RE: Internat. Knife Show in Munich Germany, 2000
Internationale Messer Ausstellung - IMA Muenchen 4-5.11.00
For participants list of this and other European shows see http://messerforum.net
Well the IMA German show in Munich took place again this year early Nov. (4-5th). Although I was rather sick and on antibiotics I did drop by to spend some time - not as much as I would have liked- to visit. Here a small excerpt - alphabetically.
I was glad to see my friend Bob Ball- he is certainly a regular - all the way from Alaska again selling his beautiful folders with lots of mammoth ivory and stainless Damascus including Devin Thomas raindrop. Smooth actions and classic designs on the folders with the fixed blade skinners showing a lot of 'in the field' experience.
The German bladesmith Daniel Jeremiah Boll who learned "Cutler" as a profession. (very rare these days in Germany) and his gold/silversmith girl friend, Claudia Schildhorn who does all silver, and copper work as well as inlaying and mounting precious stones had very unique knives which impressed me immensely. Daniel's style could be called a perfect evolution of the primitive into the elegance of the present. His knives utilize many maker's Damascus steel as well as his own which he is now also offering. Interesting was a 'san mai' combination of 2x 4034 steel with an ATS34 core. Sheaths are made using earthy materials such a wood, copper, bronze, fish skin and of course textured leather. The blades, perfectly forged are blued or darkened, etching shown lovely yet simple patterns. His work reminds strongly me of Virgil England's, without going into the fantasy area - it has the 'look and feel' of England in a 'useable' knife. The workmanship is superb and the handle materials such as Ossic often exotic as well as conventional in very original shapes. Daniel is working on his homepage. Definitely something different and original for the collector from this splendid team ! firstname.lastname@example.org
Franco Bonassi member of the Italian Guild, Corporazione Italiana Coltellani (his mark is FRANK), showed his very slick and elegant gentlemen's folders with super smooth actions. Natural materials such as mammoth ivory and gigged bone on easy to carry and beautiful pocketknives.
Wolf Borger, also a friend and regular here had his copious selection of fine knifemaking supplies as well as selections of his work. Wolf is a superb knifemaker while running a business, which supplies many a German and foreign knifemaker with first quality raw materials.
I had a young colleague from work along (he brought his wife too - probably she keep the bluebacks - German 100 DM bills - in his pocket) who was most enamoured of Wolfgang Dell's superb classic Bowies in coffin grip, using ivory or desert ironwood. Wolfgang had an integral 7" Bowie with lovely engraving and perfectly fitted Snakewood inlay grips, which I found very hard to lay down. Keep sticking to my fingers. Looks like my friend Armin may get one when his wife is not watching or maybe I'll have to smuggle one to him (sorry girls).
To my delight Virgil England was there too, and his table was always mobbed when he was there so I couldn't get a snapshot of him, and missed talking to him. Did manage to have a look at his knives later though and take a few snapshots. He is really a very special knifemaker with fantasy in his fingers and perfection in his craft.
Was as bit surprised to see Thomas Haslinger who had come all the way from Canada, speaking perfect German at that (logical since he is of German descent). He had a pointy abalone handled boot knife which really took my fancy. Good solid knives at reasonable prices.
Boy was I surprised to see Jhot Singh Khalsa - easy to spot - there ! One of my all time favorites! He had a number of delicious folders with his flowing designs and stone handles - you reading this Mike, he also has heard of yourself when I mentioned your exploits into the lapidary aspects of stone handles - and superb Bob Eggerling Damascus, mosaic and a twist type I have never seen before ! These knives have ALL the bells and whistles, including fine gemstones. Jot pulled out his vegetarian sandwich while we had a great talk and I perused his miniature necklace knives (http://www.lifeknives.com) he also had brought along. Jot particularly impressed me with his friendliness and open manner.
German maker, Johann Klemm had very practical knives on his table with Corian grips for maximum usefulness in the field, also at reasonable prices and fine workmanship.
The Master, Hr. Dietmar Kressler confided in me that he and a few other makers had taken Virgil out the night before to show him Bavarian lifestyle and that he was not quite as bright-eyed as he normally would be. Virgil seemed to have enjoyed it - at least he was standing at his table J . Dietmar showed me some details of a mammoth ivory inlay with fantastic blue coloring in one of his few interframe knives. He pointed out the difficulties to me in getting the extremely thin inlay to fit flush with the frame, and incredible precision displayed her by Dietmar who is always a perfect gentleman too. Certainly deserves the reputation he has!
