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Knife Shows – Make the Most of Your Time and Money

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Knife Shows: Make the Most of Your Time and Money

By Les Robertson


There are numerous custom knife shows across America. There are big shows like the Atlanta Blade Show and many smaller regional shows. They all have one thing in common, custom knives. Custom knife makers bring knives featuring different styles, materials, and prices. Whether the show is small or big, you can give yourself an advantage by researching the makers before you attend the show. 



Today even smaller shows have a website or a social media page providing you with an exhibitor list. Often there is a link to the maker’s website or social media page. Utilizing this list, you will know which makers will attend and possibly which knives they plan to bring. In addition, you can contact the maker and ask questions about their knives before the show. Doing so can help you decide if you are interested in this maker’s work. While this strategy works for smaller shows, I find it essential for larger knife shows. 


Who, where, and what:

The exhibitor list will help you identify who will be at the show. Most show websites will also give you their location in the knife show. I go through the exhibitor list and create my list of which makers I want to see. Clicking on the website next to their name allows me more time to look at their work. What I learn about the maker and their knives may move them up or down on my priority list. 


There will be some makers that may not be familiar to you. Clicking on their website will introduce you to the maker and their work. You are possibly adding to the list of makers whose work you would like to see. Or removing makers from your list as you have no interest in their style of knives.


Possibly as important as who; where will keep you from wandering the show looking for a particular maker. Once you have identified whose knives you want to see, you can list where these makers are in the front and combine this with your list of who you want to see. It can save you hours of wandering the show. 


What about the knives? It is the main reason you are at the custom knife show. Knowing what the makers are bringing and hoping to finish for the show is beneficial. This will allow you to move the maker up or down your priority list.  


Often makers will post what they plan on bringing to the show on social media and their website. If there is a maker you are particularly interested in, I highly recommend you seek out photos of the knives they will be bringing to Blade. You can locate many of the knives the makers intend to bring on the more popular social media sites. I believe you will find that it is to your benefit. On these social media sites, pricing may be missing. There is nothing wrong with asking the maker the price of the knife. 


Time and Money:

Although a show like the Blade show is three days long. You will be amazed at how quickly the time slips away. The same can be said for your money, as that will move quickly from one hand to another. To help you with time and money, I suggest you find pricing before the show from the makers that interests you. Unfortunately, too many makers are guessing at their prices or asking well-intentioned fellow makers for pricing guidance. These pricing methods do not benefit you as a collector. However, doing so may help you prioritize the makers on your list. 



Several factors can go into pricing. Doing research ahead of time can give you an insight into a particular market sector and that maker’s position in it. Research can help you to develop a sense of fair pricing for custom knives with certain materials. Having this information can save you time and money. It allows you to focus on makers who provide you with the best price and the potential for your new knife to hold its value. 


Opportunities Abound:

Custom knife shows offer opportunities to handle knives from past, present, and future legends. You can also meet makers who reside outside the United States. Whose work you would most likely not have a chance to handle. Please take the opportunity to meet the maker and handle their knives; you don’t usually get the opportunity to do so. It is a great learning tool to see how makers worldwide make their knives. 


If you plan to take advantage of the opportunity to acquire a

knife through a lottery. Be sure to know where and what time the lottery is. Generally, a ticket or one-half of a playing card must be in the lottery. Be sure to get there early enough to secure one of these. 


A Few More Tips:

Check the exhibitor list before the show opens and plan who you want to see. Have a pen and something to write on. It would help if you planned to take photos of the knives that interest you. This information could help with decision-making during and after the show. Have a map, so you know how to find the maker’s location. Then, get the knife or knife you want. I found doing this increases the enjoyment and decreases the stress of the show. 


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