Blade Show, the world’s largest custom knife show, kicks off tomorrow. More than 700 custom knife makers have started descending on Atlanta, Georgia where the show has been held since 1993. It’s an annual tradition for collectors, who come from around the country to buy, sell, and talk knives with makers and fellow enthusiasts. Those who can’t make it can watch and read from home on the KnifeNews Blade Show 2016 NEWSFEED, where we’ll be publishing live updates starting tomorrow at 3pm EST. But whether you’re monitoring from afar or thinking of visiting in person, here are a few things you should know about Blade Show:
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It’s About the Customs
Unlike SHOT Show, where most production knives are first revealed, Blade is open to the public and visitors come with wads of cash. For custom knife collectors, Blade Show is a Mecca. It’s a chance to handle rare knives, have a beer with famous makers, and see the latest & greatest from designers from all over the world. Production knives are on display too, but over the years the number of knife companies in the industry who attend has been declining: Cold Steel, Buck, Victorinox, Leatherman, and SOG are all sitting 2016 out, maybe because they don’t rely on custom collaborations. There are always a few surprises, but if you’re expecting major announcements from the biggest brands like the news that broke at SHOT Show you will be disappointed. Blade Show doesn’t bring the same kind of deluge of new production knives simply because of its place on the calendar.
The Lotteries & Auctions
This April, Ernest Emerson explained just how crazy knife lotteries can be. Emerson, Busse, and other popular makers have turned their annual Blade Show lotteries into standalone events, complete with music, drinking, and the chance to buy knives at a price that inspires jealousy.
With hundreds, even thousands of people competing for just a handful of knives, going home with exactly what you want isn’t a sure bet. Open bid auctions – which work more traditionally with the knife going to the highest bidder – are a way to guarantee you get what you want, as long as your pockets are deep enough. Frank Fischer’s “Immortan Joe,” with its rare SM-100 blade, is one such knife.
Blade Show concludes on Sunday with the Knife of the Year Awards. These honors include “Overall Knife of the Year,” “Best Buy of the Year,” “Imported Knife of the Year,” and the “Manufacturing Quality Award.” The awards are decided among industry friends who select the winner of each category.
Knife featured in image: Frank Fischer Knives “Immortan Joe”, Saturday auction ends 5PM EST Table 11k