Predictions: What to Expect in the Knife World in 2019

As we round the corner on the last couple weeks of 2018 and with the Readers’ Choice Awards wrapped up, it’s worth making some predictions for the new year. How will the knife industry grow and change in 2019? Nobody has a crystal ball (or if they do, they haven’t shared it with us), but here are some trends we’ve noticed taking shape this year that seem likely to explode in the next.

More Small Batch Knives
Next time your buddy starts going on about small batch bourbon, you can tell him that the knife industry is hopping on the small batch trend in a big way. Accessible – and highly talented – OEMs all over the world have helped designers realize their visions in small, relatively affordable runs of knives. Expect to see more of this next year – especially as the overcrowded middle market for customs continues to slow down.

Revamped Budget Steels
After a long and (relatively) peaceful reign, it looks like AUS-8 and 8Cr13MoV are about to be usurped. We’ve seen innovators in the budget knife arena push new steels like D2 and, on the stainless side, 14C28N; and given the hugely positive response to these improvements others are likely to follow. It’s hard to imagine anyone complaining given the inarguable performance increase these steels bring with them.

Work Sharp

Thinner Grinds, Smaller Knives
For years reviewers have advocated the joys of thinner grinds and knives that are small and easy to carry. Those sentiments reached critical mass in 2018 and makers of all shifts and stripes are starting to pay attention. We think more thinner, smaller knives are on the horizon. And when we say ‘thinner and smaller,’ that doesn’t mean that every new release will be a 2.5-inch EDC with a paper thin grind. Rather, makers are starting to understand the importance of portability (even in larger knives), and the diminishing returns that come with scaling up blade stock into pry bar territory.

More New Talent
Knife companies will continue to get better at scouting out new talent in the community. Today’s rising stars like Elijah Isham and Justin Lundquist were relatively unknown not too long ago. The sheer number of knife companies now means there’s ton of potential options for an up-and-coming maker looking for his or her first production partnership, and for lesser-known but well-established custom makers to get their work before a larger audience. We may have trouble keeping track of all the new talent in 2019 – but that’s going to be a good problem to have.

Knife featured in image: Spyderco Brouwer