Gembloux 2022

Gembloux again at last! On 12 and 13 November, the Belgian show was one of the last major European knife shows to be held again after the Covid pandemic. This, after the last edition in 2019, was eagerly awaited. Much had fortunately remained the same - but at the same time there were also big changes, especially in the number of participants.
Text and pictures: Bas Martens

'Gembloux', or rather, the annual knife making days of the Belgian Knife Society, have been bursting at the seams for years. This year, something has changed that. The ever-increasing number of exhibitors (160 in 2018, 176 in 2019) had been drastically reduced, to 108. That resulted in a total of almost 100 fewer tables. It will no doubt have generated numerous protests, but the result was noticeable: fewer knifemakers, but almost without exception of a high standard. The extra space was relative, by the way, because on both days there were moments with such a large crowd that it was just as hard to get through.
Despite the economic problems, sales were generally good - some tables were empty halfway through the first day. Material dealers also did good business: Gembloux is where many knife makers do their own shopping.
The fair in Gembloux is officially called the Belgian Knifemakers Days. "Belgian" refers mainly to the venue, because otherwise the fair is international, with participants from all over Europe.The pictures on the following pages will give you an idea of the variety of their work.
As usual, there were several prizes. These were awarded as follows:
Best of show: Nicolas Couderc
Best folder: Jérome Hovaere
Best straight knife: Claude Bouchonville
Rene Bol Award for newcomers: Evrahim Baran
A fixed blade by Italian knife maker Stefano Domenicali (DK DomingoKnife). The blade is
Damask from K720 + K600 Böhler. The handle material is Mammoth Ivory.

Knife maker Breoghan presented this Ainu Makiri knife, based on examples of the Ainu people of northern
Japan (Hakkaido).
A liner lock folder by Dutch maker Aad van Rijswijk. The blade is Schneider Damask, the handle is
Mammoth Ivory. The engravings are from Pascal Jacobi.

The Heinz(elmann) from Achim Wirtz. The full tang blade is from 240 layers Damask, the handle is
Bronze and leather. Overall length is 310 mm.
The Artense by French maker Alain Conesa (Acier & Cuir). The blade is 90MCV8 and Copper
Suminagashi, the handle is Fat Carbon and Warthog tooth. The spine is chisel-engraved by hand.
A Björkman Twist Gyoto by Italian maker Alfredo Faccipieri. The blade is Damasteel Björkmann Twist,
the handle is stabilised Maple. Overall length is 410 mm.
A small utility knife by French maker Christophe Andrian. The blade is 100c6 steel, the handle is
Warthog and Plaqueminier (Persimmon). Overall length is 23 cm.
The ‘Koltan’ by Belgian maker Claude Bouchonville. The blade is O2/15N20 Damask, the handle material
is Hippo Ivory. Overall length is 27 cm.
Daniel Cerbera makes this hunting knife for a collection called ‘Les Bartavelles de Marcel Pagnol’, dedicated
to French writer and film maker Marcel Pagnol. The blade is XC100/15N20 Damask, the handle is Olive wood.
A ‘Stylet Corse’ (Corsican Stylus) by French maker Daniel Vally. The handle material is Grenadille and
the overall length is 220 mm.
The ‘Vulgar’, a liner lock folder by Italian knife maker Denis Favaro. The blade is RWL34 with a black
stonewashed finish, the bolsters are Titanium and the handle has Olive G10 scales and a Zirconium
backspacer. Overall length is 205 mm.
A Hunter by Dutch maker Ed de Pauw. The blade is 1.2842 and 15Ni8 Damask, the handle is Rubber
and Brass. Overall length is 32 cm.
The ‘Sleek’ by Belgian knife maker Filip de Leeuw. The blade is from Carbon Damask forged by Achim
Wirtz, the bolster is Superconductor and the handle is Zirconium.
A Medieval Dagger by French maker Fred Mercky. The blade is selectively hardened C130, the handle is
Brass, Leather and Reindeer. Guard and Pommel are old Iron. The sheath is vegetal leather and Stingray.
Italian knife maker Fulvio Cuccurullo (Cuccurullo Custom Knives) presented this ‘Sigyn’, in Norse
mythology the wife of Loki. The blade is VG10 Inox San Mai clad with Inox Damask. The handle
is Ironwood and white G10 with Mother of Pearl eye inserts with embedded Garnets. The back
spacer has a Mother of Pearl insert.
A folder by Dutch knife maker Gudy van Poppel. The blade is Magnacut steel, the
handle material is Carbon with Copper.
A Lapis Lazuli Coin Knife by Dutch maker Hans Luiken. The blade steel is RWL34, the casing is Titanium
with Lapis Lazuli and Silver pins.
A ‘Bunka’ (a Japanese general purpose kitchen knife) by Belgian maker Jan Dox (Dox Blades). The 180 mm
blade is Suminagashi with a VG10 core, the handle is red stabilised root wood with black G10 liners.
Classical lines and technical perfection, shown by Jean-Baptiste Lévêque.
A Yatagan by Jean-Claude Laforet, a recreation of his Model Pradel. The 13 cm blade is Zladinox feather
Damask. The handle is fossile Mammoth Ivory.
The ‘Plume’ (feather) by Belgian knife maker Jean-Francois Colla. The blade is feather Damask, the handle
is Walnut Burl, Stag Antler and Inox.
The ‘Cintu’ (Monte Cintu is the highest mountain of Corsica) by Corsican knife maker Jean-Jacques Bernet.
The blade is 1350 layers of C70/15N20 Damask. The handle is stabilised Maple. Overall length is 21 cm.
A linerlock swayback folder by Italian knife maker Jean-Philippe Garaboux. The blade is XC100 steel,
the handle is vintage Micarta. The washers are Beryllium Bronze.
A fixed blade by French maker Jean-Yves Drouard (JY Knives). The blade is 90MCU8/XC10 sandwich,
the handle is Acrylic. The sheath is vegetal leather, coloured with coffee.

