A Gear Lovers Dream: The New York Custom Knife Show

As many people began to prepare for Easter festivities, hundreds of knife collectors, EDC Enthusiasts, and cutlery critics lined up for the 44th New York Custom Knife Show. This show, commonly referred to as NYCKS, offers an intimate setting for makers to connect with their customers and for collectors to add something special to their collections. 

Even before the show begins, eager customers queue up, hoping that they can be the first to a certain booth and secure a new piece of gear. Just as people lined up for the newest MoonSwatch, EDC enthusiasts made sure to arrive bright and early. While in line, I had the opportunity to chat with several other enthusiasts and was allowed to examine some very high-end custom knives. Similarly to how watch enthusiasts are known to pass around their latest acquisitions, we all chatted and examined gear from manufacturers we might not have heard of, or hadn’t had the opportunity to purchase from.

Arguably, the one thing that makes these shows so special is the opportunity to connect with people at the show, whether it’s a brand that you’ve been loyal to for years, a new vendor yet to be discovered, or meeting others interested in the hobby. On the first day, I was able to quickly catch up with some old friends, Tom from Notorious EDC and Eddie from OEG EDC. Both of these guys are solid pillars of the community, and an absolute blast to hang around. I was also able to catch up with a bunch of other content creators, including @pockettrinkets, a longtime friend of Worn & Wound who will be known to many readers. 


The second day of the show was significantly less busy, which allowed me to have in-depth conversations with Tom and Eddie about new items on the horizon, their plans for Bladeshow, and life in general. Additionally, I got to “talk shop” with Pro-Tech and learned that their sales manager, Matt, is a dedicated reader of Worn & Wound. Matt was rocking a Black Bay 54, and Dave, the owner of Pro-Tech, was sporting a two-tone Sea-Dweller.

I went to this show on a whim, without a plan to purchase anything specific. However, due to carpooling with friends and arriving quite early, I found myself in a prime position to snag several show-exclusive items. When the doors opened, I made a bee-line to Notorious EDC and purchased a limited “Distressed” Orange Beer Bomb, a piece of functional pocket art with a bit driver, bottle opener, pry bar, and flat head driver. I’ve been slowly collecting various beer bombs as they look great in photos, and I find them fun to fidget with when I’m bored. 

After chatting with Tom, I made my way over to the Pro-Tech booth and secured one of their Show Special Mordax knives. This Mordax configuration features a mosaic button lock, a DLC Magnacut blade, and green anodized scales. When I walked up, only one of the 25 show special Mordaxs remained, and it just happened to be number 17. I’ve been carrying this blade since the show, and I’m loving it. It has amazing action, feels great in the hands, and looks fantastic.

Once I had successfully blown my gear allowance for the month, I took some time to walk the floor and connect with various other vendors. I quickly found myself at the table of Jens Anso. Jens is a renowned industrial designer, creating pieces in his Denmark workshop. He works with several large manufacturers, like CRKT, and is ⅓ of the masterminds behind Giant Mouse. Given his reputation, his creations can fetch well over a thousand dollars for a single knife depending on the configuration.

After chatting with Jens, I made my way over to the booth of Arcane Design. I’ve followed Arcane on Instagram for some time but haven’t experienced the brand in person. Israel, the brain behind Arcane, has a very avant-garde design language, combining the modern folding pocket knife with outer-worldly designs, resulting in bold but functional pocket knives, contrasting colors, and sharp lines.

Overall, I’m extremely happy that I made time to go to the show. The smaller venue of this show and the holiday weekend created the perfect opportunity to experience gear hands-on, forge lasting friendships, and enjoy my favorite hobby. While I’m pleased with the items I purchased, my favorite thing from the show is the new friendships I’ve made. I’m looking forward to catching up with many of them at the next gear show, and I invite you to see what shows are available in your area. 

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Garrett is an avid photographer and seasoned collector of many things, including backpacks, bourbon, EDC gear, and watches. Originally born in Kentucky, Garrett recently moved to NYC in search of new adventures. When he's not enjoying his existing collections and hobbies, he spends time planning his next adventure.