Guild Show: Granddaddy Custom Knife Event

Great custom knives always highlight the Guild Show.
Alan Snow (right) holds the Stealth III made by Kevin Hoffman (left) at a past Guild Show.
Great custom knives always highlight the Guild Show.
Alan Snow (right) holds the Stealth III made by Kevin Hoffman (left) at a past Guild Show.

The Knifemakers’ Guild Show will hold its 44th annual rendition—the granddaddy of all custom knife shows—this weekend at the Seelbach Hilton Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. Knifemakers, knifemaking suppliers, purveyors and more from all over the world will convene in Derby Town, where some of the best custom knives will be shown and sold.

The Guild got its start in February 1970 when the Guild’s “founding father,” BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame© member A.G. Russell, rented tables at the Sahara Gun Show in Las Vegas and invited several knifemakers to display knives there. Later that year, 11 makers met in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to form the Guild. The makers were John Applebaugh, Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer Blackie Collins, John Nelson Cooper, Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer Dan Dennehy, Ted Dowell, Chubby Hueske, John Kirk, Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer Bob Loveless, John Owens, Jim Pugh and G.W. Stone. Loveless was elected secretary—the Guild office title today is president—and A.G. Russell was made honorary president.

The purposes of the Guild are to:

1) Promote custom knives and knifemakers

2) Assist the knifemaker technically;

3) Encourage ethical and professional business conduct;

4) Sponsor an annual business meeting and knife show.

The show has been held in assorted venues over the years, including Kansas City, Dallas, Orlando, New Orleans, Las Vegas and now Louisville. Some of the earliest Kansas City shows were held at the old Muehlebach Hotel, where, in addition to Loveless and Dennehy, such Guild legends as Cutlery Hall-Of-Famers Buster Warenski, Bill Moran, Ron Lake, George Herron, D’ Holder, Frank Centofante, Gil Hibben and many others displayed their knives and kick-started an organization that continues to be recognized worldwide today. Hibben, in fact, remains active in the Guild today, and is in his seventh and final year as Guild president. He will step down this year.

Make plans now to attend the show this weekend. There will be a special President’s Gala Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Seelbach, and should be a great place to see Gil and Linda Hibben in their final show as the Guild’s first family, as well as all the other makers and their great knives show Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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