It has been seven years since I last attended a knifeshow on Canadian soil so to say that I was excited about the Great Lakes Custom Knife Show 2022 would be an understatement!
Of course, it is not just about seeing great Canadian made knives, it is also about re-connecting with the knifemakers I used to see at the now defunct Canadian Knifemakers Guild shows…and of course catching up with my fellow collectors!
As usual, I made a trip out of it, and this time it was somewhat special as I had never been to Bayfield before. I stopped at Select Shooting Supplies during the three-hour drive and I will post pics of my whole trip at the end as I am sure you are anxious to get to the knives.
Per tradition, I met with some knifemakers the evening prior to the show, specifically my good friends Paul Savage and James Emmons and their lovely spouses
After our awesome meal at Black Dog Pub (again I will post the food pics at the end), we headed back to the hotel for some knife show and tell. I was REALLY looking forward to seeing Paul’s FSSF V-42 daggers!
His take on this classic design is forged and hollow ground on a 1 1/2” wheel. The blade and guard are satin finished and hot blued and the pommel is polished and hot blued. The handle is stacked leather with a leather guard cushion. Needless to say, the pair were stunning!
with a modern classic, the Strider AR
Meanwhile James brought this beautiful big d-guard bowie in ladder pattern damascus
As well as this dagger in tear-drop Damascus
The pattern’s name comes from the details in the fuller
James checking out my Strider
Now on to show day! The quaint venue was also the location for the old “Bayfield” show and I think it works well.
You have been warned!
I got there super early and watched the setup as knifemakers started arriving
And it’s showtime!
My first stop was to check in with the event’s host/organizer, Chris Hamelin. Chris, a local resident of Bayfield, was inspired to get into knifemaking by another Bayfield resident and legendary knifemaker Wolfgang Loerchner. Chris does stock removal and is currently focused on outdoor/hunting knives.
Speaking of Wolf, he was my next stop as I heard he was bringing something “special.”
Wolf’s display included the “Christmas” knives he made annually for his wife
If you didn’t think the world has turned upside down over the past couple of years, imagine my shock at seeing tactical flippers on Wolf’s table!
These were prototypes for a custom collaboration and this one in particular was made completely by hand, the same way as Wolf’s art knives!!! It could possibly be the smoothest flipper I have ever handled!
Seriously, could you ever fathom a Wolf tactical flipper being held in reverse grip?
Here it is again in better lighting in case you didn’t believe it!
German engineering (yes, I know my car needs a wash!)
Vs. American Muscle
In anticipation of the show, I was watching social media closely in the hopes of getting some sneak peeks. Based on that, I was really looking forward to checking out Buffalo Bones leatherwork.
My pic does not do justice to the blue ostrich billfold
Love the huge zipper on this one
Gauntlet check…Buffalo Bones vs. Doug Marcaida
I was most interested in Buffalo Bones’ Book Murks with Wally Hayes kiradashis!
Although I did not purchase one, I very much like the design and plan to get one in exotic skin in the future.
Also on my list, a Bali slip with ULTICLIP for my Benchmade trainer…and in matching red ostrich skin of course (coordination is key)
And now for a big surprise, a leather “handguard”! I love it!
Thanks Buffalo Bones
And look who I ran into, Big Jay, with his awesome new axe.
Next, a visit to Paul Savage’s table to have another look at those incredible V-42 daggers and to see what else he brought to the show. As one of the few ABS JS in Canada, Paul’s work is always top notch.
I liked these forged chive choppers…kind of like a mini ulu
Also interesting for a chilly head like me, a leather hot sauce holster
James Emmons is also an ABS JS and as you saw in my pre-show pics, does stunning Damascus bowies
While his d-guard bowie is very much my style, my favourite knife of his was actually this stag lock-back folder. The Damascus extends beyond the blade to the lock-bar and internals.
DC Tip helping me showcase the two
ABS MasterSmith Wally Hayes is a man of many talents and is now making custom guitars. His knives for the show included a rifle stock and forged bladed folder.
