Sunday, April 16, 2017
Let's go meandering!
I just had another person ask me if my Spydercos were real.
I’m getting tired of this. I am an honorable knife dealer and would not sell you a knife you didn’t want, just to make a sale. Nor would I sell you a counterfeit or broken knife. I buy from one of the largest wholesalers in the country and they buy directly from the knife makers.
I’m going start telling those asking me that question, “If you want to buy counterfeits, you’re going to have to go elsewhere.”
This is a growing problem. Last January, Spyderco sued the Kittery Trading Post for selling counterfeit Military and Paramilitary identified by Kittery as Spyderco clones. Now maybe you think it’s cool to own a counterfeit, after all you paid $35 for a $100+ knife. Until it fails, breaks or you find you have to sharpen it all the time. Maybe you trade that counterfeit to a buddy (who you really don’t like, otherwise why would you take advantage of him?) for something they have or to settle a loan.
But you know, you’re hurting the knife community. You’re making a statement about what kind of person you are and what kind of people you want as friends… I hope you eat shit and die on your birthday.
Thread Vs Tread
Thread means a fine cord made of two or more twisted fibers.
Tread means to trample on or crush underfoot. It’s also the part of the tire contacting the ground.
Language changes, so I looked them up in the Encarta Dictionary just to make sure I knew the differences..
I just saw the back of his sweatshirt. It had a very nice libertarian statement about being race, religion, and gender blind and emphasizing a true patriot loves his country but not necessary his government.
I agree with many of the things sweatshirt stated. It ended with the famous quote from the Gadsden Flag that even non-history buffs surely remember.
But the real quote is “ tread on me.” and not as his sweatshirt stated, “…thread on me.”
Perhaps it’s a quote from a historic group of embroiderers.
Kydex continues to rule in the knife sheath and gun holster world. It has a lot of advantages and a few disadvantages. It doesn’t stretch out of shape, rot from exposure to water or corrode brass fittings because it doesn’t have leather’s fatty acids and it’s strong and difficult to puncture. I really like the puncture resistance aspect. A fall in the outdoors can be dangerous enough, but cutting yourself because the knife split its leather sheath can be fatal.
Having said that, leather is quiet and doesn’t make a scratchy sound when brambles brush across it.
I saw a kydex worker at the last Medina gun show and he had an interesting partial solution to the holster/sheath dilemma. You know what that dilemma is, don’t you?
The problem any holster seller has is never having the right holster or sheath and too many of the ones nobody wants. Add the problem of color or design and it’s a small wonder anyone wants to sell holsters/sheaths.
This maker had several large clamshell-like wooden crates on wheels containing his kydex press, sander, band-saw, buffing wheels, jig-saw and heat source. It was like bringing your factory to the show. Next to him he had a table with several previously made holsters for some of the more common guns. He had just finished making a knife sheath when I came by. He also did a very nice, compact holster for a Sig with a light on it.
I didn’t ask prices, but it can’t be cheap to make holsters/sheaths during the show and have to transport all that equipment. Still it’s an interesting development.
I suspect the real answer to custom-fit holsters/sheaths will be a laser scanner interfaced to computer driven 3-D printer. You read it here first!
Sunday, July 20, 2014
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.
|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.
|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.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
It was a knifie kind of weekend for me. I was selling knives at the Dalton, Ohio gun show.
The Dalton show is a very nice venue. It's a large open structure, well-heated with clean, well taken care of restrooms, wide aisles, excellent and reasonably priced food. I don’t know why WRCA doesn’t want to move our show there. We can’t stay at the Dover Armory with its tight space, limited parking and unpredictable schedule shuffling. WRCA just doesn’t like Dalton. It’s not Dover.
I had a conversation with a young fellow that was very enlightening, but I found him to be a bit of a dim bulb.
Him: “How come nobody at the show carries Kershaw?”
Me: “Kershaw is a great knife but the knives are a little expensive. Walmart sells them and it’s hard to compete on price against them.”
He takes out his Kershaw Blur and flicks out the black, partially serrated tanto blade. I have the identical one on the table marked at $88.00.
Him: “You’re right about that. I just bought this one at Walmart for $66.00.”
Me: “So you’re the answer to why nobody at the show carries Kershaw.”
I also had a left-handed M-21 from CRKT on my table. It’s in the reduced inventory pile. I know about 10% of the population is left-handed. I’d sure buy a knife designed specifically for me if I was a lefty. I would have snatched it up in a New York minute. (This reference in no way signifies any recommendation or suggestion you should visit NY.)
|I just rotated the clip. I like 'tip up carry' even for my left-handed knives.|
I was explaining to a second rocket scientist that it was left-handed.
Him: “Are all your knives left handed (including the fixed blades)?
Me: “Yes, we are from a mirror image universe. That’s why I’m talking backwards to you.”
|What makes it left-handed? Easy. The liner lock pushes to the right. Go ahead. Check your knife to see which way the liner lock pushes.|
I had a chance to purchase a classic Italian switchblade in mint condition. It was a limited edition production (no. 1 of 100) with polished mammoth ivory handles. It was incredible. It was also $500.
