Place: Nürnberg Messe, Nuremberg, Germany
Time: March 3rd-6th 2017
Beautiful Spring weather meet Therese and me when we arrived in Nuremberg Germany. IWA Outdoor Classics is Europe's biggest trade fair for hunting, shooting sports, outdoor equipment and security applications. Since 1973 this is the 44th issue of the IWA exhibition. The nice atmosphere and the 1500 exhibitors attract people from all over the world. So basically; this is the place to be if you're in the outdoor business, want to mingle and love gear.
Therese's and my aim with this trip was to meet up with some of the knife manufacturers we have gotten to know throughout the years working with edge tools; using, writing and teaching.
IWA offer a great opportunity for us to meet everyone in one spot at once and to catch up also with knife friends from outside Europe. So here you have our summarized impressions of the IWA Outdoor Classics 2017 when it comes to knives and other edge tools.
David Cassini Bäckström is the man behind the beloved bushcraft knife model Casström No.10. This year David brought his two latest knife models; Casström Woodsman and Casström Safari (see center of picture) to IWA. Woodsman is a very compact, robust yet smooth blade I wrote about inside the magazine Vapentidningen No.8 - 2016. Safari is a Alan Wood designed small and efficient hunting knife that comes with a stainless Sandvik 12C27 blade and three different handle options. The options are; black or orange G10 and stabilized curly birch. You'll be able to read more about the Safari in my publications up the road. In the Casström booth you could also find some really nice leather work; an axe holster loop for your belt and a belt pocket suitable for holding your beckolja (to the right in the picture).
See more of my writing about Casström by clicking HERE.
You'll also be able to meet Casström at the Bushcraftfestivalen 2017, last weekend of August.
Inside the Damasteel booth we got to meet the nice boys from Söderfors. Their newest product is the new damascus steel pattern called Aegir (see picture). I think it's great that these beautiful Swedish steels now are starting to pop up in knives all over the world. To mention just a few of Damasteel's customers, how about; Spyderco, Victorinox, LionSteel and Benchmade,
See more of my writing about Damasteel by clicking HERE.
Also the people from Eskilstuna Sweden were present showing the latest products from EKA; EKA CordBlade W9, EKA MachBlade W1, EKA HatchBlade W1 and EKA AxeBlade W1. But of course also the hunter's favorite, the bestseller of EKA, was on display inside the EKA booth. I'm talking about the EKA Swingblade equipped with both a ordinary blade and a gutting blade (see yellow knife in picture). By now it's the 3rd generation of Swingblades that are produced by the manufacturer. Also the relatively new knife model EKA Swede 9 (See black knife in picture) was discussed in the EKA booth (see Vapentidningen No.5 - 2015).
See more of my writing about EKA by clicking HERE.
This was the first year Hultafors participated at the IWA show as an exhibitor. On display you could see their new Outdoor Knife series consisting of four models. If you want a more detailed view on the knives you should check out my magazine article on them inside Vapentidningen No.9 - 2016. The model OK1 is a robust trooper with a black carbon steel blade. The Handle has the same shape as of the older sibling model GK. The model OK4 uses the same blade as the OK1 but with a shorter rubberized handle. Both knives comes in a plastic sheath with canvas details enabling storage of a ferro rod. The other knives comes with a rubberized handle, stainless steel and partially serrated edge. They are called Rope Knife and Rescue Knife where the rescue version has a blunt tip.
Hultafors also showed their latest axe model; The Akka, marketed as a hybrid between a large forest axe and a small carpenter's axe. The Akka is equipped with a long and slim handle giving a nice balance to the tool. Always a pleasure meeting up with the Hultafors crew.
See more of my writing about Hultafors by clicking HERE.
You'll also be able to meet Hultafors at the Bushcraftfestivalen 2017.
As usual when Karesuandokniven is exhibiting; the booth is impressively full of sharp knife candy. Per-Erik Niva passionately demonstrated the new knife model Johtalit (see picture). It's a really nice knife that comes with an interesting patented carry system. The leather sheath cover the whole knife handle and to access the knife you push the knife upwards using your finger through the maneuver hole in the sheath. In the latest issue of Vapentidningen (Vapentidningen nr.3 - 2017, on it's way out to stores as you read this) you can see all the details about the Karesuandokniven Johtalit. Another news inside the Karesuandokniven stand was an updated version of their big chopper. The back of the handle has gotten wider, just like the handle butt of Karesuandokniven axes. Thank you Per-Erik Niva and Gabriele Otto for a very nice visit.
See more of my writing about Karesuandokniven by clicking HERE.