The ‘Opus’ by French maker Louis Blanchet Kapnist. The slip joint folder has a bead-blasted RWS34 blade,
liners, bolsters and spring from Z40, and homemade resinated chestnut bogue handle scales.
The ‘Karaburan’, a slip joint folder with stop pin from French knife maker Luna Solbach.The blade is
RWL34, the handle is blue and brown Mammoth Ivory, with Bronze bolsters withan Onyx inlay.

The ‘Hybris’ by Italian maker Manuele Messori. The blade is Damasteel Heimskringla, inlaid with
Zirconium and Mother of Pearl. The handle has Titanium liners, Fat Carbon Space Coral scales,
inlaid with Zirconium and Mother of Pearl.

A linerlock folder by French maker Marc George. The Damask blade has an 80CrV2 core.
The liners are anodised titanium with coppered carbon handle scales.

A front flipper by Dutch knife maker Martin Annegarn (MA Knives). The blade is Damasteel, the handle
is Ivory (with SITES) with Fat Carbon bolsters and gold screws.

‘Legros’, a slip joint folder by French maker Maxime Rossignol (La Forge de Max). The blade is D2,
the handle is bog oak with silver pins.
A fixed blade from Czech knife maker Michal Jary (Jakuza-Knives). The blade is O2 and nickel steel,
the bolster is anodized Titanium and the handle materials are Mammoth Tooth, stabilized Maple and
Bronze. The sheath is Bovine leather and Ostrich.

The ‘Kout'oO’, a linerlock folder by French maker Michel Grini. The RWL34 blade has a stonewash finish.
The handle material is Boxwood burl. Overall length is 208 mm.

The ‘Origami’ by French maker Nicholas Couderc, inspired by the Japanese cyberpunk post-apocalyptic manga
series Akira. The blade is RWL34, the handle is Z20 with G10 inserts.
‘Couvert de l’Honette Homme’ (the honest man cutlery set) by French maker Pascal Hémonnot. Folding
knife, fork, and cork screw. The fork, once folded, locks all items together. The steel is Inox 14C28N, the
handle material is Mammoth Ivory.
‘Goldfinger’ by French maker Pascale Sabaté. The blade is Damask forged by Anthony Brochier,
the handle material is stabilised Ash burl. Overall length when opened is 23 cm.
The ‘Dragon Spit’ by French knife maker Patrice Rélot. The blade is selectively hardened XC75 steel,
the handle material is sheet metal, copper and brass.

A liner lock folder by Italian maker Roberto Ottonello. The 10 cm blade is Inox-G10 Damask, the
handle is coloured Camel bone. The internal liner has a small button in the left side of the handle
for unlocking.
A Bowie by Belgian knife maker Peter Sober (Sober Knives). The blade is O1 carbon steel, the handle
is stag with a brass guard, brass and red spacers and a brass butt cap.

‘Le Mutin’ (the mutiny or mutineer), a back lock folder by French maker Sam Hérail (Le Feu des Terres
Froides). The blade is selectively hardened and phosphate C105, the handle is Fat Carbon White Storm
with brass liners.

The ‘Predator’, a back lock folder by Italian maker Stefano Biasion (BSM Custom Knives). The blade
is RWL34, the handle material is green Vegepol. Overall length is 205 mm.

The ‘Colonial J16’ by French maker Stéphane Margot (Le Valet Musté). The blade is 90MCV8/15N20
Damask, the bolster is mosaic Damask and the handle scales are coloured Beech.

The ‘Intermezzo’, a liner lock folding knife by French maker Stéphane Sagric. The blade is RWL34, the
bolster is Zircutti and the handle material is Mother of Pearl.

‘Nemo’, a folder by French knife maker Stephanie Mottais. The blade is Damasteel Inox Damask,
the handle is a combination of Ironwood and stabilised Birch. Overall length is 16 cm.
French knife maker Tim Bernard is best known for his folders, but occasionally he tries his hand at a
fixed blade. This is an example, with a feather Damask blade, Zirconium bolster and Mammoth Ivory
handle scales.