Showing posts with label folding pocket knife. Show all posts
Showing posts with label folding pocket knife. Show all posts

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Tactical Folders (Part One)

Knife types have a cycle of popularity. 

In literature, we see cycles through the different knife genre.  I remember reading about the drunken pirate/seaman character with his “wicked clasp knife” and watching the Sharks and Jets with their switchblade (automatic) knives.  We still talk about the Swiss Army style camp knife and the Rambo-esque survival knife.  In the electronic media knife types change weekly.

Even the knives we carry on a daily basic reflect that cycle.  Many of us still carry friction folders while others carry only knives that lock open.

So what is a tactical knife?  Let’s visit a few sources and find out.  (Any mistakes in content are my editing.)

Sgt Don Paul (Everybody’s Knife Bible) served as Green Beret and later described a survival knife as one that helped you survive.  It doesn’t take a great jump of imagination to see him describing a tactical knife as one you that assists you in being tactical. 

Our electronic fount of modern knowledge, Wikipedia, traces tactical knives to utility knives which were pressed into combat.
“Fighting knives were traditionally designed as special-purpose weapons, intended for personal or hand-to-hand combat.  This singularity of purpose originally distinguished the fighting knife from the field knife, fighting utility knife, or in modern usage, the tactical knife. 

“Utility knives with stone or flint blades were undoubtedly used in personal combat since Paleolithic times.  The first early Bronze Age daggers featured Beaker copper blades, probably done with hand held stone tools.

“In 1984, a Beaker period (ca. 2500 - 2000 BC) copper dagger blade was recovered from the Sillees River near Ross Lough, Northern Ireland, that had a remarkably modern appearance.  The flat, triangular-shaped copper blade was 6.75 inches long, 1.65 inches wide, and 0.078 inches in maximum thickness, with beveled edges and a pointed tip, and featured an integral tang that accepted a riveted handle.”  

Armed men and women have always need utility knives.  The Egyptian Khopesh (shaped like a shepherd’s hook) or Turkish Kilij (a sword with an up-hill bend) wouldn’t serve to trim rope, stab your share of the evening’s meal or cut leather to repair clothing. 

 If you doubt this try spreading mustard with an American Civil War sword on a hot dog at your next family outing!  What is needed is a utility knife that could act as a last resort weapon!

This is reflected in the introduction of Dietmar Pohl’s photo essay “Modern Knives in Combat.”  

“Even in the days of modern warfare, knives and bayonets remain indispensible items of equipment for the soldier, whether as tools or edge weapons.  …most soldiers also carry a second, usually smaller, knife which meets their needs.  Quite often the knives officially issued … are simply unsuitable for everyday task as they were designed as combat knives.  … (carry knives are) primary work knives, with which one can open a can or package…”

utility knife
The Buck 110 folder, perhaps one of the great camp/hunting utility folders of our time, but missing several of the key features of a tactical knife.
These knives are typically folding, or short blade fixed folders.  

Wikipedia continues to elaborate:  “Folding knives are rarely if ever designed primarily for use as fighting knives or combat knives. However, many armies and military organizations have issued folding "utility" knives that were not intended to be used as weapons, but which had tactical features that appealed to military personnel as well as civilians.   Many civilian folding knives also have been privately purchased by both civilians and military personnel for use as general-purpose utility knives.

“The earliest production company to make a tactical knife was Al Mar Knives with their SERE model designed for the military with input from Special Forces Colonel James N. Rowe in 1979.”

It appears the modern tactical knife was born as an field utility knife and had a good publicity agent!

Knife maker Bob Terzuola is credited with coining the phrase "Tactical Folder."  In his 2000 publication ”The Tactical Folding Knife,” Bob addresses the question  “What is a tactical knife.

Bob first rules out fixed blade knives with the title “The Tactical Folding Knife.”  He further states “…(should) be using the term tactical/utility knife because the vast majority of knife owners will never use a knife in combat…”  

Addressing combat, Bob goes on to say “the best knife to have in a knife fight is the one you have on you at the moment.”

With this in  mind, here’s what Bob considers the defining characteristics of a tactical knife.

  • Blade should be approximately 3.5 inches long and both legal and comfortable to carry.
  • The knife should be capable of dealing both a penetrating and cutting blow.  Both sharpness and blade geometry affect his.  The geometry should make the open knife easy to maneuver.
  • The knife should be easy to open rapidly and easily, i.e.: Spyderco hole or Terzuola thumb disk (coin opener.)
  • The handle should be comfortable and provide some protection to the fingers (from its blade!) while being secure in the hand. 
  • The knife should be convenient to the user in the carry position and capable of a fast draw.
  • The blade should lock open when it is opened and remain open until the user unlocks it.
  • The knife should be robust.