You'll also be able to meet Karesuandokniven at the Bushcraftfestivalen 2017.
In the Morakniv booth we meet Karin Kallman who showed the latest models; Garberg, Kansbol and Eldris to the curious visitors. The seriously robust Garberg was covered inside Vapentidningen No.2 - 2017. The newest Morakniv product at IWA 2017 was the prototype of the upcoming model Morakniv Rookie. This is a small kid's knife, basically it's a version of the model Junior featuring a blunt tip. The Rookie is scheduled to hit the market later this Summer. It was also very nice chatting with Thomas Eriksson about Morakniv Adventure. I'm looking forward attending the event in May.
See more of my writing about Morakniv by clicking HERE.
Inside the Primus' booth we meet up with Erik Wiren; the always so pleasant young man who's now working for Brunton; displaying navigation an optics at the fair. Of course Erik, with his background from Primus, also could show us the latest news from Primus and the bushcrafter in me got interested in the new stainless steel cooking pans called Open Fire Pan. It's also fun that Primus now offer a folding version cooking knife in their Fieldchef Pocket Knife.
See more of my writing about Primus by clicking HERE.
Ken Ove Nyhus and Håvard Svidal at Norwegian Brusletto was proud to demonstrate the new model Rago. The knife is a celebration to the Norwegian national park called Rango. It uses a 11 cm long Sandvik stainless 12C27 steel blade and comes with a black cow hide sheath.
Dennis Holmbacka at Brisa AB, booth place location just beside Casström at the fair, showed his nice EnZo knives. One knife making me extra weak at the knees was the beautiful folder EnZo Piili 85; a collaboration with the Finish knife maker Jukka Hankala. The Piili is a slim and stylish gentlemen's folder I'm hoping to get more acquainted with in the near future. Also a nice news from EnZo is the EnZo Borka 90 (see picture) I'm currently doing a test on. It's a robust bushcraft folder equipped with G10 scales and a 3,25 mm thick scandi grind N690Co blade. Stay tuned for more about the Borka 90 here at Jonas Vildmark under the section Knives - Tools & Art.
Norwegian Helle showed us an exiting new prototype best kept secret for now. Couldn't take a picture of it, but it'll be interesting to follow the development of it, hope to be able to tell you more in the near future. Another new knife, more suited to shoot, was this (see picture) version of the Odel using a different handle pattern.
It was very nice to finally get to meet up with Jari Liukkonen in person. He and his colleges at Marttiini was proud to display their new anniversary series Soumi 100 celebrating the 100 years of Finish independence. The classical collector line featuring different animals was this year complemented with the model Wild Boar; using a beautiful color waxed curly birch handle. Now also Marttiini are starting to offer more folding knives. One model we got to feel was the Marttiini Black (see picture). The knife has a modern EDC look to it, and is perhaps not what you usually expect from Marttiini, but I think it's great that more and more knife makers are starting to expand their product offer. As long as their quality still remain at a top priority. When it comes to Marttiini's folders; I have to get back to you as I so far haven't yet tested any of them. Another interesting knife that got my attention just now after the show is the Raven. Looks like a real sturdy bushcraft knife to keep close when out exploring boreal zones.
See more of my writing about Marttiini by clicking HERE.
When talking about sturdy bushcraft knives; Bark River Knives was of course also represented at the IWA this year, presented inside the German Klingenwelt's booth. Jenni Döpgen was kind to tell us more about all the new knife models offered. A couple of nice hunting knives that got my attention was the Bush Bat and the Companion.
David Fee of the American Benchmade company had brought a bunch of interesting news to the IWA Outdoor Classics. Two knives we got a closer look at was the Boost Family and the Freek Family (see picture). Both models is featuring a grippy handle and it felt like especially the Freek Family (bottom) would be a nice hunting folder. Another Benchmade news I'm really looking forward to is the Benchmade 319-1 that will be a modern take on a old school slip joint gentlemen's folder.
See more of my writing about Benchmade by clicking HERE.
The classic American manufacturer Buck Knives was on site in Nuremberg. Some of the 2017 news is new takes on the classic of the classics; the Buck 110 Folding Hunter. A fixed blade version called Buck 101 Hunter offer a 50 g lighter take on the 110 and the longed for auto version of the 110 will be called Buck 110 Auto Knife. This year (2017) it's also the 75th anniversary of the classical knife model Buck 119 Special (see old version in picture). This will be noticed by the manufacturer by labeling all 119's sold during this year with a special handle plate and a special blade stamp. Inside the magazine Vapentidningen No.2 - 2016 you could read about the 119 and it's whole classical family of fixed blade hunters. Another interesting knife series from Buck I'm really keen on getting my curious hands on is the Selkirk family. The biggest and oldest sibling of the family; Buck 863 Selkirk Knife entered the scene a couple of years ago. Then come the folder version; Buck 836 Folding Selkirk Knife. This year the family expand with the smaller; Buck 853 Small Selkirk and Buck 835 Small Folding Selkirk.
