I had planned to go on Saturday but the wife decided that a concert in Tinley Park was a better was to spend Saturday so I took some time off from work and went on Friday.
The room was the same size as last year . To be honest I think that a larger space is necessary. 50% larger with some more makers would be great. I'd also like to see makers and purveyors in different aisles with related vendors (materials, sharpeners, etc) around the outer perimiter as it is now. I think it would make the show easier to navigate.
I kind of had an idea of what I wanted before I went. As usual the plan went out the window fairly soon. I was looking for a small 'tactical' folder - like the small Strider but it was just a tad out of my price range. So I decided to look for a 'gents' folder. Something I could take to church or out to dinner and not get stares at my ugly knife. I looked at a lot of them but most were out of my price range (I guess I'm not that much of a gentleman) or were a little on the large size. In the last aisle of the show I found my knife.
ATS34 Blade, Titanium bolsters and liner, Micarta scales. Smooth, locks up tight, looks great and very affordable. The maker, Les Voorhies, was nice to talk with and explaned his knives quite well. He's probably underpriced by 25 to 50% so I'm glad I got one now.
I also decided to pick up a kitchen knife. Since I don't hunt or fish the kitchen is where I do most of my cutting. I have one of Thomas Haslinger's excellent kitchen knives for heavier work so I looked for something for veggies, chicken, and fish. I found one (again in the last aisle)
Made in Japan - this is a sharp knife! The maker tunes the knife up for you as you purchase it.
I picked some micarta and Ivory for a kit knife that I have. It should look nice when it's done.
In wandering around the show it seems to have moved up a bit since last year. Lots of damacus and upscale scales. It seemed like even more knives were out of my price range than last year. On the other hand knives were selling. At one purveyors table I was looking at a small Sebenza and a $4,000.00 deal went down in under a minute next to me. Ernie Emerson has his usual crowd. He has some hand made knives and was holding drawings for the chance to buy one. The production knives are out my price range so I didn't put my name in.
I got a number of comments on the shirt I was wearing. It was my Arizona Cardinal's #40 jersey. This was Pat Tillman's number before he entered the Army after 9/11. Duane Dyer from Strider Knives came up to me, shook my hand, and complimented me on the jersey. I tried to get a discount out of him for the small folder but it didn't work. :-(
Bobby Branton have a short knife throwing exhibition and discussed throwing. Most interesting conversation. He's bringing out a lower cost throwing knife. May have to get some of those.
Overall it was a good show. It needs to be a bit larger. Hopefully the purveyors won't outnumber the makers in the future.