Showing posts with label knives. Show all posts
Showing posts with label knives. Show all posts

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Blade Show Day 3


There’s a few customers with energy and the counter people are doing the best they can, but it’s day 3 of the Blade Show.  When I’m done I simply walk out the door.  The vendors have to start packing up at 3:01 and it takes a while.  I expect some will be there at 6 tonight.  The life of a traveling sales staff isn’t easy.

I stopped by one of my favorite manufacturers, Shadow Tech.  They have creative new ideas.  Yes, I know I said the Blade Show is row after row of sameness.  But there are innovations.  ST has a small fixed blade neck knife with replacement blades.  No, not replaceable in terms of sharpness, but in terms of blade design.  I got a blade that reminds me of a sharpened eagle claw.  But if I decide I need a different blade, I can purchase one for an amount less than the knife (prices are still being figured out).  The blade is held in place by four Allen screws and some internal geometry.  This is a very clever idea.  The blades are S30V and are about an inch and a quarter long.

neck knife, ST


I stopped off to talk with Mickey Yurco.  Mickey has some of the most interesting ideas on blades and how to carry.  Boker Knife is picking up a second of his designs and I believe they will be using Ultclips.  These are metal spring clip that can anchor a knife sheath inside your pocket.  It’s very clever design.  You can carry an IWB holster or knife sheath without having a belt by clipping a Ulticlip to the fabric of your pants.  Great for women who often go beltless.  I think you’ll see a lot of these in the future.

Uticlip


I never wanted a Pro-Tech Godson.  It seemed too small, a derivative of the classic Godfather auto.  That all changed with the Godson Steampunk.  The copper steampunk art work is designed by Bruce Shaw.  The copper artwork looks great set into the anodized black body of the knife.   ProTech made just 200 of these you better hurry if you need or just want one!

steam punk



I took a few moments and mounted the glass breaker and seat belt cutter I bought yesterday in my car.  It looks good and we didn’t even notice it driving.  I don’t think I’ll ever need it (I hope), but that’s what I say about concealed carry.  If I need it, I’ll have it in place.

Seatbelt cutter


I picked up a few items I need for turning my Spyderco Mule into a working knife.  Jantz is one of the places to go for just about anything you need to make knives.  We’ll see what happens.

Speaking of Spyderco, well, there’s just too much to talk about.  Joyce is always generous to a fault, so I always get some help there.  I am astonished at the interesting designs they are willing to take a chance on.  I’ll have a separate column on them.

I also stopped at Case Knife.  They are making more tactical looking knives and have several collaborations going on.  The Winkler fixed blade they have is sweet.  They are also introducing an assisted opener.

Let me just go off on a tangent.  Quality costs.  So does performance.  If you want a knife that will last 3 years and then needs to be thrown away, you can find them.  Many of us can’t use the full potential of the knives we buy and they become portable temporary collections.  The knife takes a little wear and ends up in rusty tackle box or under a car seat forgotten about.  Cheap knives are everywhere.

If you want performance and an innovative design, expect to pay.  You’ll find knife makers who have a passion for knives.  They want to make the best knife they can for the price they ask.  Joe Caswell is one.  He wants to make the best knife he can.  I found South African Arno Bernard cutting out life size paper models of two folding knives he wants to work on.  He’ll use those models to buy supplies to make prototypes.  Like his fixed blades they will not be inexpensive, but the quality will be there.  He too has a passion for knives.

And it isn’t just designers.  Look at Shadow Tech and Spyderco as just two companies.  They are constantly pushing designs and quality.  They use good steels and constantly strive for improvement.  And it isn’t just US manufacturers.  The Chinese company, WE, does both consignment manufacturing as well as manufacturing under their name.  Look at their knives.  The quality speaks to you.  Every year I see improvement.  They may have trouble with English (they speak English better than I could ever learn Mandarin) but you can see the passion for knives.

Counterfeits remain a problem.  Counterfeit knives, tools, bolts and even food all come into the country and displace quality products because of greed.  If you’re buying solely on price and not concerned about quality and performance, you’re part of the problem.  I’d like to say I hope your sex organs shrivel up and fall off, but I decided it would be better if your little finger died and broke away.  At least then we could recognize you.  There always a chance your sex organs will follow suit.


