To be considered for entry in the Carter Cutlery Apprentice Program, you must first agree to set aside three months of your time during which you will work 40 hours a week. While you will start making money right away for any sellable blade you make, it may be 6-12 months before you might make a living wage. Search your soul or consult with your family to make sure you will have the necessary emotional and financial means to undertake this process.
Although a Carter Cutlery apprenticeship is a non-compensated position, the apprentice would be entitled to 55%* of the profits of any sale-worthy blade he/she makes.
Profit sharing for incoming Muteki apprentices/bladesmiths will be a flat 55%.
The sale price of a blade contains a fixed cost that covers the overhead, equipment and materials. Anything above this amount is considered the profit. Details are included under “Compensation” in the Carter Cutlery Handbook.
The qualities necessary to successfully complete the Carter Cutlery Apprentice Program are self-regulation, a passion to learn, self-motivation, and the ability to respectfully seek out and honor the advice given by the journeymen smiths working above them. Apprentices should take the time to observe first before asking questions, but they should never leave anything unasked in order to prevent costly errors and damage to tools and equipment. If you don’t understand how to use a machine, ask and verify.
In the first two weeks, the apprentice will be asked to select a primary mentor among the available journeymen smiths. The primary mentor will be responsible for teaching the various bladesmithing techniques and will be available to answer questions and give guidance. A journeyman smith is not available if they are currently mentoring an apprentice smith who has not graduated from the program.
Technical questions should be addressed to Murray Carter or journeymen smiths but questions about work flow or those of a personal nature can be directed to the front office.
The first time you perform each step in the forging process, using new equipment or supplies, and executing new processes, you must get permission from Murray Carter or a journeyman. Thereafter, the apprentice may utilize the tools or undertake the processes without seeking permission.
New apprentices are required to fill out respirator use certificates. Carter Cutlery will pay for the required certification, but each apprentice must arrive on the first day of work with their own respirator, work gloves, hearing protection, and safety goggles.
A background check will be performed on all prospective apprentices. A monthly review during the first three months of an apprenticeship will encompass feedback from journeymen smiths and Murray Carter on aptitude and attitude. If the apprentice creates disharmony in the shop or exhibits behavior that is a health and safety hazard to others, he or she will be dismissed immediately. All standard drug use policies in the industry will apply. Personal hygiene is essential in a small shop where we work in close quarters. Warnings will be issued and termination will result if repeated offences are observed.
At the end of three months, a peer review will take place to determine whether or not the apprentice will secure a permanent position. If at any time the majority of the established bladesmiths vote against the tenure of the apprentice, he/she will be asked to leave during the initial three month trial period for performance related issues.
As part of the peer review, the apprentice will submit ~5 knives to be reviewed. These knives must be based on shop patterns of the following knives:
- Perfect neck knife
- Field Stalker 1
- 5-6” Funayuki
Apprentices will be judged upon the following 5 criteria:
- Personality in the shop; shop harmony, interference with workflow, overly talkative, etc
- Willingness to learn as directed, ability to take instruction
- Overall quality of work (fit, finish, symmetry, metallurgy, edge geometry) and improvement over last 90 days
- Workplace safety and knowledge of proper equipment use
- Dedication and time management, ability to continue under profit share
At the end of every fiscal month, the sale of all blades will be tallied, printed out, and given to the apprentice so that he/she can see what amount, if any, he/she will receive from the aforementioned 55/45 split profit from the sale of any apprentice-made blade.
Shop employees including Journeyman smiths are welcome to branch out to different aspects of bladesmithing and knife making available under Carter Cutlery (such as forging, handle maker, and shop assistant). It is not uncommon for people to find a different passion than their initial interests after experiencing all the aspects of bladesmithing. However, Apprentice smiths must first invest at least a year into forging and completion of knives before a change of position in the company can be considered.
Journeymen can work non-standard hours, i.e. any times outside 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, but they must have a weekly face-to-face meeting with Murray if work times do not overlap in a given week. Apprentices must work at set times (e.g. 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM, etc.) until program is completed.
Every new employee is required to read Bladesmithing with Murray Carter before starting their first day at the shop.
Please Contact Us with any inquiries.
A graduate from the Carter Cutlery Apprentice Program is considered a journeyman smith.
Upon completing 1,000 blades or 3 years time, journeyman smiths are eligible for a peer review in consideration to become a senior journeyman smith, approved by Murray.
Senior Journeymen Smith: Taylor Shields
Journeymen Smith: Ryan Cavallo, Shamus Dotson, Chloe Kim, Adam Andrews, Cory Pulliam