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Steve Shackleford

Dowell, Fogg, Harsey Join Cutlery Hall of Fame

Dowell, Harsey and Fogg join the ranks of other greats.

Custom knifemakers T.M. “Ted” Dowell and William “Bill” Harsey Jr. and ABS master smith Don Fogg have been voted the 2024 inductees into the BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall of Fame®.

The three were elected by a vote of sitting members of the Cutlery Hall of Fame and a panel of industry authorities, the latter assembled by BLADE® Magazine. The vote was finalized April 25.

The trio will be inducted formally in a special ceremony during the 43rd Annual BLADE Show June 7-9 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta. The ceremony will be held Saturday, June 8, at 8 a.m. in the Kennesaw Room of the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel, the host hotel of the BLADE Show. For ceremony ticket information, visit blade@bladeshow.com.

Dowell was one of the founding members who established The Knifemakers’ Guild, the grandaddy of all modern knifemaker organizations, in 1970. Along with fellow Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer Bob Loveless, Dowell wrote the Guild’s original bylaws. Ted was Guild president in 1975 and coordinated the organization’s first custom-knives-only-no-guns show. He helped Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer Phil Lobred establish the Art Knife Invitational in the early 1980s. Lobred credited Dowell with making the first modern integral knife, a design Ted introduced in 1972 in his basic hunting knives and which eventually evolved into some of the most ornate of integral art knives. Integral knives in general turned into a category of their own and remain popular to this day. Ted passed away in 2012.

Fogg and Murad Sayen formed a partnership called ‘Kemal’ in 1980. Kemal created some of the best art knives ever, including one pictured in Esquire Magazine. The accompanying article helped bring the beauty of art knives to the world. In 1981, Bill Moran and Fogg received the first ABS master smith ratings. In 2006 Don was inducted into the ABS Hall of Fame. He long has shared his vast knowledge. He revealed the art of Samurai and Viking sword making and developed the W’s damascus pattern. He shared the drawings of his best gas forge and his gas heat treat oven for swords. He built one of the first 20-ton hydraulic forging presses for making damascus. Today the press is as popular as a power hammer. He also was instrumental in starting the ABS bladesmithing school in Auburn, Maine.

Harsey has made and designed knives for 38 years, during which time he has been one of the most prolific and recognizable names in the industry, working behind the scenes and designing for Al Mar Knives, Beretta, Chris Reeve Knives, CRKT, Gerber, Ruger and Spartan Blades. He worked and consulted with and designed for Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer Col. Rex Applegate, including the British SAS Collaboration Knife. Bill designed the U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret Knife, aka The Yarborough, for Chris Reeve Knives, a serialized version of which was presented to each graduate of the Special Forces Qualification Course. He also designed the official knife of the Canadian Special Forces and the U.S. Navy SEAL Silver Trident knife, and worked on the Neil Roberts knife project.

The elections bring to 74 the number of members in the Cutlery Hall of Fame, the world’s only shrine to the giants of the entire knife industry.

See Other Hall Of Fame Members:

BLADE Show Do’s & Don’ts

Follow these simple rules and you’re sure to have a great show.

If you’re among the throng of thousands going to the BLADE Show June 7-9 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, here are a few tips on how to make the world’s largest, most important knife event work for you:

What To Wear

If in doubt “go dark”—any one or more of black shirt, blue jeans or black hat. While tactical doesn’t rule the way it once did, black remains the color of choice among many knife fans. Whatever color you choose, wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes. If you want to overdo it, clip a knife to every pocket.

Comfortable shoes that provide full support against walking on concrete all weekend are an absolute must. Some bring two pair of such shoes. Bring a small backpack for snacks, a small plastic water bottle, etc. If you go outside for the BLADE University classes or free seminars, a ballcap helps protect against a June Georgia sun that has fried thousands of BLADE Show patron scalps over the years.

Party Proof Yourself

If you join the revelry and revel too much in The Pit (page 24), the lobby bar of the host Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel, take some kind of headache relief before bedtime to reduce the dreaded post-Pit hangover. And, if you stay in the Waverly, bring some earplugs. The Pit can get raucous even into the wee hours and the noise can carry up to the hotel rooms, including the top floor.

