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Warenski King Tut Dagger For Sale

Perhaps the most iconic handmade knife ever can be yours for the right price

It may be the most iconic custom knife ever and it was made by perhaps the best knifemaker ever. The King Tut Dagger reproduction by BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member Buster Warenski is available for sale through Exquisite Knives.

Buster Warenski’s reproduction of the King Tut Dagger took over five years to complete and, including the sheath, contains over 32 ounces of gold. (SharpByCoop image)
Buster Warenski’s reproduction of the King Tut Dagger took over five years to complete and, including the sheath, contains over 32 ounces of gold. (SharpByCoop image)

Commissioned by Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer Phil Lobred in 1982, the knife took Warenski over five years to complete. A pioneering collector of custom knives and 19th-century dress bowies and founder/creator/coordinator of the Art Knife Invitational, Phil had kept the dagger in a safe ever since, displaying it on rare occasions at select knife shows or for private viewings. He passed away in 2016. On Aug. 1, his widow, Judy, contacted Dave Ellis of Exquisite Knives and asked him to handle the sale of the famous piece.

Buster Warenski is widely recognized as one of the best knifemakers if not the best ever. He passed away in 2005.
Buster Warenski is widely recognized as one of the best knifemakers if not the best ever. He passed away in 2005.

Once valued at over $1 million, “the most famous contemporary handmade knife ever,” according to Ellis, has an asking price of $500,000.

LEGACY IN STEEL

The first of Warenski’s three “Legacy Knives”—the other two being the Gem of the Orient and Fire and Ice—the King Tut Dagger is a reproduction of the knife from the tomb of the Egyptian boy king, Tutankhamun, uncovered by archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922. It contains over 32 ounces of gold and took Warenski, widely recognized as one of the best knifemakers if not the best ever, over half a decade to build.

During that span he suffered through the trial and challenges of recreating the iconic dagger. Among them was the cold forging and fullering of the knife’s gold blade, learning such ancient techniques as cloisonné—a highly technical enameling process—and the granulation of the handle. The solid gold scabbard rivals the knife in terms of beauty and the many hours it took to make. A special handmade display stand comes with the dagger, both of which are in mint condition.

The King Tut Dagger repro was the cover for the February 1988 BLADE®.
The King Tut Dagger repro was the cover for the February 1988 BLADE®.

PRICED TO SELL

The current sale will be the second time Ellis has had a go at moving the Tut dagger repro.

“A few years before he passed, Phil Lobred asked if I would find a buyer for the Tut. His asking price at the time was $1 million. I had a number of interested parties but Phil was set on his price and I could not swing the sale,” Dave wrote. “Now, over six years since Phil passed, Judy contacted me about selling the King Tut Dagger. After deciding on a more realistic price—not that a million was unreasonable but few if any contemporary knives have attained that lofty status—I am marketing the piece on my Instagram and Facebook pages and on my website.”

An ABS master smith now retired from bladesmithing, Dave is a top collector and dealer of fine custom knives. He stated that to be able to offer his clientele such a special piece is indeed an honor.

Phil Lobred commissioned Buster Warenski to make the King Tut dagger repro in 1982 and Buster completed it in 1987. Phil, here on a dock in San Diego, created/founded the Art Knife Invitational in 1983. He passed away in 2016.
Phil Lobred commissioned Buster Warenski to make the King Tut dagger repro in 1982 and Buster completed it in 1987. Phil, here on a dock in San Diego, created/founded the Art Knife Invitational in 1983. He passed away in 2016.

Perhaps the only things better would be to a) sell it and b) own it.

For more information on the sale of the King Tut Dagger repro, visit exquisiteknives.com and click on ‘art knives’ on the home page.

Read More On Knife Collecting:

A Labor of Love: Lorenzi Foundation And Museum

The Lorenzi Foundation and Museum showcases one of the finest collections of rare and historical knives in the world.

One of the most extensive collections of ultra-rare modern custom and historical knives, cutting implements and many other items connected with the cutler’s art is displayed magnificently in a new museum in Milan, Italy.

A labor of love by Aldo and Edda Lorenzi, the museum is under the auspices of the aptly named Aldo and Edda Lorenzi Foundation (established July, 2020). The museum showcases the Lorenzi Collection consisting of about 2,000 pieces in all, catalogued and accompanied by specific information: era, origin, artisan (if known), function, material, construction and more.

Aldo & Edda Lorenzi
Aldo & Edda Lorenzi

It gathers cutting utensils and related items dating from the Etruscan period (approximately 900-27 B.C.) to today. It is complemented by a series of specialized publications, testimony to the incessant research that was necessary to bring the operation  of the Lorenzis’ internationally recognized G. Lorenzi retail knife store in Milan to exceptional levels, and to which Mr. and Mrs. Lorenzi devoted their efforts and creativity for many years. It is all housed in a state-of-the-art edifice containing many of the displays and other historical examples of the cutler’s art from the original G. Lorenzi shop and elsewhere.

