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Category: Blade Show (page 1 of 2)

‘Most Innovative American-Made Design of the Year’ Winners at Blade Show Since 1990

Every year, the finest knifemakers and manufacturers descend on Atlanta to reveal new knife models, talk shop, and receive awards at the Blade Show.

I’ve already delved deep into the past and laid out the “Overall Knife of the Year” winners since Blade Show first started in 1982.

In advance of the latest Blade Show, I thought I’d take a look back at a different category: the Most Innovative American-Made Design of the Year. This category (and its counterpart Most Innovative Imported Design of the Year) didn’t start until 1990, so that’s where we’ll pick up.

It gives a good insight into the thinking of the judges who pick the knives and whether any of these stood to the test of time (hint: many did!).

1990: Becker Knife & Tool Tactul II

The image features early Tactuls or possibly Divtuls — not sure which models or generations.

We’re starting with the very first entry in 1990: the Becker Knife & Tool Tactul II. These earlier knives are hard to nail down because they have evolved or gone the way of the dodo. You might not be familiar with the Tactul II, but you might know the modern day version better known as the KA-BAR Becker Tac Tool.

Before teaming up with KA-BAR, Ethan Becker had his own company who put out knives made by other manufacturers. The original description from Blade Magazine on the win says the knife is a “heavy duty diving/utility knife that is a saw, hammer/nail puller, screwdriver, chisel, pry bar and knife all in one.”

1991: Gerber Gator Serrated

A more recent version of the Gator.

The Gerber Gator feels like old news now but it was once one of the most innovative when first released. The overall design with the gator-like textured handle was superb. In fact, this — like the Tac Tool — remains a very good knife that’s still around.

1992: Equip USA El Diente

Image provided by Blade Magazine

I wasn’t able to find any information about the Equip USA El Diente, so I reached out to Blade Magazine (which sponsors the Blade Show) to find out more.

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‘Overall Knife of the Year’ Winners at Blade Show Since 1984

With thousands of knives flooding the markets, it might seem like there’s so much overlap out there that all knives start to bleed together. If you actually believe that new knives no longer have much to offer, you have a lot of studying to do.

Every year manufacturers and designers work hard to bring something new and exciting to the table. To better illustrate how new knives are still proving their worth, we thought it’d be interesting to take a look at all the winners of Blade Magazine‘s “Overall Knife of the Year” award since the start.

The winners of this award are voted by attendees of the BLADE Show and a panel of special judges. These knives are typically prototypes at the time, but show real craftsmanship, expert designs, beautiful construction, and much more.

The first BLADE Show took place in 1982. From what I could find, the first Overall Knife of the Year award was given to a Fight’n Rooster knife, though I couldn’t pinpoint the model, so I didn’t add it here.

Also, the show did not have an Overall Knife of the Year winner in 1983. If I am wrong, please let me know. So with that, let’s start with the knife that won the award in 1984 and work our way to the present.

1984: Timberline Survival Hunter

1984: Timberline Survival Hunter

(The image is of a skinner version of the knife made by Timberline’s Vaughn Neely. These old knives are hard to find.)

The Survival Hunter is a design by Vaughn Neely, who founded Timberline, and was a beloved knife. You still see these vintage Survival Hunters for sale but they tend to go very quickly. Like I said, these earlier knives are difficult to find information on, but it also won the American Made Design of the Year in 1985.

1985: Gerber Clip-Lock

1985: Gerber Clip-Lock

The Clip-Lock from Gerber was a Black Collins design that’s now long discontinued. It had an unusual sheath design in that a clip locked it into place. Here is a quick video overview:

1986: Fight’n Rooster 7-blade Congress

1986: Fight’n Rooster 7-blade Congress

I’m honestly not too familiar with Fight’n Rooster Knives, but I was able to find out that the company was started in the ’70s by Frank Buster. Most of them were traditional slip joint designs typically made in Solingen, Germany. This 7-bladed Congress was all I could find of the knife, but if it’s not the correct model, please let me know.

1987: Buck Titanium

1987: Buck Titanium

The Buck Titanium was an interesting design with a titanium handle and an overall design reminiscent of the Buck 110 Folding Hunter. It had a monstrous pocket clip, which you can kind of see in the image above. It had a back lock and was just a solid knife.

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2018 BLADE Show West Award Winners

The first annual BLADE Show West — an offshoot of the biggest knife gathering in the world — was a success.

People flocked to the Oregon Convention Center to see some of the top knife makers and manufacturers display their knives.

The West Coast version of BLADE Show was similar to the original (see the other 2018 winners here) in that it offers a few awards to the worthy knives out there. There were different categories, of course.

Here’s a rundown of the custom and factory knife awards winners at the 2018 BLADE Show West. First up are the factory awards followed by the custom awards.

Factory Best in Show & Best Folding Knife: WE Knife 704DS


For factory knives, WE Knife took home the awards of Best in Show and Best Folding Knife with its WE Knife 704DS.

This knife from the Chinese company features a 3.6-inch Damasteel blade with a flipper and a carbon fiber/bronze anodized titanium liners. This is just a gorgeous knife through and through.