Read Day 1

Read Day 2

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Blade Show Day 2



It’s hard to summarize.  There are so many vendors and people that everything jams together and blurs into grayness by the end of the day.  Still, I don’t want to miss any of it.

News:  Blade Magazine and the Blade Show are rumored to have been sold.  It’s reported that Gun Digest, owned by Caribou Media, has plunked down the dollars.  I do know that the Blade Show is scheduled to be back at the Cobb Galleria (Atlanta) in 2019.  We’ll see about the rest.




Autoknife

 I purchased a Microtech OTF only because I couldn’t see not having one.  The knife, like many is really more of a barbecue knife that you show off to your friends.  Yes, you can use it; it will cut, stab and kill but most of us will leave it in the safe.  The problem is for most uses, you’ll have the blade orientated up/down which puts the button under your thumb.  Press the button at the wrong time and the blade disappears.  Oops!



box opener
Richmade Knife 3D box opener
Richmade Knives had a clever utility/box cutter they were giving out.  It was made with a 3D printer and is very clever.  The razor blade folds into the body and it has space for two spare blades.  I wouldn’t use it if you paid me.  I have visions of it coming apart and cutting the heck out of myself.



 Do you carry an emergency escape knife in your car?  You know, something with a glass breaker and a seat belt cutter?  I’m always reading about people in Florida who drive into a flooded canal and drown.  I carry one in the side pocket of the driver door, but I know in an accident it will pop out and end up somewhere the coroner will find later.  I bought a little unit that straps around the sun visor. It has a glass breaker and seatbelt cutter.  Best of all it stays where I put it.




I spent an hour with Joe Caswell.  He’s building the coolest knife I’ve ever seen.  Right now it’s a karambit, but future models will have a more traditional blade.  He was at Blade to talk with a manufacturer who want to mass produce them.  The name is a secret and he’s not about to screw that up.  His percentage from the knife and derivatives could be, in his words, “substantial.”

Folding Karambit
Closed.....


Joe Caswell
Opening......

Folding Karambit
and Bingo!!  Open

Here’s a few more pictures.
Space Fighter  Very Nice

Jenn from Alabama Damascus and Oscar the rat   Only slightly strange.


the Blade Show



Wayne Hensley  One of the Grand Old Men of the knife community.  I have a Subhilt fighter he made for WRCA knife  collectors.










In progress knife from Art Knife.  The handle will be ruby red.  If you have to ask how much, well you can't afford it.


I really love Steam Punk knives.
I don't know who made it, but Knife Legends has it.  They buy and sell investment grade folders ans fixed blades.


Lost knives
Saw this sign on 2 tables (at $650 a pop!)
Not everything about the Blade Show is unicorns and rainbows.  They may get their money back, but they still had to pay for the tables and how can you account for lost customers and lost opportunities.

Tomorrow is my final chance to find gold, it's Day 3.

Read Day 1

Read Day 3















end




Friday, June 1, 2018

Blade Show 2018 Day 1


The first day of the Blade Show opened with a demo of how to FUBAR knife collectors.

Blade Magazine reduced the hours the VIPs could attend by offering a Super-VIP ticket for $40 which got them in at noon.  The VIPs got in at 1:00 and the great unwashed (paying public) at 2:00.

Registration refused to process anyone’s VIP pass any earlier than 10 AM. Processing consist of taking the VIP pass and $20 from you and giving you a paper badge.  The staff, while polite, wasn’t interested in answering any questions or assisting you.  In fact all the commands and instructions by the staff were to make it easier for them.  They made the whole experience kind of like sleeping with a hooker who just lays there and keeps looking at her watch asking “Are you done?”

We got our VIP passes and were then marched back into another line and told we had to first enter the small, newly added room before we could go to the main room where the Super VIPs were.  This room was largely new knife makers and sellers.

By the time I got into the main room, the Pro-Tech knives I wanted were sold.  I was also very disappointed by the Pro-Tech staff.  Did they bring so few knives that everything popular was sold out by 3:00 on the first day?

We did find a great neck knife for my wife.  The seller just started last January and just made these knives.  He hadn’t even established an account with Square.  Square lets the small business man accept plastic at a very reasonable rate.  So we stood there waiting for him to establish an account.  I suspect he’ll sell out fast.  The neck knives and his jewelry were great.

