KNIFE 2023 Solingen
With some 170 participants and more than 3,000 visitors, KNIFE 2023, held on 6 and 7 May this year in Solingen, was a great success - and that for the second edition! It seems as if the organisers have found a formula for success, with the most important part being to maximise variety.
Text and photographs: Bas Martens
KNIFE 2023 Theater and Concert Hall.
Yes, there is a lack of parking space, but otherwise we wouldn't really know what to criticise about the KNIFE in Solingen. The Theater und Konzerthaus (Theater and Concert Hall) Solingen has more than enough space (also for the 2024 edition, which will be bigger again). With the members of the Deutsche Messermacher Guild, a high-quality range of handmade knives is assured. The Solingen industry now sees the importance of a public fair, as does the 'Klingenstadt Solingen'. And then, of course, there is the inspirational leadership of the Deutsches Klingenmuseum. Director Sixt Wetzler and his staff and employees may claim that they are not fair organisers, but in the meantime they do a fantastic job. A special compliment for the 'Knife Guide', a programme booklet with all activities, a floor plan and a list of participants, both alphabetised and categorised by the area where they could be found.
The KNIFE 2023, as mentioned, had 170 participants, most of them (over 150) from Germany itself. Like last year, the ground floor was reserved for members of the Deutsche Messermacher Guild, which provided the largest share of custom knife makers. The guild had made ten tables available as an incentive for potential members; an ideal way for the often young knife makers to show their work to a large audience. The upper foyer and the theatre and concert hall had an interesting mix of knife makers, providers of tools and materials, grinders, and factory knives. In addition, during KNIFE 2023, there was a permanent exhibition of KNIFE Award entries, about which more below. The following pages feature a selection of the custom knives.
Besides the actual show, there was an extensive program: demonstrations of Filipino martial arts, demonstration of professional cutting techniques in the kitchen and the possibility to have a professional shave. At the Klingen Museum, there were forging demonstrations in which visitors could participate, discussion of historical pieces from the collection, demonstrations at the Historic Pewter Workshop, and guided tours. In addition, Drop-Forge Museum Hendrichs and Schleifeirei Wipperkotten (Solingen's last original grinding shop) were open to the public.
Next year's fair will be something to look forward to: 2014 marks the 650th anniversary of the city of Solingen, as well as the 70th anniversary of the Deutsches Klingenmuseum. What exactly the programme will look like is not yet known, but the date of KNIFE is already fixed: 11 and 12 May 2024, again in the Theater und Konzerthaus.
The ground floor with the members of the German knife maker's Guild.
A hunting knife by Andreas Schweikert (DE). The blade is three layers of Puddle iron and C105W1, the
handle is Antler.
The ‘Black Dragon’ by Attila Kertész (HU). The full tang blade is D2 with a black DLC coating. The handle
is presentation grade Atique Shells inlays.
‘Vollmond’ (full moon), by Dr. Bernd Balke (DE). The blade is 1.1545 and C105W1, the handle material
‘Geronimo’ by Carlo Alberto Trevisi (IT. The blade is Aisi 440C, the handle material is Ivory, The engraving
is by Lionello Sabatti, with two opals, and the scrimshaw is by Roberto Bruci.
An outdoor knife by Christian Maaßen (DE). The blade is made from Damasteel ‘Aegir’, the handle
material is Desert Ironwood and German Silver.
A linerlock folder by Christophe ‘tofbarteam’ Lemaire (FR). The blade is Damask, the handle material is
Mammoth Ivory with Titanium liners.
A fixed blade by David Ostertag (DE). The blade is 15N20 / 80CrV2 Damask, the handle material is
African Blackwood. Overall length is 22 cm.
A hunting knife by Erich Niemeier (DE). The blade is Inox-S Balbach Damask, the handle is Desert
Ironwood. Overall length is 20 cm.
