OKCA 2012 recap

The Oregon show is over and now to write the recap.  First off let me start with a disclaimer: I have no real idea what goes into a good recap post so I am making this up as I write.

Some notable things about this show in general.  It is a pretty good size at around 425 tables.  There is a mix of display tables, collectors, production knife vendors, supply vendors, part time makers and some full time makers.  Think more Gun show/swap meet than trade show.   Not only is the mix of table holders interesting the attendees are not typical of other shows.  For one thing there is a large percentage of attendees that are “want to be knifemakers.”

So as to how things went, we got into town Thursday night a little too late to attend the thursday night social.  This meant the show started for us at 9am friday morning at the metallurgy talk.  The talk this year was titled Steels of the Zombie Apocalypse or something similar.  Turns out that it really didn’t have anything to do with the ZA, the fellow putting the talk together got tired of being asked for a title and isn’t a fan of the current societal interest in the ZA, and made up the title just to get it over with.  The talk started with a presentation from Niagara Specialy Metals about the history and current offerings of Crucible Metals.  The remainder of the talk wasn’t actually about metallurgy but about Stone points and the connection between Clovis points and the stone knapping traditon of ancient peoples of the Basque region of Spain.  Really a kind of appropriate beginning to the show considering this is the OKCA show.

After the talk we wen out and found some breakfast at a local establishment not far from the fairgrounds and then headed back to the show. Friday is setup and club members are allowed into the show, but not the public, and no signing up for new memberships.  Some folks setup at 10, some folks set up at 5.  We got set up by a little before noon.  Traffic by the booth was decent we talked to a bunch of nice folks, and also got to go check out some suppliers tables and talk to other makers.  The custom knife competition opens at 2 and was over about 5.  I entered knives in a couple of catagories, but didn’t win any.  This was not unexpected as there are some really great makers and I didn’t actually make anyting with the intention of winning the custom competition.

Saturday is the big day of the show: the doors open at 8 and close at 5.  The weather was nice and this caused the crowds to be a bit light in the afternoon, however it was still a busy day.  Talked to lots of people, there was much interest in the knives, especially the small utility and paring knives.  The table cover and patches seemed to be real attention grabbers.  We wound up on the “take another look” list of many folks.  Lots of people picking up the knives and liking them.  Quite a bit of good feedback.

This was Torrey’s first show and the first chance she got to see some of the available handle material up close.  She found some real pretty dyed Mamoth tooth handle scales, which we picked up.  There is a small set I have promised her will wind up on a folding knife for her and another regular sized set which will find its way onto something in the next 12 months or so.

Sunday the show was open 9-3, and as the weather was still nice the attendence was pretty bad.  It felt even slower than Friday.  Even with the lack of attendees, we still had a decent amount of traffic and good conversations about the knives.  After the show closed we managed to get packed and on the road by 3:30 and back in seattle by 9.

Overall we got lots of good feedback on the products, but sales were not what I would have preferred.  We did give out something like 80+ buisness cards and a number of patches.  Additionally website traffic is up which is also a nice benefit of the show.

And lest I forget there are a great group of people at that show.  I met new folks and saw folks I hadn’t seen in a while.  Honestly knifemakers and collecters are a great group of folks.

I think that about covers the show.  Hopefully this pile of prose was an interesting after show report and not just a mass of drivel.  Right now my brain is busy starting on the list of things that need to happen before Blade Show in June, so this is as good as it is going to get.

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