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Ed Caffrey's Workshop Talk to Ed Caffrey ... The Montana Bladesmith! Tips, tricks and more from an ABS Mastersmith.

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Old 04-30-2014, 08:37 AM
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J. Doyle J. Doyle is offline
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A rather wordy review of the Seattle show (sorry no pics)...

I finally made it home, settled down and got some rest. I have some time now to have processed it all and would like to give my perspective as a maker and a table holder at the show, as well share some of my highlights.

First of all, there were so many great makers, collectors and things going on that some names and conversations are bound to be missed. Please forgive that, no offense is meant.

Daniel O'Malley did such a GREAT job putting this show on. It was a very nice venue with a nice layout. There were a couple of different rooms but they were all adjoining and it didn't seem difficult for anyone to walk from one to the next. The pool of makers from all sectors of knife making was fantastic. Huge talent was present no matter what type of knife you were looking for. Really some world class makers at this show. It had a friendly, laid back and well run feel to the whole show, the whole time.

The amount of foot traffic at this show was incredible. Saturday was as crowded and busy from start to finish as any show I've personally attended. There was scarcely time away from your table to grab a quick drink, use the bathroom or get something to eat. Sunday started a little slower, which was actually nice as it allowed the makers to walk around and speak to each other finally. I thought the foot traffic picked up considerably for a good 2-3 hours in the middle of the day and then tapered off again at the end. I think that sounds pretty typical for any show. Everyone had a smile on their face and most reported sales, even from early on. I personally heard good sales reports from most I talked to and almost every maker said they are coming back. Overall, for a first time show that came together relatively quickly, it ran very smoothly, was VERY classy and drew a great crowd of makers and collectors. I don't know how you could ask for much more for a first year show.

Also, the collectors in the area were very interested in knives and they seemed very educated to all the knife making terms and processes. They were serious about knives and seemed to be really excited about the show. Many of them expressed the desire to have the show be a permanent annual event.

Some personal highlights for me:

First, sitting right next to my good pal Bruce Bingenheimer, aka Bing, is always a treat. Bing is one of the nicest and most honest and sincere people I have ever had the pleasure to meet anywhere, and certainly one of the best folks in the knife world. He makes great knives. He brought a damascus flipper folder with damascus bolsters and carbon fiber scales that was UNBELIEVABLY smooth! I had the privilege of watching the astonished looks slowly turn to smiles on the faces of everyone that held it and opened it. That knife sold almost instantly, but was left on the table for others to admire. He could have sold that knife 10 times over. One collector wanted it so bad that I believe he even settled for purchasing Bing's personal carry prototype of that knife right out of his pocket. Bing, so good to see you again my friend! My sides hurt from all the laughs.

I had the chance to meet our forum friend Lorien. What a great guy with a wonderful personality and some crazy good drawing skills. This guy can make a knife on paper perfectly come to life in 3d reality with his drawings. Beautiful stuff. He is sincere and genuine and pretty witty and comical as well. I really enjoyed getting a chance to talk with him and see his drawings. I would be so daring as to see that one wouldn't be surprised to see a future collaboration project coming between him and I. He really took the whole show in and spent some time with everyone and I know he got a lot of cool pictures that he'll share.

I got to also spend time with fellow forumites Erin Burke and Salem Straub. Neither had tables but both brought a knife of theirs to show and it was cool to see both of them in person. These guys are doing really good work and are worth checking out in person. They are both super nice sincere guys that were a lot of fun to talk to.

Mike Quesenberry and Dave Lisch are always fun to talk to. Their work never disappoints but continues to inspire and humble me at the same time. Both are fun loving and more than willing to share their views on making and both are willing to help out.

I enjoyed talking with Michael Rader and discussing handle finishing techniques. I appreciate his knowledge and his sense of humor.

