Blade Show - From Winnipeg to Atlanta

Blade Show - From Winnipeg to Atlanta

Thursday - Winnipeg to Atlanta!

With a direct flight from Winnipeg, Manitoba, I arrived in Atlanta at 1 pm and got to my Airbnb around 4, ahead of my housemates Matt Berger, Austin Hensley, Josh Howard, Josh Horran, and Justin Howard. They're all makers and Forged in Fire contestants—great guys from Ohio and Arizona. We packed some beer into a cooler and drove out to Neil Warren’s pad. At least 60 bladesmiths were there, and I got so many hugs from people that I’ve only met online. It was overwhelming and amazing. We left the party and with my house-mates started our own deck party. Whiskey and bourbon a plenty! It was fun but not the best idea.



Friday - Overwhelmed in Atlanta

Friday at Blade started with a rough hangover, but I made it to my first class, "How to Run a Successful Knife Making Business," taught by Bob Rankin. This class made me feel like I was on the right path but also made me think of Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. Bob Kramer is definitely an Outlier. He was doing the right thing, at the right time and at the right place.

After this class, I hobbled myself through the first ballroom of Blade Show, spending at least two hours there for a quick browse. This first look was a general blur of knives, equipment and handle materials. I knew I would have to return to soak more of it in. 

Walking into the second ballroom was intense. It had eight times the space. Endless rows of vendors and tables. It was a privilege of seeing, touching, and holding knives from hundreds of makers and meeting them too. Pieces included knives with intricate Damascus patterns, beautifully crafted handles made from mammoth tusks, stabilized fossilized volcanic ash, and exotic woods. Each piece was a testament to the skill and artistry of its maker.

The highlight of the day was meeting Mareko Maumasi. He reached out his arm and stopped me as I was walking by. It was a wonderful feeling to be recognized by someone I consider an ambassador to the craft. I got to chat with him in The Pit later that night too. 

Saturday - Knowledge Acquired

Saturday was largely a repeat of Friday, but I felt much better. Today was the day to buy handle materials. Some blocks cost hundreds of dollars but I was running on a small budget and decided to buy interesting pieces from a variety of vendors. Taking note of them so that I could purchase more from their online stores. I look forward to using the materials. 

I was able to take 2 more classes. How To Make The Most Difficult Pocket Knife with Tim Robertson. In this class, I learnt how to use my surface grinder. Before leaving for Atlanta I was considering selling my Brown & Sharpe early 19th century surface grinder but with my new knowledge, was looking forward to using it again. (I did and it worked perfectly!) 

The second class was The Process is the Product with TJ Schwarz. This class significantly changed my perspective on my business. It opened my eyes to new possibilities and my need for refinement in certain areas of my working processes. If you'd like to glean information about the class, TJ has a podcast called Edge & Flow. On the pod, he and co-host, Lucas Burnley discuss some of the intricacies of running their own knifemaking businesses.

Sunday - Back to Winnipeg!

The best part of Blade Show was this group right here!

Every night, after Neil's or The Pit, there was an "after-party" at our Airbnb. Hanging out on the back deck brought the most laughs and the funniest discussions. It was like hanging out with friends I hadn't seen in a long time. (Missing - Josh Foran & Josh Howard)

Meeting all these people felt amazing! It warmed my heart to meet my peers. To be enveloped by my community.  Thank you to everyone who has purchased a knife from me over the past eight years. Thank you to everyone who has supported me with words of encouragement or by buying stickers. I truly appreciate all of you. Thanks to my beautiful wife and kids who supported me in taking this trip. I’d love to make this a yearly thing.


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