Blade Show West 2022 Recap and News

Playing with Sharp Things in Salt Lake City

We took a desert trek over to Utah this weekend to go to our first Blade Show West event. We missed the first three because we were either too drunk, too poor, or just didn’t want to go to southern California. The Salt Flats seemed a lot more appealing than a descent through the San Joaquin Valley, though.

Blade Show West is a lot smaller than the normal Blade Show, but there was no shortage of people to talk to and new knives to see. There were also several classes and panels which we didn’t attend because we got distracted looking at shiny things and bothering people with real jobs. Squid Industries also hosted a flipping championship, which we also didn’t attend because butterfly knives confuse and frighten us, sort of like how an automatic coffee maker might frighten a caveman.

Anyway, it was a good time, and you should keep an eye on the other upcoming events like Blade Show Texas, and your standard flavor of Blade Show in Atlanta next year.

TOPS KNIVES CAME IN BIG WITH HUNTING KNIVES

The winning Muley Skinner knife set from TOPS Knives
The TOPS Knives Muley Skinner set won the Best Factory Hunting Knife Award at Blade Show West 2022.

The TOPS table gave a good reference point if you ever want to use the phrase “sea of knives”. They have a big catalog, and they brought a good chunk of it to Blade Show.

On the news front, though, their Muley set won Best Factory Hunting Knife. It’s a skinning knife and saw pair with lightweight Micarta handles. The pair carries in a big, double leather sheath on a set of danglers.

The TOPS Knives Woodcrafter was announced at Blade Show West 2022.
The TOPS Knives Woodcrafter was one of our favorite new products announced at the event.

They also have a new knife coming out called the Woodcrafter. It’s a comfortable, mid-sized fixed blade with a big-bellied blade. That handle has a really secure grip from the texture and the squarish shape of it, but they rounded those edges just enough to avoid hotspots.

Check out the new release section of TOPS Knives site to learn more about their new models.

WHITE RIVER KNIVES AND THE COMFY HANDLES

A line of White River Knives Firecraft fixed blades
The White River Knives Firestarter has all the tools a firepit needs.

We Knives came away with a couple of awards as well for the Shakan and the Peter Carey-designed Nitro Mini folder. If you’ve never handled these before, they are exactly as smooth and comfortable as they look.

There were, frankly, too may new knives at the table for us to keep track of all of them. But we did get out hands the new Torbe models: the Divider which is somewhere between a cleaver and zombie apocalypse insurance policy, and the Lontra, which looks (and feels) like the spear point brother to the Kepler.

Pictures were tough to get at that booth, so we don’t have a visual aid on those models, but you can always check Torbe’s Instragram for some eye candy.

WE KNIVES, CIVIVI, AND SENCUT ARE STILL MAKING A MILLION NEW KNIVES

We Knives were big winners at the 2022 Blade Show West in Salt Lake City.
The We Knives Shakan (on the left) won Best Factory EDC and the We Knives Nitro Mini (on the right) won Best Factory Folder and Factory Best in Show.

We Knives came away with a couple of awards as well for the Shakan and the Peter Carey-designed Nitro Mini folder. If you’ve never handled these before, they are exactly as smooth and comfortable as they look.

There were, frankly, too may new knives at the table for us to keep track of all of them. But we did get out hands the new Torbe models: the Divider which is somewhere between a cleaver and zombie apocalypse insurance policy, and the Lontra, which looks (and feels) like the spear point brother to the Kepler.

Pictures were tough to get at that booth, so we don’t have a visual aid on those models, but you can always check Torbe’s Instragram for some eye candy.

SOUTHERN GRIND

The Southern Grind announcement was the first product release after the company was bought by Diamond Back America.
The Southern Grind Arachnid is the company’s first OTF auto.

Southern Grind is finally back with a new knife. It’s a very comfortable OTF with a big swell of a butt to make it easier to actuate the lever. The blade is S35VN steel and available in a bronze or satin finish.

This was an especially heartening booth to go to, because Southern Grind has been quiet since being bought up by Diamondback America. There were mumbling concerns about what might be happening with this company after the switch, mostly by people who didn’t know that Diamondback is a very large US-based manufacturer, and that Zack Brown and the owner happen to be good friends.

Southern Grind had a great looking booth at Blade Show West showcasing new knives and classic favorites.
The Southern Grind wall of knives.

Turns out that silence was mostly due to all the equipment getting moved to Diamondback America’s place. So Southern Grind fans can rest easy now. Manufacturing is back in full swing in the Diamondback America’s factory in Florida.

