Monday, October 10, 2016

Off to the Shows!

Two knife/gun shows in two weeks,  That’s a record for me. 

It was obvious from the start the Great Lakes Knife Show was in for trouble from the beginning.  Our GPS lead us to an empty lot on the Rock River.  It was only because we looked around and saw a building on a bluff overlooking the river that we found the place.

We stayed in Rockford, IL and came up I 90.  There was one sign that said “Knife Show” at the exit and then there were none.  Zero. 

We drove around several closed businesses until we found a mini traffic jam in a parking lot.  We knew then we found the knife show.  The facilities were great.  Wide aisles, clean rest rooms, limited food menu.  How limited?  Only one choice of the same sandwich for meals each day.  Let’s forget the food; we were there for the knives.

Great Lakes Knife  Show
We arrived early and set up in anticipation of non-existent customers.

There were a lot of vendors.  A surprisingly large number of young men forging and make knives.

We were next to Gravelle Knives.  Josiah Gravelle has spent the last ten years making knives.  As he told me, beats having a real job.  Most of his sales are on the internet and he uses Facebook and Snapchat.

One of Josiah Gravelle's best sellers  GT-1
GT-1.  One of Josiah best sellers.  It's a half inch thick slab of A-2 steel.

Snapchat is especially interesting to me.  It’s a novel advertising media.  Snapchat, for us oldsters, is an app for mobile devices that allows users to post videos and images for, as I understand it, 24 hours before it self-destructs.  That’s a useful feature if you want to post that image of yourself drunk out of your mind, running around pantless wearing your undershorts on your head.  Not the kind of thing you want future employers to find.

Snapchat claims they reach 41% of the 18-34 year olds in the nation.  Interesting….

Gravelle knives  GT-1 half inch thick A2 steel
Yeah, it's a crappy picture but the knife is a half inch thick and Josiah sells everyone he makes. 

Facebook.  Most of you know Facebook and you realize that it is one of the preferred modes of communication in the digital age.

Unfortunately, the Great Lakes Knife Show only started utilizing these two modes of advertising the day of the show and not in advance.  While they utilized older models like the internet, printed flyers and printed media, they just didn’t get the play they wanted. 

As a result the show was poorly attended and sales, the reason for the show, suffered.

I think I know how Uti-bebic felt in 2000 BC when he was told nobody used clay tablets anymore and parchment was in!

I also spent time with Mr and Mrs. Biggins and their knives.  They had forged knife I wanted in the worse way, but I doddered and then I diddered and before I knew it, it was gone.  They too don’t use a website, but rely on Facebook and Snapchat to introduce their knives and sell them.

The message is clear to me.  If you’re trying to establish and grow an activity or business and you’re not utilizing the new electronic media you’re fubared.

The second knife/gun show was the Medina show.  It’s a regular for me.  The weather was wonderful and sales were slow.  Not atypical outcome in early October.  I did have several interesting conversations.  

The one I remember the best was about a knife collection.  Frankly, nobody ever talks about small collections, only large ones.  It must be a manhood measuring kind of thing.  He had a big one, he said.  It was so big in fact he told me,  “I have knives I’ve never seen.”  Maybe he has buyers make purchase for him and they go directly into storage without his inspection.  I wonder how many empty boxes he has been sold.

One common thread at any gun or knife show is counterfeits.
While I was at Great Lakes Knife I came across a box of loose Bear and Son butterfly knives marked “Your choice, $50.”  They were box less and looked like Bear Song IV knives.  They retail for around $137.  Now, I’m a dealer and I understand wholesale prices and if we assume the seller breaks even, $50 is impossibly below the wholesale cost.

These were counterfeit.  And it harms the knife industry and each consumer.  You think you’re getting Bear and Son quality, but you’re getting a piece of shit.  Bear and Son takes it on the chin because the knock-off doesn’t hold an edge, breaks when you need it, or falls apart in your pocket.
Now, it’s the American way to make something cheaper.  Your neighbor makes a widget and after careful inspection you realize you can make one just as good but cheaper.  Maybe you discover it doesn’t need level 10 performance, most if not all of that widget’s product life is at level 6 performance.  So you make it cheaper, use stronger material, make it lighter, make it different and you put your name on it and go into the market place and announce “My widget is as good as ABC’s widget, but you can save money.”

