New Designs, Updated Variations Set The Knife-Buying Trend.
The first day of the 2014 BLADE Show — which took place June 6-8 in Atlanta, Ga. — proved to be a harbinger for things to come. This day, Friday, is usually reserved for vendors setting up their booths, VIP attendees getting early previews and journalists spending quality time with manufacturers before it opens to the public. However, many early attendees noticed something different: there were a lot more people on Friday! This was the trend for the entire weekend at the world’s largest cutlery show. New offerings were in abundance, providing dealers with the opportunity to enhance their year-end knife sales.
Browning Black Label Stone Cold Tanto Cord
The CQC-6K from Kershaw and Emerson Knives features a modified 3.25-inch
clip-point blade for versatile cutting ability and is available at a
modest price point.
The folding knife segment of the cutlery world continues to set the tone for the industry as a whole, and this year’s new offerings continue this trend.
The Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) Hi Jinx received a lot of attention throughout the show. It features a curvaceous Ken Onion frame-lock design with an all-titanium handle and Bohler-Uddeholm Sleipner steel blade, which rolls out smooth on an IKBS ball bearing system. Priced at $500 MSRP, a folder this expensive is new ground for CRKT — but if the crowd at the company’s booth is any indication, it will be a hot seller. The Hi Jinx was voted the Best Overall Knife of the Year by attendees.
CRKT has also partnered with custom knifemaker Glen Klecker to produce the Klecker Lock folder, an innovative new take of the “lock-back” design. We were able to get CRKT Sales manager Lindsey Phelps and Glen Klecker together for a photo of both the custom and production version of the knife.
Those who think “thin is in” haven’t seen the Spyderco Chubby. This anticipated Michael Burch (of Burchtree Knives) collaboration was shown off for the first time at the show. The Chubby is a frame-lock folder sporting an all-titanium handle with carbon fiber inserts. On the business end, you’ll find a premium CPM S30V blade. Burch’s custom knives are treasured in the handmade knife world, pretty much guaranteeing success for the Spyderco iteration.
Spartan Blades received the 2014 Most Innovative American-Made Knife of the Year award for their NYMPH slip joint. The diminutive NYMPH — just 4.75 inches fully open — doesn’t have the ubiquitous backspring found on typical slipjoints, instead incorporating a fin on the spine of the folder’s Titanium frame. The MSRP is $220 for the stonewashed model and $230 for the model stonewashed with anodized color.
Benchmade Knives has added to the company’s already-popular Hunt series with the Grizzly Creek Folder. Based on a chassis similar to the popular Triage Rescue models, the Grizzly Creek sports a deep ground drop-point blade, attractive brown Diamondwood handle scales and a foldout gut hook in the base. This versatile folder’s MSRP is $185.
Kershaw and Ernie Emerson have formed an alliance, with Kershaw bringing several of Emerson’s hot-selling CQC designs into their production cache. Eight Emerson iterations are included in the lineup. The MSRP for these budget-friendly knives range from $49.99 to $59. Attendees were impressed — awarding the CQC the BLADE Show Best Buy Knife of the Year honor.
Dealers looking to stock traditional, multi-purpose folders should
consider knives like the 382 Trapper from Buck Knives.
Lindsey Phelps (left), CRKT sales manager, and Glen Klecker, of Klecker Knives,
are seen with the custom and production version of CRKT’s Graphite folder —
which features a Klecker Lock for safety.
Popular Models Yield New Offerings
Manufacturers often take into account that updated variations of best-selling models can provide the potential for additional sales — with alternative color and size options for customers. Savvy dealers might want to update their inventory.
Country music star Zac Brown’s Southern Grind knife factory just keeps manufacturing hits. New for this year are fresh colors for their popular Bad Monkey folders. Monkeys with Coyote Brown and Ghost Green G10 handles were on display; the latter will get the attention of your zombie-obsessed customers. Bad Monkeys start at $249.95 MSRP.
DPx Gear’s best-selling HEST/F folder now has a little brother. The HEAT/F has a variety of handy features, a Titanium alloy frame, D2 steel blade with built-in bottle opener and durable G10 scales — all in a condensed 6.24-inch (overall) package. The MSRP for the HEAT/F is $200.
The word from Böker is a “Mini” version of their popular Squail folder is in the works. Designed by Nebraska knifemaker Charles Marlowe, the Squail has a liner-lock design with solid nickel steel bolsters, Linen Micarta scales and a purpose-driven drop-point blade. The MSRP is not available at this time, but the more economical Böker Plus division will produce the Squail.
Fixed-blade knives have been booming in recent years and it was very noticeable at this year’s show. One of the brightest offerings was TOPS Knives’ Lioness model. The 7.6-inch Lioness is decked out in a Tactical Pink powder coat on all metal surfaces with Black G10 handle scales. A sleek 3.5-inch upswept trailing point blade gets the cutting chores done. Its MSRP is an attractive $129.95.
SOG Knives built their company on quality fixed-blades, and their new Kiku models are no exception. Designed by knifemaker Kiku Matsuda, a legend in Japan, these namesakes feature aggressively modified Tanto blades with stout, eloquently sculpted Linen Micarta handles. Kikus come in large and small sizes, with a choice of blade finishes. MSRP for the large Kiku starts at $218, the small $188.
For your customers on a budget, A.G. Russell’s Pocket Skinner and Hunter-Caper will be a quality option. At a MSRP of only $19.95 each, these two small fixed-blades offer a lot of value to the end-user. Both knives are 7 inches in overall length with 3.5-inch blades and come with injection molded FRN handles (available in black or orange) with matching sheaths, which feature ambidextrous thumb-release tabs.
Available at a higher price point, the Spartan NYMPH slipjoint
folder’s innovative design eliminates the need for a backspring.
Tactical pens, like those from the Tuff-Writer Operator series, are
growing in popularity and dealers can take advantage of this by
enhancing their line of offerings.
When it comes to tactical pens, Tuff-Writer was a standout company at the BLADE Show. This company from Phoenix, Ariz., offers a broad range of finely machined aluminum and Titanium tactical pens with ink cartridges touted to have a shelf life of 100 years. The Operator series seemed to be popular with attendees. Several models from this series feature O-rings along the pen barrel to enhance the grip of the user. These pens start at $85.95 MSRP in aluminum and top out at $205 for titanium models.
Fixed-blade options abound for dealers, and the 7.25-inch Tyrant from Camillus
is sold with a leather sheath outfitted with a built-in sharpener for daily maintenance.
More To Look Forward To In 2015
The 2015 BLADE Show will take place in Atlanta, Ga., from June 5-7, 2015. Dealers, you can look to coverage in Shooting Industry to provide insight on the latest knife trends to help you with with your knife-stocking decisions.
By Pat Covert
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