Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Sun Is Warm And The Wind Is Sweet

The wind doesn’t cut like a knife.  Sunglasses aren’t worn to prevent snow blindness.  Any sand we have is to run between our toes and not for traction.  Why?

I’m not in Cleveland today.  I’m in sunny Florida were the natives are bitching about how cold 78 degrees is.  Me?  I think it’s Heaven.  Especially after during our winter.

I’m down here celebrating my father’s 90th birthday.  He and my mother decided to leave the northern states and move to Florida after he retired.  None of us kids live down here, so they established a beachhead and grew into the community.  They’re happy, but I still worry about them.  My wife is able to help her mother with daily activities but not only can I not help my parents, I don’t get to visit them either.  Florida is just too far for a weekend jaunt.

My father gave me his father’s knife.  At one time it was nice and new, but like a lot of old timer’s knives, the blades are literally sharpened away.  Still, I’ll treasure it as it is.  It is one of the few connections I have to my grandfather.  I’ll get a picture up later.

I like this group of people outside of Chili’s.  They look like a nice family so I took their picture for my blog.  Well, it was either them or hire actors for a family shot.

Really, this is part of my family.  I’m still missing a brother and sister.  They haven’t arrived yet.  I hope they are alright.  Travel can be hazardous.

One of the reasons I think Florida is heaven besides the warm winters is the botany and biology.  This is one of the little guys I see hangin’ around the house looking for a quick meal.

Flies?  You got flies, maybe yes?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Warther Expo Recap

The Warther Expo is over for this year.

Was it a success? I’m taking a page from Bill Clinton. It depends on your meaning of success. If success means getting friends and other knife aficionados together under one roof, it was a success. If you define success as high attendance and foot traffic resulting in sales, the answer is no. Reasons and excuses aside, attendance was down. But it was still great fun!

For those who did attend, great deals, wonderful knives and outstanding sausage sandwiches were available. Here’s some of what you missed.

Communication was difficult in the large open room we occupied. We soon came to depend on the man known as The Voice.

I didn’t know you could still buy Warther combat knives with the metal sheath. They are, I’m told, a special order but one can be made for you.

 James Pengov was set up at one table with his lovely engravings and tools. James makes knives, but his engravings are spectacular.

Work in progress

My spies tell me (I talked to his father) James is working on achieving national recognition and is close to completing his apprenticeship. Expect his prices to jump, but they will still be worth it.

I showed you one of Jack Hatton’s miniatures in a previous post. Here’s one of his small decorative knife handles.  (For reasons not understood by me at least, Jack's miniature is at the bottom of this blog, at least it was in my previews.)  Jack can be e-mailed at

 I can't begin to figure out how someone carves a figure this small and so nicely.

Warther knives were quite well represented; after all it was the Dale Warther Memorial Expo. I didn’t know Dale very well, but he always said hello and I miss seeing him at the knife club meetings.

I am always surprised at the stories people tell of finding a Warther treasure at a yard sale or flea market. You see them on eBay once and a while, but these knives have developed quite a following in Ohio. It was a great chance to see the displays.

But don't let me confuse you. There were plenty of other knives.

If you couldn’t find something to your taste, well, you weren’t looking hard enough.

And if by some strange chance you have acquired all the knives you want (How can this be?!?), there were wood cases to display your collection.

Well-made wood boxes and cases always remind me of my mother’s father. He was an old-world cabinetmaker. He came over after the First World War and could make magic with wood. He would have never allowed it, but I sometimes wonder if I should have taken a year or two off between high school and college to study under him. Boy, talk about paths not taken and only dimly understood.

Even in the middle of the hubbub and excitement, you could find knife makers lost in thought thinking about their next creation.

See you next year!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Knives and Hearts

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and if you missed giving that someone special a gift or at least a card, you have to wait a year.  Better still, do it sooner, or that someone special may not be in your life that long.

The day was originally named after Saint Valentine in 496 by Pope Gelasius.  The saint’s day was removed from the Roman calendar in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.  Not exactly a cutting edge holiday, it has shown remarkable staying power.  Most nations have some custom or celebration marking the love between two people.  They go by various names, but I like the Guatemalan day, “Dio del Carino” or Day of Affection.

Naturally, I didn’t forget my wife.  How could I?  She grounds me, lifts me up and has my back.  I would not be who I am without her love.

So what did I get her?

It’s a neck knife made by Gary Bucklew.  The small 2-inch 440c steel blade has a dyed giraffe bone handle.  The knife and its dark leather sheath is supported by a tiger conch shell necklace.  I think it’s lovely and she likes it too.  Or, at least she’ll wear it.

I got a partial mystery knife.

It’s a sailor’s knife with non-lockable marlin spike, sheepsfoot blade and can opener.  The main blade is stamped Coricama and is claimed to be (here’s the mystery) 1950-ish Italian navy issue.  I haven’t taken the time to research it.

