BLADE Show 2023: What To Expect In Atlanta

BLADE Show 2023: What To Expect In Atlanta

BLADE Show 2023 is just around the corner. Here’s what to look out for at the “World’s Greatest Knife Show!”

If the third time really is the charm, then BLADE Show 2023 is smack dab in the middle of charm’s way.

Why? Because it’s the third BLADE Show after the one that was cancelled in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, and most all travel restrictions instituted even as late as last year’s BLADE Show have been lifted. That means a full return of international knife exhibitors and fans in addition to all those domestic are expected to make the 42nd annual rendition of the world’s most important knife event the biggest and best ever.

Sponsored by Smoky Mountain Knife Works, the BLADE Show is where more knives—new, old, custom, factory, etc.—are exhibited, bought and sold than at any other knife event. Almost 930 exhibitors* from every continent but Antarctica were scheduled to exhibit at press time, all bringing their latest and greatest knives and other edged tools, accessories, knifemaking supplies and more. Factory and custom knives, sharpeners, knife collections, knife purveyors and other cutlery entities too numerous to mention will showcase their wares as the world knife community makes the yearly pilgrimage to the Cobb Galleria Centre.

BLADE Show Overview

WHERE: Cobb Galleria Centre, Atlanta
WHEN: June 2-4

  • Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (early bird ticket holders can enter at 10 a.m.)
  • Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Sunday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Get Your BLADE Show Tickets

The latest, hottest custom knives, factory knife debuts, the educational knife instruction class schedule of BLADE University and action-packed free demos are among the sharp goodies awaiting hordes of show patrons. The BLADE Magazine 2023 Knife-Of-The-Year® Awards, the custom knife judging competition and the knife collection display judging competition are others. The ABS Knife Auction, formal inductions of the latest members of the BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall Of Fame®, and some of the best knives the ABS and the Knifemakers’ Guild and unaffiliated makers in general have to offer are still others.

And don’t forget The Pit, the after-hours meeting place in and around the sunken bar of the host hotel, the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly, where show patrons and exhibitors will congregate into the wee hours beginning the night before the show through the end of the weekend to compare knives, swap lies and otherwise celebrate the year’s most momentous cutlery weekend.

BLADE University

Avail yourself of the latest knifemaking techniques and other trending sharp subjects during the 10th Annual BLADE University show Friday and Saturday.

Ed Flowler seminar
BLADE® field editor Ed Fowler will present the seminar “Seeking Safety In Knife Design” show Saturday at 1 p.m. in Room 107.

Sponsored by Work Sharp Sharpeners, BLADE University has the most extensive schedule of knife, knifemaking and other instruction held at any knife show. Among the highlight classes for 2023 are “CRKT Presents Q&A with Michael Walker” featuring the industry renowned creator of the linerlock; “Designing Kitchen Knives” and “How To Run A Successful Knifemaking Business” with chef’s knife maestro Bob Kramer; “Exploring the Performance of Pattern-Welded Steel,” with damascus forging legend Devin “Hoss” Thomas and his son, internet steel guru Larrin Thomas; and many more.

BLADE University Schedule


  • 8-9:30 a.m. Fundamentals of Grinding, The Courtyard. AmeriBrade and guest makers cover grinds, technique and different equipment.
  • 10-11 a.m. Exploring the Performance of Pattern-Welded Steel, Room 103. Devin and Larrin Thomas review their experiments on the strength, toughness and edge retention of damascus steel.
  • 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Designing Kitchen Knives, Room 104. ABS master smith Bob Kramer discusses considerations to ponder when designing kitchen knives.
  • 1-2 p.m. CRKT Presents Q&A with Michael Walker, Room 104. BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member Michael Walker answers questions on the linerlock he developed in 1981, the evolution of the many other locking systems he designed post-linerlock and more.
  • 1:30-2:30 p.m. Dancing with the Devil: Algorithms, SEO and Ecommerce, Room 103. Ben Petersen explains how to sell knives online and build your brand while navigating Google, Amazon and Meta.
  • 2-3 p.m. What’s Hot in Knife Steels, Room 103. Join representatives from Mike Norris Damascus, Nichols Damascus and Vegas Forge as they discuss today’s hottest steels and why those steels are so much in demand.
  • 3-4 p.m. Forging Ancient Materials and Why It’s Important Today, Room 107. Award-winning knifemaker Ilya Alekseyev and friends explore how and why practicing forging methods used by the craftsmen of old translates into modern materials.
  • 3:30-4:30 p.m. Hands-On Knife Sharpening, Room 113. Bring your knife or a borrowed one and learn the progression of shaping a bevel, sharpening and edge maintenance from the team at Work Sharp Sharpeners.
  • 4:30-5:30 p.m. Unlearning Bad Habits: My Unique Path to JS, Room 107. Matt Stagmer focuses on makers that have been in the craft for many years, and how becoming an ABS journeyman smith differs from someone learning those standards from day one.


