BLADE Show 2024 Preview: What To Expect In Atlanta

BLADE Show 2024 Preview: What To Expect In Atlanta
Are you ready for some BLADE Show?

See what’s on tap for the 43rd annual BLADE Show.

WHERE: Cobb Galleria Centre, Atlanta
WHEN: June 7-9
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.

Thirty-five countries—including an increase in international exhibitors from 118 to 152—will be among the almost 950 exhibitors total for the 43rd Annual BLADE Show June 7-9 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta.

Sponsored by Smoky Mountain Knife Works, the BLADE Show is where more knives—custom, factory, antique, classic collectibles, etc.—are exhibited, bought and sold than at any other knife event. Exhibitors will bring their latest and greatest knives and examples of most every edged tool extant, accessories, knifemaking supplies and more. 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 Georgia.

Knives debuted by factory companies for the first time anywhere, the educational knife instruction of BLADE University (see sidebar), and a selection of informative, entertaining and action-packed free demos (see sidebar) are among the sharp goodies awaiting show patrons. The BLADE Magazine 2024 Knife-Of-The-Year® Awards, the custom knife judging competition and the knife collection display judging competition are others. The American Bladesmith Society (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.

Italy’s Manuele Messori knife
Italy’s Manuele Messori will be among the record-setting number of international exhibitors at BLADE Show ’24. An example of his edged wizardry is his folder in a blade of Damasteel Grossrosen damascus, an interframe handle of zirconium with Gibeon meteorite inlay, and 24k-gold engraving. (Francesco Pachi image)

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 party 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.

International Boom

As the world continues to recover from the travel, business and other bans spawned by the pandemic, the BLADE Show reflects that recovery in the boom in international exhibitors. In fact, that boom might even provide proof that the recovery is complete—at least as far as the BLADE Show is concerned. France leads the way among exhibitors from other countries with 21. South Africa is second with 18, Italy is third with 15 and Brazil is fourth with 13.

Some of the top names by country among the internationals are Bertie Rietveld, Theuns Prinsloo, Henning Wilkinson and Neels van den Berg (South Africa); Franco de Souza, Rodrigo Sfreddo, Fabio Barros and Gus Cecchini (Brazil); CAS Knives and Mauricio Daletzky (Argentina); Halfbreed Blades (Australia); WE Knife, Reate and Ketuo (China); Kiku Matsuda and Koji Hara (Japan); Lionsteel, Manuele Messori, Fox Cutlery and Maniago Knife Makers (Italy); Anders Hogstrom (Sweden); Helle Knives (Norway); Jean Louis Regel, Veronique Laurent and Samuel Lurquin (Belgium); and Grace Horne (United Kingdom).

Michael Walker Platinum Zipper
BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member Michael Walker will exhibit his world-renowned knives at a BLADE Show for the first time in quite a spell. His Platinum Zipper features Michael’s fourth-generation BLADElock system. (Francesco Pachi knife image)

Among some of the more recognizable American makers will be BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member Michael Walker, who will be exhibiting knives at a BLADE Show for the first time in recent memory. Others include Cutlery Hall-Of-Famers Bill Ruple and Steve Schwarzer; ABS master smiths Harvey Dean, Mike Quesenberry, Shane Taylor, David Lisch, Jordan LaMothe and Andrew Meers; slipjoint makers Tom Ploppert, Luke Swenson and Tim Robertson; Vladimir Kolenko; and Owen Wood (a native of South Africa, Owen now calls Texas home).

Blade University: Added Day

Avail yourself of the latest knifemaking techniques and other trending sharp subjects during the 11th Annual BLADE University on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. New for this year is a special Thursday class taught by award-winning knifemakers Tom Krein and Lucas Burnley the day before the show begins. See the sidebar for more on it.

Sponsored by Work Sharp Sharpeners, BLADE University has the most extensive schedule of knife, knifemaking and other instruction held at any knife show. For the full list of classes, see sidebar.