Blade Show, 2018
Carbon Fiber Handle 

Another example of Jason's work.


I bought a Damascus steel fixed blade from Shadow Tech several years ago.  It came with a very nice kydex sheath.  Unfortunately the texture of the Damascus files the plastic and imbeds it in the open grain of the metal.  I want to carry that knife, so I needed leather sheath.  Of course the Blade Show has them and I found a nice one in black with just the right amount of texturing.

Blade Show, 2018



I stopped by Spyderco and bought a mule.  Fortunately it fits in a small box and doesn’t require anything but a handle and a sheath.  Spyderco makes standard blade configurations with different steels which are tested to give them a better understanding of steel performance.  They had several different steels available and I selected LC200N, a high nitrogen tool steel.  By high nitrogen they mean 0.5%

I spent a little time watching a fellow grind an edge into a blade, creating a shower of sparks.  Another fellow was engraving a knife and I find that amazing.  You cut steel into attractive patterns by hand, using a magnifying glass and steel tools.



Blade Show 2018
Weeee!  Sparks!

Blade Show, 2018




Work Sharp had a demo table set up and I stopped to get corrective advice on the system I bought last year.  I don’t have trouble using the coarse and medium belts, but for some reason the fine always gives me trouble.  I think I’m pressing knife too hard into the abrasive band and changing the angle.  They were very helpful.

The Blade Show is huge.  Unfortunately it is so cruel to the attendees.  There aren’t places to sit, and food facilities are sparse to lean.  I don’t mind paying higher prices, but waiting in line for an hour to get a sandwich seems dumb.  Restrooms are always crowded and often are locked(!), so they, in my opinion, don’t have to be cleaned.

And I’m not sure if this is the place to see new creative knives.  Sheaths, yes; handles, yes; even new steels, but if you’re looking for a new blade shape you’ll find table after table of drop points, bowies and daggers.


People at the show
It isn't just knives.


Let’s see what Day 2 presents.


Read Day 2 

Read Day 3

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Blade Sunday and a Random Walk



Blade Show Sunday is the finish line.  Most of the pressure is off, sales made, promises swapped, and bargains available, if you can recognize a bargain.  

It’s a good time to talk to vendors about knives and the industry.  I stopped at Spyderco to talk with Joyce.  Long ago Joyce sent me a congratulations note on my first article which was about Spyderco’s Bob Lum with the anodized green handle.  We think of her as a friend.

Spyderco is one of my favorite companies, along with Shadow Tech, Benchmade and Böker. 

So what new is with Spyderco?  The answer is lots.

Remember the H1 steel.  Rust proof in salt water.  I ran my own test by slathering a salt paste on the blade and keeping it in a moist warm environment overnight.  No rust.  H1 steel has some hardenable issues but the steel can be worked hardened.  Every time you sharpen it, the edge gets a little harder.  Now they are using LC200N as is many other blade makers.  Oh, yes, did I mention they have altered the Caribbean Salt so it has the 4-position clip?

LC200N is low carbon, high chromium with enough nitrogen to give you RC values of 60.  This should be a very rust resistant steel.  They are releasing it mid-year as their Caribbean series, a yellow and black alternating striped handled knife with a flat grind blade.  It will be Endura size, but way cooler.

The Military with Spyderco’s patented top compression lock is very popular, but big.  So several years ago they released the Para Military, but even that was large.  So get ready for Para 3.  It’s about Delica size but with the same wide flat ground blade.

For mid-season they are introducing 30 new products.  Add that to their already expansive product line and you have a shop keeper’s nightmare.  Which do you stock?  How many of which?  Which one or two are just there to draw customers over to the counter, but aren’t expected to sell?

I got a silent agreement that Spyderco has too many SKUs for most vendors.  I found out that every year they have an SKU meeting and they decide which SKU will go to make room for new ones.  People get passionate about this.  “Which child will you kick out to bring in a new one?” They ask.  I’m glad I don’t have to make these decisions.