Show Etiquette

  • Try to avoid walking fast and making sudden stops and U-turns in the exhibitor halls. Thousands of knife fans like you are moving, too, often closer to each other than they should. Any abrupt moves can result in collisions, so take it slow and easy. You’ll see more knives that way, too.
  • Never ask a maker how long it took him/her to make a specific knife. It’s natural to be amazed at some of the fabulous works of art and to be curious about how long it took to make one, but many makers bristle at the question. It’s not as important to know why they resent the query so much as the fact that they do, so don’t ask.
  • Don’t interrupt a maker/customer conversation. Patiently wait your turn or come back later when the maker is free to talk.
  • Ask the maker before you pick up a knife. If it’s a folder, it doesn’t hurt to ask permission to open it. The maker may want to open it for you. If a multi-blade folder, don’t open it so two or more blades are open at once. This puts undue pressure on one or more of the backsprings. It’s also a good way to cut yourself if you’re not careful. If you’re wanting to see what kind of clearance there is between opening/closing blades, ask the maker to demonstrate it for you. And when you finish examining the knife, return it the way it was handed to you—carefully, whether open or closed.
  • While it may seem courteous to wipe the blades off before returning knives to the makers, don’t. Let the makers do it instead. They are fully equipped to do so and are going to check the knife for any spots you may miss anyhow. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring a chamois for your own purposes. However, if there’s any wiping down of their knives to be done, let the makers do it.
  • Don’t use a loupe/magnifying glass to examine a custom knife. It’s a good way to make the maker mad. There are going to be imperfections on custom knives—if not, they’re probably not custom—so some minute imperfections are to be expected.
  • After you finish talking to the maker and are ready to leave, even if you intend to return to his/her table, don’t say, “I’ll be back.” Chances are you won’t. It also implies you’ll be back to buy a knife when you may have no intention whatsoever of doing so. Don’t be an “I’ll Be Backer!”
  • One thing to be sure to do: have fun. If you’re going, see you there!

Check Out BLADE Custom Award Winners:

2024 BLADE Show Texas: Big Show with a Small Show Feel

BLADE Show Texas makes the “impossible” look easy.

“BLADE, it seems, has done the impossible—having a successful knife show in Texas!” exclaimed Bill Ruple, BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member and “The Maestro” of custom slipjoint knifemakers. “All of the South Texas Slipjoint Cartel guys had excellent sales. I can’t wait till BLADE Atlanta!”

The fact Bill brought 10 knives to the 3rd Annual BLADE Show Texas in the Fort Worth Convention Center and sold them all pronto would seem sufficient to bear out his observation, but selling out is pretty much routine for the big friendly Texan. No, it was more than just brisk knife sales that made the third rendition of the show February 23-24 so appealing. It was also the number of people—and agreeable people at that—attending.

“The attendance at the show was off the chart,” noted exhibiting knifemaker Roger Green, who sold six of the eight knives he brought—including four push daggers to one customer—and happily entertained a number of selfie requests from show patrons. “It seems both days were equally busy.”

Blade Show Texas award winners
Most of the factory and custom knife winners proudly display their trophies after the award presentation at the Hilton Hotel Fort Worth. From left: Phil Jacob; Harvey Dean; Mark Winburn; Evan Nicolaides (ESNYX); Jason Knight (behind Nicolaides); Princeton Wong; Jared Oeser; Jim Rodebaugh; Mike Quesenberry (behind Rodebaugh); Karis Fisher; Les George; Allen Elishewitz; David Deng (Reate); Joe Vero (Vero Engineering); Anthony Marfione (Heretic); Franco de Souza (behind Marfione and Ramm holding up his three awards); Peyton Ramm; and Tim Robertson.

The atmosphere in and around the show itself impressed ABS master smith Brion Tomberlin. “I like that this show is more laid back than BLADE Atlanta. It’s easy to get to. We stayed at a nice hotel with decent room rates. There are plenty of restaurants within easy walking distance. It’s a good set up,” he wrote. “It is a big show with a small show feel, if that makes sense.” The show hall indeed was bigger, with an additional 100 exhibitors over the previous year bringing the total to more than 400, plus an additional 28,000 square feet of space. Added Brion, “More space is good.”

The mix of show patrons was all over the board. Diane Carver of Fox Cutlery in the factory section indicated about 75 percent were sophisticated knife enthusiasts “willing to purchase expensive knives.” Set up in the custom section, Tomberlin broke it down even more: “About 10 percent were seasoned collectors and enthusiasts and about 30 percent were buyers who know what they want and come for the latest trends. Sixty percent were newbies who want to see what a knife show is all about.”