Soon your customers will tell you which one is more right that the other, unless they get Congress to regulate in their favor.

What you don’t do is announce that your widget is really ABC’s widget and because of some special fast slight-of-hand, you can sell their product cheaper than they can.

You know when you type it out, counterfeits make no sense.  Why do they persist?

Maybe it’s idea of easy money.  Maybe it the fact that most of us will never do anything, never depend on it, never need performance out of that knife.  We just want something to show off while we’re standing by the barbeque while waiting for the burgers to be done. Well, good luck with that.

Kind of a sad commentary, that our adventures require a cheap stage prop.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Box Cutters

I find myself collecting box openers of all things.  Many collectors will, at some distant time, liquidate their collection and reap great profits.  I don’t suspect I’ll be one of them.

It’s hard to understand what draws me to box openers.  It wasn’t the stock boy job I had in high school.  It wasn’t so great that I want to remember the daily grind.  There were a few things that stayed with me. Like the time a can of White Rain hair spray went off in the cardboard incinerator or the stack of pickle jars that got away from me.  What a mess that was!  Pickles and broken glass everywhere!

I suspect it is the variations of a basic tool that I enjoy.  You could simply grab the sealed flaps of a box and rip it open.  I don’t know how many times you could do that in a day while stocking shelves before you wore yourself out, so cutting was the way to go.  Besides, many stores want to cut the packing box so to make a shallow tray so hard-to-stack cans could be layered on the shelf.  

safety guard on Ry-Krisp box cutter
The front of the box cutter.  Note how the guard covers the single edge razor blade.

Then there’s the graphics on the side of the box cutter.  Some are rather nice and some remind us of products we knew as a child but never survived the great product wars to grow into adulthood with us.

I picked up a nice Ry-Krisp box cutter made by Bailey Beschta out of California the other day.  All I could find about the Bailey Beschta company was they were incorporated in California on Feb 7 1955.  Ralston Ry-Krisp just recently went out of business, but there’s an internet buzz that a group of investors may try to pump a little life back into the crackers.

back of cutter note Ralston Cereals
Slightly roached back.  Ry-krisp were made by the Ralston Cereal company.

One side of the box cutter looks a little roached (that term from American Pickers is creeping into my vocabulary!), but it is the aluminum blade guard that caught my attention.
The cutter uses a single edge safety razor that is not retractable.  Instead a spring loaded guard protects the blade’s edge.  Pressure against the box would swing the guard out of the way and expose the working edge.  The cutter is set up with a hold so you could suspend the box cutter from your wrist, freeing you to pick up product and place it on the shelf.

The open knife shows the strong utility blade
If it was black and assisted opening, it would be TACTICAL and you could charge more for it.

I also purchased a Sheffield utility/box cutter.  It’s the older style, non-spring assisted opener.  It locks open with a spine lock and is missing the stud to thumb it open, but it does sport a pocket clip.  The clip is not reversible and holds the knife tip down in your pocket.  This knife uses a utility blade instead of a single edge razor blade.  It’s significantly heavier than the Ry-Krisp cutter, so it’s up to heavier usage.

I bought this chiefly to round out my collection with an example of current box opening technology. 

The clip is set up for tip down carry.  I', sure it could be drilled and tapped to reverse the clip of either side.  Note:  Fingers are original equipment.

Both were a little dirty when I got them.  A wipe down with a little warm water followed by a good spray with WD-40 and another wipe down cleaned them up quite nicely. 

If you know anything about the Bailey Beschta Company, I’d be happy to add your comments.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Warther Hunter

I ordered it at the WRCA Knife Expo and it arrived the other day.  The Warther production Hunter is a nice looking knife.

