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Blade Show 2014 Photo Report

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Blade Show banner ad 300x250Blade Show is one of those events I’ve been meaning to get to for several years, but never had a hole in my schedule to make…that is until this year.  The following will be a very detailed and in-depth photo report on my experiences and impressions of the show – it certainly won’t be a short read, so apologies ahead of time.  But more over, I wanted to try and create a resource for folks who have never been to Blade Show – something that someone could read and feel like they were there.  For someone who, like myself, might be going for the first time, hopefully this report will give you a good idea as to what to expect when you attend.

I’ll also have to apologize right up front for the quality of the photos in this report as they’re not up to my normal standards.  Why?  The conditions at Blade Show are among the worst I’ve ever seen for shooting photos.  Before I attended, I searched online for photo reports similar to this one, and didn’t find much out there, which really surprised me….but now I know why.  Getting good photos on the show floor is a huge challenge.  Remember to click on the below photos to see a larger view.

Blade Show is held in Atlanta, GA and is normally a three-day show – this year it was held from June 6th through the 8th.  I couldn’t fit in a whole three days, but decided to fly in on Friday, and leave Saturday evening.  My flight from Dayton got in to Atlanta about 2pm, which was the official opening time of the show (though there was an early bird entry available at 12 noon.  I’d recommend arriving as early as possible on Friday – I didn’t make it on the show floor until about 3:30pm, and felt like I was late.  The show is held at the Cobb Galleria Center, which is about 20-30 minutes from the Atlanta Airport.  I used A&M limo Service to get to and from the airport.  It was VERY convenient and literally saved me half of what cab fair would have been round trip.

The Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel & Convention Center is the host hotel for Blade Show, so I booked my room there. It’s certainly among the nicer Marriott properties at which I’ve stayed.  It’s connected directly to the Cobb Galleria Center so it makes going to and from the show very convenient each day.

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Even if you don’t stay at the Waverly hotel, most folks head over to “the Pitt” (the bar in the lobby on the first floor) for drinks after the show each day.

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The Waverly is a Marriott property, and as a photo journalist who travels a fair amount,  I have status with Marriott – I was given an upgraded suite on the top (14th) floor:

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The view from the top floor was quite nice:

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After checking in, I strolled over to the show:

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I would describe the show floor as…unpretentious and unassuming.  Blade Show may be the largest knife show in the US, but they don’t “put on airs.”  Most of the vendor displays (be it booth or table) were remarkably unimpressive and it was obvious that in most cases, very little effort and expense was put into their displays – that’s not what Blade Show’s audience wants apparently.  Neither is the show so massive in scale that you feel overwhelmed.  In fact, it didn’t feel that much bigger than the local gun show that happens every month back home in Dayton.  It’s big – but it doesn’t feel uncomfortably big:

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My first stop once inside was to see Dave Curtiss of Curtiss knives:

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Dave was an absolute pleasure and delight to do business.  No convoluted, Survivor-like lotteries to contend with…just step up to the table and pick out a knife:

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While trying to find Dave’s table, I ran into someone I’ve known for roughly 10 years but never met face to face – Jim Skelton of both YouTube and home shopping channel fame.  Here’s a shot of Jim (photobomb?) at the Curtiss Knives table:

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I’ll soon be doing a review of the little Curtiss F3 Compact I picked up from Dave after I’ve spent some time with it.

I continued walking around and exploring the show – I discovered an interesting cross section of vendors.  Large manufacturers, custom makers, vendors large and small, as well vendors of products aimed at knife makers were all present:

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I found the Tuff Writer display quite easily (kudos to them for having a nice tall sign that was very visible from a distance) and stopped by.  I met and chatted with Jack and Lesley Roman of Tuff Writer and got to check out their awesome pens.

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I became interested in their US made tactical pens after seeing my buddy Snareman’s video review on the red Precision Press pen.  I ended up picking up two of their Precision Press models (red and blue).  Both Jack and Lesley were friendly and very easy to work with – I was very glad to have been able to meet them at Blade Show.