Sharpening is always controversial and the show has many systems ranging from simple Arkansas stones to sharpening systems that suggest a degree in engineering is required.  As steel blades increase in hardness more sophistical materials are needed.  Cubic boron nitride?  Industrial sintered diamond? Recrystallized unobtanium?  These are the sharpening material of today and tomorrow.  But these are still challenged by the water stones of Japan, the fossil clay of Italy and the slabs of soapstone.

Google search for edges.  How many will you find?  Flat grind, secondary bevel, hollow, apple seed, chisel, chisel with back bevel?  Now let’s consider angle. The smaller the angle the sharper it is.  It’s also more delicate.  A stout angle may work fine on an axe, but not so good for filleting trout for dinner.  Most of us expect to have to resharpen a shallow angle more often regardless of the super steel or secret heat treatment.

Angle leads us to blade thickness.  You can find Tou-tube videos of people attempting to chop through a branch with a blade only a 16th of an inch thick and people attempting to carve tinder with what can only be described as an edged car leaf spring.  Somewhere in the middle are the compromisers trying to create one edge with two different profiles.  They attempt to make the front half of the blade eye surgery sharp and the back edge coconut cracking dull.  Most of the time, they fail.  I would suggest setting your edge geometry and sharpness to your average cutting expectations.



And you know what?  It’s all wonderful.  Let me suggest that through exploring edges, sharpening and sharpening, whatever your final edge is you will create new appreciation for the humble knife.

  Enjoy. 

Here's a few more images from the Blade Show:





You can always find raw material to make the knife you want!



I wish I had bought a few of the screw pins used to hold handles together!






Buck Club 75th anniversary
It's Buck's 75th anniversary and the Buck clubs went all out!


Fireworks and Grinding
 Let's end with fireworks!







Saturday, June 3, 2017

Blade Show Day 2


Has the Blade Show become a victim of its own success?

Saturday is always a bad day.  Any knife fancier within 4 hours of driving can work a full week and drive here on Saturday and make it home for church and family brunch on Sunday.  Saturday is a packed day.  Despite the convention’s efforts, you’ll find a number of people walking and selling.  No surprise there, with tables costing over $500 you have to sell a lot of knives to break even.  So, you find people selling to tables.

The exhibition hall is packed and the only redeeming grace is to remember sardines don’t die in the can, they die in the open sea.  Air conditioning struggles to keep up but with 90+ temperatures outside and hundreds and hundreds of people inside it can’t keep up.

Blade is the knife show by which all others are measured.  The show’s location needs a rich environment to support it.  There may be bigger venues in the cornfields in Kansas, but it will never have the support Atlanta has.

Blade Show
The contestants warning up
Is there an association of Balisong Flippers?  Beats me, but Blade hosted the first national competition.  They used live edges and flip free style, but the MC warned that kicking the knife with your knee was outlawed at this event.  The flippers were set up in the back parking lot where the cutting would take place and it was single elimination.  Three judges, well known by the crowd, selected the winners of the each round. You can tell they were expecting a lot of dropped knives.  Each competitor stood over a sheet of cardboard.  I didn’t stay for the entire competition.  It just seemed too silly to me.  Every completion heat I saw, the loser dropped his knife at least once if not more.  I have to wonder if some of the flippers will create moves so unique that in the future the move will be named after them, like the ice skating Hamill Camel.

bones at Blade
Giraffe Skull, what else could I say
One of the knife supply houses had a skull of a giraffe on display.  It appears that giraffes can become a nuisance animal requiring culling.  The meat is sold and made into sausage (I can’t believe there aren’t a few steaks involved!), so the supply house buys camel leg bones for knife handles and just for giggles asked if they could get a skull.  The joke was on him.

It took a lot of boiling and bleaching, but the complete skull is available and on sale.  For $500 bucks it can be yours.  I wanted it for over the TV cabinet, but wiser heads prevailed.  A word of warning, it’s a lot bigger than you might think it is.

From Nepal, a fighting knife
A different EDC
I bought a mini-khukuri.  The seller has them made in Nepal by Gurkhas.  They use truck leaf springs and its steel needs to be taken care of or it will tarnish.  I have a full size one made in India and this will make a nice addition.