I like odd knives.  Not any oddity, but oddity as a result of function.  Doctors’ knives are the perfect example.  A proper one has a spatula for compounding and mixing, a slender blade for lancing boils and other minor surgery and a metal base for grinding medical ingredients.

Sailor knives are the next best example.  A spike for working knots free and splicing lines, a blunt tipped knife to prevent injury while working on a rolling ship and can opener for survival rations are often the key components.

I’m already looking at other sailor knives and wondering if there’s a book or website where I can learn more.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dale Warther Memorial Knife Expo - 2011

I found my Spyderco Salt.  We both looked at it but it was hidden under several flat bags of disposable ear plugs.  My wife claims I keep them around to block her out, but the truth is I take them out of my pocket at the end of the day and forget them the next day.  Somehow the Salt slipped under a few pairs and was overlooked.

You can imagine my chagrin when I moved the box of Kleenex next to the ear protectors and noticed a hole looking out at me.  So, Lassie has come home and I for one was glad to see my knife.

The Dale Warther Memorial Expo is in full swing.  Several club members have their Warther knife collections on display, but the family is showing knives which may have never been seen in public.

I find these closet knives very interesting.  Don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I think there are 5 maybe 6 basic patterns to the depth of the Warther knife universe.  This is clearly wrong.  On display is a one of only four sets ever made of three knives.  One of them is a Bowie with the traditional Warther jeweling.  I hope to find out more about them tomorrow.

Here are a few images to enjoy.  Frankly, if you’re a knife person and you’re within two hours, it would be worth your drive.  Sunday is our last day until next year.

One of the knife vendors specializing in factory new

Flint handled knives by Joseph’s Designs

Ohio has some of the most colorful flint in the States, possibly the world.  The patterns are one of a kind and I love look into the handle by way of translucent patches of stone.

The entire knife is under an inch and a half!

Miniatures are hot!  The three or four Jack Hatton had were gone within hours of the opening bell.  You can see why too.

By the end of the day the customers had petered out and there were more vendors than buyers.  This makes for good deals if you know how to bargain.  Sunday promises to be a good day for buyers.

Behind every successful event there is a core group of worker bees to keep everything running smoothly and on course.  One of the many the show can’t do without.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Missing Knife

I find myself in the same predicament Little Bo Peep did.  Oh sure, I know where my sheep are, but I’m missing a knife.

There are many knives like this knife, but it's not my knife.

I’m not sure it’s lost.  Things aren’t really lost until you stop searching for them.  Just because you can’t find your car keys doesn’t mean it’s time to call the dealership and order a new set.  It just means you have to look a little more.

I’m missing my Spyderco Salt.  I got a fully serrated Salt several years ago when they first came out.  I remember packing it in a salt paste to see if I could get it to rust.  After 12 hours of keeping the paste moist I cleaned it off and found a clean blade.  But I wasn’t surprised.  It’s a Spyderco.

My nightly knife ritual varies.   During the week when I wear the same pair of pants to work, I leave the knives clipped in the pockets.  (Yeah, I carry two knives, different tools for different jobs.)  If I go out that evening or even if I don’t, two different knives are clipped into the after work pants.  On laundry day I have a different ritual.  Everything comes out of the pockets and goes on the counter.

My wife has a simpler ritual on laundry day.  She checks my pockets because she knows I’m forgetful.

Superbowl Sunday morning she discovered I was missing a knife.  I did a quick tally (Let’s see…one SOG, one CRKT, one Endura, two byrds….Where’s the Salt?) and found out I was missing one.  Call out the dogs!!

The seat belts in our cars tend to catch the clips when I get out, but the knives usually end up next to the seat.  Checked both cars, no dice. 

We were at a restaurant last night and it’s easy for a knife to work out of your pocket and onto the seat or floor.  We called, no dice.

Checked the couch.  I’ve lost and found knives there before.  No dice.

Checked the clothes basket.
Checked the counter, again.
Checked the workbench where I sharpen knives.
Checked the cars, again.
Patted the pockets of clean pants I just put on, just in case.

I have one more chance.  I remember it at work on Friday.  I could have put it down by the microscope, or on my desk.  I don’t remember opening any packages, but that doesn’t mean too much.  I tend to forget the routine daily functions.  I hope I never get in real trouble -- (“Where were you the night of Dec 22 when Col. Mustard was killed with a candlestick in the kitchen?” The detective said.  “Ahhh, I don’t know,” I reply.)

Sure, I can order another one, but it won’t be the same.  I used that knife to publish an article.  I got it from Joyce who has greatly helped me in my fledgling attempts to publish knife articles.  For a lifeless lump of steel and plastic, it was a great comfort in my pocket.  It was a touchstone to so many people and events.  A new one wouldn’t be the same.