Best Factory Fixed Blade Knife: Bradford Guardian 4.5

The Bradford Guardian 4.5 won the best fixed blade knife with its 4-inch 3V blade and Micarta scales. It’s a simple design with carefully considered design aspects.

Best Factory EDC Knife: WESN Microblade

The WESN Microblade started as a Kickstarter project and ended with a Best EDC Knife award. It has a small 1.5-inch blade and titanium handle. It’s tiny in the hand but easy to carry.

Best Factory EDC Non-Knife: CRKT Williams Tactical Key

There are tons of key tools out there, including the famous key knives from SOG. But the CRKT Williams Tactical Key has an eye on self-defense purposes. The key is there for last-ditch situations or when you need a Philips screwdriver.

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Blade Show West Coming Oct 5–7

The world’s biggest knife show is getting a spinoff… and it’s nearly here.

BLADE Show West, which takes place in Portland at the Oregon Convention Center from October 5 to 7, is looking to be a great new annual tradition.

So far there are more than 200 exhibitor booths and tables planned as well as free exhibitor demonstrations and — a personal favorite — more Knife of the Year awards.

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2018 BLADE Show ‘Knife of the Year’ Awards

Another BLADE Show has come and gone.

While I wasn’t able to attend this year, I’m not going to ignore one of my favorite events of the knife-filled weekend: the awards.

The Knife of the Year awards are designed to recognize the highest achievements in the factory-made and custom knife industries. Some experts in the field have argued that the winners of the awards have not reflected the consensus of the wider knife community. However, it is interesting to see which ones take home the top prize.

Overall Knife of the Year: Fox Knives SURU

Image from Blade Magazine

First up is the biggie: the Overall Knife of the Year. Fox Knives took home the top prize with the SURU. Designed by Jesper Voxnaes (as you can plainly see), the SURU is the first frame mechanism made from 90 percent carbon fiber and 10 percent TPI stainless steel. I imagine the carbon fiber makes it extremely lightweight.

It is a darn sexy knife with flourishes like titanium screws, Vegas Forge Herringbone Damascus steel, and a titanium clip with a zirconium oxide ball.

American Made Knife of the Year: Chris Reeve Impinda

Next up is the American Made Knife of the Year. The Impinda is the first slip joint from Chris Reeve Knives and looks as though it captures the same quality and finish you can expect from other CRK models like the Sebenza. It has a 3.123-inch S35VN blade with a titanium handle.

Imported Knife of the Year: Spyderco Paysan

The Paysan was just released in the Spyderco 2018 Mid-Year Guide a few days ago and was one of the knives we were most excited for. It’s not hard to see why.

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BLADE Show 2018 Info


It’s that time of year again. BLADE Show 2018 is nearly here.

From June 1 to June 3, thousands of people will descend on Atlanta to partake in the world’s largest knife show.

Here’s a nice promotional video to get you going:

If you’re not familiar with BLADE Show, then you’re in for quite the treat.

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2017 BLADE Show ‘Knife of the Year’ Awards

BLADE Show 2017 is in the books.

There were a ton of new knives to gawk at and custom knives to buy. But one of my favorite parts of BLADE Show is the awards. Awards are highly subjective and often forgotten but it’s always interesting to see which knives take home which prizes. I recently assembled a list of all the Overall Knife of the Year winners since the very beginning of the show if you’re so inclined.

Up next is a look at a handful of the winners along with the full list of winners at the end.

Overall Knife of the Year: Lionsteel SR-11

For the third year in a row, Lionsteel took home the top prize of the Overall Knife of the Year award. In 2015, it was the T.R.E.; in 2016, it was the KUR Metamorphosis; and this year, it’s the SR-11.

The Lionsteel SR-11 is a truly impressive piece of artistry that evolved out of the popular SR-1, which won the Most Innovative Imported Design of the Year award at BLADE Show 2010. This model features a ball-bearing flipper system, a tungsten carbide window breaker, Rotoblock frame-locking system, and a 3.7-inch Sleipner blade.

Here’s another look from SR-11 owner foldersunfolded on Instagram:

American-Made Knife of the Year: Spartan Blades Kranos

Winning the American-Made Knife of the Year is the Kranos from Spartan Blades. It features a modern look with an S35VN blade and a titanium/G10 handle. Kranos is apparently the Greek word for helmet, which is awesome because if you look closely, you can see the profile of a Spartan helmet in the handle design. Subtle but awesome.

Here’s a quick video:

Imported Knife of the Year: CRKT Crossbones

CRKT won Imported Knife of the Year with its Foresight back in 2012 and takes home the prize again this year for its Crossbones. Designed by Jeff Park of Hawaii, the Crossbones is a thin and streamlined flipper that’s lightweight and versatile. It’s based off Park’s first custom release and features IKBS ball bearing pivot system, brushed aluminum handles, and AUS 8 steel blade. That’s all in a  package that’s 2.4 ounces.

Most Innovative American Design: Tighe Breaker Integral Automatic

(The image is of the flipper button lock version of the knife but you can see the auto version in the video.)

