Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Benchmade Blues

I really like Benchmade Knives, but as they say “to err is human…”

I think their HK Scorch (catalog 14975) is a super idea.  It’s one of the dual mode knives people are talking about.  I wrote about it here.

The HK Scorch made by Benchmade.  This one is self opening!

I recently got a Scorch that  opens itself.  It’s self-activating.

While this is a great thing with people, it’s a terrible thing with guns and knives.  I kept noticing the Scorch always seem partially opened when I had it on display.  I thought someone had examined it and left it in that condition.  What a surprise it was when I closed it and watched it pop open.  It’s going back.

I contacted Benchmade and they claim there is no general recall on the Scorch.  It was forcefully pointed out to me by the young lady I was talking to, that since it’s made in American, it can be repared in the great state of Oregon.  

I suggest you deal with an “authorized Benchmade dealer”. Just fill out the paperwork on the Benchmade website and get it done.

Nobody wants a self-activating knife in their pocket!

On the upside, one of my friends did some internet work and put together a chart to help date Benchmade knives as of Dec 2014.  It all focuses on the Benchmade butterfly.

 To 1999         Bali-song Butterfly with antenna
1999 to 2002 Benchmade Butterfly with antenna
2002 to 2004 Benchmade Butterfly with antenna and model number under butterfly
2004 to present   Benchmade Butterfly without antenna and model number under butterfly

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Edging Around

The December meeting at WRCA was “Warther knife night”.  Perhaps the best known Warther is the patriarch, Mooney.  Known for both knife-making and his love of carving scale model steam-powered locomotives, Mooney created a little spot of knife heaven in Dover, Ohio. 

Each monthly WRCA meeting has a theme, but you can show off anything you want. 

The images of carving s have nothing to do with Warther, but the owner thought they were cool.
I knew Mooney made combat knives for WWII.  These knives are more works of art than combat ready knives. 

Warther women's tactical knife or watch the knife, my fingers never leave my hand!

He had his ideas of what a combat knife should do.  I’m not sure they fit current notions and perhaps not even WWII notions. 

Regardless of my opinion, Warther combat knives fetch extreme prices from collectors.

I was not aware that Mooney made reduced scale combat knives for women.  One of the club members showed what he claimed Mooney called a purse knife for women in the military service.  The knives had a slightly smaller handle and a thin, shorter, more stiletto shaped blade than the GI fighting ones. The sheath still had a loop to wear on your belt but no eazy way  to attach it to the inside of a purse

Daggers are a women's best friend
The blade and handle seem out of proportion to each other and the guard seemed over large.

The one showed was made for, if I remember correctly, Mooney’s oldest daughter because she asked for one.  She has since passed on, but knife resides with a cousin.
Warther kitchen and pocket knives are perhaps best known for the jewelling on the blade and the unique use of silver coins as bolsters and are quite collectable.  I know a number of people who have had custom knives made with a coin with special date on it. 

One of the guests showed off some very old 1950ish ivory-handled Warther knives.  He indicated our government is still trying to prevent the sale of ivory in the US.  He may own the knives, but he cannot sell them or leave them to a beneficiary in his will.  Since they were harvested from elephants 3-4 decades ago their sale and ownership will not harm a single elephant.

To prevent elephant poaching, our government would like to take the profit out of it.  By preventing the sale of any elephant ivory, even from those killed in the 1950s, they hope to dry up the market.  The irony is the same day WRCA met, NPR had a broadcast in which they explained ivory sales in China, driven by their expanding middle and upper classes, are going to though the roof.  Of course China has no problem saying one thing and doing something else.

Each meeting has a door prize and I won a nice Bear and Son trapper.  It was our 2010 club knife.  Bear and Son are out of Georgia and make their knives locally.  The stag is pretty, and for a friction folder it’s a very nice knife.

WRCA Club Knife  2010
WRCA Club knife 2010

Reason 27 why I carry a pocket knife.
To eat your lunch with it.