The Foundation’s premises include a library where visitors and specialists may view the bibliographic materials. A special fit-out of the space enables visitors to relive the shop’s atmosphere. Thanks to an attentive recovery, a number of the original furnishings have been reinstalled on site. This includes an exterior window from G. Lorenzi, one of six “eyes” that communicated with window shoppers in one of Milan’s most exclusive retail store districts, and the display counters on which, over the years, over 18,000 types of sales items were placed. The space also features oak display cases in which the items were shown, as well as the copper-paneled room that featured the small entrance door opening onto the larger shop.

Historic Excellence

The collected items demonstrate, by starting from an artisanal craft as ancient and humble as that of the knife grinder, how it is possible to evolve and then achieve historic excellence. As further informational support, there are over 700 books, about 1,000 magazines and 150 prints, which for the most part depict traveling knife grinders. In fact, Aldo’s father, Giovanni Lorenzi, started his career as a professional knife grinder. Giovanni

Edda Lorenzi examines and arranges some of the many cutlery items from the Lorenzi Collection. (Lorenzi image)
Edda Lorenzi examines and arranges some of the many cutlery items from the Lorenzi Collection. (Lorenzi image)

founded  Coltelleria G. Lorenzi—a small shop at the time—at the address of via Montenapoleone 9, Milan, a shop later operated by his sons Aldo, the sole administrator, and Franco. (Regrettably, Franco passed away a few years ago.)

In the course of over 60 years, the Lorenzis collected and kept the pieces which best represented their profession until the closure of G. Lorenzi in 2014. Their selection of the most recent items from their collection was made possible thanks to the close, precious relationship with the artisans—many Europeans, a number of Americans and Japanese—whom Aldo and Edda visited periodically at their shops. It was in such shops that the artisans created their unique pieces, full-fledged artworks that stand the test of time and which enabled G. Lorenzi to become renowned and appreciated at the international level.

Custom Gems

Included in the collection are 150 custom knives by American makers, knives that are particularly near and dear to Mr. and Mrs. Lorenzi. Having collected such knives since the mid-1970s, the Lorenzis traveled the USA, not only visiting the makers in their shops but also attending most every major knife show, meeting just about every maker worth his or her steel along the way.

Among the Lorenzis’ honors are The Knifemakers’ Guild’s Nate Posner Award (1995); the BLADE Magazine Industry Achievement Award (2014); the American Bladesmith Society Special Achievement Award (2014); and the Gold Star Award of Recognition from the William Moran Jr. Museum and Foundation (2014). Three of the Lorenzis’ favorites among their favorite custom knives in their collection are:

  • The number one of an art piece by W.W. “Bud” Cronk, the maker some consider the father of the modern art knife. Aldo ordered a copy of the knife for one of the Lorenzis’ best customers, but Cronk passed away before he could finish it. It would’ve been a coup for the Lorenzis if they could have gotten the copy too, as Cronk never made duplicates of his work. The copy was used later as the model for the logo of the W.W. Cronk Award, a private honor Don Henderson sponsored for 25 years for the Guild Show’s best art knife
  • A Bob Loveless/Barry Wood folder Loveless gave to Aldo when the Lorenzis visited the Loveless shop in 1977. Unaware at the time that U.S. knifemakers’ shops were not retail knife stores, the Lorenzis knocked on the Loveless shop door unannounced. Loveless answered the door and, unsure at first what to make of the couple from Italy, soon hit it

    Loveless/Wood Folder
    Loveless/Wood Folder

    off with Aldo—so much so that he gave the Lorenzis the Loveless/Wood folder. Before the Lorenzis left, they asked Loveless why he had trusted them so much at first sight that he gave them a knife (at the time, Aldo and Edda had no idea what Loveless knives were worth). “He replied that we ‘had our history written on our foreheads,’ a phrase that we have never forgotten!” Edda wrote. “These are the kinds of bonds that have made us love American knives and knifemakers even more!” 

  • A Multilock folder by Ray Appleton. Edda recounted a memorable trip the Lorenzis shared with Appleton from Georgia to Chicago, including visits to an Atlanta racing museum and Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave in the process, the latter where the 6-foot-8-inch Appleton bumped his noggin on a cave overhead. Recounted Edda: “Since Aldo wanted to stop at every cutler shop he knew along the way, Ray generously offered to make the phone calls for him to warn the shops of our arrival. ‘I’m Aldo Lorenzi’s secretary, Hot Pants,’ he announced himself on the telephone, making us laugh a lot!”

