Showing posts with label Blade show. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blade show. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

More Blade Show

Sunday morning at the Blade Show is my catch-up day.  I use it to talk to the various knife dealers and personalities.  I had no idea it was going to start that morning at breakfast.

I had a chance to share a table with Phil Cookson and Sylvia Ehinger from Pohl Force.  Dietmar Pohl started this company a few years ago and they are trying to make inroads into American markets.   So far the two of them are the American staff.  But that shouldn’t matter, because these knives have the right stuff.

Dietmar Pohl, I’m told, is the designer behind Boker’s Kalashnikov design.  If you get a chance, take a serious look at that knife.  It’s a basic utility folder that delivers performance.  

Dietmar has designed over 60 knives and knows his way among the LEO and military knife communities.  He’s published a very nice book about some of the knives used by soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the Balkans.  It’s changed some of my perceptions on combat knives, the least of which is non-rounded, asymmetric handles and folders in addition to fixed blades.  The book’s pretty cool and I recommend it.


selection of folders from Pohl Force
Note the coin opener and jimping for the thumb
Later at the show I had a chance to stop at Pohl Force.  They have some very nice designs and they aren’t afraid of using different steels.  You’ll find knives made from D-2, the ubiquitous 440C, BD-1 and one that caught my eye, Niolox.  Niolox is a German steel that’s reported to be better than 440C in terms of edge retention and corrosion resistance.  Since I see my knives as tools, I don’t coddle them and sometimes they are mistreated.  Edge retention and corrosion resistance is important to me.


                            440C  VS  Niolox

  • Element               440C Niolox
  • Carbon 0.95-1.2% 0.8%
  • Chromium         16-18%              12.7%
  • Molybdenum 0.75% 1.1%
  • Manganese    1% 0.0%
  • Niobium             0. 0%                 0.7%            


On the surface you might think that Niolox should be less corrosion resistant than 440C.  Isn’t chromium the magic element for rust resistance?  Well it is, but it reacts with carbon to form very hard carbides.  The more carbon you have, the more chromium is unavailable to provide rust resistance. 

Frankly, my understanding of metallurgy is very simple and not up to the task of explaining austenite stabilizers, carbide grain anchoring or continuous cooling charts. All of which are needed to understand what happens in steel.

I will say I was very impressed with Pohl Force knives.
   
I’m just sorry my camera batteries decided to run out of juice at their table.  The fixed blades were elegant!



I just want to mention the cutting contest.  

Every Blade Show has a cutting contest that allows participants from the local level to compete on the national level.  Each contest is different from previous ones.  Oh, sure you cut through hanging ropes, water bottles and a couple 2X4s, but you may have to push cut the entire length of a plastic straw and then cut as many washers as you can from an upright cardboard cylinder.  This is all done on the clock so knife control and speed count for score.

The knives are highly regulated in terms of weight, length, size and general configuration.  You don’t have to make your own.  You can buy from an approved maker/vendor.  All participants must attend a training class taught by internally certified instructors.  Cutting contests aren’t anything you can just jump into.

From what I can tell, most of cutters at the national level are big, beefy males, but this year Jessica Elias, the Creative Director from L. T. Wright Handcrafted Knives competed.  She was anything but a beefy male.  

The original stated purpose of this contest was to help evaluate grinds, steels, blade configurations, hardness and tempering as well as sharpening procedures.  Maybe it does, but I think it’s like car racing.  If you think 500 miles of left turns on tricked out tires and suspensions that could never be used outside of the race track is important to tire development, who am I to say different? 

Myself, I prefer to just lean back and enjoy the spectacle.  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Blade Show Day 2

Mark Zalesky, the editor of Knife World has purchased the paper and is now the editor, publisher, and chief bottle washer.  We spoke for a while at the BLADE Show and he’s quite excited.  I think you’re going to see big changes at Knife World.  Good Luck, Mark!

