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Review So I went to Blade (for the fourteenth time)

Discussion in 'Custom & Handmade Knives' started by sheathmaker, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. sheathmaker

    sheathmaker Custom Leather Sheaths Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 18, 2005
    The BLADE Show is the world’s largest, most important knife show, and has taken place every year since 1982 and in Atlanta since 1992. Upwards of 1,000 exhibitors from more than 20 countries display their knives and knife-related items over a three-day cutlery celebration that also features BLADE University knife seminars, knife auctions, custom knife awards, celebrity appearances and much more.

    The first paragraph was written by Blade staff and very word of it is true....and more!

    The following is my very own PERSONAL opinion written by ME.

    I always have an absolutely great time at Blade....the one chance each year to catch up with and visit with my very good friends, to make new friends and mourn the loss of old friends. That alone is worth the trip. That is all certainly a fact, but a few things this year changed rather radically, that made it a little less enjoyable .

    Free parking became $5 a day parking (and that's a bargain). BUT getting a parking place and the getting back out of the parking facility can be a nightmare! Picture if you will everybody trying to leave at once and then merging with the horrendous traffic created by the Braves having home games both Friday and Saturday evening. You need a survival pack, really a long wait......or you can park some distance from the show and walk and then still be in that aforementioned horrendous ball park generated traffic. Don't want to beat the horse, but it was bad.

    Concessions within the actual room were reduced by about 60%. Instead of three fairly well stocked options, there was one with a reduced menu, but you did have the chance to pay $11 for a BBQ pulled pork sandwich and a Coke. Outside the room, Chic Fil A stand doing a brisk business and then down the escalator there was the Subway and Chinese take out and the other sit down Chinese restaurant. Lines at each averaged 30 to 40 minutes, although prices while elevated sightly were more normal.

    The "add on" room was very nice and large and the traffic from the overhead walkway funneled right into the front doors of the added room and the one time I ventured over there it seemed be having brisk traffic with pretty decent crowds. I couldn't help but wonder if folks entering there were aware of the big room and folks entering from the side into the big room, knew about the added room?????

    It was definitely a knife show, no question about that, but with the myriad of various vendors It kind of resembles a trade show . No, not kind of, it DOES look like a trade show with a lot of makers thrown in.

    That's my take on it, and it does just represent one opinion (Mine). I'm not saying I will, and I'm not saying for sure that I won't attend in the future,,,,,,but it's the first time that question has even crossed my mind.

    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
    Will York, Dawkind, Mecha and 9 others like this.
  2. Rick Marchand

    Rick Marchand Donkey on the Edge Moderator

    Jan 6, 2005
    You summed it up well, my friend. I had a good time and saw most of the folks I hoped would be there(and you).... but... it was different. Honestly, I would have rather seen all the custom knifemakers in the add on room. I like checking out the whole show but I felt it very confusing and overwhelming. There used to be more of a distinction between Gear, Supplies, Dealers, Collectors and Makers. I'm sure I overlooked many tables with great knives and good people.

    I couldn't even find the hidden overflow room till the second day!
    Dawkind and Mike157 like this.
  3. Aidenag


    Apr 16, 2009
    This sadly isn't just a bladeshow thing, it seems most shows for most trades, hobbies and arts are turning into this as well. Rock and gem shows, gun shows, jeweler shows, heck even local events, fairs and gatherings i attend have gone this route as well more and more lately. Im finding it to be the smaller to medium sized events now are where its at for most enjoyment and least headaches. Not to say blade isnt fun or that i wouldn't go in the future either. Just that these huge events are really losing the appeal with each passing year. Normally i would chock it up to im gettin older, so get off my lawn mentality, but i think its more than that as i still enjoy events, just these huge ones seem so scattershot now.
    Dawkind and Mike157 like this.
  4. Scurvy092


    Jan 31, 2012
    I felt like the venue was openly hostile towards Blade this year. Charging for parking. Braves homestand during on of the biggest shows of the year, none of the food places being properly staffed on a Saturday afternoon (Chow Main Grill was literally half empty and they had a 30 minute wait dur to staffing). They put the doors to both rooms as far apart as they possibly could for no reason what-so-ever.

    I still had a fantastic time, hung out with a lot of great people, picked up some awesome pieces and had fun. The show itself was amazing, everything else sucked.

    I will be staying closer next year and shuttling back and forth. Hopefully they will get smart and schedule the Braves way that weekend.

    There were rumors last year of them moving the show to a much bigger conference center down town. It might be time that happened.
    mmmotorcycle, not2sharp and Mike157 like this.
  5. Notime


    Mar 6, 2015
    This was my first Bladeshow. I did find all the makers that I wanted to meet, bought a custom and had a great time. That said, it was completely confusing as to what table was where. I know my numbers and alphabet but it would have been nice to have them marked and not have to ask makers that you weren't interested in, "what booth is this"? I didn't know there was an overflow room. Great suggestion above to put the customs all in one place and the other vendors in a separate area. As far as parking, I paid for early entry and got a prime space and got in and out easily, but I drove over to get there. I am glad I went and wouldn't have missed it but not sure it's worth going every year.
    Mike157 likes this.
  6. Ben Seward