At least I didn't have to run it down and kill it, cook it and then eat it!

England continues to ban pointy knives and has declared war on ordinary kitchen knives.

It’s had to make a snide remark about that.  Anything thing I could say would only subtract from the complete lunacy and make whole mess less of a surreal farce.  

Oh, wait I have one:  Thank God, I’m an American.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


The Ka-Bar TDI self defense knife made a big splash when it arrived on the scene.  Designed by John Benner to help LEOs cut themselves free should they or their gun be grabbed, it was a big hit with the civilian population as well. 

TDI Knife
The original plain edge TDI self -defense knife  quite a little chamer!

It was designed to be held with the wrist in the neutral position to provide strong, powerful stabbing as well as strong, supported slashing.

The downside, such as it is, the small 2.5 inch blade.  While the TDI knife can be used for opening letters and shaving tinder and fir sticks, but the angled shape prevents it from functioning as an effective pry bar.  Admit it.  Prying things apart is the most common non-cutting function we subject a knife to.

Ka-bars TDI Hinderance
Nice lines, deep finger grooves for grip and a great friction surface for your thumb

Rick Hinderer brings his experience as a fire fighter and EMT to this collaboration with John Benner.  The 3.5 inch blade is described as a modified tanto, but I consider it a wharncliffe blade.  Lets go head-to-head.

Benner TDI
1095 Cro-Van
Blade length
2.25 inches
3.5 inches
Overall length
5.5 inches
7.25 inches
Blade Type
Plain or full serrated
Blade thickness
0.12 inch
0.19 inch

I don’t like giving prices.  You can always find someone selling it for less.

Note the thumb release in upper right edge of sheath

The Hinderance is a heaver, thicker knife with lower Rockwell hardness as suits a pry bar application.  The 1095 Cro-Van steel appears to an upgraded 1095 steel.  A little chromium and vanadium is added to improve strength and edge cutting power.  I’d still wipe it down with oil every once in a while.  I can’t tell you about cutting, as the Hinderance isn’t mine, but it’s made by Ka-Bar so I’m sure it cuts just fine.

The original TDI knife could be drawn from the sheath as either saber or reverse grip because the knife was locked into its sheath by the shape of the knife.  The Hinderance (clever use of Rick’s name) requires a latch to be depressed.  This requires a saber or hammer grip.

Ka-Bar's TDI Hinderance
TDI's logo on one side and Ricks's on the other
I really like the neutral wrist position of the Benner TDI.  Despite the slight curve of the Hinderance I have to cock my wrist to bring the blade parallel to the ground for stabbing.

The Hinderance is well designed and I like the massive thumb friction ridge just ahead of the handle, but despite the smaller size I think the Benner TDI has advantages over the Hinderance.
That doesn’t mean I won’t end up with a Hinderance.  I find its shape exciting and the blade lines attractive.

Columbia River Knife and Tool turned 20 this year.  They have produced interesting knives that tend to be over-engineered.  Frankly that’s a good thing as it makes for a more durable knife.  Their M16 folders have been copied by many companies as well as a target for knock-offs.  While not every design is a home run, they are batting better than .600. 

In addition to knives they make axes, backpacking spoons, multi-tools, sharpening systems and survival tools.  I recently bought from them a paracord survival bracelet charm. 

Compass and firestarter
the little nubben on the bottom of the plastic housing pulls out and gives you a firestarter
The theory is most paracord bracelets give you at least 6 feet of paracord containing 7 strands.  So why not add a compass and mini-light or fire starter to that?

I am not convinced.  I remember wristband compasses that would become de-magnetized or attracted to the metal case of some watches.  Still I’m a sucker for these gadgets so I bought the compass/firestarter combination for my paracord bracelet. 

