2011 BLADE Show in Atlanta, Part 2 – What Happens in Atlanta…..

This is a continuation of the adventures leading up to the BLADE show in Atlanta in June 2011. Part 1, The Sharpening Party, can be found here.

WEDNESDAY

This being our first BLADE show, Ken of Precise Sharpening and I decided to show up the evening before the setup day to see if we could make a few friends. The approach into Atlanta was awesome!

Approach into Atlanta

We arrived at the hotel hungry. Once checked in, we hit the hotel bar for some dinner. It was obvious there were already some people there for the BLADE show. Ken and I sat down at the bar and we noticed a push dagger sitting on the bar where a person had left it while hitting the bathroom. The owner returned, and Ken immediately struck up a conversation that started with “That’s a real nice push dagger you’ve got there on the bar...” It turned out to be none other than Jim “Treeman” Behring and his son, James, of Treeman knives.

After a little discussion and some admiring, I asked Jim if I could try out the steel on some of my Shaptons. ๐Ÿ˜€ I ran up to the room and hit it on the 1K, 2K and 4K Shapton Glass stones. I must say, this dagger was already plenty sharp off the belt grinder – I was really impressed. So for this blade,ย  I was in it more for the aesthetic contrast the shine off the Glass stones would produce against the dull matte finish of the steel. I made it back down before the next round of drinks, and Ken asked how come I finished so quickly, and I simply stated “I wanted to get some work done, so I used my Shaptons”. ๐Ÿ˜€

We ended the night feeling super pumped for the next day, which was a setup day.

THURSDAY

This being our first BLADE show, and my first show together with Ken, we had no idea what to expect, and actually spent the entire day trying to figure out the lay of the table. We had all kinds of stones – Japanese Naturals, Shapton, Chosera, full sized, Edge Pro size, Wicked Edge size, and an assortment of Ken’s CBN and Diamond compounds. We had 3 sharpening stations as well – A Shapton pond setup, a WEPS station and an Edge Pro station. I even brought some Maestro Wu knives!

Jende Industries Blade Show Table

WEPS Station w/ custom Marble Basin

FRIDAY

This was the big day! We had a breakfast meeting set up with Clay Alison and Bob Nash from Wicked Edge, and our good friend Mark R., aka: Ytriech, from the Knife Forums. Although I had countless hours of conversations with Clay and Mark, weย  had never met face -to-face, and it is always so nice to put a real face to the names. We were quickly all like old friends.

Bob (L) and Clay (R) of Wicked Edge

At the opening of the BLADE show, things got moving pretty quickly. I had planned NOT to sharpen, but that didn’t work for more than about 5 minutes into the show ๐Ÿ˜€ I started off with a Spyderco knife (sorry, the model escapes me) working it up to 30K on the Shapton Glass stones. Ken was swamped with immediate interest in the high end CBN and Diamond compounds with his balsa wood strops, and people salivating over the beautiful Japanese Natural stones.

Ken Schwartz in action!

Then a Tanto knife that someone had used their Edge Pro on was presented. So I sat down at the Edge Pro station and gave it my best. I was doing OK, but then Mark showed up. Mark is a big-time Edge Pro user, and I’ve seen his work before (which is MUCH better than mine on the EP), so I quickly got him to sit down and give the knife a go. He had that knife sharpened to a 2K Shapton edge before I could finish my next sentence! I had done most of the work already… ๐Ÿ˜€ Next thing I know, he’s doing some recurved blade! Watching Mark made me realize very quickly that there is room forย  a lot of improvement in my EP skills. I’m really glad I got to see him in action – it was truly inspirational!

Go Mark!

It was at that moment I had such an amazing feeling – Ken, Mark and I had never worked together in person before, but the table was running like clockwork, as if we’d been doing this for years.

Then I got the first knife for the WEPS. It was an S30V blade. I must admit that I don’t get exposed to many pocket knives, and I don’t know my steels as much as I know my stones. I must also thank (blame) Locutus from the Knife Forums for making me want to put a 16 degree edge on this thing! That was a chore! That steel is tough! And I know it’s not the toughest out there. I ended up using the 16 degrees as a relief angle and opted for a healthier 18 degreeย  bevel. That was much easier ๐Ÿ™‚ I stared with the WEPS stock diamonds, and continued with a nice 800/2K Chosera combo, and the knife was kicking sharp!