An ‘Integral Puukko’ by Dutch maker Erik Markman. The blade is parkerised 1.2842 steel, the
handle is Black Micarta. Overall length is 21 cm.
A hunting knife by Frank Schlichting (DE). The blade is 270 layers of 15N20 / 1095 ladder Damask.
The handle has copper liners and stabilized Turkish walnut handle scales. Overall length is 24,5 cm.
The ‘Selva Puukko’ by Dutch maker Gert van den Elsen. The blade is O1/A203E Damask, the handle
material is Snakewood. The overall length is 23 cm. The leather sheath has Bullfrog inlay.
A symmetrical fixed blade by Hermann Schmitt (DE). The blade is Guido Wilbert Damask, the handle is Ebony.
A fixed blade by Jacob Wagner (DE). The blade is Mosaic Damask, the handle is Mammoth rib (Raffir).
The ‘Flame of Bela’ by Hungarian maker Jószef Fazekas. The blade is made from 1.2842 / 75Ni8 ‘Flame
Damask’, the handle material is Desert Ironwood and Warthog tooth.
A hunting knife by Finnish maker Jukka Hankala. The blade is San Mai Damask, the handle material is
Moose Shinbone. Bolster and end cap are patinated brass.
A fixed blade from Mathias Maresch (DE). The blade is C105, the handle material is Palo Santo from
A ‘Gyuto’ (the Japanese version of the classic Western Chef’s knife) by German maker Mershad Taghinejad
(Shirknives). The blade is Apex Ultra and pure Nickel with a S700 jacket. The handle is stabilised English Bog
Oak burl with a textured brass end cap. Overall length is 225 mm.
The ‘Soil and Fire’ by Moreno Feltresi (IT). The full integral knife is made from 1.2842 / 15N20 / 1.6565 /
1.2550 / C120 / Arne and C55. Overall length is 225 mm.
The ‘Crocodile Mozzetta’, a liner lock folder by Italian maker Paolo Petricca. The blade is Carbon San Mai
Damascus with nickel and Copper, by Dario di Chiara. The handle material is Titanium with Carbon Fiber
and Copper inlay. The spacer has Sara Petricca enamels. Overall length when opened is 215 mm.
The ‘Mammoth’, a linerlock folder by Reiner Grösche (DE). The blade is Damasteel torsion Damask, the
bolsters are Uwe Heieck mosaic Damask. The handle scales are Mammoth ivory. Overall length when
opened is 200 mm.
‘Tiger 2023’ by Richard Zirbes (DE). The blade is Böhler M93 Superclean, the handle scales are Mammoth
Ivory with scrimshaw. Overall length of the knife is 170 mm.
A Bowie knife by Robert Brenneke (Balticsea Knives, DE). The 26 cm blade is 1700 layers of C100 / 15Ni8
Damask. The handle is Desert Ironwood.
Two versions of the ‘Arronax’ slipjoint folder by Stefan Steigerwald (DE), one with a bronze and one with
a brass handle. The blade is Damascus by J. Ros (Schmiede-Swabach).
A kitchen knife by Stefan Görsdorf (DE). The blade is Apex Ultra and 75Ni8 / 1.2767 / Invar 36 Damask.
The handle is Curly Birch and Maple Burl.
A fixed blade by Thomas Hauschild (DE). The blade is hand-made 1.2442 (115W8) and 75Ni8. The handle
material is deer antlers, and the bolster is antique puddle iron.
A fixed blade by Timothy Emmer (DE), turning a file into a great looking fixed blade.
An integral Ka-Bar by Toni Oostendorp (NL). The blade is 1.2510 steel, the handle is leather and G10.
A backlock folder by Tumpek Ferenc (HU). The blade is Damask, the handle is Mammoth Ivory, Damask
and Jasper, with Titanium liners.
The ‘Wikinger’ (Viking) by Wolfhard Sollorz (DE). The blade is Damask, the handle is Mammoth Ivory and