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Knives UK 2008 Part I

Knives UK 2008 Part I

Please note this is a two part article, you can read part two here.

Now in its third year this showcase for the UK’s top knife makers, retailers and knife making materials specialists, was the place to be on Sunday 18th May. Location was at another new stunning venue, The Tortworth Court Four Pillars Hotel, Wotton-under- Edge, Gloucester, as this, the premier knife show in Britain, has outgrown the previous two show sites at Exeter and Bristol. Feedback from table holders, customers and enthusiasts rated this as a top venue and looks to become the regular home for this event. The size was about twice that of last years with a much less cramped feel about it with plenty of room for exhibitors and punters alike.

There was a truly international feel about this years show with exhibitors travelling from Japan and Iceland, as well as many European visitors.

I will try and paint a picture of what was on offer by running through the exhibitors, giving a few details and showing examples of their items for sale or the fruits of their labour. It was not always possible to talk to all the stallholders individually as the place was buzzing with visitors, but the photographs of the quality of work shows that the UK can hold its own when it comes to knife making talent.

The Exhibitors

First stand was that of show organiser Mike Keogh of Mike’s Knives. Mike is the official UK importer of the high end factory produced Benchmade Knives and the NRA Outdoor range which offer top build and specifications at a competitive price point. He is still the main supplier of Manu LaPlace folders from France and he also has a fine array of custom and handmade knives from around the world.
www.mikesknives.co.uk email [email protected] tel. 01726 882673

Sheffield cutler Stuart Mitchell with his take on the “bushcraft knife”. Working in O1 and Damascus, Stuarts knives are build to work as well as look good. The rounded handles give a very comfortable yet secure grip. Check out Stuarts designs on his website.
www.stuartmitchellknives.com

Wayne Potter makes traditional Bowie pattern and hunting knives as well as commission work. Wayne’s craftsmanship is of the highest order.
[email protected] tel. 01446 404768

Dave Budd works with reclaimed and recycled materials, such as files, saw blades and garden cutting tools, he also runs classes in primitive blade making technology. Dave makes miniature knives and tools that will actually cut and are not just novelty items.
www.davebudd.com [email protected] tel. 0776 474 2569

Philip Siddell. After experiencing the shortcomings of some factory knives, Philip Siddell set about making his own and hasn’t looked back since. His preferred steel is O1 which he forges rather than using the stock removal method.
www.forgedknives.co.uk tel. 01543 472320

Jim Jackson MVO, RVM, former armourer to HM Queen Elizabeth, and the only Englishman to be enrolled in to the American Bladesmith Society as a Master Bladesmith.  He makes stunning naval dirks and Bowies, Jim forges all his own Damascus steel.
[email protected] tel. 0118 9712743

Toby Crocker is the man behind Toby Knives, and is a specialist in hand forged Damascus knives and swords.
[email protected] tel. 01935 873545

Paul Baker of Bushman UK is celebrating 40 years of knife making, he uses a triple zone hardening system exclusively with the BUSHMAN and the BUSHMAN scout. Materials used are straight carbon steel, 1060, cs70 , cs80 and 01 tool steel. Paul favours traditional Japanese methods for finishing and polishing, he uses both forge and stock removal methods or a combination of both.
www.bakk-knives.com www.bushmanuk.co.uk [email protected] tel. 01453 825208

Mick Wardell.  Knife show stalwart Mick was showing both his highly decorative yet functional folders and his robust fixed blades. Mick runs regular courses in knife making. www.wardellcustomknives.com

Karl Crosby. Talented portrait and scrimshaw artist Karl’s animal and character work is fabulous.
www.premierartist.co.uk tel. 01737 243899

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Mike Lamprey. This was a special show for Mike this year as his Persian style folder was the choice of his peers as the best knife made by a “professional” at the show. Mike’s design was produced in a diluted form by Smith and Wesson as the HRT knife.
[email protected] tel. 01805 601331

Bernie Garland (Bera handmade knives). It is not often you see anything really radical and new at knife shows, but Bernie’s patented one handed gralloching knife is just that. The clip point blade is extreme in terms of the depth of the clip and of its shape. By pressing the tip of your forefinger into the clip it leaves an edge up blade ideal for running over the rumen in deer with the finger tip acting as a deflector preventing the needle sharp point piercing into the rumen wall and all problems that generates. The other hand can hold the hind leg out of the way, this is the perfect tool for the solo deer stalker. Bera also produce standard drop point hunters, utility and bushcraft style knives.
www.berax.co.uk [email protected] tel. 01332 727976

Colin Lilley, M & L Engraving, engraver and leatherworker, produces superb belts, sheaths and belt pouches in intricately hand decorated and worked leather.
[email protected] tel. 07876 026679 or 07876 214679

Oliver Davison of ORD Knives, makes novel folding knives with a forward locking mechanism released by pulling an integral cord.
www.ordknives.co.uk [email protected] tel. 07837794381

John Millington. I particularly liked John’s Swiss Army Classic, fully built by John with just the blades from an original. Also the folders John makes are certainly becoming more exotic in terms of the materials used, mother of pearl, abalone, and amber all featuring.
www.millington-design.co.uk [email protected] tel. 0161 336 8313

Colin D Cooper is a specialist dealer in rare and custom knives. Colin seems to be able to source knives that others can wait a lifetime to find. He frequently travels abroad on buying trips and by prior arrangement can go with your “shopping list”.
[email protected]

Rockstead Knives. If you have travelled from Japan then you must be confident in what you have to sell. Hiroshi Hanada, chief director of Rockstead Knives spent most of the time abusing his products, chopping bamboo, cutting thick nylon rope then proceeding to slice paper, without the edge becoming dull at all, he did this all day long filling a bin liner with bamboo chips by the end of the day. This is down to the traditional Japanese grind super hard steels with diamond like coatings coming in at Rc65-67 depending on which steel is used. Folding and fixed blade models were on offer.
www.rockstead.jp [email protected]

Mick Penfold was in attendence, and of course his wife Sue (the co-organiser of the show). Mick makes fine examples of larger knives made in Damascus with exotic handle materials.
www.penfoldknives.com [email protected]

The Identity Store are suppliers of leather, fastenings, rivets, dyes, cordage, etc, everything for the knife maker.
www.theidentitystore.co.uk tel. 01629 581403

Burrwoods are suppliers of exotic woods, plus other natural and man made materials for scales and handles.
www.burrwoods.co.uk tel. 07914 856809

Heinnie Haynes head homcho, Bruce Bollington, and his crew had a very large extremely well stocked stall. One new design Bruce was kind enough to let me have was the CRKT Galagher Glide Lock, an ingenious little knife where one of the bolsters slides up to double as a lever to facilitate one handed opening then slides back down when the blade is opened to lock it open. To close the process is reversed.
www.heinnie.com tel. 0870 740 7070

Owen Bush is a bladesmith whose work has to be seen up close; his forged Damascus swords, knives and axes are works of art.
www.bushblades.co.uk tel. 07973 798690

Johann Vilhjalmsson is from Iceland and a gunsmith by trade, Johann makes fine traditional knives with the emphasis on intricate engraving.
www.ellinsen.is www.byssa.is [email protected]

Geoff Hague is busier than ever and arguably one of the very best producers of folding knives in the UK today. His attention to detail and fit and finish is just awesome.
www.hagueknives.com [email protected]

Shing is a rising star in knife making circles. His heavy duty slip joint folders in steel or titanium variants are much in demand. www.shingcrafts.co.uk

Please note this is a two part article, you can read part two here.

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2 Comments

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    Shahid Mehmood
    06 Aug 2014 at 05:44 AM


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