So far I was off to a good start – here’s a quick snapshot of my Friday acquisitions:

 

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After a couple of hours of walking the show I was ready for some dinner.  Dave Curtiss had recommended a restaurant called Pappadeaux,  It was only about a 10 minute drive from the hotel so the front desk had a driver take me over:

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Pappadeax is part of a restaurant chain, but one I had never tried – they specialize in a New Orleans French Quarter Sea Food dining experience:

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It had been too long since I had good seafood, and even longer since I was in the French Quarter – I ordered the Shrimp Gumbo to start with a nice glass of strawberry lemonade:

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For my main course, I went with the Alaskan King Crab Legs over pasta:

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After dinner I went out on the patio and listened to a little Jazz music:

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I had the hotel car drive me back to the hotel and I caught up with Dan from Bladereviews.com and Andrew of Edgeobserver.com.  Both are a great couple of guys to hang out with – we talked knives, photography, watches, and Andrew even showed us where this country called Canada is on a map…who knew?  😉

Afterward I headed back up to my suite and called it a night.  Saturday would be another long but exciting day a Blade Show 2014.

CLICK HERE FOR PAGE 2 – SATURDAY

About John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

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  1. Yi Huang says:

    Hey, I didn’t realize that you were in the Blade U class with me. I would have love to at least shake your hand since I do enjoy your articles and reviews.

  2. I was the guy sitting in the front row asking all the obnoxious questions. 🙂

  3. Sullivan (Sulli) says:

    John,

    I have read a few of your previous reports and I thoroughly enjoyed each one. This report was exceptional and very insightful for those of us who couldn’t attend Blade Show and have never been. Every year I think about going but somehow end up talking myself out of it. But after reading your review I am planning on attending next year. You have basically provided an insiders look on how to plan a great trip.

    I’ve always thought of Blade Show as being like Shot Show for firearms. Most of the good stuff is not for sale, just on display showing off manufacturer’s technology, etc… But to my surprise, Blade seems more like a standard gun show, where dealers bring stock to sell. I was shocked to see the number of Curtiss knives for sale on his table, I’ve been chasing them for years now. His book is closed and back log is high so he’s basically rewarding those who make the effort to travel to the show. Just like you, my first stop at the show would have been his table. He’s a heck of a nice guy and his products and customer service are awesome.

    On the other hand, I cannot say the same about Rick Hinderer and his henchman Rob Orlando, I wouldn’t care to support either of them. I have owned several Hinderers and have been disappointed by the lame detent as well as Rob’s jerky attitude in general. Plus, Hinderer’s sales policy and artificially created demand and lure on the products turned me off. Funny how the price of his knives have fallen over the last year and a half, I think it’s finally catching up to him. Of course there will always be the fan boys from the forum who collect his “first responder” knives…. what a crock! He says he doesn’t build a collector’s knife but offers colorful and artistic upgrades??? I have yet to see a first responder carrying a $385 XM-18 non less one with a $180 Steel Flame crusader clip or an $80 skull. Actually every officer that I’ve spoken to at my local police department laughs when they see the price.

    Anyway, sorry for the rant on Dick Hinderer! I just feel others who are interested in his knives need to know the “real deal” and not be taken by the hype.

    Thanks for the great review on the show, awesome picture too. Job well done!

  4. Thanks much Sulli – I can’t begin to tell you just how difficult it was taking those photos. Glad you enjoyed the report and hopefully I’ll see you next year!

  5. Yi Huang says:

    I was the guy in the row behind you who had asked about the groove on the 25.

  6. I remember! Good question! 🙂

  7. Yi Huang says:

    There’s way too many speculations and theories about it on forums. Though, to be honest, I was tad disappointed with the evolution of the Sebenza. With the increasing cost and fewer parts, he made it sound like the 21 was the most refined Sebenza.

  8. I sort of wondered the same thing….is the Sebenza 25 truly better or just cheaper to manufacture?

  9. Yi Huang says:

    I think the cheaper to manufacture is one of the reason that he switched to S35VN because S30V is harder to work with. I understand that it’s hard to keep the price the same while maintaining the same quality. It’s making want to just hang on to the older CRKs. When I got my 25, I was really disappointed. I was much happier with the 21; the bushing is one of my favorite part of the Sebenza.

  10. Hey John,

    Great write up on Blade Show 2014! I especially enjoyed reading about your perspectives and opinions related to the various manufacturers and designs. By the way, did you happen to stop by the Carter Cutlery booth? I have been a big fan of his for a couple of years now and recently purchased one of his knives. – Mike

  11. Hi Mike – I can’t say I’m overly familiar with Carter Cutlery…I’ve heard the name mentioned in the community though. I didn’t make it to their table at BLADE.

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