I sent him to my friends Dale and Mike. They took a pass too. If you want to make money buying and selling you need to remember the golden rule, “Buy low and sell higher.” It’s very hard to do that above the 500 bucks range. The owner needed to find a collector, not a seller.
But it wasn’t a completely wasted weekend. I settled on keeping the left-handed knife for my left pocket. It was my best deal of the show!
Sunday, October 21, 2012
The restaurant business is tough. Always a new competitor, constantly changing tastes, and let’s not even talk about reliable employees.
But enough is enough. I had to walk out of the 24-hour IHOP at 1920 Harper Road, Beckley WV.
Poor service. The manager got us seated right away. It was 4:45 am. We got coffee and menus right away. They had a hostess whose job was to serve coffee and water. She was great. She also told us our server would be right out.
But 15 minutes later still no waitress. I had to be in a car caravan by 6:15 AM to be escorted down to the landing zone at Bridge Day. If I’m not there when the caravan starts down I will not be allowed down. Since I feed the landing zone people it’s important I honor my commitment. I’m not important, but feeding the landing zone crew is. Without those volunteers, Bridge Day, the largest single-day money-making activity in the state of West Virginia might not be. People come to see the BASE jumpers. And they leave their money behind.
I know a lot of the patrons in this IHOP past 3 am are drunks trying to sober up over an endless cup of coffee. I’ve been there a number of times over the years and I’ve seen it. Service is slow. I understand the servers don’t need to pay them attention. That wasn’t the case Bridge Day morning. There were only three tables occupied and everyone sounded sober to me. That was a rarity at that place. I was sure my wife and I would have no trouble meeting our deadline.
After 15 minutes of being ignored, I put 2 dollars on the table for coffee and left. On the way out we explained to the manager, heard the waitress explain that she was in the back and nobody told her she had customers. Despite the entreaties there was no reason to stay. I didn’t hear the one thing that would have gotten us back into those seats.
It wasn’t about free food. I always prefer service over free.
Promise to do better next time means nothing. Next time doesn’t feed the cat today, does it?
What I needed to hear was the staff will rush your order through and get you out of here in record time.
So there you have it. If you want to be ignored or treated like a drunk, go to the IHOP at 1920 Harper Rd in Beckley WV. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
The Dalton gun show this weekend was certainly interesting. I found several things I was looking for and I lost one I normally keep.
I lost my temper in a big way. This doesn’t happen very often. I normally just fume inside, and then vent on my way home or on my blog. In fact I almost lost it twice at the show.
The first time I had a customer who would not believe me when I told him Camillus was made in China. He just wouldn’t believe me. I mean it’s listed on the package and honestly, the quality isn’t the same as compared to when they were made in America. I can be mistaken about country of origin or type of steel in the blade, but I never lie to a customer.
He almost throws the knife on the floor and tells me:
“This is terrible. They should be shot!”
Camillus was unable to compete in today’s markets and went out of business. Somebody bought the name and moved it overseas. You have to understand, Camillus didn’t ask me (or apparently him) about making knives in China. I’ve had about all I can take of the automatic response that a knife made in China or anywhere other than the USA is by definition a “crap knife.”
“Let me show you some made-in-the-USA knives,” I said. “Why don’t you buy an American made knife from an American knife seller? Maybe if we buy enough American knives we can convince the manufacturers to bring production back to America?”
“I bought enough American knives,” he sniffed and walked away. I didn’t see any in his translucent plastic bag. Clearly a near miss on the temper scale!
By the end of the Sunday I went for a walk and bought a few little things I was after. I returned to find a fellow opening and testing all my Benchmade knives. He had borrowed a pen from us and was writing the numbers down.
I’ve seen this before. It usually means they will go online and search for the best deal. I’m okay with that. I usually give them a card and suggest that if they find one, email me and I’ll give them the best quote I can. They seldom do this, but it is the way of sales.
“You’re going to see if you can find it online?” I asked.
“No, I’m going to have my buddy, who’s a dealer, order me one.”
So in other words, his buddy doesn’t want to invest his money in buying Benchmade knives so our shopper can try them out and then decide which one he wants. But it’s okay to come over to my table and check ‘em out and rub my nose in the fact that I cannot possibly make a sale.
I admit I lost it. Now, Sister Mary used to say bad language was a sign of the illiterate and un-educated. I agree with her. I could have said:
“You are clearly are a nasty, pathetic waste of humanity who will certainly die alone and unloved in a hospital for advanced stage syphilitic patients. And I hope when you get back to your kennel tonight, your mother bites you.” That would have been the smart thing to say.
Instead I said: "Get the f**k away from my table. (You should) Eat sh*t and die on your birthday.”
Childish? Yes. And I regret it. I’m still P.O.ed and I know Sister Mary would have been disappointed.