Sig. Socrates Morlachetti, a Sardinian maker showed non-locking folders (maybe someday soon we will all have to revert to these due to our silly laws) with the most beautiful sheephorn in the traditional Sardinian style. Impeccable workmanship but I had a bit of a communication/language problem (mine not Socrates'). KISS concept (Keep it simple stupid) goes a long way here and the elegance is breathtaking.
Sig. Francesco Pachi had some bad luck - me too - as a result of his knives not arriving on his flight from Italy ! He only had the accompanying paperwork for the knives - picture on a certificate describing the knives, and those were gorgeous. This man is IMHO really one of the very best makers I around internationally and his lovely wife is a superb scrimer to boot. She gives his perfect knives the final touch of perfection, and that in color too ! Have a look at http://www.pachi-knives.com.
Hr. Helmut Poskocil, representing Austria had a lovely mokume bolstered gold-lipped pearl handled boot piece which I had great difficulty in leaving behind. He was, interestingly enough, one of the very few makers displaying knives with mokume.
A newcomer, Hr. Selg of Bernried Germany showed variations on basic designs made from files and horseshoeing knife steel. Handles partially 'burned on' giving the knives a rugged look and feel. Just starting is tough these days but he is definitely unafraid, and willing and ready to learn and experiment to improve. Reminds me of my favorite quote 'Just do it ! ' All the best to him.
My friend Christian Rankl showed a large selection of his 'tail-lock' folders in an abundance of sizes and shapes. Very slick and elegant, all of them. Looking forward to having Christian give me some tips when I have more time for my knifemaking.
Fritz Schneider was there as always with his original Scheider stainless Damascus and a few examples of his perfect knives. Fritz concentrates on perfection and top quality has always been his motto.
Arthur Soppera came in from Switzerland after a long absence with his charming wife Elisabeth. Arthur is a jeweler who makes incredible knives, which are true works of art. There were folders with silver spiral handles, with pearls stringed along the handles. He makes knives which the owner can literally 'wear' including superb necklace designs in fixed blades and gold sheaths. Arthur has developed a number of locking systems for his folders, and was making liner locking knives years before most makers. My favorite knife was a fixed blade daggar with about 3.5" blade with a gold and Lapislazuli inlaid guard, mop grips and a matching metal sheath also with Lapislazuli. The sheath had a gorgeous dark brown chickenfoot leather covering which Arthur explained he had from the Rolex Watch Co. They used this leather when the crocodile skin was politically incorrect.
Hr. Richard Spitzl, who specializes in integral knives using RWL34 powder metallurgical steel impressed me with his precision and also the combination of ivory and Grenadil wood in his handles, one in particular bolster engraved with German hops (an ingredient of the excellent German beer). I particularly liked a small 'broken skinner' three-finger model he had.
Hr. Daniel Renner displayed a very well executed, hand worked Samurai sword made of D2 (!) with sharp lines and hand rubbed finish. This young maker shows much promise.
The Trompeter & Ritchi cooperation was represented by Hr. Trompeter and his knives and quite a number of scrimshawing examples of Hr. Ritchie's work, from 2"x2" to much larger, knife handle sized pieces. These scrims, especially on mammoth ivory have to be seen to be believed ! The detail is absolutely incredible. The written word can in now way do this work justice !
Hr Hans Utzmann is a blacksmith who does a great deal of traditional smithing, making tables, fences, gates AND knives featuring classic shapes using his own Damascus steel. I will definitely be visiting Hans when I take up my forging seriously again (not what you think !) and look forward to his giving me some pointers to improve my work.
Franz Weinberger, a giant of a man with a rugged but sweet Bavarian personality (he looks like an original Mountain Man, in this case the Bavarian mountains) whose work runs the gamut between Reindeer handled Obsidian or glass bladed knives perfectly done in the primitive fashion to immaculately executing hunters in stag showing styles from Loveless to Randall. Franz makes what he likes, and variations on traditional designs - including some very rugged fighters - and it definitely shows in his work. I notice an older Howard Hitchmough boot knife on his table, dual grind with perfectly dome-pinned stag handles. Was able to talk him out of it too, much to my joy. This purchase was made less than 1 minute after I had stepped into the room, which cramped my style in further acquisitions unfortunately.
These are but a few of the highlights at the show, which is small compared to US shows but high in quality If and when my photos come out perhaps I can persuade my son Jan to scan some in so that my puny words have reinforcement.
copyright Rolf Hatterscheid, in November 2000
Participants List - Ausstellerverzeichnis (as of 10-10-2000)