The housing slips over the bracelet and is locked in place with a little plastic screw.  This didn’t work too well for me, but as long as I have the bracelet on, it’s not going anywhere.  The fire starter has a 1 inch ferrocium rod and two little metal surfaces you can use to make a spark.  I’m not impressed, I had trouble getting nice fat sparks, but I’m not Bear Grylls either.  I need to practice.

The compass seems to be holding up and I’ll give it a trial next month out in the woods.  I’m also going to put a small stretch of duct tape around the ferrocium rod to make sure it doesn’t fall out.

Survival kits are popular.  Catalogs sell them and claim their kit is what the US Foreign Corp issues to overseas personnel or carried by the SEALs.  I don’t think that one I need in Africa or Central America is the one I need going to work.  My best survival kit could well be a credit card and 50 bucks in fives and tens. 

But I will say, if you’re going carry one I think you should design it for your applications. Breachbangclear is running a series on survival kits.  Ignore Redhead Fridays and Cheekweld Wednesdays if you want , but read the series.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

knife club

Most of us belong to a knife club of some sort.  It may be local or a national organization like the Kershaw Collectors.  If you collect a specific type of knife or brand you will find a club that caters to your refined taste.

I’m a generalist and the best fit I could find was Western Reserve Cutlery Association.  We just had our November meeting and the topic was carving knives.   Before I go any further I’d like point out I’m this year’s vice-president, so I have a bit of a bias.

I will say the best part of the monthly topic is not the knives, but the personalized translation of the topic.  One member changed carving knives into carved knives and brought out a pile of knives carved out of wood.  Denny also a nice collection of pliers carved out of wood by Mooney Warther

Wooden knives and Moony pliers
You're right the knife at 12 o'clock is real, but the rest are wooden.

You can still find them on EBay.  They are rather simple, but Mooney used to sit and with nothing but a pre-cut length of bass wood (I think it was bass) and a carving knife make these pliers to the delight of visitors to his shop.

We’re also getting ready for our Knife Expo May 16 and 17 2015 at the Buckeye Event Center off of route 30 in Dalton, Ohio.  It’s a nice place.  I’ve been there for gun shows and have always been impressed with the clean facilities, wide aisles, large parking area and general professionalism of the staff.

Here’s a link to the form.  Just fill it out and mail it in.  We’ll do the rest.

If you’re a knife maker or dealer, you should attend this show.  An 8-foot table for two days with optional setup on Friday evening costs just $50.  I’ll be there with my knives.  If you’re a collector this is also the show for you.  It’s $5 to get in and the food service is worth the price of admittance.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bridge Day 2014

Landing on a small LZ
Small landing zone

Bridge Day is always the third Saturday of October.  Don’t let that fixation on date fool you.  Every Bridge Day is unique in its own way.

Start with the river.  The New River is one of the oldest rivers in the world.  Yeah, it’s up there with the Finke and Rhine. The Nile is a youngster compared to the New.  It also runs south to north, so you should expect a few idiosyncrasies.  The water level is affected largely by the weather conditions in North Carolina and release rates at the Bluestone dam at the bottom of the state.

The weather has a big part of any Bridge Day.  Winds at the bridge are often different than at the landing zone.  The boundary between the wind conditions creates a zone of shear at tug the jumper one way and the chute another.  Sometimes this problem  is hardly noticeable, but other times it wrenches the jumpers sideways and threatens the stability of their chute.  Bridge days have been rainy, cold, sunny, as well as blue skies with white cottony clouds.

This year it was cloudy, cool, and misty with gusts of wind.  Yuck!  The river was high and fast running.  The high water made the landing zone tiny.  

Landing Zone (LZ)

The wind gusts made landings interesting, at least to the observers.  I’m sure it makes the jumpers very nervous, if not frightened.  None of which makes for a good Bridge Day.

How high was the water?  Here’s a photo of a Rock I often climb out onto to take pictures of water landings.  It’s a little island by itself.

normally a walk to rock
High Water
During the briefing we were told that the water rescue people were anticipating difficulty in retrieving all the water landings because of the fast current and this may slow the jumping down.