These are but three of the many American custom knives and their stories among the scads of other custom and assorted knives and cutting implements in the museum. Meanwhile, a 300-to-400 page catalog of museum items is due for completion by early 2022 at the latest.

If you ever get Milan way, a visit to the Aldo and Edda Lorenzi Foundation and Museum is a bucket-list must. 


Read more about the Lorenzis

Lorenzis, Ruple Join Cutlery Hall Of Fame

The BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall Of Fame® is proud to announce three most-deserving inductees for 2022: the husband-and-wife team of Mr. and Mrs. Aldo and Edda Lorenzi and Bill Ruple.

All will be formally inducted in a special Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame ceremony and breakfast during BLADE Show 2022 June 3-5 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta.

One of the most prolific, long-running supporters of custom knives in modern cutlery history, the Lorenzis forged a name known in knife circles far and wide while operating their G. Lorenzi retail knife store in Milan, Italy, where they sold knives of some of the greatest knifemakers of all time, including Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame members Buster Warenski, Bob Loveless, Michael Walker, Jimmy Lile, Gil Hibben, Ron Lake, Frank Centofante and many more.

Meanwhile, hailing from Pleasonton, Texas, Ruple is one of the most successful slip-joint makers of the 21st century, winning many awards for his traditional pocketknives, and also serving as a teacher and mentor to an entire generation of award-winning slip-joint makers from Texas and elsewhere.

Aldo and Edda Lorenzi (Francesco Pachi image)
Aldo and Edda Lorenzi (Francesco Pachi image)

Aldo And Edda Lorenzi

Aldo and Edda Lorenzi operated G. Lorenzi retail cutlery store in Milan from 1959 until its close in February 2014. The Lorenzis regularly attended the world’s most important knife shows, buying scores of knives for sale in their shop. They bought so many knives at shows, in fact, that the Lorenzis’ presence often determined a show’s success or failure. The support and exposure they gave to American makers in particular by selling their knives in their store in one of the most exclusive shopping areas in Milan was pivotal in introducing American custom knives to Europe.

In 1995 they won The Knifemakers’ Guild’s prestigious Nate Posner Award “in recognition for outstanding service in the promotion of handcrafted cutlery.” They also won the BLADE Magazine 2014 Industry Achievement Award for their decades of supporting the custom knife industry. For five years ending in 2019, they sponsored the Aldo and Edda Lorenzi Award for the Guild Show and the BLADE Show, with each event’s award-winning maker receiving $1,000 cash and a plaque—10 awards and $10,000 in all. The Lorenzis also are most supportive of the William F. Moran Foundation and are one of the Foundation’s first chartered member couples.

An exterior display window (shown here in the background) from the original G. Lorenzi shop is a centerpiece of the Lorenzis’ new museum. It was one of the store’s six “eyes” that communicated with window shoppers in one of Milan’s most exclusive retail districts, the counters of which, over the years, displayed more than 18,000 types of items. In the foreground is a display case of some of the Lorenzis’ favorite custom knives. (Francesco Pachi image)
An exterior display window (shown here in the background) from the original G. Lorenzi shop is a centerpiece of the Lorenzis’ new museum. It was one of the store’s six “eyes” that communicated with window shoppers in one of Milan’s most exclusive retail districts, the counters of which, over the years, displayed more than 18,000 types of items. In the foreground is a display case of some of the Lorenzis’ favorite custom knives. (Francesco Pachi image)

“More loyal ambassadors of the art cannot be found,” one sitting Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame member noted of the Lorenzis. “Their store was like a museum, always welcoming visitors and ready to educate them on fine cutlery and custom knives. Several prominent collectors got their start by buying a custom knife at the Lorenzis’ store.”

In fact, the Lorenzis have assembled their massive collection of over 2,000 knives (including 150 custom knives by the world’s best makers spanning the past half century), 700 books, 1,000 magazines and prints, and related items in a new state-of-the-art museum in Milan (December BLADE®, page 60). The museum contains the knives in elegant oak display cases, a recreation of the copper-paneled room that featured the small entrance door to the G. Lorenzi store in Milan, a wooden portable knife grinder used by Aldo’s father and the store’s namesake, Giovanni Lorenzi, almost a century ago, and much more.

Bill Ruple
Bill Ruple

Bill Ruple

In the eyes of one sitting member of the Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame, Bill Ruple, an award-winning custom knifemaker specializing in traditional pocketknives/slip joints and multi-blades, has done as much as anyone to promote the knife business. Bill served on the board of the Texas Knifemakers Association, taught many how to make traditional knives and is very free with his knowledge. In recognition of this fact, he was presented with the BLADE Show 2019 Aldo and Edda Lorenzi Award. The award went to a knifemaker who excels in terms of teaching and mentoring his or her fellow makers in the art of knifemaking.