Buck display at Blade 2017


It’s Buck’s 75th anniversary and Buck collectors are pulling out the stops.  In the public area of the hall they have about a row of double sided tables as long as city block set up.  You’ll find everything from complete run of Bucks to experimental prototypes and exotic one of a kind buck knives.  Each display is different, some cruder than others but all a testimony to Buck knives.

Blade Show
Mantis neck knife or upside down stargate
We bought new neck knives at Mantis Knives.  It’s hard to describe Mantis.  They make some really silly knives, but they are so freshly original you can’t dismiss them.  Our neck knives look like an “O” with a T coming out of them.  Put your finger into the ring and pull, a curved blade emerges from the metal ring.  Frankly, the blade looks too flimsy and curved for fighting or cutting.

It might be time to skip the Blade Show.  You will not find too many of the unique knives and blades seen on Forged in Fire.  What you’ll see are the typical, safe designs: drop points, Bowie, spear, Hawksbill and Wharncliffe blades.   The steels are the usual suspects: high carbon, D2 and the stainless families.  I was impressed that I found one smith with forged titanium blades.

Prices remain high but bargains can be found if you work at it.


Here's a few more pictures.



Blade Show
Another high carbon steel blade to worry about


Blade Show
More knives!

Tomorrow’s the last day.  I have an appointment and one or two items and it’s off we go.



Friday, June 2, 2017

Blade Show Opens!

Lil Lum Nishijin
A Blade Show Special from Spyderco, BOGO!
The first day of the Blade Show finished and was punctuated with plenty of excited people and sore feet.

As good as the show is, registration is just as terrible.  You can’t register and pick-up your pass Thursday night, despite the fact registration is open for the vendors.  The VIP passes can be bought only Friday morning at 10:00 despite the fact people lined up at 7.  The when you get to the registration window the equipment and personnel don’t work.  In fairness, the staff is desperately trying to stem the human tide of impatient people and haven’t been trained very well.  After you get your pass you have another line to stand in until the official opening at noon.  You’ll soon find the floor is your friend.

The doors open at about 12:05, because none of the security personal have the authority to open the doors and the moron with the authority can’t tell time!  At least it seems that way to me.


knives, Blade Show
A.G. Russell

My first stop was A.G. Russel.  A.G. wanted to chew me out about my Folding Gents Hunter article in the June issue of Knife Magazine.  It seems A.G. can flick the blade open with quick wrist motion.  Well, so can I, but every knife class I’ve attended where people open their knife that way, sent their knife flying across the room.  Still, he and his wife Goldie were very nice to me.  I later found out of the other 3 articles about the FGH, he liked the one in Knife Magazine the best.

I stopped off at Aku Strike Knives to look at their trainers.  Dwane Horvath has developed a training knife that emits a sound and flashes a red or green light when a solid contact is made.  

Trainer Blade Show
Aku Strike's new knife fighting trainer


While these can be dangerous (get jabbed in the gut with 4 inches of hard plastic and you’ll know what I mean), they add a new dimension to training.  The knife’s sounds and light is only activated when the blade is pushed back or upward to simulation a stab or cut.  Keep your eyes open for this.  It will add a new level to your training.

Blade Show
Seems like a good way to set your kilt on fire!

I always like to watch the demos on knife grinding.  I think it’s the sparks.  It’s also interesting to watch all the other people.  I try not to be too obvious about it, after all someone might be watching me!


Here’s a few photos.

Blade Show
Some of Cutco's knives




1Blade Show
Browning's Kukri  A real different look for Browning.



































Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Knife Show this Week-end


This is the second year for this show and it is building momentum.  Last year the attendance was low and I got some great bargains.  You might find some yourself this year.

The show is Friday Aug 8 and Saturday Aug 9 located at Stranahan Great Hall at 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd, Toledo.  Admittance is a pittance.  You get both days for $10 or one day for $6.
 
http://www.glasscityknifeshow.com/

It’s safe to drink the water in Toledo, the show should be great and if you spend a few hours with the vendors you may be able to negotiate a few deals yourself.  

Or not.  In any case I’m sure you’ll have a great time.

In the interest of total openness, I have no connection to the show.  Gun shows in this part of Ohio are almost a dime a dozen (well, maybe a dollar a dozen) but true knife shows are few and far between.  If you have a need for an edge, this could be the right show for you.  I wish I could see you there but I can’t attend.  Maybe next year!