Early morning getting set to put out into the New river
Water rescue boats
I happened to notice the rescue knives carried by the water rescue teams.
Spyderco rescue knives
Older Spydercos
That’s right; they are orange-handled Spyderco rescue knives.  That’s what the professionals use, but I’ve got tell you, most jumpers would rather lose an arm then have their rig cut up.  

water landing
Nothing like an early morning dip to wake up, or jumping off a bridge!

The water rescue guys did a great job, most of the time.  Rushing to get to a jumper still selecting his landing point, one boat got too close and a gust of wind, a spin of the boat’s steering wheel and a collusion of man and machine occurred.  It sounded like someone hit a bowling ball with an axe.  He went to the hospital.  I’m not sure if the aluminum hulled boat needed to have a dent pounded out or not.

Early morning ambulances arrive
Ambulances arrive, good thing, they are going to get used.
If events like Bridge Day could have themes, some would be “Drifting on Clouds” and “Splendor of the Leaves.”  This one would be “Wood.” 

There is a chute under those tree branches

The small landing zone also affected the support people at the LZ.  The ambulances were moved to a new location to make room, but not everyone picked up on that lesson.  At least not right away.

Jumper bounces off roof of  rescue vehicle parked in secondary handing zone

Help on the way

Learning:  Let's move the golf cart out of the landing zone!

The National Park Service is charged with preserving the uniqueness of each of our National Parks.  It’s not an easy job.  Ham-fisted clods, like myself want to walk off trail, climb down river beds, and in general disturb the pristine wonderfulness they preserve.  They aren’t entirely wrong about it.  But I’ve got to say, I can’t see any problem with chopping down one tree at the landing zone.  

That particular tree was quickly decorated by parachutes which still there when I left at the end of the day.  Several jumpers made attempts to tear that tree down limb by limb by landing on it.  Most got their chutes back, but other jumpers made a more permanent donation to its winter ornamentation.  It wasn’t the only tree catching jumpers.

First decoration --More to come!

Same tree as above but with a second decoration!

Not having enough soaring time, one jumper rented a plane and jumped with an American flag.  Very Cool!  It brought cheers from the crowd in the landing zone which quickly turned to a gasp when he got snagged by a tree.  The tree dropped him like a fashionista with last year’s shoes. Fortunately he was all right and we treated him to a free ride to the hospital.

Flying the flag, Bridge Day style

Rough landing, caught in a tree and dropped like a rock.

The trick was to land low on the beach and avoid the trees.  
Like this guy

Or just short of the beach

Some missed the beach by accident or design.  Others chose the softer and safer water landing.  In front of the landing zone an area or relatively calm water allowed jumpers to land and safely wait for boat pick-up.  But considering the air temp, I was wondering about hypothermia.  You can get hypothermia standing wet in the cold windy air after being pulled from the river.  There isn’t a shelter where wet jumpers can warm up or get out of wet clothes.  

Still quite a few people had nice rides and made the local birds jealous.  
Gliding in
It was a bad Bridge Day.  No sun, cold, high water, tricky winds, but still wonderful to watch.  Even a bad Bridge Day is better than day at home.

Sail On!

Post script:
I get asked about security.

It’s a complex subject.  The jumpers are profiled by police as are staff.  No question about it.  We all need picture IDs which we have to wear, jumpers get background checks, they and their packs are checked with sniffing dogs.  It’s never been explained what the police and dogs are looking for. While missing this year, in the last two previous years the FBI placed a 360 degree camera at the landing zone.  Beats the hell out of me what they were looking for.  The WV state police want to run fingerprints next year.  

None of these conditions apply to the vendors or visitors.