New in 2016 Warther hunting knife
The script W seems new, but the jewelling is a Warther trademark

I’m not a huge fan of Warther knives.  While they make kitchen knives, custom folders, fixed blades and letter openers, it seemed they were stuck in the past making the same production knives year after year.  

This is also tempered by a story my Yee Sing Kung-Fu instructor, Les, told me.  

It seems he ordered a knife from Mooney Warther.  It was just an ordinary folder, but they would incorporate a silver dollar as a bolster in your knife.  Les wanted one with his birth date on it.  After waiting a significant amount of time the knife was ready and Les had his father drive him to Dover, OH to pick up the knife. 

As Les told the story, in the year since they agreed on a price, placed the order and placed a deposit, the price of silver rose quite a bit.  Mooney didn’t want to honor the original price.  Les stood his ground and got the knife for the original price, but what kind of adult tries to jack a kid up for a few more dollars? 

That was Les’s side of the story and the impression a 12-year-old has about a business transaction can be flawed.  Still, that story has always left a sour taste in my mouth.

But this year (2016) Warther Cutlery has released their first production hunting knife.  So I bought one. What’s really noticeable is the jewelling Warther does to their blade.  It is great branding.  When I look through old kitchen cutlery, I just need to look for the jewelling.

I’m kind of entranced by their first production hunting knife.  The 5-inch blade is made of CPM S30V steel for the steel junkies.  I don’t follow steels very much, but so many of my folders use this steel and I like the way they cut and resharpen.  The Warther handle is G-10 and it sports stainless steel bolsters.  I like stainless steel because it doesn’t react with the fatty acids in processed leather like copper or brass to form green goo.

I also admit the knife is part investment.  There always seems to be a market for Warther knives, at least in Northeast Ohio.

Should you buy one?  I don’t know, but I suspect it would make a great present to the outdoorsman in your life.

Warther hunting knife in use around the camp
It makes a great general camp knife as well

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Tactical Folder part two

Few people have the same insights to tactical knife as knife maker Ernest Emerson.  His early knives were almost tactical art knives.  Evolution and his personnel interest drove him to form his company specializing in hard use tactical knives.

Shadow Tech Karambit
Shadow Tech's Karambit may have a curved blade, but it isn't what you would call a utility knife.

In 2012, Ernest Emerson addressed the tactical knife largely from the police user point of view.  To a large degree their needs are not too different from the civilian.  Here’s Ernie.

1.  Design:  When the US Navy asked me to design a rescue knife for their special boat units (SBU), they gave me a list of tasks the knife would be required to perform.  I designed the knife specifically to address those tasks. 

2.  Purpose of the knife:  The purpose of the knife will dictate what knife you should get.  Is the knife a weapon?  Is the knife a utility tool?  Is the knife an emergency rescue tool?  Is the knife an entry tool?  An undercover officer going into a potentially hostile environment will have completely different requirements than a SWAT officer.

3  Ergonomics:  Ergonomics is one of the most important aspects of Tactical Knife design.  It must feel comfortable when you use it and handle it under stress.  There must be no pinch points, sharp corners or unnatural feel to the handle.  There should be a place for the fingers that do not force them to a specific location.  In addition, the knife should not be too large or too small for your hand, but should be just right.  The bottom line is that your knife should feel like it fits you, in size, shape and weight. 

4.  Size:  As I have already stated, any design must be purpose driven.  Therefore, the size of the knife should be reflective of the task it is designed to do. 

5.  Materials:  There are two categories, blade and handle.  Starting with the blade, I would recommend a good quality stainless steel.  The knife industry is so competitive that any reputable knife company is now using good to high quality steel.  If the knife is only $3.98, it’s made in Pakistan or China, no matter what it says.  The best knife steel ever used is plain old W1 tool steel and it’s been around for a couple of hundred years.  It’s the stuff your files are made of and they cut other steels.

6  Handle:  Handles can be made of a variety of materials from plastic to G-10 and from Titanium to Stainless Steel.  What you want in a handle is something that is stable.  What I mean by stable is: It won’t shrink, check or crack.  Stabilized materials are generally waterproof.  They shouldn’t absorb sweat, water, gasoline, or oil.  Checkering or a textured surface of course will always give you extra traction, especially if the environment is wet.  Bare in mind though, materials do not make the knife.  Design makes the knife.  A bad knife with good materials is still a bad knife.

