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When I was 16 I went with my father to the Las Vegas Custom Knife show. My interest in custom knives up to that point had been pretty limited. My father, Devin, has run a Damascus steel business for as far back as my memory goes. I remember looking at the A.G. Russell catalog and seeing some of the cool knives. I remember wanting a pocket knife, but I don’t remember being any more interested in knives than I was in, say, Vans shoes. At the knife show, however, my perspective changed. There was table after table of custom knives and custom knifemakers all with different styles and stories to sell their knives. Knifemakers come in all different types from the aw-shucks cowboy to the intense self-defense salesmen. I was most interested in the knifemakers that were making claims about the superior performance of their knives. From the lockup, to edge geometry, to steel, etc. there were barkers promoting it all. I spoke to a man who claimed that he had a proprietary steel for his fillet knives that was better than any other available. He flexed the knives 90° to demonstrate the superiority of the steel. Another knifemaker boasted about his extensive heat treatment protocol that would lead to the best performing hunting knives available.