The 30th annual edition of everyone’s favorite guide to handmade knives, their makers, suppliers and other aspects of the knife world. Softcover, 312 pp.
KNIVES 2010 is the 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 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
Includes a ** BONUS DVD ** of not-seen-in the book images.
Reviewed by Mac Overton
Knife lovers rejoice! The 2010 version of the popular Knives series has arrived, and it lives up to and exceeds expectations.
The book continues the series’ goal of keeping us up to date on the latest trends and techniques, and eleven features keep us entertained with the lore and romance of the world of knives. Appropriately, this 30th Anniversary Edition is dedicated to the great Ken Warner, Blade Magazine Cutlery Hall of Famer who founded the series back in 1980.
I’ll admit that I first peruse the entire book, looking at page-after-page of full-color photos, before I tackle the features, but I always find them absorbing. The features include:
“It’s a Flip Fest,” by Michael Burch, in which he details how he fell in love with flipper-operated folders and showcases in pop-off-the-page color photos some of the best and the brightest flipper-opening knives in the business.
I am a fan of fine kitchen knives (I mean, that fine hunting knife will get used maybe once a year, if the hunter is lucky, but that kitchen knife may see daily use over a lifetime), so I really enjoyed “Top Chefs Reveal Their Favorite Knives,” by Jordan Clary. She went from street-corner cafes to five-star restaurants to find out what cooks use. In her travels across the U.S. and Taiwan, she has noticed “a definite trend. By and large, most chefs are moving away from German knives and leaning toward Japanese-style cutlery these days.” She quotes a well-known German-born chef who has worked all over the world that the country of origin or style doesn’t matter, “a knife is only as good as its handler.” Amen to that. Ms. Clary has an easy, conversational style, and I hope we get to read more from her.
Blade magazine editor Steve Shackleford interviews knife aficionado Phil Lobred for “A Lifestyle, Not a Hobby.” A devoted collector since the late 1960s, Lobred has had great impact on the modern handmade knife movement, including designing many knives and commissioning what Shackleford says is “perhaps the pre-eminent knife of the modern handmade era – Buster Warenski’s King Tut Dagger.“ There are also discussions of Elvis, the Art Knife Invitational, and more.
Noted knife writer Mike Haskew contributes “Goo-Goo-Eyed for Gemstone Knives.” (It should be pointed out that the writers usually don’t create the headlines or titles for their articles!) Haskew explains the use of precious and semiprecious stones in knife handles to “enliven knives, build character and enhance the pieces.” Not to mention the prices!
Decorating the knife is also the topic of “Discovered! The Fine Art of Guilloché” by knifemaker Allen Elishewitz. This metal-turning technique is treated in detail by the author, who explains how he mastered it.
I’ve always been partial to Scandinavian knives and designs as real using knives. Most are no-nonsense, made to be used in an environment in which survival depends heavily on the blade one carries. Of Norwegian ancestry, author Roderick Halvorsen is well-qualified to write about these fine, practical knives. He tested three from Stromeng, a brand with which I admittedly am not familiar.
They are in three sizes and two types. One type of blade on mid-sized and large knives is the “Nordic” style most identified with Scandinavian knives. The blades have straight backs with the cutting edges curving up to meet them – a simple, practical design that gives a tough point. The third knife is a “reindeer” knife, with a curved blade that is used for humanely dispatching and butchering reindeer, the primary food source of the Sami people who live north of the Arctic Circle.
Richard White expounds on tourist blades in “Road Trips Gave Birth to the Souvenir Knife” – good advice for collectors of these types of knives.
James Morgan Ayres takes us on a mystical, but he says true, journey through “werewolf country” in Northern Italy, and the knives he and his wife carried to protect themselves.
William Hovey Smith talks about modern makers of ancient-style stone knives in “Chips off the Old Rock.“ In addition to describing how to make flint or other stone blades, the author shows how well they still work on modern game.
Greg Bean describes the use of the last-ditch weapon in “Plug Bayonets – Last-Ditch Weapons.”
While I enjoy the features, the “Trends” section has me drooling with desire over all kinds of traditional, semi-traditional, and somewhat futuristic knives. Ditto for “State of the Art” and “Factory Trends.” As a writer, I always find the updated directories of great benefit. Finally, in this 30th anniversary edition, a bonus DVD on knifemaking is included.
Altogether, it’s a great addition to any knife lover’s library.
Knives 2010 Article Index
|It's a Flip Fest
|Top Chefs Reveal Their Favorite Knives
|A Lifestyle, Not Just a Hobby
|Goo-Goo-Eyed for Gemstone Knives
|Discovered! The Fine Art of Guilloche
|Fine Knives From the Far North
||Roderick T. Halvorsen
|Road Trips Gave Birth to the Souvenir Knife
||Richard D. White
|Walkabout in Werewolf Country
||James Morgan Ayres
|Chips Off the Old Rock
||William Hovey Smith
|Plug Bayonets - Literally Last-Ditch Weapons
Knives 2009, edited by Joe Kertzman
Softcover, full color, 312 pp.