Poverty Radio’s Atlanta Blade Show, 2012, July 2-14
The 31st Annual International Blade Show and Cutlery Fair is said to be the world’s largest knife show and this year’s show brought knife makers from all over the world to exhibit their knives, knife-making gear as well as to sell steel and supplies. My 2011 coverage of the event concentrated on knife makers. This year I chose to focus more on the attendees to give an overview of who go to the Blade Show and why. This show has a companion YouTube video at: http://youtu.be/3PV1eNbF82Y.
In the mechanics of processing the show on a failing computer I lost the interviews that I did with Joh Elliott of Austin, Texas, who was much taken with the new tactical blades carried by HallMark Cutlery (www.hallmarkcutlery.com). I also found that I could not recover the comments of young knifemaker Zak Spry of Cleveland, Georgia, who was happy to show the first knife that he made using other people’s tools at a public “forge-in” where people can try their hand at forging hot steel into useful objects. (See the video for Zak’s photo.)
Among the others interviewed was David Yankosky who came from Texas to pick up supplies for himself and his son. This was a common reason for others to also come to the event from Florida and elsewhere. Others, like Howard Kingston from New Iberia, Louisiana, came more to see what was new and what their favorite knife makers had produced during the past year.
Also featured on the show was knife maker Grace Horne from Sheffield, England, who most commonly makes small folding knives, but who this year collaborated with tactical dagger maker Guy Stainthorp to make a Valkyrie dagger which has somewhat erotic overtones. A video of Grace and her knives may be seen at: http://youtu.be/o-zb_RWQizY. Her knives and “The Old Public Convenience” (toilet) where she works may be seen at www.gracehorne.co.uk.
In a more practical knife, Nebraska bladesmith D.J. Urbanovsky (www.americankami.com) produced a new design of tactical-grade utility knives with CNC machined handles designed to fit firmly into the contours of the hand and a stout blade with sufficient belly and prick to serve as a self-defense blade or hunting knife while being light enough for every-day carry. He also makes a line of hand forged eating tools (sporks) made from salvaged American titanium. A video of D.J. Urbanovsky and his knives is available at: http://youtu.be/8ZWTnuVvEzw.
Knife associated materials at the show included Forrest Custom Cabinets from Missouri (email@example.com) who produces glass-faced portable display boxes from American woods and KME Sharpeners (www.kmesharp.com) who have a blade sharpening guide where the user is able to set precise sharpening angles. There are also a large number of vendors selling knife handle materials derived from all over the world, steels as well as knife making equipment and supplies.
Often some notable personality appears at the Blade Show, and this year Captain Mykel Hawke appeared at the Smoky Mountain Knife Works exhibit where he signed copies of his “skinnyed down” survival manual. Hawke has participated in, and many times taught, U.S. survival training, as well as having TV shows including two new ones that will be out in 2012. For more information on Capt. Hawke and his coming events go to www.mykelhawke.com. To see his own design of survival knife go to www.SMKW.com.
The cooking section of the show featured survival foods that have up to a 25-year storage life from the American Preparedness Center (www.am-prep.com) and a new line of ceramic cooking knives from Eagle Ceramic (Universal Relations, Inc.). These knives are made of a slightly altered composition which makes them less brittle than previous ceramic knives and the company plans to offer them with wooden handles, in contrast to the typical polymer handles. For more information on these products go to: www.urieagle.com.
While there are also indoor seminars at the Blade Show outdoor events include sword fighting demonstrations and live forging where the audience can actually see a knife being shaped on an anvil from a piece of bar stock. Both events as well as the knife-makers cutting trials (which they must pass to become a Master Bladesmith) are held at the Blade Show each year.
Ads on the show include those from Poverty Radio which places Hovey’s Outdoor Adventures on a pay-as-I-go basis. Unless ads or other sources of income are received in the weeks before each new show is broadcast, no show will be produced. The food section is sponsored by SIN, Inc. (Synthetic Industrial Non-Nutritives, Inc.) which makes eatables from the best of coal-tar, petroleum and agricultural waste byproducts. On this show they announced a new ad program that has complex audio and visual elements that slow down older computers to the extent that it may take a half hour to receive and reply to a single E-mail. ” But you are looking at our ad all this time? Right?”