Knife show: Langres 2018

Langres is the birthplace of famous French writer and philosopher Denis Diderot. Logically, there is a
Place Diderot in the city centre, with his statue.

Knife Show:  Langres 2018

In many respects, the Langres knife show is unique. It is held as part of the European Days of Arts and Crafts, an initiative developed by the French government in 2002. All cities are free to participate, many don’t. Yet, in this respect the ancient French town of Langres is exceptionally active. Every year, more than one hundred artisans demonstrate their skills.
Text and pictures: Bas Martens

Langres may be known by most people for its ‘Soleil de Langres’ sculpture by Louis Leygue on the side of the Autoroute du Soleil, which one passes on their way to the South of France. Beautiful as that statue may be, Langres itself is worth a visit as it has much more to offer. It is one of France’s oldest cities, and a walk through the old centre is like a journey through time. Langres is also the birth place of French writer Denis Diderot, whose father was … a knife maker.
The European Days of Arts and Crafts encompass a wide range of activities, such as stone carving.
One of Langres’ attractions is the European Days of Arts and Crafts of which the knife show is a part. The official name however, is: ‘Show of Cutlery and Scissors’, due to the region’s vibrant scissor making industry. Being a part of the European Days of Arts and Crafts means it differs slightly from regular knife shows. For instance: there is no entrance fee. It also means that the visitors may vary greatly featuring a range from avid knife collectors to the tourists visiting the Days of Arts and Crafts. Thanks to an intensive advertising campaign, supported by the city, het number of collectors has risen.
Left: The Nogent region has a vital scissor making industry, so the Langres show offer a range of choices for scissors.
Right: Philippe Bernard is both organiser of the Langres knife show and the President of the Couteliers du Nogentais, formerly known as the: Confrérerie du Bassin Coutelier Nogentais.
This year’s edition featured 49 exhibitors. It was the 16th show held in Langres. Philippe Bernard, organiser of the knife show, President of the Couteliers du Nogentais (formerly known as the Confrérerie du Bassin Coutelier Nogentais) and knife maker, explained that the show serves two purposes. First, it provides recognition for artisan knife makers in the region around Nogent and second, it aims to get a younger generation acquainted with this wonderful craft. The emphasis on Nogent is not exclusive. Knife makers from other regions or abroad are welcome although traditionally, most of the participants are French.
The prize winners. From left to right Albain Deloison (best fixed blade), Philippe Ricard (best folding knife)
and Tim Bernard (best by jury).
The Langres knife show has a competition for best fixed blade, best folding knife and ‘best by jury’. The prize for the best fixed blade was won by Albain Deloison, the best folding knife was made by Philippe Ricard and the best by jury prize was won by Tim Bernard. One of his knives is presented in detail elsewhere in this issue. The accompanying pictures display a selection from the Langres 2018 knife show.

The ‘Toucan’, by Alain André, who was a first-time participant of the knife show. The linerlock knife has a
Damascus blade and Carbon Fibre handle.

Christophe Lap (Coutellerie Mjöllmir) named this knife: ‘Le Compagnon’ (the Companion).The San Mai blade
is made of old iron and 90MCV8 steel, de handle is Ebony. The length of the knife is 24 cm.
Philippe Ricard won the prize for the best folding knife with this linerlock model. He forged his own
Damascus,from 90NCV8 and 15N20 for the blade and 90NCV8 and Nickel for the bolsters. The handle
material is mammoth tooth.
Guillaume Antoniucci named this knife ‘Le Fayel’, it was named for the street where the client who
commissioned it lives. The blade is made of X160CrMoV12, the bolsters are S235 and nickel silver and
the spring is made of Z40Cr13. The handle material is deer stag. The knife measures 225 mm.

Adrien Vautrin may well be one of the most talented French knife makers. The quality of his work is amazing,
as is shown by this double-bladed folding knife. The blades are 14C28N steel, the handle material is horn.
The closed knife measures 106 mm.

A fixed blade by Jean-Yves Drouard. The blade is Sandvik 90NCV8-XC10 steel. The handle is made of old
paper stone.

Belgian knife maker Sidney Slavero (Sid Cuts) presented this Piémontais which he calls ‘Casoar’.
The blade is O1 steel, the handle material is Morta (bog-wood). The knife measures 188 mm.

‘Le Plume’ (the Feather) by Thierry Boccoz. The blade is 90MCV8 and 15N20 steel,
the bolsters are mosaic Damascus and the handles are made of Bocote wood.

This fixed blade was made by Nicolas Dartus. The blade is a combination of multibar and mosaic
Damascus, the handle is made of Arizona Desert Ironwood, Warthog tooth and Ebony.
A linerlock folding knife by Olivier Didier. The blade is made of 12C27 steel, the handles are
home-made paper micarta.
Philippe Bernard is the organiser of the Langres knife show and President of the Couteliers du Nogentais,
but also a knife maker. This model 1920 has a 40Cr13 blade and buffalo grips.

A folding knife by Richard Ciachera. The blade is XC75, the handle has steel liners with Warthog ivory.
The ‘12A+’ is a folding knife by Denis Lagarde. The blade is 90MCV8 steel, the handle is home-made
micarta. The knife when open measures 200 mm.
Alex Dubois specializes in historically inspired knives, but this Aspic shows he knows his way equally well
around contemporary designs. The blade is Damascus by Achim Wirts, the handles are blue mammoth and
there is intricate file work on the spine of the blade, the back and the liners.
Marcel Lambotte named this knife ‘Le Couteau du Maladroit’ (the Awkward Knife). The explanation is simple:
with a 3 mm edge it does not cut, and with the shape of the tip it does not pierce. Some law makers would
be delighted …
Laurent Cordier designed ‘Le Couteau Belge’ (The Belgian Knife). The knife does not have a spring but is
locked with ceramic balls. Le Couteau Belge is made in different shapes and with different materials.
The one pictured here has a Alenox 18Cr blade and violet-wood handle. The knife measures 12 cm.
Frédéric Collin calls this knife the Urban Samurai. It is a friction folder with a Niolox blade and Micarta handle.
The blade measures 8 cm.
Two linerlock folding knives by Tim Bernard (Névé). The lower one got the ‘best by jury’ prize.
A fixed knife by Olivier Briey (Couteaux BK). The blade is San Mai with the centre of Blue Paper Steel.
The handle is made of giraffe bone and buffalo horn.
Franck Souville makes his model ‘Bad Guy’ with a variety of steels and handle materials. This one has
a 100C6 blade and Carbon Fiber handles. The length of the knife is 210 mm.
Loïck Fevrier is the grandson of José Luis Rey (Breoghan). He is 14 years old and presented his first knife,
the ‘Biquette’ (little goat), in Langres. The blade is 115W8 steel, the handle is roe stag.
On a knife show you can have surprising encounters. With Mr. Gérard Cythere, for instance. He is, as he
insists, purely a hobbyist knife maker and has never shown his knives at a show nor does he wish to sell
them. But he was kind enough to showcase some of his knives for European Blades Mag. to take the
pictures (top and bottom). Much appreciated! Some of the blades come from blade smiths, whose
signature they carry – Mr. Cythere does not forge them himself.