Howdy Folks. It has been another whirlwind day. In case you missed it, it kicked off with the Knife Rights Sharper Future Awards Breakfast where I had the chance to hear Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clark Jr. give an impassioned speech on knives and the Second Amendment. After an hour and change back at the hotel writing aout the experience, I headed back to the show.
Upon returning to the show floor, I met up with Daniel Jackson, TTAK Reader and freelance writer who has had some of his work published in Blade Magazine, the Washington Times, and a few other outlets, a TTAK contest entry included. He came down from Chattanooga for the day to network and enjoy the show.
Going forward, he won’t be eligible for any more contests because he has agreed to drop by once and a while and contribute a post to the blog. His background and interest is in knife industry news and machinations. We welcome Dan aboard and look forward to any contributions he wishes to send our way. You can check out his personal blog here.
I finally had the chance to meet Ethan Becker today. Jon Marshall had run into him at Costco randomly last week, David met him yesterday, and finally it was my turn. Jon and David did a heck of a job selling him on TTAK, because after only about 10 minutes of conversation he invited me to come visit him (he lives about an hour from me) and have a look at his knife collection. His “design reference library” he calls it. Needless to say I am going to jump at the opportunity, and hopefully bring Jon along as well. Oh, and we talked knives and knife design a bit as well. And about the author Patrick McManus, a mutual favorite. Ethan is a super approachable guy, even by “Industry Legend at Blade Show” standards.
I spent the next couple of hours browsing knives, and received a text from a buddy of mine who asked about a knife he had seen on our Instagram feed. It the Model 2-4 by MD Caldwell, a small maker out of Washington State. I had seen his knives on Friday, and the 2-4 was on my short list anyway. I asked Matthew if he could give me a deal on a pair, and he agreed. I ponied up my own money for the purchase. The knife is a nice bushcraft drop point, made from N690 Stainless, and is right in my wheelhouse as far as testing. I look forward to it.
Testing the Caldwell is going to take a backseat to this next knife. That is because Caleb White of Caleb White Knives passed me a “Penance”, a beautiful, differentially-hardened 1095 knife with a blade shape that Will Woods might describe as a “leaf” point. It is a hybrid Wharnecliffe/sheepsfoot or something along those lines. The knife is a loaner. Caleb isn’t a big production house and can’t afford to be giving away $400 knives. I am happy just to get to use and test such a fine looking tool.
There are dozens of other booths and tables that I visited today. I will go into detail on many of these going forward, but I wanted to touch on one more knife I acquired today. I swung by the Tormek booth and introduced myself to Stig Reitan, their Sales Manager for the USA. I told them about my reviews of the Tormek and the Mora Bushcraft. The former was my first post as a volunteer writer for TTAK, the latter I still consider my magnum opus. Stig told me he had something for me. He reached into his drawer and pulled out a Tormek-branded Mora companion. It was a demonstration model and had a mark or two from being used on the machine, but Stig gave it a thorough once-over and sharpened and honed it to a fine edge. The knife is nothing fancy, it is a Mora. However, I love the thing because it is a unique souvenir from this week’s show. At least mostly unique for North America.
I finished the day with what is now on the way to becoming an annual tradition – a steak dinner with Will Woods. Last year, was memorable for two reasons. First, because it was my first time using my newly-purchased Kim Breed. The fat from the steak stained the carbon steel. I about freaked. That is when Will explained to me the wonders of patina. While I accepted reality, it was difficult to see my new knife forever altered so soon. He razzed me about the incident this year. I suppose I deserved it.
My other big memory of last years dinner was returning to the table after a quick chat with someone I had been wanting to talk to and finding that Will had picked up the tab. “I had a very good day” is all he said when I protested. So this year I bough Will his steak, and hope we can continue this tradition for many years to come. David, Teddy, and Will’s dad joined us as well.
Tomorrow I have my big interviews with Sal Glesser and Doug Ritter. I am going to do a bit more prep work before turning in. I am sorry that this is so late going out, it has taken me a bit to process the day and compose a post. I hope you all have been enjoying the coverage. If you haven’t been following us in real-time on Twitter or Instagram, you can at least see all of the pictures here.
Have a great Sunday folks.