Knivesandtools at Shot Show 2022
You probably got used to us bombarding you with pictures, videos and news topics every Shot Show. Last year this was, unfortunately, not an option due to the Covid pandemic. And this year we once again have to let you down. Yes, we did visit the Shot Show to purchase cool knives and other gear. But due to all measures in place and the risks involved, this year only a small Knivesandtools delegation travelled to Sin City. This also means less time for pictures and videos and such.
We do, however, love to share some trends and observations with you. There are some things we are faced with that concern us all. Us as a shop, but also you as a consumer and enthusiast.
Shortage of raw materials
You might have heard some of it on the local news. Or read about it online: there is a worldwide shortage of raw materials. Sounds vague, yes. And how much 'material' do you actually need to produce a knife? You are, after all, not building a house.
And yet, it was a sentiment shared by all the brands we visited: it has become quite the nightmare to receive steel and other materials. Unfortunately, we are not talking about a one or two-week delay. We literally heard a supplier say: within a month I will run out of all my steel with thickness x, and when I do I will have to wait until 2023 for it to be available again. And simply getting it elsewhere is also not an option. After all, everyone is dealing with the same issue. There might be 100 knife brands in the United States, but not 100 steel suppliers.
The result is that some manufacturers are forced to use other types of steel that are still available. This often only leads to subtle difference in performance, if there are even differences to be noticed at all. Think of CPM 20CV and Böhler M390. Chemically speaking the same. You won't notice it when you use it. But a different type of steel is featured on the blade. This isn't done out of luxury, but out of necessity. We apologize in advance if we are unable to implement these changes in texts and product photographs in time. Especially if these changes are only temporary and not always mentioned in advance, it can be difficult for us to keep track of them.
Here too, we came across issues. Brands who had been using one type of micarta for years and were now unable to get a hold of it. Or in each case: not in the amounts they need to make everything work. That is when you need to realize that the answer is not always that you simply need to use a different version of micarta. Aside from the fact that you end up with a different product, it is also possible that the micarta you receive from a different supplier needs to be milled at a different speed for proper results. There are quite a few kinks to be ironed out. After all, a CNC machine is not a copier.
Let's say you have a blade. And scales. But are still looking for the hardware. So screws and such. At the moment there is, unfortunately, also a shortage in hardware. So, you have all parts you need. And are waiting for a single screw to finish the whole. You, after all, will only have a complete knife if you have all parts.
Last year we, for instance, saw that TOPS Knives decided to ship its knives without the famous TOPS whistle that had always been included before that. The knife, after all, was complete, and so was the sheath. But the whistles were impossible to come by. They had run out. They could have decided to make us, and you guys, wait longer. Or make sure they could at least ship the knives. That is, in the end, what it is all about. This does ask for some flexibility. From the brands, yes, but also us as a shop and you, as a customer. We apologize for that.
Shortage in staff
Let's say, as a knife brand, you finally end up with all materials. Amazing! But then you do still need people who produce them in the factory. Especially in the United States this has become quite the issue. All American producers are dealing with it at the moment. Due to a combination of factors, not to mention the COVID pandemic, it is very difficult for American brands to find enough people. This is not a problem in one place or state. We hear it from almost all brands that produce in the United States. From unskilled workers to experienced engineers. They are almost impossible to find.
We do whatever we can to purchase as much as possible for you. But for some brands the following applies: those who thought 2021 was difficult in terms of supplies, are going to be dealing with an even harder 2022. Not only American brands and producers, but worldwide. This has absolutely nothing to do with unwillingness. Not from the brands, not from us. We order like crazy and do whatever we can to fill our stocks and help our suppliers in any way we can. We do, however, sometimes have to ask you to be patient: it cannot be ruled out that delivery times are postponed. For six months, or perhaps even longer. Difficult to hear, but unfortunately unavoidable. We do the best we can. Truly!
Is the knife you are looking for no longer available? Fortunately we have dozens of brands which means that the right alternative could be closer than you might think. We love to help you find the right one! Check out a brand you haven't considered before and expand your horizons.
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