by a new Master Smith - Blade Show Atlanta, June 2022
- Elected to the Executive Committee of the Knifemakers' Guild of Southern Africa, August 2023
Ratings & Memberships
Neels van den Berg's credentials are further affirmed by his memberships and ratings:
- Voting Member of the Knifemakers' Guild of Southern Africa.
- American Bladesmith Society Master Smith.
Why Choose Black Dragon Forge
In conclusion, when you choose Black Dragon Forge for your knifemaking needs, you're not just selecting a product; you're investing in a legacy of craftsmanship, dedication, and innovation. Neels van den Berg's journey to becoming a Master Smith and the long list of awards and milestones he has achieved are a testament to the quality you can expect from Black Dragon Forge. Their forges are designed not only to meet your expectations but to exceed them. So, if you're a knifemaker or bladesmith striving for perfection, choose Black Dragon Forge—where practicality, performance, and quality converge.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1: Are Black Dragon Forge's forges suitable for beginners in knifemaking? Yes, Black Dragon Forge offers forges suitable for all skill levels, including beginners. Neels van den Berg and his team provide guidance to help newcomers get started on their knifemaking journey.
Q2: What sets Black Dragon Forge apart from other equipment suppliers? Black Dragon Forge's commitment to quality, performance, and customer relationships makes them stand out. They have a track record of excellence and have earned numerous awards for their products.
Q3: Can I trust the quality of Black Dragon Forge's forges? Absolutely. Neels van den Berg's Master Smith certification and the company's long list of awards demonstrate their dedication to quality and craftsmanship.
Q4: Are there any warranties or guarantees on Black Dragon Forge products? Yes, Black Dragon Forge offers warranties on their products