Stay tuned for Battle of the Blades Oct 17 and 18 in Cambridge, Ohio!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Switchblades

Switchblades. Auto knives. Push button knives.  Flick knives.  No matter what you call them, fully automatic knives have an undeniable appeal.

They aren’t new.  The first ones were made in the mid 1700s.  Following the U.S. Civil War, knives became factory products made in quantity. 

Knife sales increased thanks to the internet of its time, the catalog and advertisement.   In 1892 George Schrade invented the first really practical auto knife.  We’re still re-inventing the auto knife.  The Blade Show featured the so-called dual mode and hidden auto which could be opened manually or automatically with a hidden release.

HK duel mode knife
HK's dual mode Scorch.  Open like a manual knife or use the hidden release.  And it's made in the USA!
So far so good!

In search of more readership, Women’s Home Companion published an article in 1950 about switchblades called “The Toy That Kills.”  Did you hear that sound?  No, it wasn’t the click of a knife opening.  That was the opening shot of the war on knives.

The image of a hoodlum standing in the mouth of an alley smoking a cigarette, wearing a black leather jacket, and shockingly tight pants with an Italian switchblade in his back pocket and dating your daughter was too much for our legislators.  Especially when their wives began to think these Hollywood romantic bad boys were cute!

In 1958, The Switchblade Knife Act was passed making the sale of auto knives, but not possession, illegal.  Many states also passed laws banning autos, dirks, Bowie knives, short swords and butterfly knives.  The U.S. is not the only nation in the world that feels their citizens can’t be trusted with a knife much less one that opens by pushing a button. 

Traveling overseas with almost any of our ubiquitous knives could land you in jail.

Let’s zip forward to today.

Since then some states have passed knife rights laws to allow their citizens to buy, sell and own autos.  We have groups like Knife Rights and AKTI to thank for that.

Two of my favorite knife manufacturers package their autos with dire warnings about the proper documentation needed if you return your auto for service or warranty work.  With many states making it legal to own autos, I wanted to know how these companies would treat legal autos in need of service.

Spyderco requires a letter (on letterhead!) stating you are authorized to possess one of their autos and a restricted item return form.  They will not return your knife to you without all the paperwork.  They really don’t like autos and currently only carry one at the request of the U.S.Coast Guard rescue swimmers called the Autonomy.

This policy will remain in effect regardless of state laws, so if you own a Spyderco auto, unless you’ve got current paper, don’t bother sending it back.

Not that I blame them.  Several years ago when imported butterfly knives were banned, Spyderco was making them here in the U.S.  One part, that little latch on the bottom of the handle, was imported from overseas.  They had paperwork from Customs saying it was okay and legal.  All the lawyers on both sides were in agreement.  It was all good.  Then ICE decided the little latch was contraband, seized the shipment and all the other knives associated with the shipment.  People almost went to jail and fines were levied.  It wasn’t very nice.

I’m actually surprised they even make an auto given the complexity of the legal system.  We tend to think of the Federal government as a great monolithic organization.  It often acts as individual organization and has little if any interest in cooperating with other departments.

My next stop was Benchmade.  They make a fine line of autos 

Benchmade Auto AFO II, a great automatic knife.
Benchmade's AFO II.  They upgraded this knife two years ago and it really performs!

and this year have introduced more covert autos in which the blade can be opened like a manual knife, or pressing a hidden button springs the blade open.  Look at the gold class 7505 Sibert or the black class 5400 Serum if you’re interested.

They too have restrictions on sending autos back.  You cannot send it back via the post office and you must have or sign their Auto Opening Knife Acknowledge form available on their website.  Benchmade recommends you take your auto back to a registered Benchmade dealer and arrange to have them ship it back for sharpening and tune up. 

Just in passing they suggest you send any of your Benchmade knives in every two years for resharpening and overhaul.  You paid for the service when you bought the knife, you should take advantage of it.

It doesn’t matter if you have a CCW, or if your state allows autos or if your old unit/department passed them out like sticks of gum.  Each vendor has different rules that they think will keep them out of legal trouble.

