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Join us for our 12th Annual National Convention in September 2020


NBTSG Certification Program

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What makes it different?

A number of things make the NBTSG Certification Program different from others.  There are a lot of entities out there claiming to provide sharpeners with certification credentials.  The NBTSG is the only such entity that is a legally incorporated nonprofit company recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) public charity that is not owned or controlled by any company, manufacturer, supplier, family, or person.  The NBTSG is owned and controlled by its members.  We can provide certification credentials that are worth more than just the paper it is printed on.  It is backed by an organization of professional sharpeners who have been doing this since 2009.

Achievable Standards

Our program has standards that are documented and achievable.  We don't offer prize money, or change the rules on the fly, and our program is not "pay for paper".  If you meet the standards, you earn the certification.

Management & Oversight

Our program is managed by a committee (the Certification Committee) of sharpeners who have all participated in the certification process by taking the exam and all of them have met the certification standards.  The Certification Committee is overseen by the Board of Directors.  We have approved corporate policies for our certification program.


Certification Rules & Information Policy

Credentialing Judges Policy

Satellite Certification Events Policy

Mail In Certification Policy

Qualified Judges

Our certification judges have all taken the exam and met the standards to be designated as Master Sharpeners.  They have also participated in additional training to ensure they are intimately familiar with the standards, criteria, and evaluation process.  We don't just invite people in off the street to be a judge right before an exam.  Our judges work hard to earn their credentials.

Unbiased Judging

Our exam judging process utilizes a double blind system that prevents the judges from knowing the identity of the participants which allows them to evaluate the work based on the quality of work performed and compare it to the established standards. It is not about personality, friendship, or personal preferences.

Results Based

Our program operates independant of any sharpening system, trainer, or scissor company.  You do not have to use any particular machines or techniques to achieve the standard.  It is about the results, not how you get there.  There are no secrets, our standards are shared with participants BEFORE they take the exam.   We have certified Master Sharpeners who have used belt sanders, bench grinders, EZ-Vex, and flat hones for their exam.


We provide feedback to the participants from the judges so that they can learn from the experience.  The judges take pride in their ability to share their knowledge with participants to help them understand where they can make improvements.


The NBTSG DOES NOT recognize certification credentials issued by any other organization, company, or individual, past or present.

Guild Certification Levels

Certified Member

  • Grand Master Sharpener (GM) - Master sharpener in both shears and clipper blades
  • Master Sharpener (M) - Superior score in sharpening & repair (shears or clipper blades)
  • Certified Sharpener (C) - Passing score in sharpening & repair (shears or clipper blades)
  • Journeyman Sharpener (J) - Passing score in sharpening only (shears or clipper blades)

Taking The Mystery Out Of Shear Sharpening Certification

NBTSG Grand Master Sharpener Dennis Brooks explains how the NBTSG shear sharpening certification process works.

Become a Member

Our Platinum Sponsors

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