See more of my writing about Buck by clicking HERE.
Many in my generation get a tingling sensation when ever Cold Steel is mentioned. The brand managed to position themselves as the go-to-brand when in need of a "indestructible knife with super steel ready to take on any adventurous challenge". There are a lot of opinions about Cold Steel and their products out there and regardless of what you think; we can all agree on one thing; Cold Steel has a massive product catalog. This was also confirmed at the IWA 2017 when Alexis Lipnicki so kindly went through the news this year for us. To mention some; Drop Forged, Working Man and Frenzy. A new knife that really enjoyed my brief company was the Golden Eye Spear Point (see the one in the middle of picture). I can also mention that I've been carrying the Cold Steel Finn Hawk, the last couple of months, as a part of my research on the knife prior to the upcoming magazine article inside Vapentidningen No. 4 - 2017.
See more of my writing about Cold Steel by clicking HERE.
A short stop at Kershaw's booth also resulted in some nice insight in what's to come in 2017. We found a couple interesting folders suited for hunting; the CQC-10K and the CQC-11K. Both use Emerson design and stainless 8Cr13MoV steel blades. The10K has a clip point blade and the 11K (see picture) uses a more bulky nose good for skinning game.
I must say that Joyce Laituri is my idol when it comes to Service Mind. She has a fantastic way of listening and caring about the Customer. She makes contacting Spyderco a pleasure and we are glad to have had the pleasure of being in contact with Joyce frequently throughout the years. It was therefore a big pleasure to finally be able to meet up in person at the IWA 2017. As one could aspect the Spyderco booth offered lots of great knives for the audience to enjoy. Among the new Spyderco offers you'll find; C220 Polestar, C216 Efficient and C82 D’Allara. Throughout the years I've been writing a number of articles on Spyderco products (See some of it by clicking HERE), for instance the by now classical model C41 Native who this year comes in yet another variant in the C41GY5. Also the model C101 Manix comes in a new version; the C101MBG2. In the picture below you can see the new C205 Lil Lum (bottom) and the C201 Vrango (2nd from bottom). The Vrango is a collaboration with the Swedish knife maker Michael Henningsson and the small folder comes with a titanium and carbon fiber handle and a stainless CPM S30V blade with an interesting shape. Stay tuned for more info about the Henningsson knife here on Jonas Vildmark.
See more of my writing about Spyderco by clicking HERE.
An interesting knife brand we're starting to see more of here in Sweden is Czech Mikov. This year at IWA they showed some really nice blades like for instance the prototype version of the folder called Mikov Elipt; a modern shaped folder with a stainless Sandvik steel. Mikov have been producing knives with a history going back to the 1900's. They are also famous for their folders in shape of a little fish. One of Mikov's latest fixed blade models are the Patron (see picture); a robust, well balanced all round trooper. I'm right now testing the knife and so far I like it. Stay tuned for article.
The Chinese brand Ganzo had a nice little booth at the IWA show. Alex Lolia showed us some nice folders like the Ganzo G704. The compact and comfortable knife felt like a serious working blade as well as a nice hunting folder.
Inside the magazine Vapentidningen No.1 - 2017 you could read about the Kizer Intrepid Ki4468; one of the products of the collaboration between Chinese Kizer and the American knife maker Ray Laconico. Kizer's menu of high tech folders is expanding so there were many news for Emily Hsu and her colleges to show us at IWA. In the picture below you can see some of the new blades.
Top down in the below pic you'll find the following knife models:
Ki5486 Maddox (Mikkel Willumsen)
Ki3490 T1 (Uli Hennicke)
Ki4501A2 (Darrel Ralph)
Ki4485 Perock (Mikkel Willumsen)
Ki4496 Desert Dog (Michael Vagnino)
See more of my writing about Kizer by clicking HERE.
Me and Therese are very happy for our trip to Nuremberg and IWA Outdoor Classic 2017. A great way to greet Spring and to meet friends in the business. It's obvious that the business is growing and Therese and I like to see this as a good sign of mankind's love for Nature put to practice. The IWA show offers a wide range of outdoor products, but this year Therese and I mainly focused on our friends in the knife business and their inspiring products. Take care and hope to see you all at the IWA Outdoor Classic 2018.