Tactical folder from Buck
One of several bucks showing tactical folder properties: Can be opened with either hand, locks open and the clip can be moved to four different positions so the knife will stay where you put it.  This is important as the two positions near the pivot make the knife low profile
Bob doesn’t at this point define steel type or handle material.  It seems reasonable that knife with a brass blade or glass handle would have such serious drawbacks nobody would consider it for a utility/tactical knife.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Blade Show 2013

There are two important US shows for the knife world.  One is the Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show.  That’s usually in Las Vegas in January.  Most of the commercial manufacturers will have their new products on display.  A knife that doesn’t capture the interest of the retail market at SHOT will find itself circling the drain.

The next biggest is the Blade Show in Atlanta, Georgia in a few days.  Most of the commercial manufacturers will be there and use it to introduce tweaked and new knives driven by the SHOT Show.   It’s also a show about custom knife makers who may only make 20 true handmade custom knives a year.  It’s also a show about knives, blades, swords and their utility and artistry.

Spyderco Dragonfly ~ It's a cute as a bug! 

Like Spyderco’s Joyce Laituri say, “It’s more fun talking knives with knife people.”  I agree.

I’m leaving for the show and I’ll update my blog when I can.  I can’t stay for the entire show and there are more than a few lectures I would like to catch.  So I may not have much time for blogging. 

Tell me you’ve never attended the SHOT Show and I’m not surprised.  You need some access through a commercial endeavor.  But the Blade Show is open to the public.  Take the time and attend.  You’ll never be the same.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dale Warther Memorial Expo Knife Show 2013

WRCA (Western Reserve Cutlery Association) held its March 2013 Dover Show in April this year.  Confused?  You’re not alone.  We were scheduled at the Dover National Guard Armory in March, but someone in the Guard liked our date better and we found ourselves sitting on our asses outside and off the calendar.  The best we could do was reschedule on April 6 and 7th.

Several of our favorite vendors couldn’t reschedule and they were missed.

But still, the show was a lot of fun.  It was nice to spend time yakking with the other vendors and I picked up a really nice knife.  More on that later.  The downside (Yes, most shows have a downside.   It’s more interesting to write about conflict and problems.) was low attendance.  The unofficial count was around 350 attendees over two days.  It is a given in the retail business, no matter if you are buying or selling, you need lots of foot traffic for sales. 

Maybe it was the drop dead gorgeous weather.  Maybe it was the change in date.  Maybe the inability to put an advertising sign in the Armory’s front yard was our fatal flaw.  Maybe, well there’s no maybe about it, we’re doing something wrong.  Let’s see what we do next year.

My NEW Knife

I picked up an unused Elishewitz-1 (small) from the German company Eickhorn-Solinger. 

my new knife front side
My new Elishwitz-1 pocket knife

The seller told me it was one of those companies that had gone out of business in Germany, but their website indicates they are doing well.

My new Elishwitz knife showing clip
For the size of the knife, it has a nice proportion of blade to handle.

Eickhorn is one of many knife companies that has been making edged steel in the “City of Blades,” as Solinger is known in Germany, for 140 years.  They are best known for their high quality military knifes.  This knife shows the quality.

The almost 3-inch blade is a nice spear point with a well-proportioned swage and partial flat grind.  The steel is cryo-quenched 420 stainless steel that has been softened to HRC 55-56.  Softened is the right term.  Just hardened steel can be so brittle it can’t be worked without breaking.  The blade is laser engraved with first production run 0936 of 2000 and logos.

The handle is aircraft aluminum with G-10 inserts
Closed and showing clip side.  The handle is aircraft aluminum with G-10 inserts.

The handle is G-10 with an aluminum/magnesium anodized alloy insert.  That’s sort of the opposite of what I often see.

The knife locks open with a steel frame lock.  
The steel liner shows serrations for friction
The knife looks unused.   The original grind marks are still on the edge of the blade.

Eickhorn has serrated the edge of the steel frame to increase your grip.  Of course it has a clip so it will stay where I put it. 

I got it with the original plastic box and paperwork.  I found it was still available online and you can get one for 45 euros.
Reminds me of Tupperware
Kind of reminds me of Tupperware!

The company’s logo is a long-eared squirrel with a sword with a sort of a give-me-the-bird-seed-or-your-life kind of look.   

laser etched in blade steel
The trademark has been laser etched into the steel.  Not too visible in this photo, you can see where the laser paused or started leaving little periods in the letters.
The company was founded by the Eickhorn family with that name 140 years ago, so I took a chance and translated squirrel into German and got eichhornchen.  I suspect the boys often got tagged with the nickname squirrel. 

laser etched
Elishewitz logo.  You can see little spots were the laser paused for a microsecond.