The Sydney Knife Show will be the setting for one of the biggest exhibitions of its type to be held in Australia. Rosehill Gardens Racecourse is the host venue, with thousands of knives and edged tools to be shown and sold over the weekend of August 6 and 7.
The affair will have a global flavour with a gathering of manufacturers, knifesmiths, collectors, dealers and associated industries from all around the world. The main categories are likely to be kitchen, hunting/fishing, bushcraft/outdoors, carving/woodwork and military/tactical.
Helping to get this major event of the ground has been Corin Urquhart, secretary of the Knife Art Association Inc, which is a not-for-profit organisation. “We have already about 70 tables sold to exhibitors and I would say that about 50 per cent of those will be involved with hunting and bushcraft knives,” said Corin. “We did a show two years ago in 2014 in Sydney and it was called the International Cutlers’ Exhibition. So this will be the second one and it has been rebranded. We are just trying to get something up and running on the knife scene for Sydney.”
Custom knifemaking is a thriving bespoke industry in Australia. The Australian Blacksmiths, Bladesmiths and Knifemaker Network has grown from its origins 18 months ago to having almost 8000 members, thanks mainly to custom cutlers joining the Facebook site to sell their work.
One of the main attractions at the August show will be American knifemaker Bill Burke, who hails from Boise in Idaho and has built a reputation for himself as a master bladesmith. Bill specialises in creating knives for some of the world’s leading chefs. Some of his finished products are viewed as almost works of art and can sell for around the $4500 mark.
Another highlight of the weekend will be the chance for visitors to watch experts plying their trade at blacksmithing and knifemaking demonstrations. Such ancient crafts are making a huge impression. Cutlers will be on hand to show how they can take a ‘scrap’ of steel and fashion it between hammer and anvil to produce a cutting tool or forged object. These practical presentations will also be of great value to anyone wishing to learn how to make their own knives.
Corin was keen to point out that many of the items on display at the knife show could be rated as genuine adornments. “The key points we would like to convey are the unique beauty and quality of custom-made knives,” said Corin. “The beauty is self-apparent to anyone who sees these blades. The combinations of materials and construction, the shape and design of any custom-made knife will have an appeal to somebody.”
One aspect not as apparent is the function of various knives. Corin said that three tests could be carried out on blades for entry into the American Bladesmith Society by determining sharpness, edge holding and toughness.
With such an array of items and bladesmiths’ skills on display, the Sydney Knife Show is looming a major event. Tickets are $15 at the door.