Saturday, June 5, 2010

On the Road to Atlanta: Day Four

Do you know these people? I found them wandering by the Spyderco booth in good spirits and having the time of their lives. More of the WRCA gang from northeastern Ohio. Next year we’ll have to plan a WRCA dinner. It’s way too hard to keep meeting in hallways.


I bought a Swamp Rat fixed blade today. I like the thickness and the micarta handle. What I find hard to believe is - a sheath doesn’t come with it. I’m planning on ordering one from Bud Brown Ind. What’s very cool is he accepts PayPal, and claims it has bumped his business up. Stands to reason, click a button and the funds are on the way.

There are so many things to experience at the Blade Show. I attended Ernest Emerson’s presentation on surviving mortal combat. It was eye opening and motivating and a bit alarming all at the same time. I’ve heard him before and I’d go out of my way to hear him again.

Ernie tells about surviving urban mortal combat

If you asked him who he is, he would tell you he’s a fighter. He’s trained his entire life and continues to train. He just happens to own a knife company. He’s got a lot of good stuff on his website. Check out his must read book list. I’m proud to tell you I own several of his recommended books and I agree with his ideas on preparation and readiness.


 I met with Joyce from Spyderco and got to talk knives with her. Big changes in Spyderco knives are on their way. Most of them will pass unnoticed because Spyderco constantly improves. They call it C.Q.I. or Constant Quality Improvement. Frankly, having worked at three major international companies, you can take it from me, you either continue to improve or you will wither on the vine.

Here’s a partial list:
  • Flat grind blades for Delica and Endura, with colored handles,
  • Manix2 as a test platform for new steels and more precision manufacturing,
  • Improved Para-Military 2 with better opening smoothness and top lock,
  • So many new designs, the Spyderco collectors better warm up their credit cards.


Two of my favorite Blade Show ladies:
Karen from Knives and More and Joyce from Spyderco.

PS: Keep your eyes open for the Spyderco Balance. I know people who have fallen in love with it at first glance.




Ed Fowler has been both an anchor and windsock in the knife industry for 30 years. When knife makers need help and find themselves adrift, they turned to Ed. If you want to see the direction custom makers are headed, well you should also look to Ed.



Ed Fowler, one of a kind. A modern cowboy.  And no, he's not holding a spare hat!

Ed spoke about the need to see and understand the needs of the customer and reflect them in the knives you make for them. Every new steel or change in manufacturing should have destructive testing associated with those changes. How far can I bend a knife and will it break? How much force does it take to bend? Will it chip if I drop the knife tip first on a concrete floor? He sees every knife as a survival tool. It may be chopping a hole in an ice covered lake to refill your canteen or chopping through a plaster wall to escape a fire. I like that philosophy. Knives are tools and while many, many knives are great works of art, at the core, a knife should be a tool.

The show ends tomorrow.  I have two more days of  "On the road..."






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