Blade Show 2012 Recap

June 16, 2012

At Blade Show 2012, we suffered the usual barrage of new products, old collectors, and armchair experts typical to any trade show. But we also found a few things worth relaying.

The relatively young knife company Southern Grind is the brainchild of country music singer Zac Brown. To say the least, we were impressed with Brown, his love for innovation, and his knives. We think this is a company worth keeping an eye on.

Southern Grind is based in Atlanta and has a full-service metal shop to produce its blades. The blades are water-jet cut from used circular saw blades. Southern Grind also produces belt buckles, hunting accessories and key chains.

At Blade Show, Brown and company (he travels with an entourage and security detail) were showing off the company’s latest blade: the Bad Monkey folding knife. This is Southern Grind’s first folding knife and secod edged tool available to the public.

The Bad Monkey folder is made of 14C-28N tool steel with a Rockwell hardness of 59-60. The blade comes in both a stone-tumbled finish and a black matte finish. The blade features a hollow grind with conventional v-grind options, as well as serrated and non-serrated variations and drop-point or modified tanto blade profiles. The spine of the blade has a pocket hook designed to open the knife quickly upon drawing it. The handle scales are made of twill-weave carbon fiber with a textured matte finish.

The Southern Grind crew worked all week on the knives on display just to have them ready for Blade Show. They also had plenty of the company’s GranDaddy knife available. The GranDaddy is a full-tang, bowie-knife-style machete with an 11” blade made from the same used saw blades as the Bad Monkey.

Singer Brown, whose popularity in the world of country music is surging, has always had a love for knives. He spends a lot of time on rivers, a lot of time in the woods, and likes to carry a good blade. To that end, establishing Southern Grind has been one of Brown’s lifelong goals.

“This is a passion from me,” Brown says. “This is something that I’ve always wanted to do.”

At the ESSE Knives booth, we talked to Jeff Randall about two of his new products: the Candiru knife and the Advanced Fire Kit.

Randall, who owns and runs Randall’s Adventure and Training survival school, has a long history of jungle survival. His survival classes in Latin America are proving grounds for both his equipment and the individuals who learn from him.

ESSE knives have been tested in the field time and again. The Candiru knife is no exception. Named for the small parasitic catfish of the same name, the Candiru, or Vampire Fish as it’s also known, is infamous for discouraging urination in Amazonian waters.

With a 2” blade made of 1095 steel and a skeletonized handle, the Candiru weighs a mere 1.7 ounces. It’s so light and small, you can forget you’re carrying it. Which is what makes the knife both unique and useful. Its signature and profile are at a minimum.

The Advanced Fire Kit is essentially a 3.25-inch threaded tube of aluminum pipe with a compass on one end and a ferrous rod attached to the other. The end cap with the ferrous rod can be reversed and threaded onto the tube for storage. A IR glint tape reflector is also on the revers of the compass end cap. The tube contains enough space for tinder to be packed around the ferrous rod. The ferrous rod end cap is reversed and screwed back on the pipe to make a serviceable fire starting rod.

Both of these tools are designed for people venturing into the wilderness and wanting to carry as little weight as possible. By the same token, both can be found in everyday situations as worst-case scenario back ups.

Ontario Knife Company has been in the knife business since 1889. Founded and based in Upstate New York, the company is the oldest American knife manufacturer in the country and has been supplying US Armed Forces with knives since 1942. It’s as American a knife company as you’ll find.

In the same patriotic vein that’s dictated much of the company’s products over the years, OKC now offers a new type of hunting knife available in three sizes. The three models—the Seneca, Cayuga, and Keukla—are each named after one of the finger lakes of Upstate New York, where the hunting and outdoor life is part of the culture.

Each of the knives features a different blade profile, but all are made of 420 Stainless Steel with a Rockwell hardness of 50-55. The knives feature a mold-injected polypropylene handle with a Kraton over-mold that makes for a secure grip even when wet or bloody.The knives are designed not to slip when processing game and are all available for less than $100.

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