    Ben Seward Full-time Bladesmith/Part-time Idiot

    Jun 28, 2012
    I got stuck with a $25 parking charge Thursday night when we stayed for the CKCA banquet...that'll leave a bad taste in your mouth. They said something about game night? I'd say it's time for a move. The extra room seemed busy enough but still it was detached and hard to find for some people. I enjoyed being with old friends and making new ones but I still enjoy the personal feel of the Little Rock show...and that looks to be growing!
    Dawkind and Mike157 like this.
  7. Carl Colson

    Carl Colson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 4, 2016
    My table was in the overflow room 39A
    I was happy to have a table at all But,
    I had customers tell me they didn’t know
    The overflow room was there until Saturday afternoon or Sunday.
    I went ahead and got a table for 2019
    But requested to be put in the Main room.
    They definitely need to do better with
    Their numbering system..lots of folks were
    Having trouble finding their makers.
    Mike157 likes this.
  8. Bob Ohlemann

    Bob Ohlemann

    Dec 5, 2013
    Paul, I really enjoyed meeting you, even with John's antics thrown in. The collector I had with me thought you two need your own comedy show. I can hear the SJW's heads exploding already. Good times!

    Dawkind and Mike157 like this.
  9. betzner

    betzner CenCal Coast Platinum Member

    Jan 23, 2007
    Paul, a friend of mine from New York, who spent some time talking with Bob Ohlemann, may have been with the two of you at the time - and thought you (Paul) were funnier than a crutch. He is normally highly loquacious, but told me afterward that he just sat back and said little, enjoying absorbing it all. I was truly glad that he had met two really nice guys on his first Blade Show visit!

    Mike157 and Don Hanson III like this.
  10. B . Buxton

    B . Buxton

    Jul 8, 2001
    Paul nailed it, I've been going for 10 yrs. and the atmosphere of this show just seemed different and not in a good way. My wife was totally unhappy, I don't drink coffee, but she does and she couldn't find a good cup of joe anywhere and believe me that can make for a long day for both of us. :) I hope to go back next year, but I also heard if you didn't have a table reserved by noon on Sunday you might not get one and we didn't, so this might have been my last Blade show. :(
    Dawkind and Mike157 like this.
  11. Tad Lynch

    Tad Lynch

    Nov 14, 2006
    What Paul and Bill said.

    Tad Lynch
    ABS MS
    Dawkind likes this.
  12. Burga


    Dec 29, 2013

    So, I am who Bob Betzner referenced and
    I kid you not, when I look back on Blade show 2018, second only to having the opportunity to enjoy the company of Bob Ohlemann and his lovely wife, was being present for the banter between Bob, John and you culminating with: your slow-thoughtful- serious sounding delivery to John as you revealed his " perfection " as then further defined by you.

    Bob Ohlemann and Mike157 like this.
  13. Mecha

    Mecha Madscienceforge.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    It would be fun if Blade show was held in a roofed football stadium. They could show the award winner knives and Bladesports cutting competitions and such on the big screen. :D
    Mike157 likes this.
  14. JParanee

    JParanee Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 23, 2006
    Paul didn’t have too bad a time :)

  15. sheathmaker

    sheathmaker Custom Leather Sheaths Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 18, 2005
    Joey, you are sure right about that. I had a hell of a good time.........with my wayward boys.

    But seriously there were enough changes and outright "surprises" to raise an eyebrow here and there.
    Dawkind likes this.
  16. pwest


    Apr 10, 2013
    Next year, you guys might consider walking across the foot-bridge to Cumberland mall for your meals, snacks and coffee. I walked over to Costco, stood in a short line, and got a $2 slice of pizza for lunch! Parking at the mall is easy, but they have threatening signs suggesting that your car will be towed if you leave the premises, so it's risky.
  17. JParanee

    JParanee Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 23, 2006

    You know me Pap ...adapt and concour ....except when I can’t remeber where I parked the car :)
    Don Hanson III likes this.
  18. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    Bill if this is the case it's something new? Couple years ago they started doing everything by email and send info for next year after the show. No deposits for tables taken at the show.

    I'll be back next year with or without table. :)
  19. RogerP

    RogerP Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2002
    Thanks for our thoughts Paul. The increase in non-knife trinkets and doo-dads is something I have noticed over the years. Not a fan. I mean, there's still no shortage of great knives to see but it does water down the experience some.
  20. Jason Magruder

    Jason Magruder

    Mar 27, 2004
    The add-on room was interesting. My table was in there, and while I did manage to sell out, it seemed that most people didn't know even there were two rooms. Anybody that had been to Blade before just went straight to the main room, and all the first timers went to the small room since it was next to the ticket counter. It was like two completely different shows.

    I've been out of the loop for a few years while I worked on getting a degree, and it seems the whole industry is going through some major changes recently. The rise of TV knife shows, youtube stars, social media marketing, and easy access to cnc have really turned the knife world on it's head. It used to be that a maker could do amazing or original work and that was enough to get recognition. Now it seems there are a ton of relatively new makers/companies advertising and promoting themselves so much that it's really become a game of shouting louder than the next guy and quality is only secondary. I was blown away by just how many guys I saw with professional looking banners and signs and websites but who have apparently never heard of fit and finish. That "professional" style of marketing certainly does change the feel of a knife show. We've gone from craftspeople with a focus on making great things, to business people focused on great marketing. Overall though, I think the added competition will force everybody to up their game, both in quality of work and presentation.
    Ebbtide, white tiger and DevinT like this.

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