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: FULL COLOR photos - a great addition to the book, since many people buy this book primarily for the pictures.
reviewed by Mac Overton
Our brethren in the knife fraternity, the folks at Krause Publications, have done it again! With Joe Kertzman’s skillful editing, this book, as earlier ones in the series since it began in 1981 have been, is a major contribution to the library of knife lore and legend. Like last years’ version, knives pictured in the Feature, Trends, State of the Art, and Factory Trends sections are portrayed in full color. Also often colorful and somewhat poetic is Kertzman’s prose, used to describe each pictured knife. It is a veritable feast for the eyes and mind of anyone interested in knives, whether that interest is mild or intense!
It totals 312 pages, including 118 pages of various directories. These directories include membership lists of most of the major knife organizations, such as the American Bladesmith Society. One of the most useful sections to a knife writer, like me, is the list, capsule profiles, and contact information for hundreds of custom knife makers.
The Features, as always, are well-done and well-researched journeys into various segments of the world of cutlery, including the occasional “think-piece.” The 10 features which head off this edition cover 50 pages. The subjects include:
• “Knives and ‘A Century of Progress’,” by Richard D. White chronicles the “world-class folding knives that commemorated the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair.”
• “The Addictive, Rhythmic Beat of Offbeat Folders,” by William Hovey Smith explores the world of unusual, but very serviceable folding knives.
• “Go Ahead, Make My Blade” by Rod Halvorsen describes the author’s “rudimentary yet effective knifemaking techniques.” He shows that tools for making knives need not be complex nor expensive.
• “The Perfect Survival Blade,” by James Ayres is an interesting story about the search for a blade of legendary metal in Mexico.
• “Are Daggers Sporting Knives?” by attorney and knife writer Evan F. Nappen makes the point that the sporting use of daggers has been around for millennia, and that the use of daggers for violence is “not the dagger’s fault, but rather the fault of the hand that holds it.”
• “Neck Knives—Blades You Can Hang With,” by Linda Moll Smith analyzes the dozens of knives, both production and handmade, that are always ready to serve. She gives a great overview of the field of neck or necklace knives, and reviews her favorites.
• “Save a Blade--Heave a Sheath,” by Durwood Hollis instructs us about how to best protect that favorite fixed-blade knife – and ourselves! Various leather, plastic and Nylon sheaths (including those for folders) and the advantages and liabilities of each are analyzed.
• “Laminated Blades Loom Large,” by this author (Mac Overton) describes how modern knife makers and producers are using a thousands-of-years-old method of “sandwiching” hard high-carbon steel cores between softer steels to solve the age-old problem of blade hardness vs. toughness.
• “Peruse the Fine Edges of the Philippines,” by Greg Bean discusses the weapons and defensive techniques of Filipino villagers, who “Out of necessity. . . developed fighting techniques and the edged weapons to go with them.”
• “Net Those Knives as if They’re Big Fish,” by Roger Combs gives advice about buying knives with confidence off the internet – a useful article in this day and age.
The Trends section seems more extensive than in past years, and the color pictures are a veritable feast. I defy anybody to see a picture of a Daniel Winkler knife, such as shown in “Full Frontier Fashion,” and not start drooling! The same is true for the other pictorial sections.
The book leaves the knife lover with the thought: So many knives, so little time!
Softcover, 304 pp.
OUT OF PRINT