Is right?  Frankly what do I know about the law?  I don’t even write radio dialogue for lawyer commercials.  Find out what they want and work with them.

Still want an auto?  I don’t blame you.  I like them too.  If you carry one, just keep your wits about you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Blade Show 2014

The 2014 Blade Show is over.

A sick laptop prevented me from reporting from Atlanta, GA.  Over the next couple of weeks I’ll review some of the highs and lows of Blade.

But here’s a taste.

While not the providence of the Blade Show, one has to reflect on the Cobb Convention Center.  I will say that if the standard of Atlanta is poor service, the Cobb lived up to it.  The adjoining hotel was overbooked, so everyone associated with the show had to check out Sunday morning because a new convention was arriving that day.  The breakfast area in the hotel, which was open only for a rather nice, but expensive breakfast, was torn down and under construction.  I don’t know where hotel guests ate breakfast.  I was lucky.  I stayed off-site and will again.

At the Cobb Convention Center, the escalator down to the poorly staffed and unorganized food court was partially broken.  You could get down, but not back up to the show.  The elevator for wheelchairs and elderly was also broken.  If there were stairs they were well hidden.  So you had to walk out of the building, around to the front, reenter the building and take the (soon to be also broken) lobby escalator up to the show floor.  Despite it being Friday, no evidence of workers was present.

The restrooms were poorly managed.  Several restrooms off the beaten path were clean and quickly locked once the staff discovered people were using them.  Fortunately there were no riots over toilet paper.  In the hallways there were no places to sit, except in the one-way food court, and most of the meeting rooms with chairs were kept locked.  Soon people sprawled on the floor and leaned against walls.  I spent so much time on my feet that they felt like sore marshmallows every morning despite icing them down in the evenings.

What about the Blade Show, or am I going to just bitch about the facilities?


The line to get into the 2014 Blade Show
The VIP line 3 hours before the show opened!

The first thing you need to understand is there aren’t many changes you can make to a knife.  A knife is basically a sharpened edge and a handle.  Normally some way of protecting the edge from the environment and your fingers is included.  The two most popular ways are a sheath and folding/retracting the blade into the handle.  Most manufacturers use one or both of these methods.  But not always.  Busse Knife Co. sells all their knives sans sheath.  Just a cardboard tube to protect you from the edge.

Given this basic concept it quickly becomes apparent that most if not all the tables have some variation on this, like everyone else.

The differences become apparent in the types of material used, the skill of the craftsman, the artistic vision and the execution.  Truly originally ideas are rare.

The next most exciting thing to see is the positioning of each company in the knife market.  For example:
Kershaw has purchased several designs from Emerson.  It’s always best to talk to people on Sunday at Blade.  By then they’re tired and often the true story, or at least part of it, is told.  More on that later.  Just know that:
  • Emerson’s CQC-7 with Wave retails at $225
  • Kershaw’s CQC-7K with Wave retails at $60.


Spyderco reports that more and more countries are banning friction folding knives as well as locked blades.  The slip joint market is growing.  New designs like Spyderco’s PITS (Pie in the Sky) by British knife maker Mike Read show promise.  Mike’s design is such that the more pressure you place on the spring while cutting, the harder it is to close the blade.  Was this a purposeful design feature?  I asked Joyce Laturi about that.  Joyce suggests,  “…People decide to do what they can within the letter of the law so they can carry a knife…”


Still waiting!  


Are you a criminal?  Maybe not, but you could soon be an outlaw.  The domestic ivory ban, President Obama’s directive 210 makes it illegal to sell ivory harvested before the 1980s ban passed by Congress.  While the directive is focused on elephant ivory collected after the ban, enforcement is given sweeping powers to declare you guilty and force you to prove your innocence.  While the US Fish and Wildlife service stated in Sept 2012, “...Illegal ivory in the U.S. was not significant,”  they are now working for the “virtual elimination of all commercial trade in elephant ivory,” according to Dan Ashe, Director USFWS.  You’ll being seeing more on this later.

CRKT Imported Knife of  2014.  It's a nice knife!  


I learned how to turn an impossibly dull knife into a workable dull knife with 'mud-on-a-stick.'  I'll have more on that too!

The Blade Show isn’t about knives.  That’s just the excuse.  It’s really about people and their knives.