Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Tie One On

There are only a few things one can say are really NEW.  As a chemist I’d say John Napier’s Logarithms in the 1614 were really new.  My Analytical Chem professor had us use logarithms for calculations as hand calculators were not fully invented at that time.  

Much newer are bolo ties which were invented by Victor Emanuel Cedarstaff in the late 1940s. 

Knife Bolo tie, black leather
A distinct touch of style
I’ve always thought bolo ties had a sense of flash and uniqueness men need to tap into.  I had to wear a tie in grade school and my fondness for bolo ties forced the school to rewrite their requirement about wearing ties to include a prohibition against bolo, string and bow ties. 

This is a defining quirk of my personality.  So when I had a chance to get one of Mickey Yurco’s knife bolo ties, how could I say no?

Mickey has been a knife maker for over 30 years and designs unique blades.  Unique?  Yes, because Mickey brings both a sense of history and tradition while concentrating on cutting.  Boker Knives has picked up two of his designs and the latest can be found here.

While not as well hidden as the OSS lapel knife, the bolo knife reminds me of a last resort, hide-out knife.

Bolo tie Knife, Yurco

It needs a set of a dozen friction lines about three-quarters of an inch up from the point so the thumb or index finger has a better friction point to retain the use the knife as a last resort tool.  Simply you’re your thumb or forefinger across anything you want to cut, just remember all the places the pulse can be felt just below the skin. 

Or you wear it as tasteful man jewelry.  The bolo has the classic black leather braided cord ending in silver aiguillettes and the black leather sheath is embossed with bear foot prints.

Bears are the largest land omnivores in both Europe and the Americas.   Since they can walk upright, they were thought to be special and a reservoir of knowledge.  They are also associated with warrior spirit and prosperity.  More manly traits.

I doubt I’ll ever cut my way out of trouble with this knife, but I like the elegant look.  You can contact Mickey if you need manly fashion accessories or interesting cutting edges at shorinki@aol.com.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Wood Knives

My father used to carve wooden knives, mostly daggers.  He’d start with a square rod of scrap pine and carve a handle with grooves, holes, partial spheres and a V-shaped edge he called a blade.  It was just a way for him and me to whittle away an hour.  I’m sure I was better at making shavings than anything resembling a knife. 

But I never forgot carved wooden knives.

At the Lehigh Valley Knife Show I ran into Dean the owner of “The Last Table”  who is making wooden knives.  Specifically folding lock back knives.

Wooden lock back knife  The  Last Table
Here's the details, you just need to add skill and years of practice.

Following his retirement three years ago, Dean has been a serious work worker producing furniture you want to own.  He showed me a logo he first carved into a dry bar for a customer and then took it up a notch by flaming it with gunpowder.  Talk about “Edgy”!

Last year Dean gave some thought to wooden knives and started experimenting.  When you open his folders the lock, driven by a wooden spring, clicks into place locking the knife open.  
OH wooden Lock-back knives
Is this cool or not?  It is!!

The spine lock is depressed against the same wood spring to unlock the knife and the blade snaps tightly into the bolsters.  It sounds like a Buck 110 opening and closing.

wood lock back

There is no metal used in the knife, just wood and wooden pins.  I got a really nice one made of burly maple that I think is super.

The selection of interesting woods is amazing The top marble wood is very interesting as is the second osage orange.

We were talking and Dean showed me an experimental wood Ka-Bar style knife he had made.  The handle is composed of two different woods and the blade is stained dark.  Look at the handle butt and you can see the partial tang a classic Ka-Bar has.
One of the few  Ka-Bars that can float in water, but it's too nice to do that.!

Dean’s working on a website, but it’s not quite there.  It will be OH Wooden Lock-back Knives.  The OH stands for Open Heart and not Ohio.  Trust me.  You can see the heart he puts into these knives.  The name works.

I told Dean I thought mixing different woods for blades and bolsters would be attractive.   I can see even different woods stacked to form the bolsters.  Of course, it’s easy for me to make suggestions when I don’t have to execute the design.

I understand a Floridian has made a large purchase and I suspect we’ll see these at the upcoming Blade Show.  I’ll be looking for them.