7.  Blade Design:  The blade should have a cutting edge and a point.  It’s really that basic.  More specifically, I like a good strong thick point.  If I have to poke or dig into something, that could damage or break a delicate needle-like point as found on some knives.  A couple inches of cutting edge is plenty.  Curved cutting edges cut cloth and webbing very efficiently, i.e. seat belts.  Blades should be a minimum of 1/8 inches thick up to 3/16 thick, for lateral strength; I recommend a hardness of 57-59C Rockwell.  At 57-59 C Rockwell, the blade has some inherent flexibility.  After all, a dull knife is still a knife.  A broken knife is . . . well, expensive crap.  One last word on blades.  Always, repeat always, get a serrated blade.  They always cut, even when dull and they blow through a seat belt like something vulgar through a goose.

Tactical folder from Spyderco: The domino
Spyderco's Dominio has almost all the desired attributes of a tactical/utility knife except for price!

8.  Locks:   I don’t get too spun up about locks.  A folding knife folds.  Get it?  Never depend on the lock.  It is not a fixed blade!

9.  Fixed Blade or Folder:  A fixed blade is inherently stronger than a folder (no moving parts).  So it comes down to this: What are you going to use the knife for?  Some cops who prefer fixed blades carry a much smaller version.  These knives which are the same size as an opened folding knife are very usable, efficient and are compact enough to be carried on a daily basis.  The choice between a folder and a fixed blade should be driven by use first and preference second. 

10.  Carry Options:   Pick a place to carry your knife and always carry it there.  There is no right or wrong about how you carry your knife.  It must be easy and clear to access and it must be in the same place all the time.

11.  Reputation:   This is one of those intangibles that’s hard to describe, but I’ll give it a try.  Your knife may break or need service at some point.  Will the maker of your knife guarantee their product and honor their guarantee?  Get your knife from a company that cares about its product and takes pride in what they make.  They are out there – you just have to look.

I have a slightly less verbose set of defining principles for the tactical knife that differ from both Bob Terzuola or Ernie Emerson.

The perfect tactical/utility knife should:
  • Fit the individual and be comfortable to hold when open and in use.
  • The blade should be between 2 and 4 inches, but equally important, legal to carry.
  • The blade locks open and remains that way until we decide to close the knife.
  • Knife can be opened with one hand, either hand.
  • The knife should be stay were we put it, not calling attention to itself.
  • The blade should have a strong general purpose, partially serrated blade and be able to perform functions from sharpening a pencil, preparing dinner and opening a package.  None of these functions should preclude self-defense.  The blade should be able to stab and cut with efficiency.
  • The handle should be a durable material, resistant to solvents, water, mild acids and bases and robust enough to hold the blade securely when open or closed
  • All metals have a heat treatment that produces the best compromise of strength, flexibility and edge retention. These conditions should be met.  You should be able to sharpen it with a stone you can buy at Wal-Mart.
  • The knife should be manufactured by a reliable company and be of a reasonable cost and good quality.  I may have to lose the knife and it shouldn’t cost me a days pay.
  • The knife should be capable of assisting me with my daily chores so I have it on me when I need it.

Summary: The primary task of a tactical knife is dealing with the mundane chores of daily life, opening items, cutting cord, ties, and tape, cutting food, brush and all the impediments we deal with.  It is only the seldomly used reserve function of physical combat or survival that the knife manufacturers address their marketing and design. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Tactical Folders (Part One)

Knife types have a cycle of popularity. 

In literature, we see cycles through the different knife genre.  I remember reading about the drunken pirate/seaman character with his “wicked clasp knife” and watching the Sharks and Jets with their switchblade (automatic) knives.  We still talk about the Swiss Army style camp knife and the Rambo-esque survival knife.  In the electronic media knife types change weekly.