In the landing zone I saw WV state troopers, Park Service Police, US Marshals, local police and TSA and it was rumored the FBI had undercover agents present.  I’m not exactly sure who or what they expect to find.  I will say a police presence is welcome. One never knows what can happen in crowds and with over stimulated people.  I’m just not sure we need so many in the landing zone.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Few industries are rumor free.  The knife industry isn’t even close.  Here's a few I've picked up that have some credibility. 

Rick Hinderer is breaking ground for an improved, expanded facility.  A grinding company I know reports they see a multitude of Hinderer blades for grinding after heat treatment.  Perhaps Rick wants to keep it all in house.  I have seen at least one potential misfire.  But in all honesty, the question remains, was that a real ZT Hinderer or did a Chinese knock-off get picked up by the distributor?

Starting now and finished by January 2015 Zero Tolerance will drop their distributors in favor of factory direct to brick and mortar stores.  I hope I’m wrong.  Some people claim that this generates exclusivity and protects their stocking dealers from Internet sales.  Benchmade went this route several years ago and there are plenty of new Benchmade on EBay.  I think this causes them to just lose market shares.

Shadow Tech is working on a folder and hopes to have it ready by the 2015 SHOT show in January.  If not SHOT certainly by the Blade Show!  It almost seems a natural progression to start with a simpler fixed blade and then progress to the more complicated folder.  I suspect the market for folders is larger than that of fixed blades.  Most of us carry a folder every day, but the fixed blade makes our co-workers nervous.

Stag prices have increased and custom knife makers are already increasing prices.  It seems unfair, but they have to replace a consumable with a pricier version.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Neither Here or There

I’m getting ready for another weekend of knife sales.  The Medina gun show doesn’t run over the summer months, chiefly, I suspect, because attendance in nice weather is too slim to be profitable.  Since I’m not attempting to make a living with it, that’s okay with me.  I like having my summer weekends. 

But the return of crappy weather signals a return to knife sales.  I ordered a few replacement items for things that have sold.  It’s very hard to stock inexpensive quality knives.  Knife prices are zooming upward and the influx of counterfeit knives is ruining the market.  But it isn’t always the counterfeit that’s hurting everyone.

I use to carry Kershaw’s Leek.  It’s a great knife, thin and sleek with an attractive blade.  They always sold too, but for the last couple of years Wal-Mart has been selling them.  Selling them cheap too, perhaps too cheap.  Wal-Mart has a reputation of shaving quality out of products to lower their price point.  Maybe they turned over a new leaf.  Maybe Kershaw only cares about profits today and well, tomorrow might be someone else’s problem.  In any case you can find the Leek at Wal-Mart.

So I don’t carry Leeks anymore.  Between online shoppers and Wal-Mart there is no market I can tap.

I read a number of blogs and people send me links and I’m amazed at what I must call stupid money items.  An everyday carry knife for thousand bucks?  An improved flash hider for an AR in the hundreds?  Flashlights that will light up a stadium for 90 minutes on high for 200 bucks?  Even my beloved Spydercos and Benchmades are beginning to come with a loan application.   It’s no surprise.  Costs are going up faster than disposable income.

The question I, and perhaps you, have is answer is, do I really need those items?  I’m not sure a $400 knife will serve me better than an $85 knife.  I know the wristwatch with build-in calculation for drop correction will not make me a better shooter and I seldom have the need to light up a stadium for even a minute.  I suspect  the answer will be found in careful use if a need/want/anticipated use table.

Last weekend was pretty nice so I escaped to the West Side Market in Cleveland.  That area is known as Ohio City and it’s beginning to thrive.  There are quite a few interesting store and activities there.

I’m a sucker for new and unusual vegetables or fruit so I bought a Pitaya or Dragon Fruit.  They are actually cactus fruit originally native to Mexico but also grown in East Asian and Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia as well as Okinawa, Hawaii, Israel, northern Australia, southern China and in Cyprus.

I noticed too late that none of the vendors had prices listed.  I normally don’t pay silly money for fruit, but ….

Half a Dragon Fruit. It cuts easy.