You can contact Dean at deangiesige@icloud.com if you’re interested in having custom work done.  I recognize quality wood work when I see it.  This is the real thing!


Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Send in the Clones

Counterfeits, or perhaps the nicer term, “clones” have been a problem for some time.  In 2016, Apple found that 90% of chargers it purchased directly from Amazon, which were using official Apple imagery on the product listings, were fake and even dangerous.

We have often blamed counterfeits on cheap Chinese knockoffs, but even the high quality Chinese knife manufactures are having problems.

WE Knife Co. is moving to stop the sale of clones of their 708 Karambit model.  The two primary offenders were Böker, who sold the knife as the Taifun under their Magnum line, and Adola, a wholesaler located in the Netherlands.

According to WE, both companies get the clone from the same source, a Chinese knock-off company selling the knife as OEM [original equipment manufacturer] product.  Isn’t that ironic!

OEM contracts are nothing new in the manufacturing world.  Thirty years ago both Michelin and Goodyear made Sears tires.  These tires were quality products and made money for all three companies.  Why should the knife industry be any different?  WE itself has fulfilled plenty of OEM contracts and as I understand it, started as an OEM company.

WE’s claim is the model in question copies their original design too closely. “We just do not like other companies cloning our designs and making a profit of it.”  Henk Hakvoort, Marketing VP explains.

Both Böker and Adola are cooperating by removing the offending model from their catalog, but this doesn’t solve the problem.  It seems the Chinese supplier to Böker and Adola purchases these clones from other, presumably, Chinese manufacturers not yet identified.

If you’re an American clone collector, tough luck.  Böker USA does not carry that model here and we have never sold any of them here in the U.S.

Again, clones or counterfeits are a problem in every product line.  Don’t be chump.  If you’re getting a deal that seems too good to be true, it is.  Buying one is admitting you’re all about superficial appearance and not ability and performance.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

On the Edge

Legal News

The Texas Senate on Monday (April 29) passed Knife Rights’ “Location-Restricted Knife” Reform Bill, SB 2381, by a bipartisan vote of 19-12. The House companion bill, HB 2342, received the unanimous vote of the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence last week.

restricted carry of large knives in Texas
Big knife, hopeful fewer restriction on carry in Texas

These bills would reduce number of places where Location-Restricted Knives (blades over 5 1/2 inches) are banned.  This includes restaurants and bars, amusement parks and places of religious worship.

Good news for anyone in or traveling in Texas with a knife in their pocket.  I would have never thought that Texas would have legal restrictions over knife length.  I means it's Texas, for God's sake!

Böker News

Durand prefers a unmarked, simple blade, hence no opening stud or nail nick.

Böker has new releases from three of their designers. Serge Panchenko, Raphaël Durand, and Kansei Matsuno who are back with more for the Solingen, Germany manufacturer.

Serge Panchenko has opened his own production label, Serge Knife Co., and collaborated with Böker before on the popular Lancer model.  His new knife for Böker is the Gust with a 2.8-inch D2 blade, a stainless steel frame lock, with an anodized front scale embellished with a seashell-groove machining pattern.

Raphaël Durand’s new models are the Frelon and Boxer.  Both require two hands to open as neither features a nail nick.  However, both the Frelon and Boxer are locking knives, equipped with the tried and true back lock, 3 inch blades and new steels: the Frelon comes with VG-10, while the Boxer is sporting N690.

Kansei Matsuno brings a liner lock to the LRF design, but maintains the same elegant lines that defined his first release with Böker.  His penchant for twists on opening mechanisms is displayed here. Matsuno has incorporated a symmetrical ‘horned’ front flipper, with small tabs protruding from either side of the pivot. The near-3-inch blade is made from VG-10.

They all sound sweet!

On the down side:  Böker has announced that “On 1 May 2019 our grinding machines will be shut down and delivery times may be extended accordingly. Our sales department will not be available either.” 

While this may just mean a temporary pause, to upgrade, fix, repair or move we hope it’s just a very brief interval. I own several Bökers and they are an underappreciated knife and reasonable in price.