I was visiting at Spyderco and enjoyed some of the inside stories about knives and knife makers.  They have just expanded with a new 17,000 square foot manufacturing area.  That means more knives stamped Golden Colorado, USA Earth on the blade tang.  They are still figuring out the best way to set machines and organize work flow, but do you know what they’re most excited about?  The factory windows can open letting in fresh spring air, that’s what! 

They are reintroducing their line of kitchen knives.  While not as nearly as heavy as many profession knives, they are nicely balanced and sharp.  I love their bread knife and the little paring knife.  The large santoku doesn’t have the little air breaks indentations seen on other santoku.  That might just be an advertising ploy, well have to see how it works.


Blade Show
The Positron.  This knife is so cool both my wife and I want one!

I got to handle their new Positron.  It’s a 3-inch flipper blade made out of S30V in a carbon fiber handle.  It weighs 2.6 ounces.  It’s lovely!!!



Here’s another knife from Phil Wilson and Spyderco.  It’s called the Sprig and sports a 2.23 inch blade made from S90V steel. 

Blade show 2015
The Sprig
It’s a bird and trout fixed blade.  The sheath is still under development.  While it targets a specific use, it would make an all purpose camp and cooking knife.  S90V has high chromium levels for corrosion resistance and high vanadium and molybdenum.  These last two elements form tiny but incredibly hard carbides which should give great edge retention.

Of course Spyderco and everyone else is still plagued with knock-offs from China.  If you have searched for Spyderco or Benchmade you’ll find that Wal-Mart has them and at incredible prices.  Spyderco tells me Wal-Mart isn’t getting these knives from them, so who’s wholesaling them?  “Lot of counterfeits out there.  You get what you pay for.”  Take that as a quote!

Stopped by Benchmade to look around.  Try and get your hands on the 665 APB Assist.  It’s vey new and quite exciting.

The Benchmade 665APB

Most of us are familiar with the Benchmade Axis lock.  The lock is thought to be one of the strongest and certainly easiest to use on the market.  The APB Assist does away with the axis lock and replaces it with a dual button lock.  The person I spoke to at Benchmade told me it was just about as strong as the Axis lock.  I haven’t used the knife yet, but I can’t help but wonder if my grip would accidently depress both buttons.


The two buttone must be preseed together to unlock the knife.  It's very smaooth and a natural move.


The knife opens normally but to close it you pinch both buttons inward and that unlocks the blade.  Very slick.  The 3.6 inch blade is made from 154CM steel and the blue and black handle is very nice.  Benchmade told me they were trying to introduce a color in to the overwhelmingly black tactical market.  The APB Assist also comes in a full auto version (6800 Auto APB Assist).  The catalog shows it black, but the version I saw was blue and black with the same handle.  I suspect it was a quick production so it was available for the show.

Benchmade is making several other autos aimed at the civilian market with clean powerful lines.  Several don’t even look like autos.  The auto APB Assist an excellent case in point. 

Benchmade also has this cool service at the Blade Show.  They will engrave any Benchmade knife blade with any text.  The laser engraver isn’t much bigger than a couple shoe boxes cabled to a laptop computer.  The text is typed in, moved around and sized.

I remember when engraving lasers were the size
of a small auto!
.  


Spelling is checked and you can see the size and position of your text outlined in red laser light



When everything is set up they close the doors and punch go.  A bright green spot of light burns the text into your blade.




Now you can personalize your Benchmade for the cost of a trip to the Blade Show!

If you are going to Blade, take your Benchmades and get them engraved!

I stopped at Buck and found myself talking with CJ Buck.  At the WRCA knife expo I bought a nice new Buck 110 Hunter with what I was told were stainless steel bolsters.  Having a Buck for years, it soon became apparent the brass bolsters react with the fatty acids in the leather to produce a green corrosion.  I was wondering why Buck stopped make 110’s with the stainless steel.  CJ told me they never made a steel bolster.  That would require machining which would drive the price up.  

What I have is German Silver, a mixture of 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc.  It turns out that brass and German silver have about the same melting point so the same casting equipment can be used for both.

