Best BLADE Show Ever?

Best BLADE Show Ever?
Tom Krein demonstrates how to grind a knife blade during his BLADE University class with Lucas Burnley and Chris Williams of Wilmont Grinders.
Oden's Buck display.
Larry Oden won Best of Show for his collection display, “Buck Factory Production Knives of the 1960s.”
Ed Fowler's demo.
Ed Fowler kept BLADE University students entertained with his class, “How To Get The Most Out Of Your Knife.”

It seems like almost every BLADE Show is better than the one before, and the 34th annual rendition June 5-7 in Atlanta was no exception. With record crowds pouring through the doors and down the aisles Friday, an outstanding batch of BLADE Magazine 2015 Knife-Of-The-Year® Awards announced Saturday and everybody leaving Sunday already pointing toward next year’s show, it must go down as one of the best BLADE Shows if not the best BLADE Show ever.

Knife exhibitors from every continent provided an endless array of knives and knife accessories to an equally endless stream of knife enthusiasts starved for their annual BLADE Show fix, and the jampacked aisles of enthusiasts stood as testimony that all is sharp in the world of knives when it comes to the BLADE Show.

The show got off to an instructional start Thursday with BLADE University, a comprehensive slate of classes on all things knife, including how to forge, how to make handles and guards, how to grind a knife blade, how to sharpen any blade, knife collecting, Japanese sword collecting and maintenance, CAD/CAM knife design and much more. Friday enjoyed a walloping beginning, with enthusiasts in massive winding lines waiting to get into the show. Some aisles were so full that the only way to get through was to weave in and out of bodies in a sea of humanity.

Carter at BLADE Show.
Murray Carter shows how it’s done during his BLADE U. class on how to sharpen any blade.
Neil and customers.
Purveyor Neil Ostroff of True North Knives waits on customers during the BLADE Show.

The custom knife judging Friday resulted in a fantastic array of knives. For the complete list of maker awardees, visit custom knife winners.

Saturday was another busy day. Though the crowds weren’t as large as Friday, they were still quite ample, with a number of makers reporting brisk, non-stop sales. A few makers did not do so well but most seemed more than happy with the traffic. Demos included how to forge by Timothy Potier, how to throw knives by Bobby Branton, the Japanese sword demo by James Williams, and the 13th Annual BLADE Show World Championship Cutting Competition conducted by BladeSports International, won for the third year in a row by Dan Keffeler. The competition also featured the first-ever female contestant, Jessica Elias.

Saturday night’s awards reception named the industry’s top factory knives. For the complete list, visit BLADE Magazine 2015 Knife-Of-The-Year® Awards.

Keeslar at BLADE U.
Joe Keeslar uses one of his knives as a pointer during his BLADE U. class on handles and guards.

More Knife Awards

In addition, Chris Reeve was inducted into the BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall Of Fame© by knifemaker Bill Harsey, Joe Keeslar won the first Aldo and Edda Lorenzi Award for being the epitome of a mentor to his fellow knifemakers, and BLADE® editor Steve Shackleford received a plaque recognizing his 30 years with BLADE and the BLADE Show.

Anso at BLADE Show.
Knifemaker Jens Anso (behind table at right) enjoys packed aisles of customers the Friday of the BLADE Show.
Krein grind.
Tom Krein demonstrates how to grind a knife blade during his BLADE University class with Lucas Burnley and Chris Williams of Wilmont Grinders.

On Sunday the show came to a fitting conclusion with Collection Display Awards. Judges awards went to: young Owen Dady for his collection of Buck whittlers, Dale Eichberg for his “How The Buck Legend Began: The Very First Buck Knives,” and Jim Holbrook for his Buck Duke 500 collection. Best of Show went to Larry Oden for his “Buck Factory Production Knives of the 1960s.”

What will next year’s show bring? If it’s anything like this year’s, it will be another one for the ages.

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