The seasoned buyers and those who know what they want no doubt helped make it a successful show for many exhibitors. In addition to Ruple a number sold out, Duane Dwyer and Bobby House among them, Fox Cutlery and Pro-Tech reported brisk sales and many did more than well enough to return. Among them was Burt Flanagan, who in addition to selling his award-winning slippies also sold three heat-treating ovens in his role representing Paragon Industries. Tomberlin brought five knives and sold two, a mix from high end to lower price. “Not a fantastic show for me sales wise but not horrible, either,” he observed. ABS master smith Harvey Dean sold his slicing knife, winner of Best Kitchen Knife, for $6,400 and took four other orders in the four-figure range. Smiled Harvey, “A lot of those orders will develop into more down the line.”

Sword at Blade Show Texas
Swords were hot at the Valiant Armoury booth.


To open up the custom and factory knife judging segments to more knife styles and contestants, show officials made several improvements.

To provide an award avenue for tomahawks, swords, innovative designs and other “specialty pieces,” the category of Best of the Rest was added to both the custom and factory segments. Also in the factory segment, the categories of Best American Made and Best Imported were added, with Best Tactical being dropped.

Finally, in an effort to recognize knives that came within a whisker of winning but were edged out for one reason or another, a new award called Best Contender was introduced to the custom segment, with three makers earning the new honor. For the list of all the award winners, see sidebars.

All in all, it was a most rewarding show for most everyone who came. Next year’s show will return to the Fort Worth Convention Center March 7-8. See you there, partner.

Check Out Previous Custom Award Winners:

Give It Up for Pocketknives

The simple pockeknife still holds its own after all these years.

Whether a four-figure custom slip joint, an inexpensive factory keychain knife or what you, if it’s a knife that carries in a pocket, it is a pocketknife. Pocketknives have a colorful heritage, one that not only represents some of the best cutting tools mankind has ever produced but at times has been on the right side of history as well.

Some of the first known folding knife designs date to the Roman era, if not earlier. However, the fact many Romans wore togas or tunics—most if not all of which were pocketless—precluded most of them from carrying pocketknives. If not, Brutus and his co-conspirators likely would’ve used pocketknives instead of the daggers they employed to dispatch Julius Caesar. Daggers suffered centuries of bans afterward and continue to be targeted by misguided anti-knifers to this day. If pocketknives could talk, the feeling here is they would probably thank the pocketless togas and/or tunics.

Fast forward to Sheffield, England, where the Masters of the London Cutlers Guild listed members as early as the 16th century. The pocketknives made in Sheffield for centuries remain some of the most remarkable specimens ever. Meanwhile, a number of the Sheffield makers came to America in the 19th century. Their influence helped jump start the U.S. pocketknife industry in the 1800s and aided in revolutionizing it in the 20th century. From the barlow to the stockman and scores of other patterns, many Americans carried pocketknives daily for almost every chore under the sun. That tradition was passed down from generation to generation and became an American institution.

A sampling of Stan Shaw’s pocketknives with richly fileworked blade spines and backsprings. Look close and you can see the Maltese crosses for which Stan was so well known. (image by Carl Whitham, Sheffield)

The most famous of Americans carried pocketknives, including presidents such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Acting icon John Wayne used pocketknives in some of his movie roles, including as Jacob McCandles in Big Jake and Capt. Nathan Brittles in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, to name but two. Even Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts had pocketknives made expressly for them, with the latter holding the distinction of being among the first if not the first sporting knives designed expressly for the feminine gender.

Closer to home, the argument can be made there would be no BLADE Show without pocketknives, as the two men who created the show—BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® members Bruce Voyles and Jim Parker—parlayed their love of traditional pocketknives into long cutlery careers that helped make knife collecting something worth doing. Jim, Bruce and others were among many in the South who celebrated the early trading of pocketknives on the courthouse steps of local communities, and eventually helped capture the imagination of knife enthusiasts everywhere.

Pocketknives are not just a British/American phenomenon but a worldwide one. The navaja of Spain, the Opinel of France, German models of many stripes, and perhaps the most famous pocketknife of all, the Swiss Army knife (SAK) of Switzerland, are but four examples.

Two of the leading knife genres of the past half century, tactical folders and EDCs, owe much of their appeal to being pocketknives. In fact, pocketknives have provided the platform for the introduction of some of the most influential advancements in cutlery, including assorted opening and locking mechanisms, hi-tech materials and knifemaking methods, and much more.

Give it up for pocketknives. Without them, cutlery would be nowhere near—in fact, about half—the vibrant worldwide industry it is today.