No Blade Show is complete without a stop at Santa Fe Stoneworks.  It only takes one look to be convinced to stop and ooh and ahh.  Truly impressive knives.

A small selection of the knives



I’ve see this knife-making display before.  Knife-making made simple. 

See!  Five Steps!
So what’s stopping us?

I’m walking around and I see a name I thought I recognized from a knife blog I read.  She’s an elderly lady standing behind a counter talking to a customer.  In front of the counter stood a short, silver haired woman talking to a distinguished looking elderly man.  I was waiting for the customer to leave the counter when the silver haired woman turns to me and says:

“How are you?  It’s so nice to see you again!” She throws her arms around me and gives me a hug.  I don’t know this woman.  The conversation goes:

Me: “Thank you but I don’t seem to remember your name?”

Her: “Oh, you were drunk that night.” 

I haven’t been drunk since high school graduation, so if I met her then, she has a remarkable memory.  What am I going to say to her?  Oh, I got it.

Me:  “Perhaps you're right, would you please tell me you name again.”

She does and I’m still not coming up with any connections.

Me:  “I’m afraid I don’t recognize what name.”

Her: Do you know Blackie Collins?”
That when the ants started marching up and down my spine dragging ice cubes.
 
Me: “Well, of course I know of him, but I also met him years ago at the SHOT Show.  He was very kind to my wife and myself.  A gracious man.  He unrolled these large scale drawing of one of his new knives and showed us how it worked and what the interesting design features were.”  I ran out of things to say, so I ended with ”He was very nice to us.”

Her: ‘I’m his widow.”

Oh!  Well what else can you say other than “You have my deepest condolences.”

We yakked a bit and I excused myself only to find out the woman behind the counter wasn’t the blogger I thought she was. 

Here’s a few additional photos from Blade 2015:


Grinding Demo by John Horrigan  Too many people to get a nice shot of the actual grind

The art of Chris Reeve's knives!













Friday, June 5, 2015

Blade Show Blast Off!

The BLADE Show is off with a BANG! 
At least that’s what you’re lead to expect reading the blogs.  Here’s the reality.

The show starts with people lining up for HOURS before the show opens.  I was there 2.5 hours before it opened and found that the end of the line was all the way down the hall, and blocking the concourse.  By the time it opened the line stretched down another hall, across, then snaked over, reversed, and headed into the adjacent hotel.  By that time the smarter people just sat at the entrance and waited for the opening bell.  The end of the line eventually reached them and they walked in the door like normal people.  I wonder what time the first person in line arrived to get that number one spot?

early morning linde up BLADE Show
Early morning line up.  Who was suppose to bring donuts and coffee? 

About an hour before the opening the line starts to compact itself and soon begins to vibrate in anticipation.  It’s a dangerous condition.  Management came by and told everyone they couldn’t block the concourse and everyone involved collectively told them to shove it.  Cooler heads prevailed and they got the passageway opened. 

While sitting there I met Phil Wilson.  He’s a knife maker from California, now retired and has been for 25 years.  (PS 8 June 15  I just found out that Spyderco consideres him one of the top 5 knife metalurgist still living. I wish I have know that when I was talking to him.)  Some of his work is being considered by Spyderco, but he had a few knives with him.  
One of Phil's knives
One of Phils knives.  He makes a nice blade!

Phil is a true hobbyist: he makes 5 knives a month for his own pleasure and isn’t interested in creating an industry around himself.  I thought his knives were very nice.

I stopped by Santa Fe Stoneworks.  They are buying their stabilized ivory and a resin material called Sparkle from Raffir in Denmark.  These materials are very nice and I really like the Sparkle which is a plant fiber and aluminum shavings in colored resin.  Prices are floating up and I expect them to continue that way.

Remember one of the Terminator movies with the liquid metal bad guy?  The Miltner Adams Co. is making something like that.  It’s a moldable metal that’s reported to be double the strength of titanium and was developed by Caltech/NASA.  The metal technology allows you to injection mold complex shapes to a high degree of tolerance.

liquid metal knife
The stud on the top of the round hole controls the sheath.