Having built knives for 34 years, Ruple is a premier maker of slip joints and possesses a selfless willingness to teach others how to do it, usually in his shop in Pleasanton, Texas, and also at BLADE University, the BLADE Show, BLADE Show West and other venues. He has helped many get started with the slip joint, one of the oldest yet most challenging folders to make. His kindness and patience validates something other makers know all too well—that he is most willing to share knowledge with and encourage, critique and mentor makers everywhere.

A selection of Bill Ruple’s slip joints in an array of open, closed and spine images show Bill’s awesome talent and versatility as a knifemaker. (SharpByCoop image)
A selection of Bill Ruple’s slip joints in an array of open, closed and spine images show Bill’s awesome talent and versatility as a knifemaker. (SharpByCoop image)

Bill has taught quite a few who have become award-winning makers in their own right, including Rusty Preston, Luke Swenson, Tom Ploppert, Phil Jacob, Bubba Crouch, Toby Hill, Enrique Pena and others. A number have gone on to teach also, spreading Ruple’s knowledge to others who no doubt do the same as well. Bill does not limit his shared knowledge to just stock removal makers, receiving the American Bladesmith Society’s President’s Award for teaching ABS members how to make slip joints. Finally, Bill has donated some of his knives to knife shows and other cutlery organizations to raise funds for their various needs.

Hall Of Fame Criteria

Selected by a vote of sitting Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame members, the inductees are selected based on the following criteria: demonstrated extraordinary service to the knife industry; displayed honesty, character and integrity; advanced the industry by the creativity and originality of their works or contributions; as ambassadors or outstanding contributors, have furthered the positive impact of the knife industry on the world at large, and, in summary, have demonstrated a worthiness to be a member of this prestigious group.

The latest inductees exhibit all these qualities and more and represent a most worthy Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame induction class of 2022.

Read About Past Hall Of Fame Inductees:

Jerry Hossom makes a Navy-themed set for Capt. Ryan Heilman of the USS Nevada

Submariner Steel

Jerry Hossom makes a Navy-themed set for Capt. Ryan Heilman of the USS Nevada

Jerry Hossom had that twinkle in his eye again and this time it was by his table at BLADE Show in Atlanta, where he was all fired up about the latest set he had made for Capt. Ryan Heilman, USN, of the USS Nevada (SSBN-733).

Sporting Navy blue Micarta handles, the set consists of Jerry’s USN Mark I Boarding Hawk-Submariner Model, a Retribution fighter and one of his small Dog Tag knives. However, as with many edged sets, it was a project that wound up a bit larger than when it first started.


In addition to the Submariner Boarding Hawk, the Retribution fighter and smaller Dog Tag knife complete the set and are contained in a red-velvet-lined briefcase. A sign with the set’s and owner’s names appears on the underside of the briefcase lid.

“Ryan’s wife Karen wanted something for him and I made the Boarding Hawk. I dyed the handle blue and I wanted it to look like the sleeve of a captain’s uniform. Captain Heilman has four gold stripes on his uniform sleeve and this would normally be a star, but I can’t do stars,” he laughed, pointing to the brass pin above the four brass stripes on the handle. “And so I made this and sent it to him.”

The USN Mark I Boarding Hawk-Submariner Model by Jerry Hossom is part of a three-piece set Jerry made for Capt. Ryan Heilman of the USS Nevada SSBN-733), a ballistic missile submarine in the United States Navy.

Soon after that Karen texted Jerry with an additional request. “She said what Ryan really wanted was one of my Retribution fighters, and so I did that,” Jerry smiled. “And then Karen said maybe you can complete the set with one of your little Dog Tag knives.” Pointing to the Dog Tag knife, Jerry said, “So this was the last one I did last week just before the show.”

One of Hossom’s most recognizable knife models is his Retribution fighter. According to Capt. Heilman’s wife Karen it was the Hossom knife the Captain really wanted. Blade steel: Carpenter PSF-27 stainless. Handle: Navy blue Micarta® with bronze captain stripes and pin. Overall length: 13 inches.

Of course, Jerry outfitted both the Retribution and Dog Tag models with the same Navy blue Micarta handles and the brass stripes and pins to match the Submariner Boarding Hawk. In-between the stripes are thin layers of Navy blue G-10 that match the balance of the handles’ Navy blue Micarta. The handles of both the Submariner Boarding Hawk and Dog Tag knife have Jerry’s trademark palm cutouts that extend across the bronze pin and just north of the bronze stripes. The Retribution fighter, meanwhile, features a cradle handle style with the bird’s beak pommel on one end and the single guard on the other combining to form the cradle. The captain’s sleeve effect on all three is equal parts unmistakable and tastefully understated.

