Les de Asis and Jim Batson are the newest members of the BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall Of Fame©.
Both will be formally inducted into the Cutlery Hall Of Fame the Saturday night, June 3, of the BLADE Show at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta during the BLADE Magazine Awards Reception (tickets required). The BLADE Show will be June 2-4.
According to a fellow Cutlery Hall Of Famer, de Asis has been a major pillar in the knife industry for more than 35 years. He founded Bali-Song, Inc., which later became Benchmade Knife Co. From a fledgling business in a garage to a major force in the cutlery industry, Benchmade is among the top knife manufacturers in the world. Les was a major influence in the renaissance of the butterfly genre of knives, which continues to enjoy a large following of knife fans. He was a founder of the American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI), one of the earliest and most successful of the organizations protecting the rights of knife enthusiasts and the knife industry, and remains a driving force in the organization. He raised the bar significantly on the quality and function of automatic knives for military, law enforcement, first responders and general use, and Benchmade remains a leading manufacturer of autos today. The AXIS™ Lock designed by William McHenry and Jason Williams and introduced into production by Les helped maintain the revolution in locks for folding knives that persists today.
James L. “Jim” Batson is one of the world’s most noted bladesmiths and authorities on both bladesmithing and Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer James Bowie and bowie knives. The Batson Bladesmithing Symposium near Bessemer, Alabama, is one of the world’s most respected and best attended annual hammer-ins, attracting bladesmiths, knifemakers and knife enthusiasts from around the world, and has been doing so for almost 30 years now. Through his symposium and his many nationwide seminars teaching the art of bladesmithing, Batson is a standard bearer of the American Bladesmith Society’s stated goal of educating any and all on how to best make knives of forged steel. He has scoured the countryside in Texas, Arkansas and the Southeast, and combed through the archives of dozens of libraries and city and town halls in search of information on bowie knives and the life and times of James Bowie. He also has written extensively on both subjects.
Batson is an award-winning master smith in the American Bladesmith Society (ABS) and two-time ABS chairman. He led the ABS through some of its most successful times in recent years and shows no signs of slowing down. In the February 2014 BLADE®, he was ranked No. 9 among the top 13 knifemakers from 1989-2000. “Jim is a great bladesmith, a great leader, a great historian, a great bowie authority, a great writer and a retired rocket scientist,” wrote one Cutlery Hall Of Famer. “I challenge anyone to match that record!”