Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cambridge Show 2011

I attended the Ohio Classic Knife Show in Cambridge last weekend. The low attendance let me stop and kibitz with the sellers without feeling I was interrupting commerce.








Outside the show a blacksmith demonstrated his skill.


Wide aisles and few people gave you room to have conversations.


Kathy Bone was engraving ivory and we talked about how hard it was getting to buy ivory. She does very nice work on knife handles as well as small jewelry pieces.


Engraving ivory, not for the faint of heart.
She had a money clip with Ulysses S. Grant engraved in ivory. It was very nice, but since I seldom see Grant on any of my pocket money, I passed. You can reach her at WVscrimshander@yahoo.com if you’re looking for a special piece.

I stopped at Bill Johnson’s table (WCJohnsonknives@gmail.com). Like many custom makers he had a lot of fixed blades. I especially liked one of his green bone-handled blades.




With all the wonder materials available to modern knifemakers, isn’t it odd that some of the most ancient materials are prized the most? Perhaps it’s some ancestral memory, some prehistory hand/mind link that draws us to the materials used to make the first tools. And maybe we treasure them because they are so different from ubiquitous modern materials.





I spent all my disposable cash at Joseph’s Designs and Buckeye Custom knives. All I can say is, it’s a good thing I didn’t have more money on me.

Joseph’s Designs specializes in flint knives. (http://www.collectorcabz.com/) No, not the blade but the handle. He gets his flint from Flint Ridge in Ohio, thought to have some of the most colorful flint in the world.





Joe replaces the handles on different knives with an almost semitransparent flint, rich in color and pattern. I found a nice Tree Brand Boker with an etched main blade. The flint handles have a pattern reminiscent of wood. The colors include red, black, white and brown giving it an almost pinkish glow in the translucent stone. I’m not much for friction fit knives, but this one spoke to me.

Flint, in case you’re interested, is a fine grain form of quartz (beach sand). Strictly speaking, it’s classified as a ‘chert’, but it seems to be found only as inclusions, sometimes very large inclusions, in limestone. Flint has two interesting properties. One is hardness. Flint is about 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. Quartz, found in almost all dust, is 7. This means flint will scratch from normal use so care needs to be taken. The other is flint will strike a spark from iron even when wet. Despite the relative softness of the stone, flint will take a fine polish.

I also bought a nice fixed blade from Pete Winkler (http://www.buckeyecustomknives.com/) . The handle is a nice slab of wood called Pacific Madrone. The brass pins and green dyed, stabilized wood gives it the look of polished stone. The 4.25-inch blade is A2 steel with a Rockwell “C” scale hardness of 58. This is the first convex or ‘appleseed’ grind I’ve owned. Pete assures me that with normal use it will not need sharpening, just a stropping with a nice piece of leather he provides. This will be interesting. The knife has no bevel to speak of as the steel flows continuously to the edge. As a result it doesn’t look sharp, but don’t make the mistake of testing it with your thumb, unless you want to be called Tommy Split-Thumb.


Man shapes steel and steel shapes the man.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why didn't you show us your 2 purchases?!

The knife guy said...

Oh, I will. I'm saving that for a future blogs. Stay tuned!!!!