As a result they have developed the Hybrid Knife.  It’s a fixed blade and you slip your fingers through the knife handle to provide a non-slip grip.  By pressing a stud just above the central circular opening you can pop the metal sheath off the blade to expose the cutting surface.  By manipulating the stud it will close the sheath over the blade.  Frankly, it is an acknowledgment that most of your (and mine!) cutting is mundane and of short duration.  The metal sheath can be removed if you want.

The knife has a Rockwell C of 53.  That’s pretty low but the salespeople told me that was the non-heat treated value.  They also told me if you slip the knife in the oven at 300° overnight you’ll find a very different metal in the morning.  I’m going to assume that would be bad.  This kind of heat treatment usually results in dimension changes, so your knife might not fit together so well.  So don’t do that.  It’s a very interesting knife as is and a very interesting look at manufacturing.

We lucked out at Cutco.  Loren, the local sales rep, has been changing out his display knives for new ones and my wife found one she liked at a great price.  He remembered us from last year and told us what we had bought.  That impressed me.  Cutco owns Ka-Bar and makes very nice kitchen knives so take a look at them if you’re upgrading.

My wife's new knife
Later at Stone River Gear she found a ceramic black bladed folder she really liked.  We often get requests for ceramic folders so we’ll see what one does on our sales table.  Yeah, I bought a second one just for the table.

Imagine our surprise at the Benchmade display when we were asked what’s our home town.  The sales rep was so surprised by our answer and his name seemed familiar.  It turned out he knows our neighborhood pretty well.  He should.  He’s lived there and his dad was the real estate agent who brokered our house 30 some years ago.

Here's a few more pictures:


Before the general admittance at noon






One was to carry a butterfly, clearly a custom job!




That it for tonight!  Stand by for day 2










Thursday, June 4, 2015

BLADE Show Count Down

It’s the day before the Blade Show (June 4th) and frankly it was an interesting trip.

Last night we stayed in Richmond at my niece’s college apartment.  She can’t move in yet because she has a gig at a golf course in Akron, Ohio.  The landlords around her university (EKU) have 12 month leases so most of the rentals are empty, but leased.  That gave us a place to flop. 


Rented Student housing at EKU
This first floor of the apartment.  The two bedrooms are up a long winding stair case, still it's a nice palce.

Her stuff is largely moved in but unpacked.   So we had to make the bed and it was just one step above cutting wood to length.  Still, it saved us a nice hunk of change and it’s a very nice place, especially considering it’s student housing.

LOn the way to the BLADE Show
We left a little something so my niece will rememeber us when she moves in.
We didn’t hit any traffic until we got about 2 miles from our exit.  One of those informational signs informed us an accident on a ramp between our expressway and another had tied everything up.  Informative, yes, but ultimately useless.  It might have just told us we were fire trucked.  (Clue, cross out the right letters for our true condition.)

Anyway, with the help of the GPS we found our way to the Hampton Inn.  It’s one of the nicest rooms I’ve stayed in, including the Piccadilly Hotel in London.

I want to check the convention center out and then it’s off to Ted’s Montana Grill for supper.

Normally the Blade Show does both Blade University and free seminars.  The university deals more with running a business, grass roots efforts to assure knife rights, and such.  The free seminars, which I really enjoyed, dealt with how to field sharpen your knife with anything, best sharpening practices, DIY knife photography, etc.

That’s all gone.  Everything is a pay-to-watch Blade University programs.  For example, a perfect subject for the free seminars would be what to look for in a knife, now its $20.

There will still be the cutting contest and other demos in the courtyard, but it’s only a matter of time before they disappear.

Oh, the reason given for the abolishing the free seminars?  To pay the big knife makers who are giving the courses.  I don’t know if I believe that.  After all, next to the Blade Show this is the biggest knife show in the country.  They would be here anyway.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

More Blade Show

One of the interesting factoids from the Blade Show is Emerson Knife is a small company.  They have only a handful of employees.  I find this surprising.  I’ve always assumed (there’s that word) that Emerson was a large company.  Of course, large and small are vague terms at best and can be quite meaningless.