4 to 5 p.m. The Art of Selling at a BLADE Show, Room 104. Knifemakers Tom Krein and Lucas Burnley outline what makers who are serious about selling knives should do and how they should behave behind an exhibitor table during the BLADE Show.

8 to 9:30 a.m. Fundamentals of Grinding, The Courtyard. AmeriBrade and guest makers cover grinds, technique and different equipment.
10 to 11:30 a.m. How To Run a Small Successful Knifemaking Business, Room 103. ABS master smith Bob Kramer shares his 30 years of experience running a productive knifemaking operation.
10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thermal Cycle Steel for High Performance, Room 104. Larrin Thomas examines how to heat treat steel after forging, normalizing and grain-refining cycles, thermal cycling stainless steels after forging and more.
1 to 2 p.m. Symmetrical Quillon Dagger 101, Room 107. ABS master smith Neels van den Berg discusses making a symmetrical quillon dagger, covering design, proportions, aesthetics, materials, fluting and finally the entire manufacturing process.
1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Intro to Power Forging, Room 103. Bring your forging questions to our group of expert panelists including Logan Gillihan, Will Stelter, Salem Straub and Charlie Ellis.
2 to 3 p.m. Metal and Wood Fitting Techniques for Keyhole Handles, Room 113. ABS journeyman smith Henning Wilkinson outlines the correct techniques for fitting metal and wood in the construction of the keyhole integral knife handle.
3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Hands on 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 to 5:30 p.m. Originality: Experimentation, Innovation and Ingenuity, Room 107. Can creativity be learned? Lucas Cao, founder of Squid Industries, explores tools and techniques that anyone can apply to become more original.

8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Elevating Your Handle Appearance: Spine Filework, Handle Shapes and Pin Placement, Room 113. Knifemaker Kyle Daily shares how to enhance your knife with distinctive features that go far beyond standard production models.
9:30 to 11 a.m. Insert Welding, Room 104. ABS master smith Bob Kramer covers how to forge weld inserts with high precision and control to create realistic depictions of animals and patterns.
9:45 to 10:45 a.m. How to Make the Most Difficult Pocketknife, Room 107. Knifemaker Tim Robertson delineates what makes lockback whittlers so hard to make, with a major focus on backspring design and function.
11 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Process Is the Product, Room 113. Knifemaker/designer TJ Schwarz shares his insights on how to create a successful knife business, including the key point of understanding actually what it is that you’re selling.
2:15 to 3:15 p.m. Let the Pros Critique Your Knife, Room 114. ABS master smiths Bob Kramer and James Rodebaugh and leading makers David Carver, Enrique Pena and Luke Swenson examine your knife and tell you what’s good about it, what’s not and how to make it better.
2:15 to 3:15 p.m. Hands on 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 to 3:30 p.m. Making Scissors in a Knife Workshop, Room 107. Grace Horne examines the early history of scissors, methods of producing the blanks, inside information on the twist and the curve, and her method of scissors making that requires no specialist tools or equipment.
4 to 5 p.m. Pattern Welding Panel, Room 104. Salem Straub, Mareko Maumasi, Charlie Ellis, Josh Prince and Will Stelter explain the steps that went into creating their wild mosaic damascus billet collaboration, Consortium.

Knives Of The Year

The BLADE Magazine 2024 Knife-Of-The-Year® Awards will be announced and presented during the BLADE Magazine Awards ceremony Saturday at 8 p.m. by The Pit of the Atlanta Renaissance Waverly Hotel lobby.

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 website after the awards presentation, and a list will be posted outside the show entrance Sunday morning.

Custom Knife Awards

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 at 8 p.m. in The Pit.

Neels van den Berg dagger
Neels van den Berg won the 2022 B. R. Hughes Award for the best knife submitted by a master smith applicant for his European quillon dagger. Join him for his BLADE University class, Symmetrical Quillon Dagger 101. (Eric Eggly/PointSeven image)

The categories are: 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 M.A.C.K. (Machine Assisted Custom Knife); Best Utility Hunter; Best Folder; Most Innovative Design; Best Knife Collaboration; Best Sword; Best New Maker; and Best Of The Rest.

