Anytime a new apprentice comes through the shop, they're told of their eventual task. It's the only thing an apprentice has to do to graduate from either my or Andy's apprentice program. That being said, it's no small feat and not to be taken lightly. When the apprentice believes they're ready, they will make a knife for their teacher. It has to be what they consider their best work, and they'll be judged on it. If, at that point, the teacher believes the apprentice has more to work on, they're handed back their knife and told what to change. However, if that knife is technically executed well enough and is impressive enough, the apprentice graduates and gets our full endorsement. I have only taken on one apprentice ever. It's not because I didn't want to pass on the knowledge, but because of how picky I am with what I want to see in an apprentice. They have to have the right background, the right imagination, and the right attitude. I absolutely WILL NOT take on an apprentice if I don't think they have what it takes to achieve greatness in their work. Damon called me out of the blue about a year ago and talked my ear off about how much he wanted to make knives and I offered to let him come by the shop one day and I'd give him all the tips I could in one day. He came by and we talked pretty much all day about everything under the sun. By the end of the conversation, and after seeing some of his other work, I knew I had found someone worthy of my time and investment. I ended up offering to teach Damon, but he had to understand that it wasn't going to be easy and he had to be in it all the way or not at all. Also, if at any point I didn't think he was progressing enough or it just wasn't the path for him, I would tell him this wasn't his calling and he had to go. He agreed and we got started. He has an incredible talent for knifemaking and took to it all faster than I did. The guy just has a knack for it and took all the teaching and just got better and better. Skipping the rest of the story to last week... Damon comes in last week and hands me a knife. He didn't have to tell me what it was when he handed it to me. I could tell by the look on his face that this was his test knife. I inspected every angle of that knife and I must admit, it is pretty damn impressive. He pulled a full-height convex grind perfectly to the top of the blade with a clean distal taper to the tip. That is not an easy task. His blade was ground nice and thin at the edge so it would slice like a laser. The G10 he used for the handles showed very clearly the incredible work he did to perfectly match both sides in their shape. The plunge is perfect. Everything about the knife was sickeningly well done. Needless to say, he has graduated my apprentice program with flying colors. Ladies and gentlemen, ALFA-KNIFE.