More On Pocketknives:

2024 BLADE Show Texas Preview


Everything at BLADE Show Texas just keeps getting bigger

More exhibitors—a whopping 100 more, north of 400 in all, plus an additional 28,000 square feet of space over last year—displaying the finest knives, knife accessories and all that cuts promise to make the burgeoning BLADE Show Texas the best rendition yet.

Mike Quesenberry takedown dogbone bowie
Mike Quesenberry takedown dogbone bowie features a 10-inch blade of a Turkish twist damascus and an ancient walrus ivory handle with 18k-gold buttons and escutcheon plates. (SharpByCoop knife image)

Set for Feb. 23-24 at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Fort Worth, Texas, the show will host exhibitors from around the world, including those from Australia, Brazil, China, Italy, Russia, Sweden and elsewhere. Exhibitors will include top American custom knifemakers, ABS master smiths, returning winners of BLADE Show Texas ’23 custom knife judging awards and BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® members, and some of the world’s leading factory knife companies, including many current and past winners of BLADE Magazine Knife-Of-The-Year® Awards and returning winners of BLADE Show Texas ’23 factory knife judging honors.

BLADE Show Texas will be the first of three BLADE Show sponsored events for 2024, the other two being the grandaddy of them all, the 43rd Annual BLADE Show June 7-9 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, and BLADE Show West 2024 at the Salt Palace Convention Center Oct. 4-5 in Salt Lake City, Utah.


But first things first in Fort Worth, where knife enthusiasts will enjoy the complete gamut of custom and factory knives and accessories, including art, utility, bowies, EDC, slip joints, automatics, balisongs, kukris, daggers, tactical, tomahawks, swords, sharpeners and more, from low end to high end, stock removal to forged, fixed blade to folder. And if the exhibiting makers don’t have what you’re looking for, the exhibiting custom knife purveyors and factory retailers probably will—and if they don’t, they can put you in touch with someone who does.

For knife hobbyists and novice and veteran makers alike, the show’s diverse selection of knifemaking supplies and suppliers will have the materials, tools and equipment you need to make the knife of your dreams. From the latest steels, handle materials, hardware, sheath materials to most every knife part extant, the show’s suppliers should have it.


TOPS Camp Creek Fire Edition
TOPS Knives will display its extensive array of outdoor knives, including the Camp Creek Fire Edition in CPM S35VN stainless steel and a comfortably contoured handle of red/black G-10. Country of origin: USA. MSRP: $280.

There will be some changes in both the show’s custom and factory knife judging.

The change in the custom segment is small with the simple addition of a Best of the Rest category to provide an avenue for tomahawks, swords, innovative designs and other “specialty pieces” to win an award. Best of the Rest joins the existing stable of custom awards that also includes Best Art, Best Bowie, Best Damascus, Best EDC, Best Fighter, Best Folding Knife, Best Hunting Knife, Best Kitchen Knife, Best Slip Joint, Best M.A.C.K. (Machine Assisted Custom Knife) and Best in Show.

Josh Fisher, Karis Fisher, and John Horrigan.
Returning to defend their custom knife award winning titles from last year’s show will be ABS master smiths (from left, with awards in parentheses): Josh Fisher (Best Bowie), Karis Fisher (Best Hunting Knife and Best Fighter), and John Horrigan (Best Damascus).

The shakeup in the factory categories includes eliminating Best Tactical and adding Best American Made, Best Imported and Best of the Rest. The addition of the former two addresses the top knives made both domestically and offshore, while the latter does the same for the factory segment that it does for the custom one.

The custom and factory knife judging is reserved exclusively for show exhibitors, all of whom received packets with complete details on category descriptions, judging rules and more prior to checking into the show.

Final Cut

BLADE Show Texas seems to be growing exponentially, as are the show’s exhibitors and fans. Go exponential your own self and join the party in February!

Read More On BLADE Magazine And Show:

2024 Knife Buying Trends: Collectors Tighten Up Their Wallets

After smashing years in the post-pandemic, knife buying has somewhat cooled for the time being.

While the outward signs of the pandemic—masks, shutdowns, etc.—that ravaged the world in the earlier part of the decade are largely gone now, the economic impacts remain. That includes in the world of knives.

Factory knife sales rolled right along in the first couple of years or so of the pandemic, due partly to the federal government stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits offered to many Americans. The checks and benefits eventually stopped but healthy knife sales continued unabated throughout much of the factory knife industry into mid-2022. That’s when one company experiencing record sales the first six months saw consumer spending “suddenly jerk to a halt in the second half” of the year.