This explains the disclaimers seen in catalogs “Due to high quality standards, Emerson produces a limited number of knives per year…”  I suspect it isn’t because of Emerson’s excellent quality that limited numbers are available.  It’s because the physical limitations of the company limit the number of knives manufactured.

In an effort to promote the Emerson brand outside of knife circles, Ernie has sold several of his designs incorporating the quick opening ‘wave’ to Kershaw.

I stopped at the Emerson booth and asked if this was a sort of collaboration between Kershaw and Emerson.  That brought people to their feet quickly.  I’m just glad there was a counter between us.

“No!” I was told.  “Those designs were bought by Kershaw, will be manufactured by Kershaw, marketed by Kershaw, and all warranty work will be handled by Kershaw.”  If there was a sink present he would have washed his hands.

I was told Ernie wants more name recognition in the general public and Kershaw will be selling these through Wal-Mart and other mega-stores.  I found them in Kershaw’s 2014 catalog as the Kershaw-Emerson knife.  Their SKU will be the familiar CQC-1 through 8 followed by a K. 

A couple weeks ago I had a chance to handle one.  I thought it was stiff to open.  The blade was made from 410 steel instead of 154CM and in general, it’s a smaller knife.  The price difference could be as much as $230 retail.  I suspect they will be made in China. 

Frankly, I never really trust Wal-Mart.  Too many past stories of them selling junk and damaging companies and communities.  The Rubbermaid story is a cautionary tale.

It’s like Emerson is making their own counterfeits.

Counterfeits are a big problem in the knife world.  The Chinese are making counterfeits that are virtually perfect down to the printing of the product insert.  I went to one website that sells (no, I'm not telling) knock-offs.  They had a fixed blade, with a leather sheath that looked just like a Randall knife.  The image was low quality, on purpose I suspect, but it looked like the metal snap on the retaining strap said Randall.
If you want to buy more than 30, you can get them for under $100 each.  Each one could be sold at a gun or knife show for over $500.  Since many of these will end up in a drawer or display case it’s almost a victimless crime, right?

Except for the fraud, except for the person who buys it and uses it, right?  When it fails and at best it will give diminished performance, who’s going get the bad rap? 

It can also happen accidently.  The seller sells it as a knock-off, but by the time it gets to the third or fourth buyer that fact is misplaced.  Randall is not the only one sniped at.  Spyderco, Benchmade, Emerson, CRKT, Gerber and the rest, they’re all being knocked off.

Customs doesn’t seem to care. They come right through.  I spoke to a fellow whose knife was ripped off.  Sure, he could take the case to the Chinese courts.  Spend a lot of money, do battle for several years and in the end the courts might say, “You win.  Now tell us how many knives you didn’t sell because of the knock-off so we can assess damage. Was it 10, or 1000 and where’s your documentation?”

The Blade Show had a display of knock-off Spydercos, among others.  Only by holding them side by side could I tell the difference between the marked counterfeit and the real deal.  The counterfeit spider on the clip was more like a spider, the real mark looks more like a tick.

Two spyderco knives on box
Can you tell which is real?  The bottom one is counterfeit.


I’ve had people come up to me and tell me that brand X is no damn good.  They had one and it broke.  I ask what they paid and who they bought it from.  The answer is typically 30 bucks from a guy standing outside the show with a box of them.  "Oh," I say.  "You paid 30 bucks for a $180 knife from some guy who didn’t want to pay to get into a gun show and you’re surprised it broke?"

“Well,” they sniff.  “I thought I was getting a really good deal.”  Do me and yourself a favor.  Check out the retail prices on websites and if some website or guy in a hoodie wants to sell it at 60% below retail, you should know it’s a counterfeit. 

I also had a chance to talk to a future knife designer.  He’s there with a protoype of a folder with a blade bigger than the handle.  He uses the clip to protect the end of the folded blade extending out of its handle. 