Hossom’s Dog Tag knife rounds out the three-piece set. As with the other three pieces, note the handle configured to resemble a captain’s sleeve with the four bronze stripes and pin. All the materials are the same for it as the Submariner Boarding Hawk and Retribution, including the blue G-10 in-between the stripes. Hossom would have made a regulation Navy star instead of the pin but, as he laughed, “I can’t do stars.”

From left, Jerry Hossom and Karen and Ryan Heilman enjoy themselves at BLADE Show In between Jerry and Karen in the background knifemaker Grace Horne interacts with a customer at her table.

Blade steel for all three pieces is Carpenter PSF 27 stainless, one of Jerry’s favorites. Respective lengths for the Submariner Boarding Hawk, Retribution and Dog Tag are 14, 13 and 7 inches. All are contained in a red-velvet-lined briefcase with a sign inside the lid that reads “USN Mark I Boarding Hawk-Submariner Model” over “Captain Ryan Heilman SSBN Nevada.”

 

For more information contact Jerry Hossom, Dept. BL10, 3585 Schilling Ridge, Duluth, GA 30096 770-449-7809 jerry@hossom.com, hossom.com.

The USS Nevada

The USS Nevada (SSBN-733) is a United States Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine that has been in commission since 1986. Its homeport is Bangor, Washington, and its motto is Silent Sentry. This nuclear-powered craft is 560 feet long, has a speed greater than 25 knots (29 mph) and a test depth greater than 800 feet. It boasts a complement of 15 officers and 140 enlisted men, and its armament consists of 24 Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles, MK-48 torpedoes and four 21-inch torpedo tubes.

Capt. Ryan J. Heilman, USN

Capt. Ryan J. Heilman, 

Capt. Ryan J. Heilman is commanding officer of the Blue Crew and captain of the USS Nevada (SSBN-73). He enlisted in the Navy as a machinist mate, nuclear option, and was selected for the Nuclear Enlisted Commissioning Program in 1991 and was commissioned from Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, in 1994.

Heilman was assigned to the PCU Wyoming (SSBN 742) in 1996, where he served as Navigation Division Officer and in several other positions. In 2002 he reported as Navigator/Operations Officer to the USS Nevada. He reported to Trident Training Facility, Bangor, Washington, in 2005 as the Engineering Training Department Director. In March 2008 he became Executive Officer of the USS Nebraska (SSBN 739). In 2011, after graduating from the U.S. Naval War College with a Master of Arts degree in National Security Studies, he was assigned as a Military Professor in the Joint Military Operations Department at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. In 2013, he reported to Submarine Squadron Seventeen in Bangor, Washington, as Deputy Commander for Readiness.

Capt. Heilman is a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College, the Navy’s Naval War College and is a qualified Joint Service Officer. His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Commendation Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal (four awards) and the Navy Achievement Medal (two awards).

BLADE Show West Preview, Blades Will Hit the Beach!

Blades Will Hit the Beach! Hot new venue and even hotter knives foreshadow return of BLADE Show West

A new state-of-the-art show venue, some of the world’s top custom and factory knifemakers, and action-packed chef’s knife and knife flipping championships will be but a few highlights of BLADE Show West 2021 Friday and Saturday Oct. 8-9 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California.

Grinders, buffers and other knifemaking equipment will be on full display at BLADE Show West 2021.

As with this year’s BLADE Show, it’s been two years since the last BLADE Show West, which was held in Portland, Oregon, the two-year wait being the result of the worldwide pandemic. This will be the first BLADE Show West in Long Beach, though nearby Costa Mesa was home to the show at one time.

At press time such outstanding custom makers as BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member Ron Lake; Dennis Friedly; Duane Dwyer; a number of members of the South Texas Cartel of slip-joint knifemakers including Luke Swenson, Bubba Crouch, Tim Robertson, Enrique Pena, Tanner Couch and Toby Hill; ABS master smiths Bill Burke, Jason Knight, Murray Carter, and Adam and Haley DesRosiers;  and many others—over 200 in all—were slated to exhibit.

Domestic and international factory knife exhibitors such as CRKT; Emerson Knives, Inc.; Fox; Heretic; Hogue; Medford Knife & Tool; Microtech; Pro-Tech; Spyderco; TOPS Knives; V Nives; We; Winkler Knives; and many others were slated to exhibit as well.

Knifemaking suppliers set to exhibit include Damasteel, New Jersey Steel Baron, Adam Unlimited, Nichols Damascus, Vegas Forge and more. Other exhibitors will include purveyors Dave Ellis/Exquisiteknives.com, Michael Donato/knifepurveyor.com and Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer Dan Delavan/Plazacutlery.com, photographer Jim Cooper of SharpByCoop.com, sharpening companies Wicked Edge and Work Sharp, and many others.