SCHENK KNIVES

The Schenk Knives Osprey was one of our favorite fixed blades at Blade Show West 2022.
The Osprey from Schenk Knives was one of our favorite fixed blades at Blade Show West.

Schenk Knives are ramping things up in their machine shop. They had a table full of pretty slick folders and EDC sized fixed blades that are new on the market. The Regal was probably the most visually impressive folder. It’s a titanium frame lock with wood inserts and stainless Damascus from Vegas Forge. The Ally was the really shiny thing on their table, though.

You can read little about their new line of folders on their blog. The folders they brought to the show were pretty much all upwards of $400 (and beyond), but Dylan Tanner did tell us he’d like to play with cheaper materials like G10 to try and get them below a $200 price point for a larger production run. No firm news on something like that happening, though.

The big stand out for us on the fixed blade side was the Osprey. It’s a little EDC-sized thing in Elmax steel. What’s surprising is that the thing has a full finger grip that is really comfortable.

Schenk Knives have always been in an odd space between custom and OEM production. They started out as an OEM a few decades ago and they’re still going strong, but they want people to know that they’re ready to get their own name out there with knives like the Skeleton 4, the Pika 3, and a whole new range of folders on more of a production scale.

You can check their stuff out for yourself at knives.com or at the Schenk Knives site.

LIONG MAH BUDGET LINE SHOWS UP WITH NEW STEELS AND COLORS

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Liong Ma holding the Trinity from his new Eutektik line.

We’re not surprising too many people when we say that Liong Mah has a new line of budget knives coming out called Eutektik. Currently it has three models: The EFD, a mid-size folder designed for close control of the blade; the Binary, the plus sized Binary with a 3.75″ spear-point blade; and the Trinity, the multiple choice knife with a front and back flipper and a thumbhole as opening options.

The new Eutektik budget folders designed by Liong Ma come in a variety of colors.
There are three different model of the Liong Ma designed Eutektik folders that come in a variety of colors.

That’s nothing new from what he went to Shot Show with earlier this year. The new part (to us anyway) was that all these knives were in Sandvik 14C28N steel instead of the original D2 they were announced in, plus some new, bright color options.

You won’t see any of this with vendors just yet, although Mah seems set on getting it all out and ready before the end of the year (November was the common refrain with most knifemakers at the show). But you can get a look at more colors and updates on his Instagram.

Meanwhile, he’s still making his high end stuff. This was the first time we’ve handled a Liong Mah knife, and it has made us seriously reevaluate how we judge frame locks. We didn’t know they could feel as smooth and pleasant as his GSD V2.

JULIO DIEZ AND HIS JUMP INTO KITCHEN STUFF

Diez Knives kitchen cutlery ar Blade Show West.
Julio Diez jumped into kitchen knife design with a series of high performing kitchen tools.

The designer of some of our favorite bushcraft knives is making some sweet kitchen knives now. They were super thin blades with really comfortable, lightweight handles, and what looked like slight scandi grinds in AEB-L steel. Our first thought was camping chef’s knives, but that’s always our first thought.

Julio Diez showing his new Cowcarta handle at Blade Show West 2022.
Julio Diez holds up his cow-handled 710 Split.

He also had a new handle material he’s been working on, a resin-soaked leather which he calls “cowcarta”. He slapped that stuff on his 710 Split knife and ended up with an outdoor knife with a pretty incredible grip.

Definitely check out his site to see if he has any of this stuff available.

WORK TUFF COMES IN STRONG WITH BUSHCRAFT FAIR

Work Tuff Gear Table at Blade Show West 2022

Our testing of the (Julio Diez designed) Apex gave us a certain range of expectations about Work Tuff knives: simple, tough, effective, and big. That is definitely what was at their table. Although the Atayal was definitely thinner and lighter than we thought it would be based on pictures we saw online.

Besides the array of choppers we saw them drop into the knife scene with earlier in the year, though, they gad a solid collection of new knives in tow, including a little piece by Joe Flowers called the Ninjiku. You should see the new stuff show up before the end of the year. Just keep an eye on the Work Tuff site.

REIFF KNIVES

Stu Shank Holding One of His Popular Bushcraft Knives
Stu Shank of Reiff Knives showed up at Blade Show West with an impressive line-up of bushcraft, survival and hunting fixed blades at Blade Show West.

Stu was sitting at the table with the small but strong catalog of Reiff knives on the table. They actually have an impressive list of designs for being as new as they are. They didn’t have anything new to announce at their table, but frankly it feels like they’re too far ahead of the game anyway.

We were just happy to get to finally feel their stuff. If nothing else can be said about their designs, they seem to be really good at making knives for people with fat hands. Our appreciation grows.

