​The Top Knife Shows of 2019 for Custom Knife Enthusiasts

​The Top Knife Shows of 2019 for Custom Knife Enthusiasts

Jan 1st 2019

The Top Knife Shows of 2019 for Custom Knife Enthusiasts

Spring means just one thing for custom knife enthusiasts: knife shows.

While the average U.S. citizen is tending to their spring cleaning, knife fans across the nation are getting geared up for some of the biggest and best custom knife shows of the year.

It’s all about new beginnings: The best names in the business unveil some of their most anticipated new line-ups and models, and custom knife makers put their latest designs on display to the sheer delight of knife aficionados.

But staying on top of the year’s best knife shows is about so much more than just perusing the latest and greatest products in the industry. With the various classes, demos and meet-and-greet offerings that take place at knife shows, they are simply the best place to stay informed and abreast of the latest news goings-on in the knife world.

Whether you are a knife collector, carrier or manufacturer or new to the scene, be prepared to mark your calendars: The following shows are some of the most anticipated and can’t-miss knife shows in the United States for the 2019 calendar year.

2019: The Year in Custom Knife Shows So Far

1. SHOT Show

The Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show and Conference, or SHOT Show, is the definitive production show, and experts in the industry insist that if you can only get to one show per year, it should be this one.

Held in Las Vegas, Nevada in late January, 2019’s SHOT Show did not disappoint, with some of the biggest names in the industry dropping their release strategies for the year at the increasingly anticipated event.

Knife show in convention center

2. Tactical Knife Invitational

This year’s Tactical Knife Invitational took place at the same time and location as the SHOT Show, a veritable God-send for knife enthusiasts.

The TKI is known as the industry’s most exclusive show, and the organizers tend to aim for quality over quantity in procuring their list of top-tier vendors and exhibitors. Collectors at this Las Vegas event came to play, bidding on some of the most high-end and luxury blades and custom knives available on the market.

3. The Northeast Cutlery Collectors’ Association Annual Show

A staple in the knife industry, the NCCA’s Annual Show consistently attracts high-quality custom knife makers.

Top 3 Shows to Look Out For

1. Lehigh Valley Knife Show | May 4th – 5th and September 29th – 30th

Lehigh Valley Knife Show

The Lehigh Valley Knife Show is a favorite among knife buffs and new members to the knife community.

An equal parts tradeshow and knife education event, it epitomizes the Faroese proverb “A man without a knife is a man without a life,” as the event organizers seek to broaden, disperse and further access to knife knowledge and education.

But make no mistake: There are still plenty of knives to look at. Held semi-annually at the Charles Chrin Community Center of Palmer Township in Easton Pennsylvania, the show has attracted an impressive vendor list for the 2019 season that is more than 80 names long.

Whether you are into new or antique, factory or custom-made, there is a knife vendor for you at the Lehigh Valley Knife Show. Buy, sell or trade your hunting, military or tactical knives with fellow knife aficionados. If you are a blacksmith or crafter, this is the show for you, as the event coordinators put up an impressive line-up of knife forging and making demonstrations and lectures.

The handicap-accessible show is also advantageously located for out-of-towners and offers ample free parking for easy access. The venue features police surveillance, a massive plus for vendors and it is located close to numerous hotels and restaurants, though there are also various snacks and meals available in the community center.

Pro Tip:In line with its commitment to increasing awareness and access to quality knives and responsible carrying for self-defense, the Lehigh Valley Knife Show offers free admission to children under the age of 13, as well as uniformed scouts.

2. Blade Show | June 7th – 9th

Blade Show

The holy grail of custom knife shows in the U.S., the Blade Show is a massive mid-year showing that has consistently attracted the biggest and best custom and product makers in the knife industry for 38 years running.

Marketed as the “world’s largest knife show,” it is organized by the premier knife community publication, Blade Magazine. The 2019 show is set to pull a whopping 1,000 exhibitors and feature more than 750 tables and 450 booths of some the world’s most in-demand knives, blades and gear and accessories.

No matter your knife interests, the Blade Show will have a booth that caters to them, including utility, hunting, camping, art, folding and tactical knives, just to name a few. You’ll also find a variety of vendors who carry the equipment and materials you need to make, sharpen and maintain your knives.

Blade Show coordinators have put together a full list of educational demos and classes for the 2019 show, including the return of their popular Blade University, a resource for the latest news and techniques in knife education.

These high-end learning opportunities include intensive courses taught by industry legends. You can find a course in virtually topic, including;

  • How to grind a knife blade
  • How to sharpen any knife
  • How to start your own knife company
  • How to make slip joints
  • Boosting your knife business with social media
  • First-aid for knifemakers
  • How to laser engrave

Classes are available as an add-on option for $25 per class when you purchase your ticket online. Though they can also be purchased day-of at the event, it is highly recommended to pre-order your session, as seats are limited and classes fill up fast.