  • 8:30-9:30 a.m. Decorative Custom Knife Filework, Room 113. Knifemaker Kyle Daily of KHDaily Knives shows you his preferred files and the equipment he uses to make his five most popular filework patterns.
  • 8:45-9:45 a.m. How To Forge a Hunting Knife, The Courtyard. Using his propane forge, ABS master smith Timothy Potier demonstrates how to forge a full-tang drop-point hunter.
  • 9:30-11 a.m. How To Run a Successful Knifemaking Business, Room 104. ABS master smith Bob Kramer shares his 35 years of experience running a successful knifemaking business.
  • 9:45-10:45 a.m. Reproducing Traditional Pocketknives, Room 107. Tim Robertson covers patterning traditional slipjoints from original factory knives in detail, including methods of disassembly, correct scribing techniques and proper hole layout.
  • 11 a.m.-12 p.m. 3D Printing for Canister Patterns, Room 113. ABS master smith Steve Schwarzer and Ron Hardman show you how to use this game-changing advancement to forge patterns on a budget that were previously unthinkable.
  • 2-3 p.m. Let the Pros Critique Your Knife, Room 104. Award-winning knifemakers Lucas Burnley, Luke Swenson and Devin Thomas, and ABS master smiths David Lisch and Mike Quesenberry examine your knife, tell you what’s good about it, what’s not and how to make it better.
  • 2:15-3:15 p.m. Hands-On Knife Sharpening, Room 113. Bring your knife or a borrowed one and learn the progression of shaping a bevel, sharpening and edge maintenance from the team at Work Sharp Sharpeners.
  • 2:30-3:30 p.m. Writing for a Knife Publication, Room 107. Author/ABS apprentice smith Jason Fry and a panel of industry insiders share the tips and tricks it takes to get into the knife writing game.
  • 4-5 p.m. Folder Design, Room 104. David Carver of Carver Knife Co. teaches techniques on making a folding knife that works well, looks good and feels great in the hand/pocket.

Enroll In BLADE University Classe Now!

World Cutting Title

The BLADE Show World Championship Cutting Competitions will be conducted by BladeSports International (BSI) and held in The Courtyard, the parking lot of the host hotel, the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly, Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

At press time, contestants in both men’s and women’s divisions were scheduled to compete. Last year, James Clifton won the men’s division and Terri Lynn the women’s.

Knives Of The Year

The BLADE Magazine 2023 Knife-Of-The-Year® Awards will be announced and presented during the BLADE Magazine Awards ceremony Saturday night in The Pit.

The entries are limited to BLADE Show factory booth exhibitors, and will be on display show Friday and Saturday under glass in a special locked cabinet in the lobby. The winners will be announced on BLADE’s here after the awards presentation, and a list will be posted outside the show entrance Sunday morning.

The award categories are: Overall; American-Made; Imported; Most Innovative American Design; Most Innovative Imported Design; Best Buy Of the Year; Investor/Collector; Collaboration; Manufacturing Quality; Accessory; Kitchen; Publisher’s; and Industry Achievement.

Custom Knife Judging

Leading industry authorities will pick the best custom knives by BLADE Show exhibitors in the annual knife judging competition, with the winners announced during the BLADE Magazine Awards ceremony Saturday night in The Pit.

