Saturday of Blade Show 2018 has now come and gone in a blur of knives, noise, knives, people, knives, good friends, good food, and more knives. So pretty much what I have come to expect from the 10-hour marathon on the floor of the show, followed by dinner with Dogwood Dan Eastland, his wife, and a couple of friends and industry people. While many people head to “The Pit” to finish out the evening, yours truly is back in his room, typing away, and trying to organize my thoughts into a remotely coherent post.
As I mentioned in my post last night, whereas Friday is my day to just walk around and try to take it all in, I come to the floor on Saturday morning with a plan. This year, my Saturday plan was to drop in for semi-formal discussions with several companies. In some cases, like with Kizer, it was with a bit of pre-show communication, while others were companies with whom I had fallen out of touch and wanted to reestablish a connection. I also made a point of visiting with a coupe of makers whom I have met through Facebook knife groups, as well as dropping by both Gerber’s and Cold Steel’s booths as they are again attending Blade Show.
Gerber told me that they we actually here last year. Obviously I will take them at their word on something like that, though I remember knowing of SOGs return in 2017 and made a point of seeking them out, I honestly did not remember even seeing them. Did I mention the show is very large? I still haven’t even made it to Benchmade and Spyderco. But I digress.
I did not see my prior contact at the Gerber booth, but the folks I spoke with were familiar with us, and more specifically our mixed reviews of the knives they sent us for our “Gerber Week” a couple of years ago. They assured me that despite the 2 unreturned emails following the reviews were a case of my falling through the cracks rather than our being personae non gratae.
They showed me several new knives, which all appeared solid in my admittedly limited handling. There are 3 that they are most excited about. The first is an auto called the Empower. It is based on the Propel chassis, but is geared less towards the tactical market and more towards EDC. It, and the Propels they had at the both did not have any of the wobble issues I found in the course of my Propel review. Add in a lower MSRP, and the USA made Empower seems like a much more solid buy in my opinion.
They also have a fixed blade dagger- the G1-002 which is an update of Gerber’s venerable Mark II combat knife, and a fairly nice Chinese-made folding cleaver, the Flatiron.
This is definitely Cold Steel’s first year back in several. They actually were located in a side-room off the main show floor. Their new Luzon is a huge flipper with a 6″ blade and a $39 MSRP. If a flipping pocket-sword is your thing, it is a fun knife to play with.
I was extremely pleased to make inroads with Kizer. Anyone who is making blanket statements anymore deriding the quality of Chinese production knives is simply ignorant of the strides that have been made in Chinese Knife production. Kizer, WE, and Reate are 3 companies who ought to have American manufacturers quaking in their boots. While there might be valid geopolitical or nationalistic reasons one might want to refrain from carrying a Chinese knife, to claim it is for quality reasons is a cop-out if one is referring to certain companies.
Joyce, who does Kizer’s media outreach, had arranged a meeting between me and David Sun, one of their company reps who was raised and lives in California. He walked me through many of Kizer’s protoype and new knives, but there is so much to go over that I will save it for a standalone post/booth visit report. I will say I am looking forward to receiving the new Sheepdog that they are planning on sending me.
I bought my first knife of the show at the KaBar booth- their Folding Hunter. It is only a $25 imported knife, based off of their historic 1139, with modern materials in the blade and the scales (g10 instead of wood). They were selling them for $15 at their booth, and I couldn’t refuse an offer like that. In fact, I bought the last one out from under Todd Hunt, so I owe him a beer.
I have tons more material to get to, but if I am going to be worth a darn tomorrow both on the show floor, as well as on the drive back to Knoxville, I need to get to sleep. So I will leave you with several more pictures from my wanderings around the show. Make sure to check out our Instagram page in particular (@knifetruth) as we have tons of pictures, as well as several videos that David has shot wile visiting various booths.
So without further ado…
Ben Peterson of BladeHQ should be familiar to most of you. (Seated on the group left. I have known Ben since he worked at CRKT, and while I am glad to have had a minute to chat and snatch a photo, I really hope we can chat for a longer period in the morning.
Here is a cool knife from Venier Forge, which is made from a scrap left over from the sword shown. Really cool stuff. Love the hamon. You don’t see it often on a small folder.
Kevin Joseph of Recoil Magazine models a Sayoc Sungete by One Tribe Blades.
William Lloyd has won several Blade Show awards for his stylistic swords. I am looking forward to his 5 from the Grinder submission. It should be interesting as his wares are quite unique.
Who let this motley crew in?
And finally, while I am not planning on using my Dogwood Custom Kephart reproduction for much more than cutting gun-patches, I was more than happy to borrow Dan’s personal one to cut my burger at dinner.
It will cut.
That is it for tonight. As always, I have weeks of material to sift through, and I won’t post again until Sunday Night. But David and I both will be back with loads more Blade Show 2018 content in the coming days. Have a great Sunday folks.