Even the knives we carry on a daily basic reflect that cycle.  Many of us still carry friction folders while others carry only knives that lock open.

So what is a tactical knife?  Let’s visit a few sources and find out.  (Any mistakes in content are my editing.)

Sgt Don Paul (Everybody’s Knife Bible) served as Green Beret and later described a survival knife as one that helped you survive.  It doesn’t take a great jump of imagination to see him describing a tactical knife as one you that assists you in being tactical. 

Our electronic fount of modern knowledge, Wikipedia, traces tactical knives to utility knives which were pressed into combat.
“Fighting knives were traditionally designed as special-purpose weapons, intended for personal or hand-to-hand combat.  This singularity of purpose originally distinguished the fighting knife from the field knife, fighting utility knife, or in modern usage, the tactical knife. 

“Utility knives with stone or flint blades were undoubtedly used in personal combat since Paleolithic times.  The first early Bronze Age daggers featured Beaker copper blades, probably done with hand held stone tools.

“In 1984, a Beaker period (ca. 2500 - 2000 BC) copper dagger blade was recovered from the Sillees River near Ross Lough, Northern Ireland, that had a remarkably modern appearance.  The flat, triangular-shaped copper blade was 6.75 inches long, 1.65 inches wide, and 0.078 inches in maximum thickness, with beveled edges and a pointed tip, and featured an integral tang that accepted a riveted handle.”  

Armed men and women have always need utility knives.  The Egyptian Khopesh (shaped like a shepherd’s hook) or Turkish Kilij (a sword with an up-hill bend) wouldn’t serve to trim rope, stab your share of the evening’s meal or cut leather to repair clothing. 

 If you doubt this try spreading mustard with an American Civil War sword on a hot dog at your next family outing!  What is needed is a utility knife that could act as a last resort weapon!

This is reflected in the introduction of Dietmar Pohl’s photo essay “Modern Knives in Combat.”  

“Even in the days of modern warfare, knives and bayonets remain indispensible items of equipment for the soldier, whether as tools or edge weapons.  …most soldiers also carry a second, usually smaller, knife which meets their needs.  Quite often the knives officially issued … are simply unsuitable for everyday task as they were designed as combat knives.  … (carry knives are) primary work knives, with which one can open a can or package…”

utility knife
The Buck 110 folder, perhaps one of the great camp/hunting utility folders of our time, but missing several of the key features of a tactical knife.
These knives are typically folding, or short blade fixed folders.  

Wikipedia continues to elaborate:  “Folding knives are rarely if ever designed primarily for use as fighting knives or combat knives. However, many armies and military organizations have issued folding "utility" knives that were not intended to be used as weapons, but which had tactical features that appealed to military personnel as well as civilians.   Many civilian folding knives also have been privately purchased by both civilians and military personnel for use as general-purpose utility knives.

“The earliest production company to make a tactical knife was Al Mar Knives with their SERE model designed for the military with input from Special Forces Colonel James N. Rowe in 1979.”

It appears the modern tactical knife was born as an field utility knife and had a good publicity agent!

Knife maker Bob Terzuola is credited with coining the phrase "Tactical Folder."  In his 2000 publication ”The Tactical Folding Knife,” Bob addresses the question  “What is a tactical knife.

Bob first rules out fixed blade knives with the title “The Tactical Folding Knife.”  He further states “…(should) be using the term tactical/utility knife because the vast majority of knife owners will never use a knife in combat…”  

Addressing combat, Bob goes on to say “the best knife to have in a knife fight is the one you have on you at the moment.”

With this in  mind, here’s what Bob considers the defining characteristics of a tactical knife.

  • Blade should be approximately 3.5 inches long and both legal and comfortable to carry.
  • The knife should be capable of dealing both a penetrating and cutting blow.  Both sharpness and blade geometry affect his.  The geometry should make the open knife easy to maneuver.
  • The knife should be easy to open rapidly and easily, i.e.: Spyderco hole or Terzuola thumb disk (coin opener.)
  • The handle should be comfortable and provide some protection to the fingers (from its blade!) while being secure in the hand. 
  • The knife should be convenient to the user in the carry position and capable of a fast draw.
  • The blade should lock open when it is opened and remain open until the user unlocks it.
  • The knife should be robust.