A truly large bladed folder

What seems to be unique to this knife is the clip is spring loaded so it snaps down the back of the folder’s handle to give you a normal size handle when the blade is open. 

I'm holding the knife by its pocket clip.  No.  I'm not putting that in my pocket!



Here's the back in the closed position.





It reminded me of a high tech Marble’s Safety folder.  I wish him well, but (open mouth – insert foot) it’s a stupid idea.  The bigger blade might be useful, if the pivot will support the load and if you don’t cut a finger off trying to get it closed.

One wonders if primitive man carried an assembled stone axe or if he just carried the knapped stone and made the handle and then tied the stone to the handle when he needed it.  I suspect he carried it already assembled.  And do you know why?

Because when you need an axe, there usually isn’t time to assemble one. 


Add handle and instant axe!  Almost.


I saw a high tech axe head that acts that way.  When you need it you first need to cut a suitable size tree limb.  You can use the sharpened axe head by holding it in your hand and flailing away at a branch.  

axe head on wooden shaft
Please note the handle isn't a branch. but a manufactured piece of hickory.
Then you need to cut a groove down the center of the branch of sufficient width so the axe head can slide down the middle of the shaft without cracking the shaft.  Using clever, claw-like clamps you can tighten a grip on the branch so the head doesn’t fly off while you’re using it.  Now you’re ready to chop wood.

The inventor wanted to peddle it to the hiker/camper/survivalist market.  All you need is the axe head, which is light weight and small and you can make an axe.  No reports from anyone who tried to chop wood with it.

The handle appeared to be cut on a band saw.  This would make the perfect gift for that outdoors person you didn't want returning. 

I suspect it will end up in the bottom of a go-bag waiting for the collapse of civilization.  Look, I could understand if the inventor suggested pre-cutting wood to fit the axe head.  The axe would be easy to pack and it is lightweight.

But if you need to make shelter NOW!  Or need a fire NOW!  spending an hour or two making this axe is going to cost you.  I suggest if you carry one, the first thing you should do when you get lost is stop, get the head out and start making an axe.  Use that time to calm down, think about your plan, your immediate needs and then work your plan which now includes cutting wood for fire, snares and shelter.

One thing for sure, the Blade Show is never dull.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Re-branding: It's Not Just for Wall Street

I get a lot of catalogs.

All sorts of catalogs ranging from clothing, woodworking equipment, outdoor stuff, guns, shooting supplies and of course, knives.  I read them all. 

I recently got a catalog from a company that sells high-end work clothes.  I’m sure you’ve seen the catalog.  You can purchase a canvas sport coat or extra long tee-shirts to prevent butt crackitis from them.

Recently I saw a knife that’s an old favorite of mine.  It’s the Boker Sub-Com.  It’s been re-branded as the Boker Biscuit Knife.


An add for the Boker Biscuit
It works better as a money clip or clipped on your shorts behind your belt buckle.


The re-branding seems to have affected the price.

The catalog prices it at $46.95.
The 2013 Boker catalog lists it at $48.95.
My supplier lists the retail cost at $49.95.

It’s a nice knife and it’s true.  It fits well in the watch pocket on men’s jeans.  Not too many of us carry pocket watches any more. That’s kind of a shame.  There was a certain class to taking the watch out of your pocket and pushing the stem in to pop the protective cover off the crystal.
The 'Biscuit' also works well as a money clip. 

I’m getting ready for the Blade Show.  We called the hotel to make a reservation and was told:
  • They are full.
  • All Blade Show attendees and vendors have to check out Sunday morning, because they have a new show coming in Monday and they need the rooms for those people.

Sunday morning at the show should be interesting.

More about the Blade Show as I blunder into it!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Blade Show and Counterfeit Spyderco


I’ll be attending and blogging from the Blade Show in Altanta next month. 

The Blade Show isn’t really a trade show like the SHOT Show.  Yes, large orders will be placed and taken by different vendors and company representatives, but it’s really a show for knife lovers.  They will also have the annual cutting contest.

