BLADE Show is where knifemakers get to interact directly with their fans and customers, and thanks to the internet and social media that connection can be shared worldwide. Click below to hear from some of the best in the business, and find out my nomination for Best In Show. Just a clue: everyone can afford it!
Before we get started, I must first apologize to everyone I didn’t get to see. Continuing my tradition of the past two years, I managed to be sick during BLADE Show. Whereas in the last two years, I came down with something on Sunday, this year I managed to be under the weather the whole weekend.
A couple days before the show I was dealing with a light stomach bug and sinus pressure and that continued through the weekend. I was dealing with an ear that wouldn’t pop after my flight in, meaning I could barely hear out of said ear all weekend, and sinus drainage that meant I had no voice on Saturday. Combined with the lack of sleep, my energy level was shot and I actually left the show Saturday mid-afternoon with a bad headache to lay low for the rest of the evening. I even had to miss our annual dinner with Dogwood Dan Eastland, which never fails to be a highlight every year.
Enough by way of explanation. Suffice it to say that I was severely off my game this year. Fortunately I still managed to visit a number of folks on the floor and push out some videos to our Facebook page. If you aren’t on that platform, you can still enjoy the clips embedded below.
First and foremost, let me tell you about the most exciting thing I saw at the show this year.
The soon to be released Condor Terrasaur easily gets my nod for Best In Show for 2018. The blade should be entering production by the end of this month, and while some commenters have expressed concern over their past quality control, if Condor nails this knife, there is no reason it won’t be a game changer.
The scandi ground blade is 1095 with a distressed forced patina. It is a full tang with molded handle and exposed pommel. It also comes with an ambidextrous plastic sheath. Best part is the MSRP: only $42… based on other Condor products already out, that ought to put the actual street price somewhere around $35.
I don’t know about you but unlike the Garberg, the Condor Terrasaur sure looks like the full tang Mora that we’ve always wanted.
Here is Condor designer Joe Flowers talking about the knife. Disregard the price and availability he mentions below. The $42 MSRP and late June production start mentioned above are correct.
Right around the corner from Condor are our good friends from L.T. Wright Handcrafted Knives. They did not have any new knife models with them this year, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing to talk about. Here is L.T. with a little bit of advice.
In addition to the great production companies like Condor and shops like LTWK, BLADE Show hosts the greatest bladesmiths in the world and there are few finer than Murray Carter. His kitchen knives are highly sought after (Clay’s kitchen Cadillac is his Carter Funayuki). Murray himself tells us a little bit about his Perfect Model Kitchen Knife below and why it is such a good tool.
Speaking of kitchen knives, our friend Dan Eastland of Dogwood Custom Knives also brought a few new models with him. I will be reviewing his new Fish & Fowl / Steak Knife soon, but he also brought a new chef knife pattern called the Big Papi.
Let’s keep the kitchen train rolling with a maker that Todd Hunt introduced me to, Kyle Daily of K.H. Daily Knives. He recently did a 5 From The Grinder interview with us and I was looking forward to seeing his work in person. It did not disappoint. Especially cool were matched sets of Chef/Santoku knives that he brought with the handles on each taken from the exact same block of wood. Very cool how they turned out, and for a first time exhibitor he really brought his A-game.
Speaking of Todd Hunt, how about a peek at his new models that made their BLADE Show debut this year. His new Hedgehog is especially nice, and I am pleased to have acquired one for my personal collection.
Right down the aisle from Todd was Fiddleback Forge. In my review of their Camp Muk last year I noted that while not cheap, their knives are certainly worth it. For those who still can’t swing it though, owner Andy Roy has taken on a new endeavor, Cumming Bladeworks USA, with the aims of bringing a lower cost product to market with all the quality you would expect from his crew.
They are fine tuning their production right now, but their output of these knives should be ramping up soon. If you can afford something like an ESEE, you will be able to afford one of these. Right now they are all using AEB-L steel, and will launch with micarta handles and JRE leather sheaths.
Some high quality budget blades made right here in the USA, introducing @cummingbladeworksusa – These are finished in the @fiddlebackforge shop. AEB-L steel with micarta handles. Production will be ramping up soon. @blade_show #bladeshow #bladeshow2018 #blade #knifelife #knives #blades #hotlanta #atlanta
The worst part about leaving early on Saturday, as far as show coverage was concerned, was missing the Bladesports World Championships. Nicole Warden came in first for the Women, extending her streak to three in a row, and friend of the blog Dwayne Unger took first in the Men’s, with Dan Keffeler and last years winner James Clifton taking 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Our longtime friend Big Chris Berry took fifth this year. Thanks in part to his YouTube notoriety and Knife or Death appearance, he sold a good number of large knives, including competition choppers this year.
He also brought a new small knife pattern that actually takes a few cues from his choppers. Check it out.
And finally, here is another knifemaker I met via Todd Hunt, when he dragged this guy to a Beckerheard Gathering last year. Ross Gammons of Dry Creek Forge brought some really cool stuff to the table. Check it out.
That is all for this year folks! Sorry I couldn’t bring you more. I will detail the knives I came back with, both review samples and personal acquisitions, in another post shortly. Thanks for reading!