It’s a strikingly good looking fruit, reddish rind with green tipped fleshy ends.  You eat it like a kiwi, cut it in half and scoop it out.  The flesh is white with little black seeds.  Again very impressive.  Taste is another matter.

Inside Dragon Fruit.  Just use a spoon to scoop it out.
Totally bland.  Well, there was a little resemblance, maybe a hint of something suggestive of kiwi.  But I’d skip it completely if I were you. 

I took my wife to see “Gone Girl.”  The audience was mostly women, but I wasn’t the only man there.  It’s a story about two sociopaths who marry.  The wife, Amy, is a much better sociopath.  Better doesn’t always equate to good.  I found it frightening as Amy exploits the tragic flaws in all of us.

What was more frightening was the responses of the women in the audience to Amy.  Amy’s plots resonated with many them and I found myself scrunching farther and farther down in my seat.  I never heard so many women give out a throaty, deep, almost subvocal “yeah” every time Amy’s well planned scheme digs the hole a little deeper under her husband and his sister.

the hole Amy dug for her husband
This is the best image of the hole Amy dug for her husband, but I got to say, he jumped in.

I will say, it’s just coincidence that I’m trying out cold weather sleep gear in the garage this week or maybe for the rest of the year.  I have mentioned my unattached garage locks from the inside, haven’t I?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Politics Seen From The Knife Edge

Obama returns salute with coffee cup
The sunglasses don't bother me, but the coffee cup seems so damn disrespectful!

You've seen the picture.  No?  Well, look up.

Our Commander-in-Chief returning a salute to his honor guard with a coffee cup, WTF!

I don’t like President Obama.  I don’t think he’s the right man for the job and I look forward to voting for what I hope will be a better man or woman. 

BUT, he fills the office of the Presidency and the office deserves a measure of respect from every American.  Respect cuts both ways.  The Marines that serve as President Obama’s honor guard take an oath as do all of our enlisted men and women.

“I (state name), do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United stated against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me according to the regulations and uniform code of Military Justice, so help me God.”

That’s a pretty powerful oath and there’s no expiration date.  I respect those Marines; they volunteered to take that oath.  I was born an American citizen, just like the President.  I’m not required to take an oath.  In fact in some circles the idea of taking an oath of loyalty is considered uncultured and a trespass on intellectual freedom. 

I need a cup of coffee as much and sometimes more than the next guy.  But even I would ditch that cup to ensure I could return that salute.

Let’s get right out to edge of life, where our vision is the sharpest and ask the question that needs to be answered.
If our Commander–in-Chief shows so little respect to men and women he commands, what must he think of us?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Twitchy EOD

Another knife gun show has rolled past.  I get a lot of compliments on the quality of the knives I sell, but the sales go to the guys with the buckets of 6-dollar knives and the knock-offs.  Still, as much as it bothers me, I’d rather be true to my vision of quality and needs, than to know somewhere a knife I sold is failing someone.

The weather was beautiful, the show was slow.  I suspected something was wrong when two guys walked up to the table shorting after opening and I greeted them with, “Feel free to pickup any of the knives”.

They stood there, frozen like deer in the headlights, not even an ear twitch.
Two deer, no knives
Yeah, that's what they looked like!

I looked at my wife, she looked at me, and then we looked at the two statues.  I don’t think they were breathing.  For a split second, I wondered if this was some Candid-Camera moment and then one blinked.

The two men walked off and I never saw them again.

I did see a lot of Shadow Tech.  They came up to the show from the Columbus, Ohio area.  ST is one of my favorite local knife companies.  I’ve got to admit, I’m impressed with people who start manufacturing businesses.  I’ve said it before, small self-starting businesses are the sparkplug of American well-being.

I had a chance to see their EOD.  It’s a 10.5 inch slice of 1085 steel currently being used by the EOD teams in Afghanistan.
Shadow Tech EOD Fixed Blade with sheith
Shadow Tech's EOD.  Note "glass breaker'" and form fitting sheath.  This is one knife that isn't popping out by accident. 
Let’s talk, shall we?