Check out Reiff Knives site to learn more about their impressive line-up.

REVO KNIVES

A variety of Revo Knives Nexus butterfly knives on one table.
The Revo Nexus butterfly knives were a big hit at Blade Show West this year.

REVO is one of the few companies that have made an assisted open knife I actually liked, and they’re continuing to surprise me with a new round of solid, no-nonsense-but-still-immensely fun designs like the Vipera XL and the RJ-1 fixed blade.

We walked away from that table with the new Revo Duo, which is a bit like a multi-bladed knife except that one of the blades is a multitool with a cap lifter and a seat belt cutter. They also let on that they’re working on a design for some kind of camping chef’s knife. No word on when something like that might come out, but you might catch a glimpse of it on the upcoming models page of the REVO site.

The big splash at their table was the Nexus: the all new US-made butterfly knife. We don’t really do butterfly knives. Most of the time we’re just sober enough to work an automatic without poking ourselves, but we’re always happy to see knives geared up more in the States, and there were a lot of kids doing magic with the Nexus nearby, so we assume they’re pretty good.

BRADFORD

Braford Knives showed up to Blade Show West with an impressive line-up of kitchen knives.
Bradford is getting back to their roots with an exciting series of kitchen cutlery.

We only know them by their Guardian 3, so we were interested to put faces to one of our all time favorite camping knives. They had all their stuff on display in a wide array of steels and handle materials. It was a good way to decide what kind of handle we liked best: their carbon fiber handles are a lot grippier than we expected, but we’re still Micarta fans.

We picked up their kitchen knife, though, which we’ve been wanting to try for a very long time. This thing is super light and has a really nice pinch grip feel. We’re excited to see this return to the culinary world so many years after the Gatsby steak knife that Bradford started with.

Check out the Braford Knives site if you are looking to upgrade your kitchen cutlery game.

KNAFS CO

The Knafe Lander in the Salt Flats
The Knafs Co Lander grounded for a moment on the Salt Flats during our trip back home.

Of course Ben Peterson was over there hamming it up with the Lander, his new space inspired flipper made to be shared, modified, and played with. The big pull for the Lander is that it only takes four screws to get all the scales off, and he made the CAD design for the knife open source so he paved the way for the after market to play with this design a lot.

They had a pretty nice selection of extra scales for it scales for it at Blade Show. We made it out of there with blue and brown, and a nagging voice in the back our minds that we should have gotten more. There were a handful of people at Blade Show already talking about making their own scales for it, though. God only knows what the world is going to make the Lander look like by Christmas.

It might bigger news to hear that a Big Banter is coming out in November. It’ll have a 3.75” blade in 20CV steel. This is the knife for ham hands, according to Peterson, which is cool for me to hear as someone who uses that phrase to refer to his own hands a lot.

You can find the Lander CAD file on the Knafs Co site.

VOSTEED

Vosteed Knives' new line-up at Blade Show West 2022.
We had a lot of fun playing with the Vosteed Dawg. This oversized flipper will be a great camping companion.

No sight of the Thunderbird at the Vosteed table. They had some shipping troubles, and Yue Dong wasn’t able to make it himself. Instead Stella of Stella’s Knife Obsession was behind the table slinging blades and talking cool kitchen knives.

We were surprised to find the new mammoth flipper, the Dawg, sitting front and center on the table. That should come out, along with the Thunderbird, later this year.

You should also be on the look out for the Racoon, a drop point folder with a Micarta handle and 14C28N steel, and the Valkyrie, a slightly boxier knife with a Micarta handle and a 154CM blade that will be available as either a sheepsfoot or wharnecliffe.

Keep an eye out on the Vosteed site for new drops in the coming months.

SHANE TAYLOR WINS BEST DAMASCUS KNIFE

Shane Taylor With His Award Winning Knife
Master Bladesmith Shane Taylor with his award wining Cat Tracks folder.

Getting a close up look at the work of Master Bladesmith Shane Taylor was the absolute highlight of Blade Show West for us. His folder featuring his cat print mosaic steel won the award for the Best Damascus Knife, but his table was full of intricate masterpieces, and every one of them had an interesting story behind them.

We don’t get to talk about custom work much. Hopefully that will change soon, but in the meantime, finding Taylor’s Instagram is the least you could do to brighten your life up a little.


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Andrew has been a commercial writer for about a decade. He escaped from a life of writing mundane product descriptions by running away to the woods and teaching himself how to bake and chop stuff up in the kitchen. He has a background in landscaping, Filipino martial arts, and drinking whiskey.

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