One of my personal favorite awards surrounds innovation because these are some of the most interesting designs. Brian Tighe gets the nod this year with his Tighe Breaker Integral Automatic (I swear he’ll never run out of knife names based around his surname). This  version is the first integral automatic knife and features handles made from a  single piece of titanium. They’ll make even the manliest man swoon.

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2016 BLADE Show ‘Knife of the Year’ Awards

With the 2016 BLADE Show in the rearview mirror, it’s time to take a look at all those awesome knives that won the “Knife of the Year” awards. It’s fantastic that knives and knifemakers are honored for excellence at one of the biggest events in the knife world.

Like last year, we’ll take a look at some of the big winners from the 2016 BLADE Show, but you can find the full list at the very end of the post.

Overall Knife of the Year: Lionsteel Metamorphosis

Lionsteel Metamorphosis

For a consecutive year, Lionsteel took home the top prize of the Overall Knife of the Year with the Metamorphosis. Lionsteel is a family-owned operation founded in Italy in 1969. Its goal, which all other companies should strive for, is to produce knives using only the best materials with unparalleled quality control.

The Metamorphosis is a flipper with a textured aluminum handle featuring a special heat-sensitive coating. When the handle is held in the hand for a few minutes, it changes from black to camouflage. Check out the video:

The premium Sleipner steel blade is 3.43 inches and locks with a liner lock. Sure, the handles are just a luxury, but the knife itself is a real performer.

American-Made Knife of the Year: Spartan Blades SHF


The Spartan Harsey Folder, which goes by SHF, is an anticipated design from Bill Harsey Jr. Harsey has won a few American-Made Knife of the Year awards in the past and this folder is definitely worthy.

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2015 BLADE Show Knife Awards

It was yet another great BLADE Show down in Atlanta this year. We saw the arrival of a few new and exciting prototypes, drooled over all the custom knives, and watched the cutting competitions with captivation.

However, one of our favorite segments of the BLADE Show is finding out the winners of the Blade Magazine Knife of the Year Awards. Fifteen awards are handed out, but we’re only going in depth with a few. You can see the full list without all the commentary at the bottom.

Accessory Of The Year: Wicked Edge Generation 3 Pro


First up is the Accessory Of The Year Award. The recipient is the Generation 3 Pro from Wicked Edge. This $700 contraption is an astounding knife sharpener. With micro-adjustable ball jointed guide arms and precise angle adjustments, you can’t find a more accurate sharpener than the Generation 3 Pro.

Best Buy of the Year: Spyderco Byrd Knife Cara Cara 2


Spyderco won two awards this year, including the Best Buy. This is a knife that offers the best design and performance for the money. The Byrd Cara Cara 2 is a lightweight folder with a 3.75-inch blade made of 8Cr13MoV steel. The least expensive iteration has a handle made of Black FRN with a midlock to keep the knife open. Since Byrd Knives are a sub-brand of Spyderco, they have a modified Spydie hole that’s just as easy and quick to deploy.

This is definitely a well-deserved recipient.

Most Innovative Imported Design: Fox Knives Desert Fox

As I’ve said previously, the award for most innovative is my favorite because it showcases the ingenuity still present in a field that’s been around for thousands of years. The innovative imported design goes to the Desert Fox from Fox Knives. For those unfamiliar with the brand, Fox Knives is known for making knives of the highest quality.

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2014 BLADE Show Knife Awards

Yet another fantastic BLADE Show came and went. There were a ton of things to take away and we’ll continue to cover those in the coming weeks, but first on to one of our favorite parts: awards.

There were 15 awards handed out overall, but we’re only going to show you a few. You can find the full list of winners, including more pictures, at the BLADE Magazine blog.

Accessory of the Year – SOG Blade Light Sheath

SOG BladeLight Sheath

The accessory of the year went to the unique sheath for the SOG BladeLight. If you want one of these award-winning sheaths, the SOG BladeLight CampSOG BladeLight Fillets and SOG BladeLight Tactical each come with one.

Best Buy Knife of the Year – Kershaw/Emerson CQC


The knife that’s considered the best buy this year is the Kershaw-Emerson CQC. The CQC is designed by famed knifemaker Ernest Emerson and built by Kershaw. The Emerson Knives Inc. version of the CQC is a high-end knife that goes for more than $100 and is a highly respected knife. (You can find some of the Emerson Knives Inc. CQC knives here.) With Kershaw producing the knives, the price has come down quite a bit, giving knife enthusiasts a way to buy.

Most Innovative Imported Knife of the Year – Klecker Knives TI-KLAX

Klecker Knives Ti_KLAX

I don’t mean to be bias, but I love innovative knives, so this award always gets me excited, and the innovative imported knife from Klecker Knives is drool-inducing. The TI-KLAX is a brilliant creation that features a ton of things. Let’s just let the Klecker Knives site lay down what it has: “Titanium Ax Blade, Hammer Head, Hex Wrench Set, 1/4” Bit Drive Socket, Bottle Opener, Lanyard Hole, Caribiner [sic], Ruler and KLAX Clamping System.”

Most Innovative American Knife Of The Year – Spartan Blades Integral Frame Slipjoint Continue reading

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