Art knives and their makers will be in full flower at BLADE Show West 2021. Dennis Friedly will be exhibiting such pieces as this damascus beauty with engraving by Gil Rudolph. (SharpByCoop image)

 

 

SEMINARS and COMPETITIONS

The doors will open to the public each day at 10 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. The seminar schedule kicks off Friday at 1 p.m. with one on how to bring your edge back from the edge of dull by Clay Allison of Wicked Edge. At 3 p.m. let some of the world’s top knifemakers and bladesmiths—Ernest Emerson, Jason Knight, Steve Schwarzer, Andreas Kalani, Enrique Pena and Mike Tyre—critique your custom knife. And, at 4 p.m., Joe Maynard will demonstrate finishing and polishing techniques in his mobile demo trailer.

Kolter Livengood shows his championship form in winning the chef’s division in the Chef’s Knife Cutting Championships at BLADE Show West 2019. This year’s championships will be show Friday. (Eric Eggly/PointSeven image)

Friday will conclude with the 2nd Annual Chef’s Knife Cutting Competition at 8:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Long Beach Lobby (the Hyatt is connected to the Long Beach Convention Center). The event will be divided into two divisions, custom knifemaker and chef’s.

After the doors open Saturday at 10 a.m., Ernest Emerson will present his seminar “The Quest For The Uncommon Man” at 11 a.m. At 2 p.m. join Murray Carter and his Muteki Bladesmiths for a roundtable discussion on how to become a bladesmith and bladesmithing in general. Award-winning knifemakers Luke Swenson, Bubba Crouch and Bill Ruple will conduct the seminar on how to make a single-blade trapper at 3 p.m. Then, to close out the show, Squid Industries will conduct the West Coast Flipping Championships from 4 to 6 p.m.

The 2nd Annual West Coast Flipping Championships conducted by Squid Industries will be Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. in Meeting Room 203.

For the complete seminar, competition and awards presentation schedule, along with capsule descriptions, see sidebar. Attendance is free to all show ticket holders.

 

KNIFE JUDGING AWARDS

At a time to be determined on Friday, the custom knife and factory knife judging competitions will be held. Categories in the custom knife category will be Best Slip Joint, Best Folder, Best Damascus, Best Chef’s Knife, Best EDC, Best Hunting Knife, Best Tactical Knife and Best In Show. Categories in the factory knife category will be Best Bushcraft, Best Folder, Best Kitchen Knife, Best EDC, Best Hunting Knife, Best Tactical Knife, Best Big Knife (bowie, kukri, machete, etc.) and Best In Show. Best Tactical Knife in the custom and factory categories will be open to both folders and fixed blades.

Master Smith David Lisch took home “Best in Show” in the custom awards at the last Blade Show West.

All award winners will receive trophies and coverage in the BLADE Show West recap edition of BLADE®. The winners will be announced at 8 p.m. in the Hyatt Regency Long Beach Lobby 30 minutes prior to the Chef’s Knife Cutting Competition.

 

NEW VENUE

Many knife enthusiasts, knifemakers, purveyors, suppliers, collectors and others in an around the Long Beach area seemed very excited to have BLADE Show West returning to the Los Angeles area, and a number said the show could not have found a better venue for the show than the Long Beach Convention Center. Many top restaurants and watering holes are within easy walking distance, and the venue itself is cutting edge in terms of exhibitor space and other amenities. The area is also home to an outstanding  nightlife scene, gorgeous outdoor parks and gardens, museums and other attractions (longbeachcc.com/attendees/).

The Long Beach Convention Center. Source: https://cdn.saffire.com/

Meanwhile, there will be raffles and giveaways, vintage custom and factory knives on display, and no telling what Hollywood, military, knife or other celebrities you might meet—all at BLADE Show West 2021.

For more information on BLADE Show West, visit bladeshowwest.com and/or email bladewest@bladeshow.com.

BLADE Show West Event Schedule

Friday, October 8

1-to-2 p.m. in Meeting Room 202: BACK FROM THE EDGE OF DULL—Maintaining a keen edge on your knife requires sharpening it on a regular basis. However, regular sharpening isn’t always done and the edge may go almost completely dull as a result. According to Clay Allison of Wicked Edge, his company has the tools to bring your knife back from the edge of dull. Let him show you how.

3-to-4 p.m. in Meeting Room 202: LET THE PROS CRITIQUE YOUR KNIFE—A panel of award-winning knifemakers and bladesmiths share their decades of knowledge and experience in critiquing your custom knife. Ernest Emerson, Jason Knight, Steve Schwarzer, Andreas Kalani, Enrique Pena and Mike Tyre will go over every square inch of your knife and tell you what is good about it, what is not and how you can make it better. NOTE: This is a limited-seating event! Bring one knife only. Questions from attendees will be entertained throughout. Sign-ups will be held onsite.