Tactical folder from Buck
One of several bucks showing tactical folder properties: Can be opened with either hand, locks open and the clip can be moved to four different positions so the knife will stay where you put it.  This is important as the two positions near the pivot make the knife low profile
Bob doesn’t at this point define steel type or handle material.  It seems reasonable that knife with a brass blade or glass handle would have such serious drawbacks nobody would consider it for a utility/tactical knife.

Monday, July 4, 2016


masking tape tricks
You can barely see the serrated steel edge, the rest is protected by the masking tape
I don’t normally cover the side of a knife with tape to protect it from touching the sharpening stone.

This is a little different case.  It belonged to my mother-in-law who no longer needs it and my wife isn’t sure where it’s going.  She has one and is quite happy with it.  Most of the relatives have one.  Yeah, we gave them as Christmas presents.  She may want to sell it as a used knife. 

I don’t have any problem selling used knives, especially one I know its history of use and abuse.  This bread knife needed a little touch up, and I wanted to ensure a nice appearance. 

Most serrated knives are a chisel grind.  The serrations are cut into one side only.  Sometimes you’ll find only a tiny bevel to remove the wire edge.  When you sharpen a serrated knife you end up with a wire edge along the straight side.

This is easily removed by drawing the knife flat over a fine stone, if you don’t mind the surface scratches.  Enter stage right, masking tape on the blade right above the top of the curve forming the serration.

Since I use a Spyderco Sharpmaker, removing the wire edge calls for me just lifting the blade from flat on the edge of the fine stone a degree or two and back stropping.

I got a nice resharpened edge and protected the finish.  I recommend this to anyone who needs to resharpen a dressier knife.

More 2016 Blade Show news:
By now most of everyone should know Spyderco is one of my favorite knives.  They were the first ones I carried.  The one my wife first carried.  I published my first article about a Spyderco.  Not only that, but I think for the money they are great knives.

I understand Spyderco is coming out with an all new line of kitchen knives.  New steel and new handles, it sounds pretty radical.  My friend at Spyderco tells me she is thinning out her kitchen drawers to make room for the new knives.

Also spied in their prototype display were two throwing knives.  I’ve never seen throwing knives at Spyderco.  I suspect, if throwers come to be, we will not see them until January at the 2017 SHOT Show.  2016 is half over and they and everyone else is still delivering and promoting the new 2016 product.  Most of the magazines already have articles lined up for the rest of the year.  To introduce something so radically new might be missed completely by busy editors and layout demands.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Day 2 blade 2016

The calendar retired people use works remarkably well at the Blade Show.  There is only yesterday, today and tomorrow.  By the end of the second day you’ve seen just about everything and plunked down your hard earned cash, at least I hope you have.  There will be no bargains on Sunday, Day 3.
Esnyx paid $500 to have an empty table for half the show.

By noon Saturday Busse was down to 2 knives and 1 tomahawk.  Microtech has only the knives nobody wants and many of the custom knife makers have sold all their knives. 

 Some manufacturers don’t sell at this show.  Neither Spyderco nor CRKT sell, partially to prevent their retailers from taking it on the chin, partially to reduce the shipping problems.  There are some nice discounts from vendors.  It’s also a lot to pack, ship and return to the main warehouse.  Benchmade does it, but then they only sell to brick and mortar stores.

Empty counter
Busse and empty counter by noon on day 2

Shipping has its own risk.  I overheard Emerson Knives ‘lost’ all their custom knives they auction off.  They just disappeared in transit.  Of course it doesn’t take much to look at the label and read Emerson Knives Co. and Blade Show and realize there’s a lot of easy-to-convert loot in that box.
James Knife, a relatively new company with very modern and clean lines, reported that two of their knives disappeared during shipping.

