BLADE Show West Rocks Salt Lake City And Packed The Salt Palace Convention Center.
Call it home.
After bumping around the greater Pacific and Mountain West, BLADE Show West definitely felt it found its place in Salt Lake City. For two days–Oct. 7-8–the Salt Palace Convention Center was packed to the gills with top knifemakers and blade aficionados.
The main question on everyone’s lips–aside from, “How much does that knife cost?”–was, “Is BLADE Show West coming back here?” To set everyone’s heart at ease, yes, the foremost knife show in the west is due back in Salt Lake City, Oct. 13-14, 2023.
Until then, there’s plenty to discuss on what made this year’s gathering such a top-notch shine dig.
More than 200 vendors descended on the Beehive State for the show from all across the United States. Of course there were big makers like Microtech and Spyderco in attendance but smaller factories like Schenk from Idaho and Stroup Knives from North Carolina were also on the show floor.
Blade HQ, a sponsor of the show, had a huge booth and gave out free shirts to attendees throughout the day Friday.
With so many vendors in town expectations were high, and the knife community did not disappoint. Thousands of fans came to the Salt Palace to buy, browse, and catch up with friends.
Best In Show Awards & After Party
BLADE Show West featured stiff competition in the factory and custom knife awards. The We Knives x Peter Carey Nitro Mini collected Factory Best in Show and Trevor Morgan Jr’s kitchen knife won Custom Best in Show accolades.
Handing out the hardware was a pretty special affair, as Black Rifle Coffee hosted the awards ceremony and its after-party. Situated next to the company’s HQ, the nearly perfect Utah night added a great finish to a heated competition.
Demos Pack The House
Outside of the main convention hall was a series of demos that across the board drew large crowds. Two of the best attended were the sharpening clinic, hosted by Wicked Edge, and the knife critique, which had a panel of masters review makers’ knives.
Wicked Edge’s seminar was especially enlightening, give the company gave attendees a close-up view of the sharpening process, employing a microscope projected onto the big screen. Everything from creating a burr to polishing the edge was made crystalline with the visual aid.
As for the knife critique, Enrique Pena, Steve Schwarzer, Lucas Burnley, Bill Ruple, and Will Stelter reviewed around 20 knives created by intermediate, new, and hobbyist makers. The advice these well-respected masters gave in their critiques extended well past the knives being reviewed, but to knifemaking in general
Other demos focused on everything from texturing titanium handles with Shane Magnussen, and ABS Master Smith Neels Van Den Berg ran a course on making a Symmetrical Quillon Dagger from start to finish.
West Coast Flipping Championships
The thumping of music and the clacking of bali-songs closed out the slew of events at BLADE Show West with the West Coast Flipping Championships. Sponsored and run by Squid Industries, the competition swelled to well over 200 participants and audience members.
The crowd was so large, the venue eventually was expanded by removing a retractable wall to the conference room next door. In the end, Nick Minges took home the $1,000 top prize with Tanner Knapp taking second and Sebastian Campas third.
BLADE Show West Vendor Highlights
Microtech had a booth so big it even had a back room built into the signage to hold its extra product. The company has new models coming later this fall, but pieces like the Glycon caught eyes throughout the weekend.
Kizer was showing off some new knives, and showcased some of their funkier knives, like this awesome Aquaman-inspired folder.
Being in the Mountain Time Zone brought out many makers from the Big Sky and Pacific States. The family-run 307 Forge of Big Piney, Wyoming had a wide selection of knives and showed that even in America’s least-populous state, knifemaking is thriving.
Knife And Gun Finishing Supplies
The team at Knife And Gun Finishing Supplies from Lakeside, Arizona had multiple tables dedicated to just handle materials. All sorts of woods, treated and untreated, metals, synthetics, Knife And Gun had almost every type of handle material covered.
Already Gearing Up For BLADE Show West 2023
It was, by all metrics, a rousing success at BLADE Show West. Start planning now to be at the Salt Palace next year for another edition of BLADE Show West on October 13-14, 2023.
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