Continuing our tradition
It’s not everyday someone beats me at the shoe game but it is pretty hard to compete with wooden clogs
Even more impressive though were Jacco Van de Bruinhorst’s forged blades
Especially this Persian with a 14” Turkish twist Damascus double hollow ground blade and fittings and a caramelized maple burl handle. As a nice detail, the pommel bars are forged to match the pommel curve.
Many of his knives are full take-downs…here he is demonstrating how they work to Russ as I watch from above
That’s all it took to convince Russ to buy that Persian…the happy new owner with JVB
More great forged knives at the show…from Todd Bolce
The pair of tantos in forged ball bearing steel were among my favourites of the show
A Grohman-esque utility blade
If I could summarize Matt Bedlington’s knives in two words I would say “great packages”…the blades are well matched with the sheaths, many of which were leather incorporating ULTICLIPS.
As an example of what I mean, check out this fixed blade with kydex/leather sheath set up for scout carry
The black G10 on this pocket scalpel looked so good…such a deep black, I thought he covered it with Vanta spray lol…I don’t think my pic does it justice
Ultimately my favourite knife from Matt, and actually one of my show favourites was this friction folder
Elizabeth Loerchner hand files her blades in the same tradition as her dad, Wolf…and they are equally stunning
I was not familiar with Brad Milman before this show but I will certainly keep an eye out for his blades as there were many impressive knives on his table.
I especially liked this ladder-pattern Damascus bowie with multi-colour Micarta scales
Another one with interesting handle scale material…it glows under strong light (as provided by my Surefire G2Z Maxvision)
This mini-Khopesh was also right up my alley…and like the one on Forged in Fire, it will cut!
The show had a good mix of new and established makers and it was great to see Murray St. Amour again.
I especially liked his sheaths with inlays in cobra, python, and white snake
Can’t be a Canadian show without Mike Mossington!
Mike often brings knife supplies but this time he was mainly showing knives. Fortunately, Muskoka Turner had an incredible selection of handle materials, including some with wood sourced from Australia.
For those looking for kitchen knives, there were lots of great options at the show, such as Cameron Lymburner. Cameron mainly uses stock removal with flat grinds, tapered tangs and other tricks to keep his stainless steel knives incredibly light weight.
While his kitchen knives are most popular, of course he makes other styles as well
More great option for kitchen knives, Gabriel Tetreault and Noah Vachon both from Quebec.
I didn’t have a chance to talk a lot with Justin Dale but the beauty/quality of his knives speak for themselves
Brent Sunday knives, as his motto says, to fish, hunt, cook
Lots of colourful offerings from Spencer Azzopardi
The grip on this one was comfortable from any position
Steve Vanderkolff’s daughters are learning the trade, doing some scrimshaw on his knives
Collector Rod Cooke
Steady crowds during the day
So to recap, my favourite knives of the show:
1 Wolf tactical flipper / Savage V-42 daggers (tie)
2 Emmons stag / Damascus lock-back folder
3 Todd Bolce Damascus tanto
4 Matt Bedlington friction folder
…and pretty much everything Buffalo Bones lol
All in all a fantastic show! Great job by Chris Hamelin for organizing. Although this was his first show, you would never know it as it had the same feel as established shows like the old Canadian Knifemaker Guild shows. I look forward to the next one!
And now for those of you who always ask me about the food pics….
My first taste of Bayfield cuisine was Willy’s Burger Bar
Of course I had the Willy burger…which is fine if you like your meat cooked well done
The battered mushrooms were great
The Black Dog Village Pub has a great reputation and deservedly so…it was fantastic! Great service, great food, great selection of whiskeys..
They didn’t have the White Mash I wanted to try so I opted for another high proof option, 1792 Full Proof
I could tell I was going to love the escargot before the first bite…it had such a great aroma!
The Scotch egg was good too but not as good as the escargot
But I was really blown away by The Hub On The Docks.
Although some suggested this resto overlooking the docks could be “touristy”…
I have to say their mushroom and goat cheese smash burger was one of the best burgers I have ever had.
Pretty impressed with the food in Bayfield. As for my motel, not so much lol. This is what $99 gets you
A three-part bathroom, with toilet in the closet and shower/sink next to your bed