At some point, after the 150th table, you realize that for most knife blades (let’s exclude the art and fantasy knives) form and function are bound into a tight circle.  There can only be so many variations of a blade.  You’ll soon find yourself only noticing the handles.  Here the range of materials, finish, shape and combinations give the artist more latitude.  Don’t believe me?  Entire displays are devoted to just dyed wood.  But there is a cure for this.  Visit Mickey Yurco’s table.  He has a table of innovative blades and impact tools that is actually joyful to look at.  He’s always one of my favorite stops.
Sandy Brady, the scrimshaw artist, had her work on display.  She had several CRKT turtles (now discontinued) in which she replaced the original plastic shell with scrimshaw ivory.  They are just wonderful.  She’s also very active in the effort to prevent the ivory ban.  It’s not that she hates elephants, it just very little of illegally poached ivory finds its way to our country.  Most ends up in China and other Far East countries.  Banning ivory from animals that died between 1980 and 40000BC has no impact on today’s conservation efforts.

Micky always has a fun table!

engraved scrimshaw
Sandy's wonderful artwork

I bought a few things as did my wife.  I’ll have pictures later. There is an old parable about packing.  It says lay all your clothes and money out on the bed before packing for vacation.  Leave half the clothes and double the money.  It is so true at the Blade Show.  While there are few bargains, they aren’t cheap.  I purchased a handmade auto.  The handle is specially laid-up carbon fiber.  The maker uses a double strength steel coil spring for positive opening.  All the load bearing points are stainless steel imbedded in the carbon fiber.  The opening button is oversized and requires a spring loaded safety to be retracted before it functions.  Each knife is numbered with its own unique serial number.  Most of these knives are made for two government contracts, the FBI being one.  I suspect the eight he had to sell were contract overruns and he offered a great deal.  Still they were not cheap!

The aisles were filled with people, and it seemed attendance was up.  This year the new products were labeled ‘no photos.’  The new product area is where companies display some of their newest products which they hope will be award-winning world beaters.  I guess Blade got tired of having bloggers releasing images before they could.

I went to hear Murray Carter talk about sharpening knives.  He’s an interesting person.  He claims to have sharpened 125,000 knives all by hand.  He uses two water stones for basic sharpening, a course and a fine. 
Hand sharpening
Murray and his elaborate sharpening system, a bucket, board, towel and a stone with two grits

With these two stones using a seven step method he gets razor sharp knives.  He believes that all knife blades should be thinned and the only acceptable grind is a flat grind.  Grind angle?  Don’t make him laugh.  The best angle is the angle that works the best for your purpose.  Since it only takes him a few minutes to resharpen, he’ll try one angle then another and see which works best.  Sort of suggests having a pocket full of knives with different purposes written on each.  He’s very pragmatic about sharpening, but he has the reputation for it.

I stopped at ZT.  They make amazing factory knives.  I picked up one which has both a flipper and a thumb stud.  The flipper worked fine, but using the stud I couldn’t get the blade to move.  Now, I don’t know why the thumb stud is present, as it doesn’t work.  Maybe, at least in my imagination, there is a legal reason.  “Yes, your Honor/Officer/Boss, it has a flipper that lets you open it lightning fast, but it also has a thumb stud so this knife cannot be an auto/dangerous ordinance/ballistic/forbidden by the Geneva code of ‘civilized’ warfare.”

So I asked one of the sales reps about why it doesn’t open with the stud.  He seized the knife out of my hand, muttered some words indicating I didn’t know if my ears were bored or punched and dug his thumb deep into the space between the stub and frame.  With a mighty effort that turned the knuckle of his thumb white and caused me to move out of the way of the debris that would surely result from his exploding joint, he couldn’t could get the knife to pop open either.  And with finger speed and dexterity that would only be seen with the top tier of prestidigitators, he managed to roll his thumb over onto the flipper and pop the blade open.  He muttered a few words about grit and discovered something else somewhere else that needed his immediate attention.

The knives at the Blade Show are amazing, but it’s the interpersonal interactions that are so much fun!
Here’s a few photos!

Blade show 2016

Big time Buck collector!

Knives from Painted Horse