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.

World Cutting Titles

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, Ben Propst won the men’s division and Michael Clifton the women’s. Second through fourth place in the latter went to Sara Maly, Sue Ann Propst and Jo Carothers, respectively. The same respective place finishers in the men’s division were Gary Bond, Dan Keffeler and Donavon Phillips.

BLADE Show World Championship Cutting Competition
Jo Carothers finishes off the 2×8 in the women’s division of last year’s BLADE Show World Championship Cutting Competition.

Seminars & Events

Seminars and demonstrations are held in classrooms inside the Cobb Galleria or under the BLADE University tent in The Courtyard—the latter in the parking lot of the host Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel. Admission is free to BLADE Show ticketholders. Two of the highlights include:

  • In what he termed will be the most important seminar he has ever given, Ernest Emerson of Emerson Knives, Inc., will deliver a no-holds-barred analysis of what it takes to be “made in America.” He will present a true insider’s, behind-the-scenes look at how difficult and yet how important it is to recognize the vital importance of American-made knife companies for the future of the knife industry.
  • High-Endurance Performance Knife master smith/BLADE® field editor Ed Fowler will ask just how confident you are that your EDC can handle everything from light office duty to saving a life. Key questions will include what is the knife made for? The design is what you see but the quality is up to the maker. The title of Ed’s seminar says it all: Can Your EDC Cut It?

8 a.m.: BLADE Magazine Cutlery-Hall-Of-Fame Inductions, Kennesaw Room, Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel
10-to-11:45 a.m.: ABS Knife Auction (page 30), Room 103
Noon-to-1 p.m.: Can Your EDC Cut It? High-Performance Endurance Knife master smith/BLADE® field editor Ed Fowler, Room 107
Noon-to-2 p.m.: NEW LOCATION 8th Annual Battle for Bali-Champion, conducted by Blade HQ, Garden Court area inside the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel (flipping starts at 12:30)
1-to-2 p.m.: What It Means to be Made in America, Ernest Emerson, Emerson Knives, Inc., Room 104
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

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.

Knife Collections

Outstanding knife collections will be on display, with the best recognized via a judging competition. Last year’s winners included Gene Merritt, who took Best In Show for his Buck Yellowhorse display. Judges Awards went to Tim Lindsey for his display entitled “Vern Taylor Buck Collectors Club Founder” and Ed Cooper for “Yellowhorse Knives.” Sarah Lindsey won the Youth Award for her display, “One of a Kind Buck Custom Character Knives Incredible!”

Bali Title: New Location

Top balisong flippers will vie for the title of “Grand Master” in the 8th Annual Battle for Bali Champion sponsored and conducted by Blade HQ.

Bali Competition
Balisong Competition placers

BLADE Show ticket holders are invited to watch the competition in the Garden Court area located inside the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel on show Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. This is a venue change from last year’s Courtyard location, so please make a note. Competitors will start flipping knives at 12:30 p.m.

The top three finishers will receive prizes and all participants will get swag bags. The competition will be limited to 48 contestants. Landon C. Morrison was crowned Bali-Champion last year, with Corbin Lovins finishing second and Gene Keli Castillejo third.

More To Come

The final BLADE Show-sponsored event for 2024 will be BLADE Show West, Oct. 4-5 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. For details, visit BLADE Show Texas 2025 will be March 7-8 at the Fort Worth Convention Center. Visit for more on it. And, of course, it’s never too late to start thinking BLADE Show 2025 June 6-8 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta. For details, visit

Check Out BLADE Custom Award Winners:

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  1. Can you recommend an economical shuttle service to get me from the Atlanta Airport to the Embassy Suites Hotel that’s a couple of blocks away from the Show ? Thank you.


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