Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Carry Knife To Remember

One of the more innovative knife designs, in my opinion, is the TDI knife made by KA-BAR.  This small fixed blade knife is the brain child of John Benner, the president and chief instructor of Tactical Defense Institute located in West Union, Ohio.
The original TDI Knife with reversible clip sheath

The previous mythos was while struggling to retain your firearm against one or more thugs assassins (let’s be real – they get your gun, you’re dead) you would take your free hand, reach down into your pocket, slide the knife clipped there out, open it and strike your opponent with the business end of the knife.  I’ve trained it and it doesn’t work very well.

John’s idea was a small fixed blade that would be practically invisible behind an officer’s reloads and could be taken out by grasping the handle and cutting your way to safety.  He wanted something that a person could strike hard and fast with and not have to hold back in fear of injuring himself.  

The short bladed, curved handle knife with clip sheath has become a favorite of LEOs and armed civilians.  I have carried mine for days at work and nobody paid any attention to it.

Recently I have been hearing about a folding TDI knife.  Part of the problem was designing a lock that would hold the knife securely open, not accidentally close while fighting, and still have that curved handle to prevent you from sliding up onto the blade.

It’s been introduced.  Called the TDI Sidelock, KA-BAR has introduced a folding knife modeled on the TDI fixed blade.  The handles are G10 and the knife is set up for tip-up carry.  You can switch the pocket clip to left or right carry.

The TDI Sidelock -- Bigger bladed, stout design but … better than the original?

Yes, it’s made in China, but it has KA-BAR's quality and knowing John, he would never let his reputation ride on crappy workmanship or materials.  The blade locks open with a stout liner lock.  The lock has a low profile to prevent accidental closing.

It’s a fighting knife.  Oh, sure you can use it as a letter opener, cut string and maybe make shavings to start a fire, but it’s clear what it’s designed for.  Take his knife class and you’ll see it in action and learn how to put it in action.

I like it.  I think highly of John and everyone thinks highly of his school, but I’ve got to say the knife misses its purpose:  To draw an edged weapon efficiently, quickly and immediately deploy it to save your life.  The only justification I can see is not being able to carry a fixed blade.  Once the blade is deployed; you have a powerful tool for self-defense.  I already own one.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Jail House Knives

A lot of my coworkers find the monthly safety meeting a complete waste of time, except for the donut you snag after you sign in.  I don’t share that view.  Safety meetings have a lot of useful information.  Sometimes they remind you of how insensitive companies can be and other times it can be quite amusing.

One of our departments uses homemade utility knives.  Picture a foot long, one inch wide strip of steel.  Like from the duct work in your house. Now bend it in half.  That’s the body of the knife.

Image a second piece of the same material, but this one is a 1x2 inch rectangle.  Fold it short ways over the back of the knife body so that about half inch of metal overlaps from the back to the front of the knife body on both sides.  This forms a locking buckle that can be slid up and down.  That’s the knife, almost.

Slip an industrial utility knife blade in the front of the knife, slide the buckle forward until the extra thickness of the utility blade jams the buckle and ...Presto! a homemade utility knife.

They showed a picture of it.  It was the nicest prison shank I have ever seen!  The buckle was made from brass, so little tapping with a hammer tightens it up nicely.

The back end of the blade is exposed to your fingers, but that didn’t seem to bother anyone.  I know a lot of people wear the cut resistant yellow Kevlar gloves at work, so maybe they figure, what the heck.

The company is now going to replace them after a worker took a swing at the plastic sheeting that  pallets come wrapped in, missed and cut  his arm.  The only question from the workers was, “Are they paying for new ones?”  The answer was yes, which made everyone happy.

Me, if I need a utility knife and the company didn’t pay for it (why else would you make a utility shank?), I’d buy one.  This seems a lot safer and easier than making a POS* knife.

