Knife Show Etiquette: Our Top 5 Tips

Sep 17th 2018


Knife Show Etiquette: 5 Top Tips

For a knife enthusiast, there’s nothing quite as exciting as a knife show. You get the opportunity to meet hundreds of master craftsmen, see thousands of expertly constructed knives, and go home with some new blades for your collection. While many of us are happy to order custom knives online, there’s something special about having the opportunity to see a blade in person and meet the artisan who crafted it before you buy it.

We here at Spartan Blades have been doing knife shows for many years, and we’ve met thousands of amazing customers and knife lovers. Over the years, though, we’ve noticed that some people are unaware of knife show etiquette. We decided to put together this blog post as a primer for newcomers and first time knife show attendees. If you’re looking for information on the unspoken rules of any knife show, look no further.

Keep reading for our top 5 tips for knife show etiquette.

1) Get Permission to Handle a Knife

The first and possibly most important rule of any knife show is obvious to some, but completely unknown to others. Before you ever pick up a knife at a vendor’s table, it’s essential to ask for permission first. Different sellers will have different policies. Some will show you the blade and ask you not to touch the knife. Others will allow you to hold the knife to check for balance, but won’t want you touching the blade. In either case, checking with the vendor before picking up one of their expensive, handcrafted blades is a simple courtesy that every knife show attendee should observe.

It’s also important to handle a knife with care. Never put your fingers directly on the blade, as fingerprints can lead to corrosion. If it’s a folding knife with more than one blade, only open one blade at a time (and get permission before doing so).

2) Wait Your Turn

Towards the end of a show, the crowds have tended to disperse. But on day one of a popular, well attended knife show, you’ll find some vendor tables surrounded by throngs of people. When you approach a table that’s already crowded, it’s important to wait your turn. Don’t push through the crowd or step in front of someone who’s examining a knife. They likely had to wait in line, too, and the polite thing to do is to wait until they’ve had a chance to complete their interaction with the vendor.

3) Get Out of the Way

By the same token, there’s a difference between taking your well deserved time to examine a vendor’s wares and blocking the flow of customer traffic. If you’re not actually considering buying a knife from a vendor and notice that there are potential customers behind you, the polite thing to do is make way for the potential buyers.

4) Never Haggle

If you’ve been to a flea market or a garage sale, you’ve probably done your fair share of haggling. In those situations, haggling is normal. The seller is expecting it, and it’s part of the anticipated interaction between buyer and seller.

With a knife show, though, things are different. A master craftsman has dedicated significant time and energy to designing, forging, and customizing a blade. They know what they time and energy is worth, and they’ve factored in those variables alongside the cost of materials (not to mention the other costs of running their business). They set their prices according to these considerations, which means that those prices aren’t open to negotiation. Attempting to haggle with a vendor at a knife show is bad form, and bad knife show etiquette. Don’t do it.

5) Always Ask First

At times, you may see one of the above rules being violated repeatedly at a show. Or, you may be unsure of the policies of a particular knife seller. The rule here is simple: when in doubt, just ask. Knife sellers are used to questions, and they’ll be happy to answer yours. It’s always better to ask first rather than assuming that something is acceptable (such as handling a knife).

There you have it: you’re ready for the next knife show! Want to come see what Spartan Blades has to offer and meet the craftsmen behind our blades in person? Take a look at our events page for details on upcoming knife shows that we’ll be attended. You can find us at the California Custom Knife Show on October 21-22 2018, as well as the New York Custom Knife Show from November 16-17, 2018. We look forward to seeing you soon!