On top of Blade University’s various class offerings, the event also boasts a number of free knife demos and talks from some of the most trusted makers and bladesmiths, including:

  • The BLADE Show World Championship Cutting Competition
  • Forging Demo with Timothy Potier
  • The Machete and Its Role in Survival
  • Knives, Bad Guys and the Law: What to Do if You Carry
  • How to Throw Knives & Tomahawks
  • Japanese Sword Demonstration
  • The 17th Annual BladeSports Cutting Competition

The variety you can expect at the 2019 Blade Show extends beyond just the educational experiences: The event website lists the various TV personalities, celebrities, martial arts and self-defense experts, bloggers, social media influencers and authors who are set to make an appearance at the show, making it a can’t-miss for knife enthusiasts.

Pro Tip:Blade Show organizers offer a limited number of Early Bird Entry tickets for exclusive, 2-hour early entry on the first day of the event. With Early Bird Entry, you beat the crowds and enjoy personal, priority access to the booths of your favorite blade makers.

3. New York Custom Knife Show | November 22nd – 23rd

New York Custom Knife Show

This traveling custom knife show from Fifty Productions can be found throughout the year all over the U.S., including earlier shows in Nashville and Las Vegas. However, the New York Custom Knife Show is the grand finale, rounding up the best of the year with sneak-peeks to next year’s line-ups just in time for holiday gift-giving.

The NYCK started as a custom knife dealer-focused show but recently began to incorporate production exhibitors into its line-up. Despite this, it’s still largely a custom knife-driven event and, with sponsors like Microtech Knives and Marfione Custom Knives on board for the 2019 show, it’s safe to say that this weekend-long custom knife event is not to be missed.

The high-end art and tactical knife event of the season, the New York Knife Show aims to bring the best knifemakers from all over the world to one location for an exclusive buying experience that is second to none for discerning knife enthusiasts. The list of exhibitors, purveyors and knife makers for the 2019 season includes more than 60 names from across the industry.

The New York Custom Knife Show offers various admission levels for the event. A VIP Pass will run you $35 and is valid for admission for both Friday and Saturday, with limited early entrance on Friday that includes exclusive access to some of your favorite vendors. It also includes entry into both the grand prize and daily prize drawings.

The Collector’s Pass, on the other hand, is available for $25 and includes everything that the VIP Pass includes, less the early VIP admittance on Friday. Finally, pick up your Day Pass for $20, which includes admission for one day and entry into the daily prize drawing on the day of your attendance.

Pro Tip: Fifty Productions offers free admission for military personnel, members of the law enforcement, EMS personnel and firefighters with identification to all of their Custom Knife Show events.

How to Prepare for a Show

If you are looking to buy, sell or trade at a custom knife show, a little pre-show prep can go a long way.

Knife in a leather case

For safety purposes, ensure you make an effort to securely store your knives for travel and display. Contact event organizers a week prior to the event or check out your event’s website for information about concealed carry weapons and any security concerns you might have.

If you are attending the show for the express reason of checking out the products of a particular custom knife maker who will have a booth or table at the show, consider contacting them ahead of time to get a better idea of what kind of knives they will have available.

Always dress for comfort when attending a show. Remember, this is a full day event that includes a lot more walking than you might expect. Opt for comfortable shoes and clothing, so you don’t have to cut your day short.

Exhibiting at a Custom Knife Show

To exhibit at a custom knife show, you will need to head to the event website or contact the coordinators to see if they are still accepting vendor and exhibitor applications. If they are, you can typically find the contact form on the event website, which is then filled and returned with an event deposit fee to reserve your booth or table.

For popular shows like the Blade Show or the Shot Show, you will definitely want to reserve your space as far ahead of time as possible.

Marfione Custom LUDT Blue Accents Compound Mirror Blade

Though some smaller shows may allow you to partner up with other small custom knife makers and share a display, this is not always the case. In fact, bigger knife shows do not typically allow custom knife makers to share tables or booths.

Knife shows usually partner with hotels in the area that offer group discounts for show exhibitors. Head to the event website to find out ahead of time if you can get a good deal on accommodation.

Always make sure you are well aware of what the deadline for cancellation is, as deposit fees are typically non-refundable past a specific deadline if they are refundable at all.

Keep in mind that the advertised dates for event attendees are not necessarily the dates for vendors. Generally, exhibitors are required to show up and set up their display one to two days before the event commences.

Finally, various laws vary from state-to-state regarding the sale of custom knives. Be sure that you are always aware of and in compliance with the rules and regulations in the event’s state.

The Takeaway

If the custom knife shows that have taken place up to this point in the year are any indication, 2019 is set to be an incredible year for custom knife enthusiasts in the U.S. Head to the event websites to book your tickets now and don’t forget to check out your local county and state forums for custom knife shows near you.