Knife front:

I ran into a fellow who was shopping for a knife with a sub 3-inch blade at the last gun/knife show.  He didn’t find anything at my table, but I asked him why he needed that length.  Many cities have sub 1.5-inch or a 3-inch no serrations blade rule.  I was wondering if his company has a similar knife policy.  (Me?  I carry two pocket knives with different blades for different cutting conditions.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

Him:  I need it for work.
Me:  Where do you work?
Him:  The jail.
Me:  I’m surprised they allow you to carry a knife on the job.
Him:  Everyone is supposed to have a cut-down knife.
Me:  Oh! 

I’m still surprised about this, but police tell me most people in jail are on good behavior because they are going to trial and hope good conduct will buy them some juice with the courts.

*POS  'Piece of Shot', (dot the o)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cleveland - The Edge of Spring

The creepin’ crud is evident at work so I don’t feel too bad about being under the weather myself.  In fact, most of the chemistry lab has called in sick!   

Let me explain why I find this so amazing: we don’t have sick days. If you’re hourly or piece work (the chem lab is all hourly), you could lose half percent per sick day of your bonus.  Based on last year’s bonus that could be, …let’s see, …carry the six…over $100 a day plus your daily salary!  Sick days are like a big fine you have to pay to the company.

I hear welders are in great demand but the supply is low.  It’s not an easy job, but making something (other than rust and shavings) out of metal has to be rewarding.  I can’t imagine the pride a welder must have when he points to a bridge or building and exclaims, “I built that!”

It’s been suggested we hire teen heart throb Justin Bieber to say he relaxes by welding, and in two years we could be over washed in welders. 

Hmmmm, maybe that’s not such a great idea after all.

I’m back from Florida enjoying this wonderful, damp, miserable weather Ohioans call early spring.  It’s true there is no place like home, but Florida had a lot going for it.

The perfume of orange blossoms drifts though my father’s backyard and into my mother’s house.  It takes you awhile but you can sniff your way to the source.  Watch out for the busy bees.

Next to orange trees Dad planted several lemon and grapefruit trees which he started from seeds.  It does a man good to plant seeds and see the resulting trees blossom heavy with fruit. 

By accident the lemon and grapefruit met, dated a while and moved in together.  The resulting fruit, rounder than any lemon you have ever seen, has a subtle but distinct grapefruit taste.

On one of his trees he has a staghorn fern.

Hey, Rocky1  Watch me pull a fern outa my hat!

It’s an odd looking plant, reminds me more of moose antlers, but what do I know.  Still, for an amateur botanist like myself it’s very close to heaven.

Of course, there’s the Gulf of Mexico.  The pelican squadron was not fully activated.  I watched one scout glide over the shallows looking for fish.  Do they ever flap their wings?  They always seem to be gliding so gracefully over the waves.   

Scout to base--sighted fish--starting  run...

When I’m at the Outer Banks, where the Atlantic Ocean is rougher, the post graduate pelicans fly in single file formation, gliding low over the water’s surface between waves.  They disappear from sight flying in the trough between the waves and reappear as the wave passes.  Quite wonderful.

There are some downsides to Florida.  Bugs…you’ve got to professionally spray once a year to keep the cockroaches palmetto bugs at bay.  You should also learn to love mildew.  I believe it is Florida’s state fungus.

And of course, any fresh or brackish water spells alligators.

I spotted this guy hanging out at a pond near Venice Beach. 

I’ve got to admit my first two thoughts were: Oooh! They taste like chicken and I could get a really nice knife sheath out of him.

Yeah, Florida has some downsides, but did I mention the sunset over the gulf?

On The Knife Front...
Best comment I have heard recently weighing in the practicality of carrying expensive knives:

“Do I carry an expensive knife I could lose or a cheap one I’m embarrassed by?

This could be the touchstone to parse your differences between cheap and expensive.  Look at your carry knife and ask, are you embarrassed when your buddies ask to borrow your pocket knife?

Better Words Than I Have----

If you love knives, click on the link on my sidebar.
Check out the comments for March 10 2011.  England is trying to find a new source to blame their internal problems on.  We are following England's example with gun control and knife control is on the horizon.  See England, see your future.  It isn't nice.