It’s true.  Name an activity and somebody will make a contest about it.  I’m told that NASCAR has its roots in bootleggers outrunning the feds.  I don’t know if it’s true, but makes for a great story.

A tough lie.  It's in the rough and it looks partially buried.  Must have been soft ground.

I don’t know the roots of the Blade cutting contest, but contestants have a variety of objects that have to whacked off, cut through, bisected, and separated from the rest of it.  The knives are closely regulated.  I remember discussions with participants over the best place for a lanyard.  I remember several older winning designs that had points.  Most of the knives today have round noses because there is no stabbing event and the point was wasted knife.  They don’t look like the kind of knife you would carry for daily use.

The general comment seems to be that the cutting contest will result in the design of better steels, blade grinds and theories about how things are cut.  All of which will improve your knife.  Hmmm, that’s a lot to ask.

Golf ball cut in half at Blade cutting contest
Tougher than you think.  A golf ball cut with a single swing.

I worked for a tire company that used to claim what they learned from making essentially 500 miles of left hand turns with tires designed differently for each of the car's wheels produces a better passenger car tire.

That’s BS.  It produces advertisement and brand recognition.  So with that background in mind let’s just say I’m cynical about blade improvement from cutting golf balls and hacking through a 2x4.

cutting contest at blade show, gold ball cut in half, single stroke
I saw this ball cut in half with a single chop.  Impressive as hell!!!!  I wonder if the ball has a cut proof guarantee?

Still it’s amazing to watch!!!!


My friend bought this at a gun show.  The seller had a box of them and was selling them significantly below wholesale.  All the knives were without boxes.  It looks like one of Spyderco’s SLIPITS.  All the markings look good.

Suspect  spyderco knife  Slipit
Looks like a Spyderco SLIPIT.  For those cities and nations that think locking blades are TOO DANGEROUS  for the common man.
 
And the price!  It was just so good that he couldn’t resist.  The problem is the price was too good.  Is it or is it not a real Spyderco?


The blade is stamped with Spyderco CPMS30V  the steel type





Close up of knife with origin stamp.  Looks real
The flip side.  Still looks good to me?


I’m taking it to the Blade Show to ask Spyderco.

Stay tuned for more…………

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Blade Show: T plus Two

It’s my last day. I was planning to spend all day Sunday at the show, but frankly I’ve seen enough and I’m not seeing anything I can’t live without. I’d rather save some money for making Kydex sheaths.

Okay, I admit it; I bought a few knives just for the sake of ownership. I have always enjoyed Loveless knives from his naked lady period. So I checked the prices. I hope you invested years ago. A nice, well kept Loveless from this period runs around $2400. You will not find any naked ladies from Loveless in my collection.

I did find Bossie Knives now known as Safari Consulting. I bought a little dagger with a black iron wood handle that I couldn’t resist. I bought one last year in giraffe bone. I’m not really a dagger kind of guy, but these little guys just speak to me.




I sat in on Ed Fowler’s presentation. His message to consumers and knife makers remains a constant beacon of sanity. Test your knife to destruction. No one knows what the future will bring and you may need that knife to perform far outside of its intended role. Ed bends his knives back and forth from 90 degrees to 180 degrees without breaking. He expects to be able to do that several times, hammer it flat and still have a usable knife. He differential tempers the steel to create a hard area backed up by a thick soft spine so that a crack only grows to the soft metal and still leaves you with a knife you can use. Of course this isn’t cheap. His knives aren’t very attractive, and they run several thousand. Here’s the catch: use his knife and if you don’t like it, even after you use it, send it back and you’ll get your money back.

Spyderco is always doing interesting things. They see a market in Canada, NYC, California, England even Germany for smaller and sometimes non-locking knives. Many cities are restricting blade length, as if a one-and-half-inch blade is less dangerous than a two-and-half-inch blade. I just know that we legals follow the law while criminals do what they want.




