Dispatch from Blade Show 2012

Blade Show in Atlanta, Georgia says it’s the largest knife show in the world. While our fact-check department looks into that lofty claim, we thought we’d bring you a preview of what we’ve seen so far, whom we’ve talked to, and how customers are receiving the new line of Blackwater knives.

In short, people want our knives. Inventory is fast disappearing from our mobile storage facility (U-Haul trailer). As soon as they wrap their fingers around the handle, they unfailingly look up with a smile of approval. The blades are so sharp, we’re bringing Blackwater Band-Aids next year.

The Blackwater URSA 6

Like any good knife show, Blade, which started yesterday, June 8, brings the knife experts, collectors and hobbyists out of the woodwork. A sundry mix of body shapes and sizes, they come with questions and comments and strange facts about edged tools.

Our prototype trials and thorough testing seems to have paid off. The collectors and experts are recognizing personal preferences in our knives we’d given scant thought to.

Our editorial staff prefers as little sales work as possible, so we’ve walked our feet sore checking out the new knives and getting the good word on this year’s show.

Jim “Treeman” Behring

Treeman Knives, based in Romeo, Michigan, is one of our favorite small-run makers. Jim Behring (Treeman is a nickname he earned for his handiness with a chainsaw) founded the company about 25 years ago with beautiful hand-forged hunting knives. Treeman’s combat knives evolved through a close relationship with members of SEAL Team 4.

A wide selection of near-as-we-can-tell-perfectly machined scales, heavy-duty 01 tool steel, and matte blade finishes make Treeman knives suitable for the changing work environments of special operators. Every component of the knives is made in the USA, and no matter what happens to your knife, give the Treeman a call and he will fix it.

“I’ll stand behind my knives as long as I’m alive,” he says.

Emerson Knives is the other end of the spectrum when it comes to production. The company’s hard-earned reputation among elite soldiers has made Emerson knives a favorite of military and civilians alike. The line at their booth is six people deep with gawkers.

Spartan Blades was founded by two former US Army Special Forces NCOs as as company dedicated to making hard-use tactical knives. It’s still a relatively young company, but their commitment to customers, their high-qaulity materials, and effective, out-of-the-box designs have won them a solid foundation in the tactical knife world.

Chris Reeve Knives, based in Boise, Idaho, presents a different knife-shopping experience. The company’s booth at Blade Show is “a clean, well-lighted place,” in the words of Ernest Hemingway. The glass cases are sparsely accessorized (no shemaghs or patches, only a single, authentic US Army green beret) Chris Reeve Knives are made to some of the highest tolerances in the industry. From work-of-art folding knives to the rugged “Green Beret,” when the knives leave Idaho, they knives tight and true.

The Chris Reeve Green Beret

We also were intrigued by the innovation of Bawidamann Blades. The company’s tactical knives are different and practical, and its PUP (PALS Universal Platform) allows user to configure sheaths or holsters in a huge variety of ways. We always like to see companies trying new things, taking the next step to help in the pursuit of better gear.

Bawidamann Blades


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