Rhea knife
ABS master smith Lin Rhea will exhibit such forged wonders as his damascus hunter in mammoth ivory. (Jocelyn Frasier image edit)

The categories: Hugh Bartrug Best Of Show; Best Fixed Blade; Best Damascus; Best Kitchen Knife; Yvon Vachon Best Miniature; Best Art Knife; Best Fighter; Best Bowie; Best Handle Design; Best Tactical Folder; Best Utility Hunter; Best Folder; Most Innovative Design; Best Knife Collaboration; Best Sword; Best New Maker; Best Of The Rest; and a new BLADE Show category: Best M.A.C.K. (Machine Assisted Custom Knife).

The competition is open to the show’s custom knife exhibitors only. The winners will be announced on BLADE’s website after the awards ceremony, and a list will be posted outside the show entrance Sunday morning.

Seminars & Demos

Seminars and demonstrations will be held in classrooms inside the Cobb Galleria or in The Courtyard, or under The Courtyard’s BLADE University tent. Admission is free to BLADE Show ticket holders.

Among the highlights will be “Knowledge Destroys Fear” presented by Ernest Emerson, CEO of Emerson Knives, Inc. Ernest will share the secrets of how Navy SEALs, Special Forces, Rangers and U.S. Marines conquer fear and thrive and prevail in the face of extreme life-threatening danger. Another highlight will be “Seeking Safety in Knife Design” with BLADE® field editor Ed Fowler. Ed will outline how to use knives efficiently and safely and what to look for in knives that cut effectively, do so without causing hot spots, and otherwise aren’t accidents waiting to happen in and of themselves.

Cutlery Hall Of Fame®

The BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall Of Fame® will formally induct three new members at 8 a.m. show Saturday in the Kennesaw Room of the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel. (At press time, the new members had not been determined.) Tickets are required ahead of time for the ceremony, which includes a breakfast. Seating is limited. For ticket information, email

Knife Colletions

Outstanding knife collections will be on display, with the best recognized via a judging competition. Last year’s winners: Larry Oden, Best of Show for “Buck Factory Production Knives of the 1960s.” Judges awards went to Gene Merritt for his “Yellowhorse” display of David Yellowhorse knives and Bruce Cannon for “Paul Bos: Alloys’ Greatest Ally.” Natalie Lindsey won the Youth Award for “Tinkerbell and Friends Put the Magic in BCCI and Buck Knives.”

Bali Championship

Top balisong flippers will vie for the title of “Grand Master” in the 7th Annual Battle for Bali-Champion sponsored and conducted by Blade HQ.

Bali awards
The 7th Annual Battle for Bali Champion conducted by Blade HQ will be Saturday in The Courtyard. Last year’s top finishers, from left: James Hill (3rd place), Leighton Gravely (first) and Moiz Khalil (second).

The top three finishers will receive prizes and all participants will get swag bags. The competition will be limited to 48 contestants.

BLADE Show ticket holders are invited to watch the competition in The Courtyard under the BLADE University Tent on show Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. Competitors will start flipping knives at 12:30 p.m.

BLADE Show Seminars And Events


  • 8 a.m.: BLADE Magazine Cutlery-Hall-Of-Fame inductions, Kennesaw Room, Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel: Buy Cutlery Hall Of Fame Tickets
  • 10-to-11:45 a.m.: ABS Knife Auction, Room 103
  • Noon-to-1 p.m.: Knowledge Destroys Fear—Ernest Emerson, Room 104
  • Noon-to-2 p.m.: 7th Annual Battle for Bali-Champion—Blade HQ, The Courtyard (the actual competition starts at 12:30 p.m.)
  • 1-to-2 p.m.: Seeking Safety in Knife Design—BLADE® field editor Ed Fowler, Room 107
  • 12-to-3 p.m.: Buck Collectors Club, Room 103
  • 4:30 p.m.: BLADE Show World Championship Cutting Competitions, conducted by BladeSports International in The Courtyard

Editor’s note: Microtech Knives and Heretic Knives are the presenting sponsors for BLADE Show 2023. RoseCraft Blades is The Pit sponsor. Work Sharp Sharpeners sponsors BLADE University. The other sponsors are Hogue Knives; Reate Knives; Nottingham Tactical; QSP Knife; Zac Brown’s Southern Grind; WE Knife; Glow Rhino; Columbia River Knife & Tool; and Artisan Cutlery.

Read More About The Blade Show:

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