Spyderco isn’t the only company doing interesting things. Most of the knife industry is trying to get their hands on your disposable income. Kershaw is showing off some very thick fixed blades which are a radical departure. Bear Knife is introducing a tactical line complete with an auto opener. Two years ago they were telling me (of course, I’m a nobody in the knife industry) they would never have a tactical line. Things are a-changin’.

I also sat in on the cutting contest. The knives are regulated and carefully controlled in an attempt to make it a skill event. It’s a little artificial, but it is exciting to watch someone cut through a water bottle long ways starting with the cap. Chopping the 2x4 in half is one of my favorite spectator sports. Unfortunately, I’ll never see it on TV so I guess I’ll be back at the Blade Show next year.



What, you don’t think that it’s much of a sport? Okay, here, you try it: With a single stroke, cut a tennis ball into two pieces. Okay, now do it while the ball is rolling. How’s that working for you?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Blade Show: T plus One

We lined up and at the sound of the noon bell they threw the doors open and we rushed in. The land grab of 1889 had nothing on us.


First impressions – not great. Oh, the vendors were nice and the attendees interesting, but the show seemed flat to me. Maybe I’m just jaded.


Lots of Randalls, all at high prices. I understand that I can pay $400-$500 for a new one and wait 2.5 years for delivery or I can pay $700 (and up) now and walk off with one today. I’m not a collector so I tend to sooner or later use and resharpen my tools. I just can’t see those prices for a fixed blade factory knife.


We also found a lot of empty tables. That’s somewhat understandable. What’s sadder are the tables which sold out of everything before the show opened up. You thought the VIPs were first in? You forgot about the trading the night before in the hotel lobby and the selling between the dealers. If you absolutely must have the first access to the sellers, there’s only one answer: Buy a table.


We came across a German knife maker, Robert Kaufmann. This is his second trip over from Germany and each time he has sold a large fantasy knife. His most recent effort was a large take-apart fixed blade. Wow!





The sheath came apart, and the knife handle was pinned and wedged in place so it could be disassembled by hand. The handle held two matching chopsticks and each stick held a thin stiletto. My photo doesn’t do it justice. It was beautiful and a marvel to watch Robert slip the knife and sheath apart and then together.


Mantis has bought the design rights of a ringed knife from the father and son design team of Grant and Gavin Hawk. That Hawk family has some clever ideas. What does the knife look like?




Think of a donut with a hidden blade. The concept is way cool, but in all honesty, I’m not sure of the absolute function of the knife. Still, Mantis wants to rock the knife world and they are doing it.


I stopped by Benchmade to show them an auto of theirs I acquired recently. It’s a Mini-Reflex, but it’s different from the current production. The butterfly is labeled Bali-Song, not Benchmade. The blade is bead blasted not black-coated and the back of the blade says pre-production 1998.






Benchmade tells me they used ‘pre-production’ in place of ‘first production’ which they use now. The blasted blade was used in only a few small lots and Bali-Song is long gone. The knife is somewhat of a collectible, so I will fight the temptation to carry it.


I stopped at Busse/Swamp Rat/Scrap Yard. They didn’t have much on display and were taking orders. Honestly, I’m not impressed with the line-up of these knives. It’s the same as last year, just different handles.


If you want to see different styles of knives, go to TOPS. It’s a shopkeeper’s nightmare. So many different styles or SKUs, no matter what you stocked you won’t have what the customer wants. But if you need a specific shape, use or style of blade and thickness isn’t a factor, you’ll find something there.



I stopped to watch an engraver work on a knife. He used a sharp tool, a magnifying glass and a vice. From there he carefully cut and carved his design




by pressing hard sharp steel against another piece of metal. Five booths down another engraver worked with a stereomicroscope. A camera picked up the image for an overhead screen and he used power enhanced tools to engrave a piece of steel. Modern and more traditional just feet apart. The same contrast is found with hand sharpening on fine stones and powered continuous belts. You’ll find works of art at one table and crude semi-finished knives at another. Perhaps the best thing about the Blade Show is the contrast among people as well as the knives on display.