Portland knife show

Other than the name, what sets BLADE Show West apart from BLADE Show? They’re both dedicated to knifemaking, knife collecting and appreciating the rich tradition of knives, but there are a few things that set them apart.

And just so we’re clear:

  • BLADE Show: Takes place annually in early June in Atlanta
  • BLADE Show West: Takes place in Portland, Oregon, with the first installment happening Oct. 5-7

1) Location

Oregon knife showWith the BLADE Show firmly ensconced as the world’s largest and most important knife event—next year’s rendition will return to the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta June 7-9—show officials decided to offer a sister show in Portland, Oregon, to spread the sharp cheer to western BLADE Show fans who can’t make the trip southeast. It takes place at the Oregon Convention Center.

2) EDC Gear

In addition to knives, you’ll find loads of everyday carry gear to round out your daily ensemble. This includes anything and everything that’s handy and sized for pockets. Check out the full exhibitor list here to get a feel for what this means.

3) New Awards

Knifemaking awardsBLADE Show West’s exhibitor awards will be a mix of the old and new. Custom and factory knives will each have the same categories: Best in Show, Best Fixed Blade, Best Folding Knife, Best EDC Knife and Best “Weird” Knife. Each also will have a Best Non-Knife EDC category for a tool or item that, as the name notes, is not a knife.

The Best in Show, Best Fixed Blade and Best Folding Knife are all self-explanatory. One proviso with the Best in Show is that, like at the BLADE Show, it is the category-winning knife judged best of all the category winning knives. The Best Non-Knife EDC will not be eligible for Best in Show. (Hey, after all, this is a knife show.)

The Best EDC Knife must be “a knife designed to be carried easily on an everyday basis for everyday cutting and other knife needs. It can be a fixed blade or folder, though if a fixed blade it must have a sheath or other carry system that makes it easy to carry on a daily basis.”

The Best Non-Knife EDC must be “a tool or item designed to be carried easily on an everyday basis for everyday needs.”

The Best “Weird” Knife will be a “knife that is best in keeping with Portland’s unofficial motto of ‘Keep Portland Weird.’ The motto is designed to promote ‘individuality, expressionism, local art’ and ‘atypical lifestyle choices and leisure activities.’ In other words, the sky’s the limit on this category. The weirder, the better.”

4) Laid-Back Programming

October 2018 knife shows

Unlike the BLADE Show and its BLADE University and demos, BLADE Show West will go for more of a laid-back approach to its seminars and demos, focusing more on quality than quality and quantity. All seminars and demos are free to BLADE Show West ticket holders.

With some of today’s top custom makers in attendance there will be a focus on knifemaking, including from the standpoint of the beginner and experienced knifemaker, as well as the buyer and collector of custom knives.

Click here to see the full schedule.

5) Roundtables

Two of the hottest genres in custom knives are slip joints and chef ’s knives, and BLADE Show West assembles some of the leading names in both categories for roundtable discussions.

Award-winning knifemaker Bill Ruple, along with some of his well-known pupils, will host a roundtable about the keys to the best custom slip joints, the importance of the mentor/mentee relationship and more.

Custom chef ’s knives have been hot for some time now and BLADE Show West has two of the leading authorities on both selling and making those knives: Daniel O’Malley of The Epicurean Edge/Bladegallery.com and ABS master smith Bill Burke, respectively. Join them as they decipher exactly what makes outstanding chef ’s knives.

See more here.

6) No Sales Tax

Unlike Georgia, Oregon doesn’t have a sales tax. That means you can put what you save toward something else, like another knife, a cool EDC gadget, some fun after the show, or, heck, lunch.

7) Reduced Ticket Pricing for Tiny House Expo

The Tiny House Expo takes place Oct. 6-7 adjacent to BLADE Show West. Your BLADE Show West ticket will earn you reduced entry to that show (and vice versa).

More Information

Find more information about attending BLADE Show West here. Hope to see you there!

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