Most new factory knives tend to be unveiled at the annual SHOT Show, but to review the latest custom knives, you need to attend the Atlanta Blade Show. As a photographer and writer specializing in knives, it’s my job to seek out the new and innovative knives from across the country, and this is definitely the spot to do it. I usually roam from table to table checking out every knife in sight. This year I didn’t need to go far before something caught my eye.
A Hard Land
Mark Knapp of Fairbanks, Alaska, was showing his knives at the table right next door to the Tactical Knives display. Alaska has never been known as an easy place to live, and its residents are often referred to as “unique.” Ask a person why they are interested in knives and you often get an ambiguous answer. They may relate a childhood interest or some other possible stimulus, but seldom do you ever hear a root cause. Ask someone why they migrated to Alaska and you will get the same type of answer. It seems as if they are drawn to the area and then learn how to survive both economically and physically within the environment.
Mark, originally from Minnesota, is a tool and die maker and master machinist by training. Over the years in Alaska, he has worked as a machinist along with stints as a commercial fisherman, hunting guide and trapper. Take all of this experience and combine it into one package and you end up with one truly rare commodity. The man not only knows how to make a knife, but he also knows what makes a good knife.