So I did not see someone ask this year so I thought I would ask. Those of you guys going to Blade, how many knives do you take? Are there trends that work for you, Like more knives at lower prices or fewer top end stuff?
I think at Blade (or any show really) you want to take the absolute best work you can take. You're showcasing you and what you can do. Now that doesn't mean you shouldn't take a variety. I think you want to represent the work that is aimed at your target audience.
You want to take enough to (hopefully) make the show worthwhile. Most makers that I talk to, and myself, feel that 6-12 knives is a pretty good range to shoot for. Some makers are really successful and only take 3 or 4 to sell. Depends on the complexity. Personally, I shoot for 5-7 quality knives on my table, with maybe one or two of those REALLY special pieces.
This will be my 21st year at the Blade Show (Dang....where has the time gone!?). In all that time I can tell you that there is simply no other show like The Blade Show. The biggest thing I have learned in those 21 years is that you can never "call it". Some years the low dollar stuff sells, some years the mid range, and others only the high end. That being said, I generally have about 10-12 pieces at the show, however this year I've managed to get more then that completed. I always try to have prices across the board, from my Damascus Pens and EBKs, mid range hunters/utilities, and always a couple of higher end pieces. I can still remember as a young JS, asking Jerry Fisk how many knives he thought I should be bringing to the Blade show....his answer was "As many as you can!"
My goal for the Blade Show is to always present something that is unique or "different". This is a show where "one upmanship" is on the mind of every knife buyer in the room. If a maker has something "new" or "different", its like catnip.
I think what makes the Blade Show so unique/special is not only the fact that its the largest show in the world, but more so the patrons it draws....literally from around the globe. When the doors open on Friday, its unlike anything at any other show....the doors fly open, and people are literally running, and for the first hour or so its just a "feeding frenzy". Something else that is unique compared to other shows is that at Blade, patrons are as interested in meeting/getting to know the makers, as they are in checking out the knives.
Personally, I think that if you're a serious knifemaker, this show is simply a "must go" situation. In fact I would go so far as to say that if a knifemaker is only going to do one show a year, this one should be it. Yes, it is an expensive show to do, but all it takes is a bit of planning. There is no place else with such a concentation of knife collectors/buyers. The contacts made, and the sales potential cannot be had anywhere else.
I think so highly of this show, that I always have my table number in my signature block, on all the forums I frequent.