The rest of the day went quickly, and before we knew it, they were closing the doors for the evening. Mark, Ken and I went to dinner and began what is possibly the worlds most geekiest sharpening conversations in the history of mankind. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world! ๐Ÿ˜€

For those of you who don’t know, Mark is Murray Carter’s first apprentice, and so we had an extensive discussion about almost every aspect of Murray Carter’s approach and philosophy to knife making and sharpening. Knives were coming out of nowhere from Mark – from his neck, his back pocket, his leg. People at other tables were actually starting to look at us. ๐Ÿ™‚

What a perfect end to the day!

SATURDAY

Saturday was busy. I don’t know how many people passed through or how many knives got sharpened. One thing in particular stood out, though. and that was Larry Beverly’s “letter opener” with a 50 Caliber rifle round. Ironically, I had shot a Smith and Wesson 500 just a few days earlier, and had kept the casing as a souvenir.

50 Caliber letter opener

Larry Beverly

Naturally, I had asked Larry if I could touch it to the Shaptons….

Just like the push dagger from Wednesday evening, I was more concerned with bringing out the contrasts of the matte finish of the metal and the high mirror shine of the blades. Of course, it was probably the world’s most lethal letter opener, since I had taken it up to 6K. Unfortunately, I don’t think I was able to capture the shine with my camera at the show. Here is a picture below, but click here to see the full size version.

Letter Sharp!

That evening, Mark, Ken and I headed out to the Buckhead Pizza Co. in the Galleria Mall connected to the Cobb Centre, and had great pizza (and I’m from New Jersey, so I’m very picky) and even more knife talk! We met up with the Executive Chef, and told him to stop by for some free sharpening of his knives.

SUNDAY

The final day came all too quickly. John from the Buckhead Pizza Co. stopped by with his knife roll, and we spent a few minutes sharpening his knives up. After 2 wonderful meals there, it was the least we could do!

Buckhead Pizza Co.

Before we knew it, it was time to start breaking down and cleaning up. I’ll spare you the rundown ๐Ÿ™‚

Afterwards, the adrenaline began to wear off, and we were able to calm down for a quiet, sober discussion about what had just happened over the past few days.

Relaxed and hungry, we hit the hotel bar for a burger, and, YUP – you guessed it – we had another intense knife conversation, complete with diagrams on napkins and scientific calculators (I’m not kidding! ) Mark is quite the closet propeller head!ย  In fact I commented on how Mark was the cool jock at the lunch table who was also really smart and popular. (He actually let out a genuine, ALLLLLLRRRIGHT! when Ken gave him a loud orange “May the Schwartz Be With You” T-shirt).

As the pumpkin hour approached, and the inevitable return from our weekend at the ball was closing in, we took a group picture.

3 Sharpen-a-teers

We had a totally awesome time, and we met so many more wonderful people who I didn’t get to mention, but who are not forgotten.

This was one BLADE show I won’t soon forget!

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7 Responses to “2011 BLADE Show in Atlanta, Part 2 – What Happens in Atlanta…..”

  1. 2011 BLADE Show in Atlanta, Part 1 – The Sharpening Party « Jende Industries Blog Says:

    […] Sharpener « WEPS Stock Diamond Plates and Chosera Stones Progression in Pictures 2011 BLADE Show in Atlanta, Part 2 – What Happens in Atlanta….. […]

  2. belgiansharpening Says:

    I really wish I was there. Looks like you all had a fantastic time!

  3. Jens Says:

    That is one excellent write-up!
    Awesome writing & pics Tom.

    And it makes me wanna go to BLADE.
    I’m Chosera 1K green with envy :=D

  4. Leo James Mitchell Says:

    Hi Tom
    Thanks for the great blog on the Blade Show. Sounds like you guys had a knife sharpener’s dream time there. God to see the pictures of you guys! Huh! I thought Mark was better looking than that! LOL! Just kidding Mark!

    Great stuff mate!

    Very best regards
    Leo

  5. Leo James Mitchell Says:

    Hi Tom
    Thanks for the great blog on the Blade Show. Sounds like you guys had a knife sharpener’s dream time there. Good to see the pictures of you guys! Huh! I thought Mark was better looking than that! LOL! Just kidding Mark!

    Great stuff mate!

    Very best regards
    Leo

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