After having enjoyed a very successful knife show in Lewisburg PA I felt I wanted to share a peak behind the scenes of a knife show.
In the week ruining up to the show you have friends and fellow knifemakers reach out with the obvious questions : “Are you going?’ and the ever returning : “ Are you ready ?” The answers always are ‘Yes’, and ‘never’…
The night before the last arrangements are being made, pack up – check if the van is filled up with dinosaur juice (no electric yet – although I do find it handy to have around the house – I’m still trying to understand the Prius driving crowd that buy it as a badge of honor and feel it gives them a platform to look down upon the ‘others’) and so far I haven’t heard an electric vehicle sounding better than a big block V8 #changemymind
04:30 – the day starts, sneak downstairs to give my beautiful wife a couple more minutes of sleep (as I realize it must have been a lot easier on her if I would be a doctor or a lawyer, or a cubicle warrior even – but with any luck all of the aforementioned will show up at the show)
I finish a quick workout to not miss out on one (have to have at least 22 push ups in – and if you’re wondering why – pls research 22 push up challenge on the interweb.)
05:00 – last vehicle check, all good? Ready to roll…
It is at this moment I am happy to be a knife maker, we are on a road trip (other word for two and a half hour commute) and we get to see the sun come up over this beautiful state we call ‘ours’.
Arriving at the venue you call in to the ones that left even earlier than we did for some navigational tips : read – “No Dude, you’re at the wrong building, drive around and look for the orange “Kubota” (other word for John Deere knock off) next to the entrance.”
We are greeted by the nicest people and shown our ‘table’ to display our wares on. There is a buzz that there is fresh coffee – and doughnuts! My wife and I lock eyes and without anyone noticing it we have just confirmed a battle plan : one of us will get the coffee as the other one will secure the best looking doughnuts (never fails if you spend enough time with your best friend to be able to ‘read and write’ without words) – although I’m still trying t figure out what she means when rolling her eyes at me on moments I think I’m funny…
A lot of the tables are for dealers and they love to stock the tables full with a variety of blades, by all sorts of different makers. It’s what I love to have as a neighboring table because to see the few knives we bring next to a heap of everything is calming on the eyes. And it gives them a moment to see what one knife maker makes.
As we are in an hour or two in to the show an elderly gentleman with a NAVY hat sits down next to us to catch his breath. I kinda want to keep an eye out for him as he struggles as he’s breathing. I walk up to him and introduce myself and ask how he’s doing. I get a synopsis of his medical state (inevitable) and we start talking knives (also inevitable) About his first knife that meant something to him. It wasn’t the most expensive one but it was the one handed down from his grandfather.
This made me smile as I can still remember to this day when my father bought me my first knife. I remember the store where he bought it, I remember coming home my mom gave him ‘a look’ and asked him: “Is he really ready for this ?” And his answer was “I talked with him and that’s up to him, and we will see if he is…”
I was seven years old and I just got a fixed blade knife that my father trusted me with – I think that was the most important part of it, he trusted me with it!
The age difference between me and my elderly guest disappear a like snowflakes on a knife show. And although twice my age we chatted like brothers – and in a sense we were. Bonded by a mutual ritual that if youre lucky you have experienced yourself too. Trust given by a older relative, a blank piece of paper for you to write on.
So waking up this morning do I remember the sales I made, (some knives that I worked hard on and found somewhat hard to let go off)
The answer is no, I do remember my older friend that sat down next to our table and was kind enough to talk to me about his history, I do remember the fellow knife maker that brought in his work to show although he didn’t have a table there (some serious beautiful knives!)
I do remember the looks across the room from fellow knife makers as you made a sale (as we all recognize the confirmation that the hours of work that you put in is appreciated by people)
I remember my beautiful wife that is either kind enough to let me do this, or maybe she believes that following a path uncharted is a valuable way of living. I am a knife maker, I will never become rich – as I am rich already!
And as we pull up the van on the driveway at almost 23:30 hrs. I know it’s been a long day, but it was a good day.
And it was our day ! #madeit