Italian Custom Knives Show 2019

The 10th edition of the Mostra del Coltello Custom (Custom Knives Show) was planned for 2020. Then came Covid, and the anniversary edition had to be cancelled – and cancelled again in 2021. This year, the organising ‘Associazione per la Valorizzazione del Coltello Artigianale’ (Association for the development of the artisan knife) faced a difficult decision. Another year without the show in Pisa? At the very last moment it was decided to go ahead, and the 10th edition was organised in less than two months.
Text and pictures: Bas Martens

Apart from the regular preparations, there was a major change. In 2019, the venue had moved from Livorno to Pisa, to the Stazione Leopolda (Leopolda Station), a renovated railway station. This, however, proved less than satisfactory, mainly because of administrative problems. The organisation sought and found an alternative in Hotel Galilei in Pisa, with a spacious Concorde room and much better catering possibilities.
In all, there were about 45 participants. Some 90 % of these were knife makers, with a few collectors, providers of tools and knife making materials, and five ‘Esordiente’ (debutants). The level of craftmanship is very high and there is a great variety in styles, as the pictures on the following pages show: folding knives, fixed blades, gentleman’s knives, Bowies, hunting knives, art knives – there is something for everyone’s taste.
The Mostra del Coltello Custom still had some health measures: obligatory mount masks, and a separate entrance and exit, but most important was a sense of relief that knife makers and knife enthusiasts could finally meet again. The organisation has begun preparations for the 11th edition, in April 2023. A final date has not been set yet, but European Blades Mag. will keep you informed.
A magnificent integral folder by Luciano Ferraudo. The blade is Stainless Damascus from Devin Tomas,
the handle is grade 5 Titanium with inserts from Birch Briar and Desert Ironwood.
Finnish knife makers Arto Liukko and his son Jari were the only foreign participants in Pisa. Both specialise
in Puukko’s. The hunting knife pictured here was made by Jari Liukko. The blade is home-made Damascus,
a four bar explosion pattern from 80CrV2 and 15N20. The handle is stabilized Maple Burl and the knife has
silver fittings. The overall length is 240 mm.
A two-bladed linerlock folding knife (´Bilama´) by Attilio Morotti. The blades are RWL34 steel, the handle
material is Carbon Fiber with Mother of Pearl inlays.
The fixed blade ‘Geronimo’ by Carlo Alberto Trevisi. The blade is 440C steel. The scrimshaw on the ivory
handle scales is by Roberto Bruci, the bolsters are engraved by Lionello Sabatti and inset with an Opal.
The overall length is 204 mm.
The ‘Daga 90’, a folding dagger by Celso Fiocchi. The knife has a RWL34 blade with three little 18 carat
Gold pins for opening, and an AISI 416 handle with reconstructed Coral inlays. The overall length is 208mm.
‘Vulgar’, a linerlock folding knife by Denis Favaro. The blade is RWL34, the handle has Cristal Ti bolsters
and Blue Twill Carbon Fiber scales. The overall length is 210 mm.
The ‘Diamond Puukko’ by Francesco Piccinin. The 13cm blade is RWL34, hardened with cryo
treatment to 63 HRC. The handle has a 416 steel bolster, G10 spacers and is stabilized Bog Oak.
Overall length of the knife is 25cm.
A linerlock folding knife by Giuseppe Pala. The blade is Inox Damascus San Mai VG10, the bolsters
are Zirconium and the handle scales are Fat Carbon. The back spacer is Inox steel and the Titanium
liners have filework. Overall length is 210 mm.
An intriguing linerlock folder by Gianluca Spina. Blade and handle scales are from K720/K600 Mosaic
Damask. There are no visible screws, but the knife can be disassembled by a hidden screw in the handle.
A three-bladed folder by Ivo Filippi. The three different blades are Damasteel Inox, the bolsters are
AISI 416, with engravings by Carlo Cavedon. The handle scales are ancient turtle shell, recycled
from an old make up box.
The ‘Samurai’ by Leonardo Frizzi. The blade is composite Carbon Damascus by Gregory
Verizhnikov. The handle is 6AL-4V Titanium, engraved by Frizzi himself, and Fat Carbon.
‘Matricola N. 74’ (Number 74), by Lorenzo Caimmi. The blade and handle are Nicro 100 steel, the handle
with fossil Mammoth inlays. Overall length of the knife is 200mm.
An impressive Bowie by Andrea Bertini. The blade is from 440 C steel, the handle material is Mammoth.
The overall length is 40 cm.
The ‘Hybris’ by Manuele Messori, the knife on the cover of this issue, is a rather spectacular linerlock
folder. The blade is Damasteel Grosserosen with a DLC coating. The handle has Zirconium spacers
and Titanium handle scales with WC/C coating. The handle is inlaid with Gibeon Meteorite, with
depictions of the planets of our solar system in 24 carat Gold, Platinum and Brass, realised by Mauro
Turrini: Mercurius, Venus, Earth (with its Moon), Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
The overall length of the opened knife is 195 mm.
A fixed blade by Milko Di Paco. The blade is Carbon Damascus San Mai, by Emanuele Bozzolani,
the guard is Timascus with a mammoth ivory spacer, and the handle is Desert Ironwood.
A linerlock folder by Paolo Gidoni (Gidowolf). The blade is RWL34 steel, the handle scales are
Walrus tooth. The overall length is 21cm.
The ‘Persian’ by Rolando Galligani. The blade is MA5M steel, the handle is Brass and Turqoise.
An elegant fixed blade by Ricardo Caregnato. The blade is RWL34, the handle is male Sheep Horn.
The overall length of the knife is 19.5cm.
Salvatore Cinturati was one of the ‘Esordienti’ (beginners at the Pisa show). He has been making knives
for just a year. This fixed blade has a Sleipner blade and a Birch Briar handle. The overall length is 23,5cm.
The style on the side is to disassemble the knife through the tail screw.
Roberto Ottonello presented this folder with a stainless Damascus – VG 10 blade. The handle material
is Zirconium, Titanium and Mother of Pearl. The knife is completely dismountable and has an overall
length of 18cm.

The ‘Personal Hunter’ (top) and ‘Special Bowie’ by Santino Ballestra. The Personal Hunter has a San Mai
Damask blade and a handle of coloured ancient Sambar with brass rings, engraved by Lionello Sabatti.
The overall length is 31 cm. 
The Special Bowie has over 570 layers of flamed Damask, a Damask guard and a handle made from Asian
Buffalo horn, red Coral and Bone. The overall length is 33.5cm.
A framelock front side flipper by Franco ‘Frank’ Bonassi. The 74 mm blade is from Böhler M390, the
handle material is Titanium. Overall length of the knife is 171 mm.
Simone Milanesi and Gabriella Crippa work together as ‘La Cantina’. One of their knives is the ‘Mini Jones’
presented here. It has a 120mm RWL34 blade and a handle from stabilised Beech, Fat Carbon guard
and G10 Olive pins.