Mittwoch, 17. Februar 2016

Jagd und Hund 2016 - impressions from bushcrafter´s paradise

 Yeah, it´s that time of year again, and the exposition in Dortmund opened its gates again. It was somewhat business as usual-and yet totally different. I went on Tuesday and Sunday this time, and Sunday was the first time I went there with a bunch of people. Tuesday was the day for chats and encounters. About one of the first booths I visited then was the booth of Mr. Kalman Szábo. He is a Hungarian knifemaker who makes meticulously crafted knives at a bargain. Made from 1.4034 mostly, they come with a mirror finish, little tolerances and a razor edge, and razor means razor...;-)
 He had some more modern models on display, but also some lovely Hungarian traditional designs. Some of the folding knives were huge, with blades up to 15cm!
 I was more fond of the more sensible models, however.
 Not too bad were the fixed bladed knives;-):
 Now 1.4034 is a relatively simple steel and people tend to sneer at the concept of making custom knives from it. But in fact, you can sensibly harden that steel to 56 HRC, if you know your business, and, yap, everything comes at a price.
 Owning a knife from Mr. Szábo I can say they hold an edge very well in relation to the steel employed. In the woods you do not want something hard and brittle, but something that holds an edge well enough while remaining flexible and easy to sharpen. So, in my book, those knives to a well enough job for the prize... custom handmade knives for 75 € anyone?
 I also loved those antler carvings. In Hungary this art is alive and well!

 ... onwards to the Dannecker booth with labelled knives with some really great ideas.
 The knives are partly made in the Czech republic and partly in Spain and Taiwan, but at a reasonable quality for reasonable prizes...
 ...and some cool designs, too.
 Back again: This is Mr. Szábo.

Then I went on to visit the birds of prey which were displayed in area 3A. There were also the children´s programs going on there.

 Children could partake in learning programs that looked like fun...;-) not a commonplace, if you ask me!

This is a case of YOLO...You Obviously Love Owls;-)...

This fellow actually did not like me much...;-)

 Falconer´s gear... lovely belt pouch, cloves, bells and cap.
 There also was a rather spectacular offroad parcours on site where you could actually test drive an offroad vehicle.
 This one would make for a great hunting vehicle...

The areas were well visited, but on Tuesday it was not that crammed full. Still, there were a lot of people around...

 Then I went to Gunnar´s booth. Gunnar works for who make very practical Mora designs, including the famed Wasa knife. Now Gunnar´s a great guy. Once I worked for him, and I can really appreciate his being cool under pressure. He certainly knows how to work hard, but is also very laid-back and super-friendly at the same time. When we got there on Sunday, he gave us a huge load of weekend project Scandi blades out of three-layer-laminate steel, just to promote our beginners!
 The knives come in vivid colours and this may not be to anyone´s liking, but I guess I must not quite rave about Moras, do I? They are just THE one knife, period, when function is key, and they come at a bargain that often challenges me...
 Then I met with Rainer at the DMG booth. Rainer makes lovely custom gentleman´s folding knives, quite certainly not my personal style, if you so will, but still. Visit him at We had a chat, but then I cleared the space because he had a customer...
 And made my way to Attila Kertesz, who was displaying his art next to him. His website is Well worth a visit!
 Some of his works of art...
 Off to the booth of Nandger Franck ( Nandger is a self-made man autodidactic knifesmith...
 ...and yap, he is not famous for nothing! Apart from that, it was a pleasure to meet and have a chat with him, him being a super - friendly guy.
 I loved this style of knife! He does a very clean Damascus, and the blades are certainly inspiring to boot!
 What was most intriguing was that he does a huge array of styles with his own spice in each. This is not easy to do, and it shows his pedigree as a craftsman. 
 Also on his booth were blades from monosteel and Damascus...
 Bushcraft knives and accessories.
 Then I went to Olaf´s and Heike´s booth. They are very great people and I am proud to call them friends. I helped them build their presentation again, and it was a joy to work with them - as always. They offer beautiful handmade custom leather clothing. This motorcycle jacket was made from 4 mm(!) bull leather. They do just about everything and are crazy enough to try things out.
 This is a jacket made from an old Swiss army blanket, custom - made to tailoring.
 Look at those buttons: They make each one of them by hand from old historical silver coins.
 I loved those vests from ostrich leather.
 Their prizes are very high, but given that buying one of those items is a more than lifetime affair and they stitch it all by hand to measure in Germany, often from local resources gives a new perspective on that. If I had the money, I would gladly spend it. Visit their website at

 They also had some smaller items on display, some Swiss army surplus, e.g. this tool roll...

