Future Looks Bright With Influx Of Youth In Cutlery Market.
If the level of consumer interest in the 2015 BLADE Show is any indicator on the future of the cutlery industry, then there’s plenty of evidence to suggest a very healthy knife market for manufacturers and dealers. For years, cutlery professionals have worried about bringing young knifemakers into the fold — but now there’s no reason to worry. New knife companies, young custom knifemakers and a hungry new generation of knife customers were everywhere at this year’s BLADE Show. Established manufacturers have responded to this influx of new customers by adjusting their offerings to meet their interests with a variety of new offerings. In addition, the accessory end of the cutlery market continues to grow at an increasing rate. This year’s BLADE showcased a number of new offerings that will pique the interest of your knife customers.
New 2015 offerings from Steel Will Knives include the Chieftain 1610/1620 and
Darkangel 900 (below). With blade lengths of 7.48 and 5.83 inches respectively,
each fixed-blade knife will appeal to tactical customers.
Battle Horse Knives made a splash at BLADE this year thanks to a huge booth loaded with an array of knives. This energetic young company specializes in fixed blades for the outdoorsman and bushcrafter. One of our favorites is the Large Workhorse, an 8.5-inch overall camp knife at a reasonable MSRP of $170.
Habilis Bushtools is another emerging young company with a focus on the hot bushcraft segment of the market. Their Nessmuk fixed blade (9.5 inches overall) features a large blade with a Scandi grind, perfect for a multitude of camp chores. MSRP is $179.
Steel Will Knives has charged onto the cutlery scene the last few years and their new Censor 1300 series line of compact fixed blades will certainly add fuel to the company’s momentum. These knives feature pistol grip-style handles available in three blade styles. MSRP is a highly affordable $59.99, complete with an injection-molded adjustable sheath.
Ferrum Forge Knife Works, located in San Diego, offers high-end folders in limited runs. These are not for the faint of budget, but if you have an upscale clientele these are just the ticket. Ferrum does do a lot of business with dealers, reaching out to them via social media to promote their limited-run models — which are often sold out before they’ve finished production. Jason Brous made custom knives for several years before he shifted to mid-tech production knives under the name of Brous Blades to keep up with the demand. His Silent Hero folder is a rock-solid small folder with a nice entry-level MSRP of $199.
Combative Edge’s X9 folder is a mini bull shark in the hand. This upscale, aggressive titanium frame-lock folder features upscale S30V blade steel and clocks in at an MSRP of $350.
Vehement Knives’ Matt Martin crafts extremely well made edged tools. The Paragon spear-point fixed blade — coming in at 9.8 inches overall — is a rare blend of sleek and tough. The $275 price tag is a great way to introduce your customers to handmade quality without the sticker shock.
Gerber introduced the new Gator Premium series of hunting knives earlier
this year, with fixed-blade and folding models.
Capable as an everyday carry knife, CRKT’s Ken Onion-designed Hootenanny
features an IKBS ball bearing system to deploy the blade smoothly.
New Styles Forged
Because of Spyderco’s second-generation Manix 2’s success, the company elected to add three new models to the line. Our pick is the new G-10-handled version, which kicks the desirability factor into high gear. MSRP is $157.95.
Benchmade has a reputation for making some of the best upscale factory folders in the industry and their new model 761 Ti-Monolock carries on the company’s repute. Titanium and M390 Super Steel make this frame-lock as close to custom quality as it gets. Its MSRP is $390.
Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT), in collaboration with custom knifemaker Lucas Burnley, has released a pair of runt folders called Squids. Only 4.49 inches fully open, the Squids can be had in a satin or black stone-wash finish, and at an MSRP of only $29.99 they’re bound to be a hit with young buyers on a budget.
Zero Tolerance, a division of KAI USA which also includes Kershaw and Shun (kitchen) knives, has new knife making waves with the new 0900 Les George designed folding titanium bowie. This little palm full of power rocks a titanium frame-lock and stonewashed S35VN clip-point blade. MSRP is $240.
Taylor Brands’ Schrade won the youth-driven BLADE Show 2015 People’s Choice Award for their highly affordable, hard-working SCHF36 Frontier Drop Point fixed-blade. The SCHF 36 comes outfitted with a pouch on the sheath, which includes a ferro rod and sharpening stone — all at an MSRP of only $43.74.
Böker USA has added two upscale additions to their popular Kwaiken line of Lucas Burnley flipper folder designs. These deluxe versions feature titanium and carbon fiber handles with MSRP prices of $215 and $229 respectively.
TOPS Knives’ popular Baja 3.0 fixed-blade now has a big brother: the Baja 4.5. This versatile drop-point style fixer features TOPS’ Black River Wash blade finish with grooved green Micarta handle scales. MSRP is $200.
Lansky is known for their mega line of sharpeners, but the past few years their knife collaborations with custom knife rock star Mikkel Willumsen have been turning heads. Their latest is the Responder X9. This folding knife is loaded with style at a very affordable MSRP of $53.99.
KRUDO Knives continues to be a leader in self-defense knives. One of Louis Krudo’s latest is the KRONA folder, a beautifully designed everyday carry knife with a pistol grip handle and drop-point blade accessed via a flipper. MSRP is $145.
Glen Klecker, owner of Klecker Knives, is one of the true innovators in the cutlery industry. Case in point: Klecker’s new Abiqua Hunter drop-point fixed blade looks and feels outstanding in its own right, but press and slide the thumb jimping on the back of the blade and a gut hook is released for precision skinning. MSRP is $129.
The Böker Plus Urban Trapper is now available in three versions. This gentleman’s
knife is available with (from left) cocobolo wood, carbon fiber or G-10 scales.
Handgun customers familiar with the quality of VZ Grips will interested in knowing the company has added knife scales to their line. They’re starting with two popular Zero Tolerance models, the Ken Onion 0300 and Rick Hinderer 0560 series of knives. These G-10 scales come in a nice variety of eye pleasing designs and can be matched to your customers’ favorite handgun.
Tuff-Writer has made a name for itself as a premier source for tough tactical pens. We like their Frontline Series pens, available in machined aluminum or upscale titanium at an MSRP of $95 and $210 respectively.
Work Sharp has expanded to include manual sharpeners in their lineup. New to the scene are the Guided Field Sharpener and a bench top Guided Sharpening System. These systems are easy to use and versatile as well. MSRP is $34.95 for the field unit, $59.95 for the bench top.
Built for skinning, the Appalachian from Emerson has a 3.7-inch blade,
which comes in either a black or stone-washed finish.
Blades 2016 Milestone
In 2016, BLADE Show will celebrate its 35th year, showcasing thousands of products from nearly 800 exhibitors at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta, June 3–5. For more information, visit www.bladeshow.com.