A veteran knifemaker exemplary in terms of teaching and mentoring his fellow makers in the fine art of building knives, Mel Pardue is the 2016 BLADE Show winner of the Edda and Aldo Lorenzi Award.
Edda and Aldo Lorenzi, owners of the old G. Lorenzi retail knife store in Milan, Italy, continue to support the custom knife industry through the Aldo and Edda Lorenzi Award, an honor bestowed annually at both the BLADE Show and the International Custom Cutlery Exhibition (this year Sept. 23-25 in Kansas City). Each carries a $1,000 prize graciously provided by the Lorenzis to the honoree.
Pardue made his first knife in 1952. He participated as a voting member of the Knifemakers’ Guild for 39 years, and served on the Guild’s board of directors in various capacities for 14 of those years. He is the first person without membership in the American Bladesmith Society to teach at the Bill Moran School of Bladesmithing, where for five years he conducted classes on how to make folders. He has taught the same subject at the Batson Bladesmithing Symposium for the past half-decade or so, and has held seminars and classes in his shop for almost 40 years. He received the Ron Little Award in 1992 and is a past winner of the Guild’s Red Watson Award.
Pardue has over 15 design and utility patents with Benchmade Knife Co. He has served on Benchmade’s board of directors several years. He taught the Benchmade staff how to refine three production models in the company’s Gold line of knives.
He organized and helped set up the website for the Gulf Coast Custom Knifemakers Association in Florida. His tireless commitment to the knife industry has inspired such makers as ABS master smith Steve Schwarzer, BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame© member Ken Onion and many others. He joins last year’s winner, ABS master smith Joe Keeslar, as the epitome of what it means to be a mentor to knifemakers everywhere.