“Dealers had loaded up with knives going into the summer because they expected the Covid spending wave to continue and were left holding a ton of inventory that’s been moving very slow ever since,” wrote the company’s spokesperson. Consequently, he noted, his company’s sales were down about 30 percent in 2023.

However, again according to the company spokesperson, as important a role as the end of the flow of the “free” government money to Americans would seem to have played in the knife sales downturn, it “was small potatoes” in comparison to two larger factors—a poor economy and a lack of consumer discretionary funds in general.

“Confidence is down, so people are being conservative with their discretionary spending,” he noted. “Second, not everyone has discretionary funds, so while the cost of pretty much everything continues to rise, income growth is stagnant for people who were already underpaid.”

Another company spokesperson who stated his company’s sales were down about 8 percent in 2023 cited another cause.

“There is also pent-up demand to go out to restaurants and clubs since the pandemic. People are spending money on experiences [instead of on knives],” he opined. “I see this as temporary and will subside as they realize hamburgers cost $18 and service stinks.”

Even though TOPS Knives’ sales were up 15 percent at BLADE Show West ’23 over the previous year’s show, company general manager Craig Powell indicated he still noticed a sign of conservative knife buying at this year’s show in Salt Lake City.

“We are seeing people tighten their belts and being a little more frugal than in years past,” he observed after the show. Rather than the belt-tightening being reflected in the prices paid for individual knives, Craig wrote, “We saw people that otherwise would have purchased two or three knives buy just the one.”

It should be noted that not every company BLADE® contacted experienced sales drops in ’23. For instance, Condor Tool & Knife reported sales were even compared to ’22, while Coast reported a solid increase of 12 percent in ’23. Officials of both companies indicated they would not be raising prices in ’24, though the aforementioned companies that suffered sales drops in ’23 will be.

“We have a few products going up in price in 2024,” one company spokesperson wrote, “somewhere between 3 and 5 percent, mostly to cover our increased costs in labor and fuel.” Another company spokesperson stated his company would be implementing a 5 percent increase across the board for similar reasons. “We’re hearing that other brands are raising their prices much more than that, so we’re doing everything we can to keep our knives as affordable as possible for consumers without reducing quality,” he observed.

It should be noted here that the companies cited in this story represent a small segment of the industry. Moreover, we at BLADE believe in the ebb and flow of knife sales as outlined by Chris Quinn of GP Knives, and that most of the players in the knife industry who experienced down years won’t be down for long.

Nonetheless, perhaps more than ever, BLADE urges you to monitor the prices charged for knives in 2024. Today’s knives are of higher production quality and materials than their predecessors but, as always, it’s up to you to ensure that you get the best knife with the best bang for your buck.

Check Out Our Buyer’s Guides:

2024 Knife Trends: Watchwords For The Coming Year

Chris Quinn of GP Knives is familiar with the ebb and flow of trends and styles in the knife industry and advises to approach the ’24 market with an appreciation of that ongoing phenomenon.

“The knife industry is quite the rollercoaster,” he related, “and what could be popular in the future is anybody’s guess and depends on a lot of things, but mostly the economy at the time. We are a disposable income industry. Over the past year, as inflation and interest rates continued to rise, our industry has had a noticeable slowdown. That said, items that continue to sell well are either hard to get, limited production and exclusive, or a good deal. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”

Economical & Political Tides

Considering the economic influences and the fact that knife prices naturally rise in step with costs related to materials, production time, scarcity and maker branding, then keeping a keen eye on value is a watchword for the new year.

“2024 is an election year,” Quinn commented. “They are always tricky to navigate. Who’s next in office has a direct effect on the shooting and cutlery industries.”

With this influence, he looks forward to a couple of developing style aspects in the next year.

“The more fidgety the better,” he smiled. “A large percentage of knives aren’t used for more than fidget toys these days, or at least they need to function that way to impress the end user. Popular fidgety locks like Demko’s Shark Lock or WE Knife/CIVIVI’s SuperLock or Pro-Tech’s button lock are all the rage. The smoother and faster the opening and closing a folder can be the better. Traditional folders are hanging in there, but EDC is king. Also, the automatic category continues to grow as we see more and more states loosening their laws on ownership and carry.”

Summarizing, Quinn related, “I don’t have much in the way of predicting styles of knives and don’t see longstanding industry leaders lowering their prices soon, but I do see smaller makers getting more competitive to take the space the giants have abandoned.”

Check Out Our Buyer’s Guides:


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