Friday, February 21, 2014

There is a season.......

Two men once came together to form Blind Horse Knives.

They started small and over the years grew the company and made some damn fine knives.  I wrote about a small kitchen knife they made for my wife.

Digging through my fixed blade collection I found I had a knife from both L.T. Wright and Dan Coppins from before they joined forces.  Both are very cool!

I understand Blind Horse Knives has dissolved and Dan and L.T. have gone separate ways.  We’ll miss them but I look forward to seeing their new knives!

L.T. was kind enough to send me the following:

“Blind Horse Knives dissolved because the owners wanted to take things in different directions. Both shops will continue on, but as new, separate companies. Both companies will honor lifetime warranties on all Blind Horse Knives.  Both new companies will hold the same ideals of quality craftsmanship at affordable prices. Knife enthusiasts that like Blind Horse Knives should look to both new companies as they will both strive to make hard working knives for many years to come.”

To check out the new companies please visit:

L.T. Wright Handcrafted Knives:  

Battle Horse Knives:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


I got my first Bob Lum knife by accident.  I saw Spyderco’s Chinese Folder and fell for the leaf-shaped blade and green handle and bought it.

I’m not a big collector of Lums.  I like the functionality and graceful lines but it’s difficult to justify custom knife prices, so I settle for selling the factory versions of them.  You might uncharitably call me a knife pimp -  I make a little money from the transaction, but I thoroughly enjoy getting quality knives into appreciative hands.

I’m quite excited about Benchmade’s Mini-Onslaught that just arrived today.  It’s a Bob Lum design and it’s quite a little charmer.  One side of the blade has the Benchmade butterfly logo and the other side has Bob’s chop.

The 3.45-inch blade is sharpened from 154CM steel with a Rockwell C hardness of 58-61.  The curved grip is black G-10 which is reinforced by stainless steel liners.  I looked at the handle and I would swear it’s micarta.  Of course, G10 has changed over the years from short chopped fibers in resin into glass fabric.

I really like the Axis lock Benchmade uses.  The modified clip point blade simply glides open and the thumb hole (licensed from Spyderco, I understand) is 0.43 inches in diameter.  That’s large enough to easily capture your thumb for opening.  Benchmade says the Mini-Onslaught weighs in at 3.9 ounces.
Benchmade's Mini-Onslaught by bob Lum
The left side showing the famous Benchmade butterfly.

Bob Lum's Mini-Onslaught by Benchmade
This is the right side of the knife with Bob's chop.  I always thought it would be cool to have a family/personal stamp.

The knife is set up for tip-up carry, my preferred method.

The Mini-Onslaught’s curved handle helps anchor the knife in your hand during a slash and presses the handle into your palm during a stab, but doesn’t allow for a reversible clip.  That's the one drawback.  

I saw a Cold Steel knife with a similar problem, but Cold Steel solved that by drilling and tapping both sides and included a second clip.

Benchmade retails the knife for $170 on their website.  I suspect I’ll be able to do better.

Sadly, Bob Lum passed away Dec 2007.  In his thirty years of knife making, some of his designs were never released to the commercial market.  It’s kind of  nice knowing that even after he’s gone, we’ll still see a few new Lums in the future.

Monday, February 10, 2014

But is it a sport?

the Winter Olympic Games at Sochi 2014
The Winter Olympic  Games at Sochi, Russia  2014

I don’t enjoy some of the Olympic winter games.  Team ice dancing, snowboarding or free-style snowshoeing hold no interest to me.  (There is no free-style snowshoeing.)

I find downhill skiing, luge, and even curling to be much more interesting.

What?  You’d rather watch people sweep the ice to get better glide from a large metal puck, than beautiful women and handsome men gracefully moving over ice while performing feats of strength and impeccable timing?

Yes, I would.  I’d rather watch a Biathlon or even plain cross-country skiing events than snowboarding.

It’s because many of the winter Olympic events aren’t sports.

Here’s my list:
  • Alpine Skiing
  • Biathlon
  • Bobsleigh
  • Ice Hockey
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Curling
  • Luge
  • Nordic Combined
  • Short Track Speed Skating
  • Skeleton
  • Ski Jumping 
  • Speed skating

  • Freestyle Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Figure skating

What makes the difference?

Am I one of those guys that figures a sport has to have a ball?  The only thing close to a ball in my list above is curling and that’s like ice bowling with brooms.

Do I need speed?  The rush of air past my face from hurling down a mountain or do I need a chase like in speed skating?   No, that’s not it either.

Let’s sharpen the edge of this monologue and cut to the core.  Sports don’t have style points. 

It’s that simple.  Pick any conventional sport: baseball, soccer, American football, golf.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a team event or a single person.  The winner is determined by total points.  In golf low score wins; in bull's-eye shooting it’s high score.  The scoring is direct and measurable.  There are no style points.

Sochi 2014 winter olympic show boarding in mid air
Do you gain or lose points because the arms are bent differently?   

Style points?  What do you think is happening when the judges award scores on whether they thought your toes were pointed sufficiently or deduct points because your back was arched too much?  Those are style points.

Yes, I believe figure skaters and freestyle snowboarders are athletes.  

Four speed skaters at the Sochi Winter Olympics
Speed skaters.  You can tell who's in first and who's in last place.  In fact if they did this one person at a time you know the winner by the best time for the event.  Or do you think that number 18 should lose points cause she has to touch the ice and number 14 doesn't?

There’s no question about that.  I’m not sure you could claim the two middle people on a 4-man bob-sled team are athletes.  Seems to me all they need to know is how to quickly fold their bodies around the other team mates and have a low center of gravity.  I don’t see them or curlers out doing 10-mile runs or bench presses to stay in shape.  But I could be wrong on that.

You don’t have to have a league or a stadium/arena to have a sport.  You don’t have to have followers.  You do have to have measurable results, not opinions. 

I used to fence with a foil.  Who the heck follows fencing now a days?  I would if it was on TV.

You had five judges to score hits or touches as they say.  The competitors were supposed to own up to feeling a touch.  What made that subjective activity a sport was three touches won the match.  Nobody got style points for a loud appel, a flamboyant balstra, or graceful riposte.  You got points and won by countering your opponent’s defense and offense and scoring three touches in the target zone before they did.

Then what are these events if not sports?

They are performance art.

It’s not the costumes, the music or rehearsals.  It’s the scoring.  Anytime you have judges tell you the timing of the performers was off, or a leg wasn’t fully extended, or the 360 revolution was too high, you have an art form.

You want further proof?  I've got it.

Anytime you have compulsory movements, you have an art.  I’ve never been to a martial arts event where the contestants were required to do a front leg sweep or reverse punch.  You did that stuff for determining rank/belts, but competition was always decided on points scored by hits.

Could the Swan Lake ballet be a sport?  By the Olympic standards, yes.  You have a limited time to perform, there are compulsory moves, and the performers have a variety of costumes and are evaluated on style points.  The performers are beyond a doubt athletes. 

Tremendous performance, but did they get all the style points possible or are her legs crossed too high, his hand too closed?  And how do you compare that to last year's performance in front of different judges?

But truly, would you consider Swan Lake a sport?