Enrique Pena will be both exhibiting such slinky slip joints as his South Texas Trapper and also serving as a panelist in the seminar, “Let the Pros Critique Your Knife” Friday at 3 p.m. in Meeting Room 202. (SharpByCoop knife image)

4-to-5 p.m. in the demonstrator’s mobile demo trailer: FINISHING & POLISHING—Joe Maynard of Primitive Grind will demonstrate finishing and polishing of various materials, including steel to a mirror finish and wood and composites using Combat Abrasives airway wheels and compounds. Attendees will also have a hand’s-on opportunity to take steel from a 600-grit finish to a mirror polish.

8 p.m. in the Hyatt Regency Long Beach Lobby: BLADE® MAGAZINE KNIFE AWARDS—Winners of the custom and factory knife judging competitions will be announced.

8:30 p.m. in the Hyatt Regency Long Beach Lobby: 2nd ANNUAL CHEF’S KNIFE CUTTING CHAMPIONSHIPS—A series of cutting challenges among contestants in two separate divisions: custom knifemakers and professional chefs. Murray Carter is the defending champion in the custom maker division, and Kolter Livengood won the chef’s division at BLADE Show West in 2019.

 

Saturday, October 9

11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Meeting Room 202: Quest For The Uncommon Man with Ernest Emerson, CEO of Emerson Knives, Inc. In the modern world of unchallenging sameness, there are still those who choose to stand apart, “those determined to deny the mind-numbing regimen of spirit-crushing conformity,” Emerson observed. “Those who choose this path are the uncommon among us. If you have ever wondered, ‘Am I the last of my kind?’ then join me in a discussion of the values of being the uncommon man, and the strength it will require to preserve our way of life for future generations.”

1-to-2 p.m. in Meeting Room 202: ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION WITH MUTEKI BLADESMITHS—Since 2006, Murray Carter has been sharing and teaching traditional Japanese bladesmithing techniques with a limited number of eminently qualified apprentices working under the cooperative company name Muteki Knives. Meet the Muteki Bladesmiths and participate in a roundtable discussion in which you may direct specific questions about your knife to each of the apprentices.

3-to-4 p.m. in Meeting Room 202: HOW TO MAKE A SINGLE-BLADE TRAPPER—Award-winning knifemakers Luke Swenson, Bubba Crouch and Bill Ruple will show you how it’s done based on Swenson’s video tutorial “Slipjoints with Luke Swenson.” Basic setup, assembly, tang geometry, spring tension, tuning and fixtures, including the Ruple Gauge and the Elite Folder Jig from Metal  Head Tools, will be among the highlights.

4-to-6 p.m. in Meeting Room 203: West Coast Flipping Championship—The West Coast Flipping Championship hosted by Squid Industries returns! The event will feature head-to-head live blade flipping in an elimination bracket-style competition. The 2019 place finishers were Mika Seibel (1st), Diego Fuentebella (2nd) and Jeffrey Durr (3rd).

*Attendance is FREE to all show ticket holders.

A.G. Russell Chute Knives: A Quick History

Harry Archer is no stranger to fans of BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® members Bob Loveless and A.G. Russell, as well as followers of Steve Johnson, Bob Dozier and other inhabitants of the custom knife scene. A larger-than life “operator” for the CIA, among others, Archer designed the chute knife, a fixed blade that got its name for use when a parachutist landed in a tree or in some other sticky situation and needed to cut the shroud lines to free himself.

Archer fell in love with Loveless knives and designed a chute knife that Bob made. In the process, Archer and Loveless became close friends and the chute one of Bob’s best-known knives, one reproduced today by scores of custom makers.

A.G. and Loveless had a special relationship, so it should come as no surprise that A.G. became friends with Archer as well—and neither should it come as a revelation that A.G. saw the potential for reproducing a chute knife. In fact, as it turns out, A.G. Russell Knives wound up ordering three different chute repros.

There are great similarities between A.G.’s chute knives and those by Loveless, but also differences. For one, A.G. included a hole in each end of the double guard. Loveless did not. A.G.’s early A.G. Russell and Morseth chutes used narrow-tang construction with distinctly shaped, solid handles. Loveless’s were full tang with applied scales.

Dozier was the maker behind the first A.G. Russell and Morseth chute knives. Aside from a few changes, the Dozier design is much like the Loveless, including no holes in the guard, full-tang construction and the Loveless signature green Micarta® scales.

As A.G. wrote, “In the beginning, Loveless probably would have used A2 tool steel for the blade, and later 154CM and/or ATS-34 stainless. Dozier’s design uses Dozier’s signature D2 tool steel.” It also features one of Dozier’s solidly built leather sheaths.

From 2003-2007, A.G. offered a chute knife designed in collaboration with award-winning German knifemaker Dietmar Kressler.