The blade is 5 inches long with a 5 inch handle and a glass breaker/skull crusher for a total of 10.5 inches.  The steel is high carbon, a 1085 and I would suspect, hardened to 56-58 Rockwell C.  That’s a good hardness for that steel and field use. 

Shadow Tech EOD Fixed Blade in my hand
Camera angle makes the knife look small, or I have a giant hand.
Extending outward from the top and bottom of the handle’s spine are small regular bumps.  I didn’t think I’d like them.  I thought they would distract from the feel, but despite my preconceptions, my hand liked them.  The knife sports an integral guard with sharpened ends.  I don’t know if they have a purpose, or just part of the aggressive combat nature of the knife.  Shadow Tech builds the sheath so you’re protected from the points when carrying the knife.

I had just enough time to finger it and photograph it, but I still liked it.  The knife was a little blade heavy for my taste.  I like a little more weight in my hand as it makes the blade livelier, at least in my opinion. 

 close up of Shadow Tech EOD Fixed Blade's guard
It's a stout knife.  You can pry, dig, chop and slice with it and the EOD looks like it's up to it.

It might be a little big for wearing to the store for a gallon of milk, (Yes I know Soldier of Fortune says you should be able to conceal 12 inches of fighting steel under your sport coat.  They didn’t say anything about sitting in your car.)  But I’d pack it if I was heading off the paved trail any day.

I was told it was evaluated for a month in California and is now issued to Explosive Ordinance Disposal Teams in Afghanistan.

Complete honesty: I’ve bought several Shadow Techs for myself, and I’ve sold a few on my table.  They have never given me one, but for the money I’d recommend them to anyone.  Keep your eye on them.  I keep hearing rumors of collaborations and autos in the future.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dad's Japanese Bayonet

I recently “discovered” a Japanese type 30 bayonet my father brought home from WWII.  It wasn’t so much discovered as re-discovered.  I knew I had it, but it was tucked away as I didn’t have much interest in bayonets.

However, I admit to now experiencing a certain electric spark that seems to jump the almost 70 years between my father holding it and me holding it in my garage.  He was stationed in Japan after the war for a short time.  I believe he was transporting a load of Japanese service weapons to a destroyer, from which they would be pitched overboard into deep water.  He asked if he could take one and I’m sure the answer was something like “it’s no skin off my nose, buddy…”

What seems interesting to me now is the armory markings.  I recently helped a friend with his bayonets so I thought I’d do a little research myself.  

Arsenal marks-Japanese Bayonet
Stacked cannon balls and a prism.  Who would have guessed?

It’s a type 30 Japanese bayonet with a sharpened, polished blade.  I checked several sources and frankly, the internet can be a very misleading place.  The best I can figure is the bayonet is from the Hikari Seiki Seisakusho arsenal.  I suspect it was, like so many wartime products, made by some company under the supervision of the arsenal.  (When I started at Goodyear, I was told by some of the old-timers that Goodyear also made ammunition during WWII as well as aircraft.)

The overlapping spheres, which remind me of a flower are the top down view of stacked cannonballs.  It’s probably better to go into battle with cannonballs on your weapons.  The other is described as the Tokyo hourglass.  I did a little more research which indicated it’s actually a prism.  Maybe.  I see it as light rays passing through a lens showing the curvature of field.  Maybe that week of crystal optics is still on my mind.

In any case, the question is to sell or keep?  I’m going to keep it, at least for a while longer.  It’s a historical connection to my father from before I was born.  I can’t help wonder about the Japanese soldier it was issued to as well.  Did he live to see Japan surrender?  Did he live to see Japan become a manufacturing powerhouse?

In any case, I have a new appreciation of the re-enactors and collectors assembling a complete, original and authentic military kit.