Bill Burke had a beautiful line up of his chefs knives that were a joy to hold and look at. Erik Fritz had a range of knives for all tastes from kitchen knives to small edc type knives with synthetic handles, all very well made and finished. Shane Taylor was kind enough to talk with me at length about his poker themed mosaic damascus featuring playing cards and 3d piles of dice in the steel. I was in awe at the steel when I first saw pictures but after hearing about all the little details that Shane was so careful to not overlook, I realized that there were SO many things that I had never even considered that must be done meticulously in order for it to come out right. He is a true master of steel in every sense and a super nice guy besides. I really enjoyed that conversation.

I had several meaningful and inspiring conversations with several people that will help me grow as a maker with my own knives. Adam and Haley DeRosiers were both very helpful. Adam agreed to critique my knives and gave me some great pointers. Haley was kind enough to talk with me about some carving techniques that I hope to improve on and be good enough to showcase it on a knife of my own. They are both great people.

M.S. Aaron Wilburn introduced himself and we spent some time chatting and discussing my knives to help me on my journey down the ABS road. He was very friendly and I instantly felt like I was chatting with an old friend. He also gave me some great tips and encouragement.

I was introduced to Jim Rodebaugh and I asked him if he would critique my knives and he did. A great conversation followed and I learned several tips and tricks to further refine my skills and produce the best blades that I can make. We got to discuss hunting knives and then share some stories and some common ground about hunting. He was a real pleasure to talk to also.

M.S. JD Smith came to my table and had some very kind things to say about my work, which I greatly appreciated. I took a lot of inspiration from some of the very eloquent things he said. Additionally, maybe some of us JD's can start giving all the BB's a run for their money.

I got to finally meet Steven Garsson and it was great. I found him polite and pleasant, comical and intelligent. He spent some time talking with me about my knives and was not afraid to say what he liked and disliked and I appreciate that. I really appreciate hearing his perspectives as a seasoned collector.

I got to meet and talk with Stuart Branson a few times and he is a real gentleman, and very talented besides. I enjoyed discussing hamon techniques with him. His work that I have seen previous was very clean and precise and showed great lines and flow. Taking that and watching him develop his own style of making with heavy Japanese influence, has been fun. It was great to finally see some of that work in person and the knives did not disappoint.

Chuck Richards had a nice table of some great knives that have his signature look. I like the uniqueness of them and they don't look similar to a lot of other knives. He has his own style and is a super nice guy. One quite large camp knife/chopper with excellent flow, great fittings and the right amount of embellishment. A cool no clay hamon and nice contoured bog oak handle finished it off perfectly. He introduced me to one of his friends that is also a collector and he bought a few knives from me. We also had some other things in common and had a lot of fun visiting. Always good to see Chuck and Thank You!

For me personally, it was a great show. In addition to all the really valuable stuff mentioned above, my wife and I got to enjoy some incredible food with Bing and our good friend and fellow maker, Doug Campbell and his lovely wife Karen. The Kirkland area is really nice. I brought 6 knives and didn't return home with any of them. I've already booked my table for next year and can't wait to go back. I really don't have a single negative thing to say about any of it. I'm excited to see how it will improve next year as it went so smooth and was so well attended this year.

Thanks to Daniel, Blade Gallery, Bill Burke and all the makers and collectors that made this show a great success.


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Old 04-30-2014, 01:14 PM
Jeremy Jeremy is offline
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I read this on another forum, but glad you put it here, too. It will be interesting to see how this show grows/changes in the years to come.


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Old 04-30-2014, 11:47 PM
cdent cdent is offline
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Be wordy like that anytime John, thanks for taking the time.
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:05 AM
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MLAZYB MLAZYB is offline
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John, Very nice review. I believe you hit everything very well. I'm still buzzing about this show already planning for next years show.

Was very nice to meet your new wife.


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Old 05-04-2014, 09:23 PM
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Woodchuck Forge Woodchuck Forge is offline
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Great Review John. Glad to see you again too. Keep up the great work.


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