Russell took Archer’s basic chute and “added as much elegance” as he could manage, “using the talents of that most talented maker [i.e., Kressler]. Dietmar is the master of integral hilt-and-butt [aka hilt-and-cap] hunting and combat knives,” A.G. wrote. “He has taken my design and executed it beautifully.”

Just 75 were made and the last one sold for $2,195. ”They are available today on the secondary market only.

After that, A.G. began work on a more economical drop-forged version of the chute. It took 10 years to get the tooling finished in Taiwan and the knives made. From the blade tip to the end of the pommel, the entire knife is drop forged of 440C stainless steel and has a “very tapered” tang.

“The standard model has ebony Rucarta® scales. Blade and overall lengths: 5.5 and 9.5 inches. MSRP: $245. With ironwood scales the MSRP is $295.

As Russell wrote, “Harry Archer could well have been the pattern for Mr. Clark, the ubiquitous CIA problem solver in Tom Clancy’s novels … He spent a lot of time in the jungle teaching jungle combat and survival to American soldiers and soldiers of other countries as well … He loved knives, well made knives. In his lifetime he was probably Loveless’s #2 or #3 customer. He was a strong influence on the design of custom combat knives and his design for the chute knife is classic.”

History of the BLADE Show: It All Started With Two Names

If you are fortunate enough to attend this year’s 40th BLADE Show, when you initially walk into the mammoth show hall of the Cobb Galleria Centre, take a moment and look around you. Every table, every booth, every person and the exquisite atmosphere that screams knives! would not be if not for two people: BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® members Bruce Voyles and Jim Parker.

Bruce Voyles

It was Bruce and Jim who organized the first BLADE Show—advertised early on as The Blade Magazine 1982 Knife Show—at the Drawbridge Motor Inn in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. (At the time, Jim and Bruce co-owned both the show and BLADE® Magazine.) Just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio, the event drew 7,000 attendees, by the standards of the day a huge amount of folks for one knife show. Even now, other than the BLADE Show, few if any knife shows attract that many people.

Remember, this was all done long before there was an internet and social media to generate pre-show interest. Pre-show advertising was basically all print—mostly in BLADE—and by word of mouth. Add the fact that the knife industry itself was a shadow of what it is today in terms of numbers of factory knife companies, custom knifemakers and, most importantly, knife enthusiasts, and attracting 7,000 attendees is even more remarkable.

Bruce and Jim, the latter founder of Parker Cutlery, were nothing if not visionary marketers of knives and venues in which to market them. They knew that to make the BLADE Show really stand out, they would have to make it the focal point of all things knives. To do this, they had to establish the event as the be-all/end-all knife show.

One of the things that set the BLADE Show apart even back then was it gathered all segments of the cutlery industry—factory, handmade, antique, knife collections, etc.—all under one roof. While the concept had been tried before, it had never continued in an annual fashion the way the BLADE Show was about to do it under the direction of Jim and Bruce.

History of the BLADE Show
Jim Parker

Another way to make the show unique was to establish awards that would be the factory knife industry’s equivalent of the movie industry’s Oscars. The awards would be the standard to which all factory knives and knife companies would aspire. The BLADE Magazine Knife-The-Year® Awards were the result, and they remain the most coveted factory knife honors to this day.

Bruce and Jim had the Knife-Of-The-Year concept covered, but what about a way for the show to memorialize its pioneers, the movers and shakers that made the knife industry the dynamic entity that it had been and would become even more so? The solution: the BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall Of Fame®, with the latest members enshrined each year at the BLADE Show. Created for the 1983 event, it remains the industry standard to this day.

Jim and Bruce would continue to grow the show, moving it to the Holiday Inn & Convention Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1984. In only its third year, with over 30 booths and almost 500 tables, it was vying for the title of the world’s largest knife show—if it wasn’t already.

Bruce bought out Jim’s interest in both BLADE and the BLADE Show in 1986, and moved the show to Atlanta and today’s Renaissance Atlanta Waverly in 1992. Bruce sold the show and the magazine to Krause Publications in 1994, and the event moved to the adjoining Cobb Galleria Centre in 1997, eventually evolving into the monster it is today, now under the ownership of Caribou Media Group LLC.

Jim passed away in 2004 but Bruce remains active in the knife industry as an auctioneer, show coordinator and author, among others. As of this writing, he had reserved BLADE Show booth No. 608. Unfortunately, he might not be able to attend this year’s show and if he does not, his beautiful wife Debbie and equally beautiful daughters Heather and Vanessa will be there to woman the booth. If he somehow is able to attend, he can answer any and all questions you have about knives, as well as the early history of the BLADE Show. Oh, and pack a lunch. He would have more tales to tell than a little bit.

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