Knives 2007, edited by Joe Kertzman

The annual source for photos, addresses, and information on your favorite custom and factory knives, as well as a selection of articles from the best writers in the business. includes over 1000 photographs and a complete directory of custom knifemakers, supply houses, knife manufacturers and importers, and other knife related businesses such as photographers and engravers.

Returning this year: over 1000 FULL COLOR photos - a great addition to the book, since many people buy this book primarily for the pictures.

Softcover, 312 pp.

Reviewed by Mac Overton

The color just keeps getting better!

Every year, I think that the photos in the annual Knives series can’t get any sharper and brighter. And the next year, they prove me wrong. This year’s edition is a riot of color, with more than 1,000 of the world’s finest using and collecting knives skillfully displayed.

Editor Joe Kertzman (who has just been appointed editor for all the company’s books) must have the heart of a poet, from the skillful descriptions he gives even “plain” knives. Three examples: Page 67, ”Hans Weinmueller: The polished mammoth tooth grip is sandwiched between etched meteorite bolsters in anticipation of the big bang, or at least that’s the theory.” Page 66, ”...mammoth tooth is just starting to sink its teeth into the industry...” Page 154, (In a section on engraving) “C.J. Cai: The grim reaper had stars in his eyes after seeing the shape of the Keith Ouye S30V blade, and a deal is being struck for him to trade in his scythe for the folding knife.”

The features are informative and highly readable, as always. There are ten features covering the first 56 pages, with another feature placed in the Factory Trends section.

Did you ever wonder about “Famous Blades That Never Existed”? Dr. Louis Nappen explains how “Intangible weapons inspire our imaginations and become integral to our cultural heritages.” In this article, he discusses the Vorpal Sword, the Hrunting, the Sting, Crysknives, the Twelve Swords of Power, Stormbringer, Subtle Knife, Lightsabers and Bat’telhs, Odin’s Sword, Gram and Balmung, Amenonuhoko, the Grim Reaper’s Scythe, the Sword of Damocles, Durendal, Shamshir-e Zomorrodnegar, Zulfiqar, Spear of Destiny, Claiomh Solais and Caliburn, Excalibur and other blades from mythology, fantasy, religion, and movies.

Mike Haskew contributed a fine article on “Knifemakers of the Aloha State.” It may surprise you that there are more knifemakers there than Ken Onion and Tom Mayo.

Keith Spencer contributed “Recording Military History on Knives.”

Michael Burch tells about “the newest trend in handmade knives,” in “The Kiridashi Cometh.” It’s a traditional Japanese utility knife, with a chisel-like triangular blade shape. There are many knifemakers experimenting with this age-old design, which adapts very well to the 21st century.

“Machines Make the Knifemaker,” by famed master of the blade Allen Elishewitz, explains the tools a knifemaker needs to do a good job today.

“Edged oddities” (unusual blade shapes) are explained by Richard White in “Befuddling Blade Shapes.” Shown and described are such things as dog-grooming knives.

“Revisit the Golden Age of the Sword” by Edward Crews describes the rapiers, small swords, daggers and pikes of the 17th century.

Evan F. Nappen spent some time at Ed Fowler’s High Performance Knife School, and the result was “Schooled in the Ways of the Willow Bow Smith.” He said that he now “better appreciates hand-forged blades.” A side-bar article, “(Some of) Ed’s Secret Recipe for a High-Performance Hand-Forged Blade,” would just about be worth the price of the book for anyone seriously interested in Fowler’s forging methods.

James Ayres talks about “Getting Knives into Soldiers’ Hands.” He explains that the modern “tactical folder” is by far the most popular blade for everyday military use.

Joe Szilaski talks about engraving and precious metal inlays in “He Lives to Embellish Knives and Tomahawks.”

An article about heat-treating, “You Can’t Beat a Good Heat Treat,” or “Steel Magic: Heat Treatment Gives Steel Its Magic,” by myself heads off the Factory Trends section.

How Kertzman manages to add to the number of Trends and State of the Art sections each year is amazing. Examples of Trends include: “Embracing Blade Diversity,” “Material Mismatch,” “Bull-nose Blades,” and “Shrunken Treasures.” This list is not exhaustive – there are 20 subsections, filled with photos. State of the Art’s eleven subsections include: ”Dancing Damascus,” “Showy Sheaths,” and “Picture-Perfect Points,” among others.

Factory Trends include “Blades for the Blaze-Orange Crowd,” “Cut from a Finer Cloth,” “Knife Handles in 3-D,” “Fly Like a Butterfly Knife,” “Singular Slip Joints,” “Knives to the Rescue,” “Folders of Forward Thinking,” and “Soldier Steel.”

As a writer, I will continually use the nearly 120 pages of directories, including “Custom Knifemakers,” “Knifemakers State-by-State,” “Knifemakers Membership Lists,” “Knife Photo Index,” “Sporting Cutlers,” “Importers and Foreign Cutlers,” “Organizations and Publications” and more.

This could easily be the best $28 anyone with even a casual interest in knives will spend this year!

Knives 2007 article index
Famous Blades that Never Existed Dr. Louis P. Nappen
Knifemakers of the Aloha State Mike Haskew
Recording Military History on Knives Keith Spencer
The Kiridashi Cometh Michael Burch
Machines Make the Knifemaker Allen Elishewitz
Befuddling Blade Shapes Richard D. White
Revisit the Golden Age of the Sword Edward Crews
Schooled in the Ways of the Willow Bow Smith Evan F. Nappen
Getting Knives into Soldiers' Hands James Ayres
He Lives to Embellish Knives and Tomahawks Joe Szilaski
You Can't Beat a Good Heat Treat Mac Overton

Note: A layout error was discovered after publication, affecting all copies of "Knives 2007". This error resulted in the omission or partial omission of 14 states from the “Knifemakers by State” index. The publisher has kindly provided us with a PDF file of the corrected state-by-state index, readable (and printable) with any copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

CLICK HERE to download the corrected index in PDF format.

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