NYCKS 2024 Brings Together Custom Knife Talent and Collectors

Tomorrow, the New York Custom Knife Show 2024 begins. The small, custom maker-focused event has been around, in one form or another, for quite a while, and is one of the spring highlights of the custom knife show circuit.

Like many stalwart shows, NYCKS has a history that is decades long, going all the way back to the 70s, albeit in a much different form and not under the aegis of Fifty Fifty Productions, a company that specializes in small-scale but high-end knife shows (They’re the folks behind the Nashville Custom Knife Show too). Also like many shows of a similar ilk, NYCKS was started by people in the field, for people in the field, so it’s no surprise that it’s the real deal, enticing a deep roster of talented makers to exhibit.

While there are some international names attending, NYCKS primarily attracts North American makers. The list of attendees for this year’s NYCKS includes Chuck Gedraitis, Kirby Lambert, Ken Steigerwalt, Jared Oeser – all names that should be familiar even if you aren’t a custom knife collector, as they’ve had big impact in the production knife world too. But part of the pleasure of a show like NYCKS, whether you’re there in person or perusing digitally, is the chance to acquaint yourself with the work of makers you may not have heard of – talent whose blades may end up on your shelf one day if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford them, or that may eventually wend its way to production collaborations with the big manufacturers.

Speaking of production knives, NYCKS’ focus on collectors and customs means that by and large it will be about handmade stuff, but a few familiar company names will be there too: Pro-Tech, along with Rike Knives (one of the show sponsors), and Olamic Cutlery. It makes sense to see these specific shops in attendance as some of their work straddles the boundary between custom and production. Andrew Demko is in attendance, and will presumably be focusing on his custom work, but Demko Knives does have its own production label now so there may be some of those models tagging along too.

This year, NYCKS is preceded by Arts in Metal, an exhibition that started in Italy in the ’10s, but that has since been acquired by Fifty Fifty Productions. Taking place this evening, Arts in Metal has an even more rarefied atmosphere than NYCKS proper, as it’s a one evening only show that is invite-only, with all knives being lotto’d off.

NYCKS opens its doors tomorrow at the Westin in Jersey City, NJ, at 11am EST for Knifemakers’ Guild members or those with VIP passes; entrance for the everyone else begins at 1pm. On Saturday, the show is open from 10am to all pass holders.

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