 ...pouches, bags and paraphernalia...
 The booth was big fun, for there´s simply that much to see and all so lovingly arranged.
 Then suddenly it was Sunday, and Julia, Kathrin, Martin, Nick and myself went to see the expo. At first I was somewhat fuming, for the girls were constantly going their way without further notice, so it was a bit of a cat-herding going on, but we made appointments, and all went smoothly afterwards. We all were very fond of the booth of Juha and Jorma from Wood Oy, Finland. It was a bit like coming home, with the warm colour of birch burr greeting us and the guys being as they were. We had a great chat and I hope we can get together at the ironforge soon, folks, for it was a jolly meeting.
 I loved these clocks and wall boards.
 pendants, and we got a whole load of raw materials, too...
 ...ahem;-), yes, I must admit it, I do not react entirely rational to those wood jewel knives...;-) I got myself two of them.
 ...because it´s funny. I may be a knifemaker, but every time I try to get that special flair into one of my knives, I mess up one way or another, and it does look like a German knife, not a Scandinavian design. Yeah, true, I hear you say, you´re a German, so it´s no wonder you make German knives. But to truly understand how knives work, you have to make them "and fail properly";-).  
 But, no harm done, it did not feel that bad to have an excuse to buy some more blades...;-)
 I really love those Saami sheaths out of wood!

 Yeah, that´s 50€ for the knife in the picture...;-)

 I daresay it was a bit of an eye-opener to Martin, who is currently starting his own swordsmithing business to see the prizes (which were not THAT expensive given the quality!) at the DMG booth. fact, for the quality, they were a bargain. This is one fine example by Mr. Fazekas.
 A real asset was that Mr. Fazekas  had his new book on display, and I guess I´ll get myself one in Solingen.
 Then we were off to the booth of Peter Huber (
 To start with I must admit I did not think much of these knives. While they were excellently and meticulously made, they came in a powdermetallurgical steel hardened to 71HRC. Yeah, you read it right, that´s 71 HRC. Of course, as Peter said, these will most certainly be knives not exactly intended for bushcraft, but that´s not the culprit. It does not make sense to me, and I fear most buyers will put them in a showcase and leave them there.
 There will be a review of them in Messermagazin soon (, and I daresay it will be a rave review...

 But other than that, all was grand in wonderland with all these really lovely German hunting knife designs around, which I found really inspiring.
 ...I simply love those elegant integral bolsters!
 Nicely made butt-caps with the tang peened over-perfect!
 Some sketches of Peter´s.
 Also he had this historical hunting sword from 1880.
 Round the bend there was this lady with a 100-yard-stare and constantly throwing sparks off a firesteel;-)... I was really enjoying meeting Gabriele from Karesuando, quite certainly one of the nicest persons around!
 Karesuando had a whole lot of new products on display. I hope to get some production proto photos soon, because my crappy camera just does them no justice.
 For now these sneak previews have to suffice: A lovely Saami knife design...
 And some really bling knife. The Ripan (willow grouse) exclusive edition comes with a damasteel blade and black diamond inlays... I hope to give you an article on the making of soon.
 But I must admit I loved this knife even more. It´s a knife that Gabriele made for herself. Just cool, if you ask me, in its worn appearance. A real knife that has seen real use (and a certain degree of abuse, too...;-)). Again, I was getting on the nerves of my friends by having another chat;-), but that´s how I am, am I?;-)
 ...and a lovely cupboard...
 Then off to the booth of Mr. Morsbach to get some Damascus for Martin. Now Mr. Morsbach always is good for something special. Here he shows his newest creation, a small folding knife from 1.4125 steel that will also be available in D2 soon.
The blade is ground to zero with a hollow grind. Mr. Morsbach ( is one of the last qualified grinders in Solingen, and it shows. Apart from this, he also is a knife-nut always open for something new. I have a deep respect for him and the things he does, and have learned a lot from him.

Then all of a sudden all was over, and we were heading home with hearts full of pleasure and a truckload of goodies in our pack, and looking forward to 2017!

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