Like the SHOT Show is for the shooting and hunting industries, the Blade Show is the premier annual event for both the cutlery trade and the general public. Held this year from May 31st to June 2nd at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta, Georgia, the gathering brought together blade cutlery companies, Knifemaker’s Guild members, American Bladesmith forgers, cutlery lovers, collectors, sharpening specialists, survivalists, artisans, swordsmen and swordswomen, and even a few celebrities. Those of us who have annually made the pilgrimage are amazed at how the show continues to grow and grow. Attended by over 1,000 vendors from more than 20 countries, the Blade Show’s three days are not nearly enough to take in all the exhibits, seminars and offerings with the depth one would wish. The trip home frequently involves making a mental list of those companies and makers you wanted to see but didn’t—there’s always next year.

If that isn’t enough to get your attention, the Living Ready Expo was also held adjacent to and in conjunction with the Blade Show. The Expo was a natural extension of the Blade Show as it featured demonstrations and booths from businesses and individuals engaged in the growing movement toward self-reliance and preparedness. Following Hurricane Sandy, many attendees had felt the fear and privations of life without electricity and other modern conveniences. Vendors of water filtration systems, emergency foodstuffs, alternative power generation and shelter systems lined the red-carpeted show space.

Not simply a knife-industry trade show, the Blade Show is also a conclave of artisans who bring forth their work for review by peers. Both individual craftsmen and manufacturers submit their work to scrutiny by a panel of judges. And each year, those new knives are more tightly constructed, featuring creative and functional elements in both new and traditional materials. The Blade Show honored several Knife-of-the-Year categories, including one knife-accessory category, individuals with special achievement in the knife industry, and custom-knife winners. Here are some of the highlights.

OVERALL KNIFE OF THE YEAR
Zero Tolerance 0454: The new Zero Tolerance 0454 knife features Kai USA’s proprietary Composite Blade Technology and the company’s first three-piece Composite Blade. The 0454 is a collaboration between Zero Tolerance and Dmitry Sinkevich. The 4.1-inch blade is made of blackened CPM D2 at the cutting edge and spine, with a contrasting, silver, tumble-finished core of Sandvik 14C28N. The machined carbon-fiber handle has a subframe lock with both a titanium lock bar with a stainless steel lock-bar insert. Suggested retail is $500. (zerotoleranceknives.com; 800-325-2891)

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  • WhiskeyCobra

    Beautiful knife. But talk about sticker shock from hell. Guess I’ll stay with my Spyderco ENDURA and COLD STEEL.