Maniago, Italy Wins Big at Blade Show 2018

Manufacturers, makers, and fans are heading back home after the close of Blade Show 2018. Hundreds of the best and brightest in the knife industry were in attendance at Blade, which blends both the production and custom worlds.

Large crowds filled an expanded 2018 showspace, and the overall energy was high – another solid indicator that things are bouncing back for the knife world. The big players retained their usual spots, but up-and-comers took advantage of the added showroom, which housed a combination of custom and production labels. The response to the increased square footage was positive, although there were hiccups finding an easy way between the two areas. Showrunners have already confirmed that this glitch will be ironed out for next year’s show.

On Saturday evening, the annual Blade Show Awards were handed out to recognize achievement in the knife world. 2018 proved to be a banner year for the Maniago, Italy-based manufacturers, who took home more than a third of the 11 awards.

Fox brought home the big one, Knife of the Year, for their latest Jesper Voxnaes collaboration, the SURU (pictured above). This new release showcase the work-focused but style-conscious design language Voxnaes is known for. But Fox and Vox went the extra mile and produced what they say is the world’s first carbon fiber frame lock knife. The Suru’s locking side is 90% carbon fiber, with just a steel insert serving as the interface between the locking arm and the blade tang. The result was an eye-popping knife that weighs just 2.04 oz.

Fox’s Massimo Centazzo says the SURU was truly a team effort, and the win is a tribute to Fox Knives Founder Oreste Frati, who passed away last year. “We still miss him,” Centazzo tells us. “This award has been achieved thanks the great job by our CEO Gabriele Frati, who strongly believed in making something new and very innovative like the first carbon fiber frame lock. Thanks all my colleagues who worked hard to make it happen. This award is very important for Fox Knives and for the Maniago knife community.”

Fellow Maniago heavyweight Lionsteel’s ROK folder showcased a new retractable clip system last week,  so it’s no surprise the company took home the Manufacturing Quality award again this year. This is the third time they’ve won the award. Viper took home the prize for Best Kitchen Knife thanks to the (again) Voxnaes-designed Sakura.

Finally, Fox, Viper, and Lionsteel shared a joint prize for MKM (Maniago Knives Makers), a collaboration project under the Mikita network. Mikita is a consortium of Fox, Lionsteel, Tecnocut/Viper, and Mercury. Mercury didn’t put their name on this first series, but the other three companies all released a spin on designs from Lucas Burnley and Bob Terzuola. It seems likely that Mercury will contribute to future releases from Mikita at some point.

Here are the complete production and custom award winners for Blade Show 2018. Tune in to KnifeNews this week for additional in-depth coverage of the high points of the show:

Production Knives:

Overall Knife Of The Year: Fox Knives SURU

American-Made Knife Of The Year: Chris Reeve Knives Impinda

Imported Knife Of The Year: Spyderco Paysan

Most Innovative American Design: Rick Hinderer Tri-Way Pivot System

Most Innovative Imported Design: V-Nives C.R.A.B.

Best Buy Of The Year: CRKT Caligo

Kitchen Knife Of The Year: Viper Sakura

Investor/Collector Knife Of The Year: Pro-Tech Newport Diamond Elite Ultimate

Knife Collaboration Of The Year: MKM by Bob Terzuola and Lucas Burnley

Manufacturing Quality Award: LionSteel

Accessory Of The Year: CRKT Knife Maintenance Tool

Custom Knives:

Best Fixed and Best in Show: Anders Högström

Best Sword: Matthew Parkinson

Best Damascus: Hsian Lin “Jimmy” Chin

Best New Maker: Ed Cope

Best Art Knife: Jean Louis Regent

Best Knife Collaboration: Ben Breda & Ben Seward

Best Folder: Gustavo T. Cecchini

Best Utility Hunter: Haley Desrosiers

Most Innovative Design: Corrado Miro

Best Fighter: Josh Fisher

Best Handle Design: Steve Rapp

Best Bowie: Jean-Louis Regel

Best of the Rest: Thomas Ward

Best Miniature: Toshiaki Michinaka

Best Tactical Folder: Svarn II by Cultrotech

Personal Achievements:

Publisher’s Award: Randy Rousseau

Industry Achievement Award: Buck Collectors Club

Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame Inductees: Phil Lobred, Dan Delavan

Knife featured in image: Fox Knives SURU