Blade Show 2012 was wonderful, overwhelming, exciting and exhausting all at the same time.
Wednesday, June 6
It was decided that we would fly out Wednesday in order to reduce the stress of presenting knives to the JS judging panel bright and early Friday. Due to flights, I had to be at the airport at 4:15AM. Since I didn’t finish packing till midnight, that meant I only got a 3 hour nap before heading out to Atlanta. It was kind of brutal but in the long run meant it was easy to get onto East Coast Time. Getting in early also meant we got settled in while it was quieter.
Thursday, June 7
During the day, I was able to get somewhat caught up on sleep, check in with the show, scope out the table location and have a relaxed day.
Thursday evening, however, my nerves started to ramp up. One of the big reasons to go to Blade this year was to attempt to get my American Bladesmith Society Journeyman Smith rating. This means putting the 5 fit-and-finish knives on a table bright and early at 7:30am Friday. Needless to say I didn’t sleep well.
Friday, June 8 – the day I was waiting for.
After hours of fitful sleep I climbed blearily out of bed around 6 and was able to get across the street with everything by about 7:10. After locking the case with the rest of the knives under the show table, I took the stuff to the judging room: the five fit-and-finish knives, the performance test knife, and the paperwork signed by Michael Rader, Mastersmith, that said I had passed the performance test. It was a bit before 7:30. I think all the candidates managed to show up before 7:30 even though the actual deadline was 8am.
[My wife notes that I looked just as nervous as the rest of the Journeyman Smith candidates. We were all pretty nervous!]
People familiar with American Bladesmith Society knife styles will understand why I think I might have been more nervous than some of the other candidates. The longest blade length I had on the table was 3.5″ – the other candidates, more like 12″. I didn’t have a single hunter or Bowie knife, and that’s most of what the others had. Mine looked so different, I almost wanted to pack them back up, right there.
By the appointed hour we all had our knives laid out on the table, polished one last time, and were ushered out of the room. We stood in nervous clumps out in the hallway. Sometime between 9 and 9:30 they started calling us into the room one or two at a time to deliver the news.
I passed. Once I heard the feedback and collected my knives it was time to head back to the main hall and finish setting up. No time to dawdle!
The show opened for VIP pass holders at Noon and general public at 2 and closed at 7pm. There was a good bit of traffic by the table and I met many nice folks. After the show was closed for the day, we had to pack up quickly to get across the street, dress up, and then back for the ABS banquet at 7:30.
The banquet was wonderful. Many awards were given out, 8 new Journeyman Smiths and 2 new Master Smiths were recognized (click the links for the full lists.)
Saturday, June 9 – what a blur!
Considering how long Friday was, there was no way I was going to get enough sleep. Saturday is the busiest day of the show. There were many great folks by the table.
It was great to have people pick up the knives and see their reactions. Many folks came by and looked at my ABS test knives and the rest of the knives. Arrangements were made with Jim Cooper of Sharp by Coop to professionally photograph my 5 Journeyman Smith knives. [Once the photo is ready I’ll be sure to get it up on the site.]
Many folks wished to purchase one or more of the JS test knives, but since there are people still who want to see them, they weren’t for sale yet. If you do want one of them or a knife similar to one of the test knives, please send me email. I’ll be making more of some of them soon; if you want one, you should get on the list.
Sunday, June 10 – Ah, the light day of the show.
I was able to get out meet some new handle material vendors, pick up some supplies and generally socialize. The wife was more than wonderful, handling the table so I could wander. Again met many wonderful folks, including a nice couple that stopped by for the second time just prior to the end of the show. They wanted one last look at one of the JS knives which they said “ruined” their knife show since they couldn’t buy the one knife they really wanted. McGee and Newton, if you’re reading, yes I will be making more of them – email me so we can start talking specifics and I can get yours just right.
Overall it was a wonderful show and I’m very glad we went. The current plan is to be back next year.