|I've had a few misses, but I think this knife from Gurrentz International Corporation (it's a meat company!) is a hit.|
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
I opened the newspaper the other day to see what I had missed on Black Friday other than voluntarily lining up in frigid weather to buying things I don’t need. After perusing the newspaper ads I discovered I hadn’t missed anything.
Credit where credit is due: Their date system is a stroke of genius for keeping the collectors interested and driving up prices due to scarcity.
I did however note that our local outdoor store had Case knives on sale. I also noticed that several of the knives had pocket clips and a thumb stud. I couldn’t tell from the pictures, but it didn’t look like the knives locked open. I searched the Case website, and yes, they do have lockable knives with pocket clips! But only a few.
So why not more? I always knew not every knife needs to be a tactical knife, but an article on infobarrel suggested that a tactical knife was originally any knife that was issued by the military for use as a weapon and as a tool. Later marketing took the idea and hasn’t stopped running with it yet.
Case introduced tactical knives several years ago at the SHOT Show. I always considered Case a stick-in-the-mud company, but the announcement made me reconsider. Several years later, I’m still not seeing tactical knives in catalogs or knife press. The Case website doesn’t find “Tactical” during a knife search.
I guess they don’t feel it’s a market they want part of. Of course I still think Case is really a collector company like the Franklin Mint. With all the SKUs Case carries, it would be
impossible very difficult to have all the representative knives in any one store.
I recently picked up a long skinny non-locking folder. Yes I know, what am I doing with a friction lock knife?
The truth? Well, it looks like one my father used to keep in his fishing tackle box. He said it was a sausage testing knife and the cream colored handle and long skinny silver blade fascinated me. It looked too sharp for me to use without cutting off a leg or some other equally important body part.
I later learned the knife was also called a fruit testing knife. The long slender blade always seemed too fragile to cut open a cantaloupe or watermelon. A peach yes, a strawberry of course, but why did that type of knife need such a long blade for such small fruit? But cutting open the casing to inspect the grind and mixture on a length of sausage, I think that knife would shine at that.
Maybe fruit tester had higher job status than sausage tester.
Anyway, the knife went missing years ago and my father has no idea where or when is disappeared. When I saw the knife on the seller’s table it reminded me of fishing for bluegills with Dad. I have a picture I took of him standing on a dock holding a walleye he caught in Canada. He was a little younger than I am now when I took it. That knife takes me back to standing there with my camera snapping the photo. I’m glad to have that knife.
This knife? The blade is stamped stainless (good for handling fruit or raw meat) and is made by the Colonial knife company.
Monday, November 12, 2012
I expected the first gun show after the election to be a crazy place. I’ve heard stories of people rushing in to buy ammo with two-wheel trucks following the first election of President Obama.
Heck, I’ve heard of people buying ammo for guns they don’t have. I guess they anticipated either all ammo sales would dry up and they could find the right gun later or they were already planning to buy the appropriate gun. Who knows? Maybe they planned on using it as trading wampum following the zombie apocalypse.
I didn’t see the frenzy this time. Either people are still overstocked from the pre-election feeding frenzy or this election hasn’t alarmed them as much.
What I did see was a lot of was knife sales. Used, new or collector, they were all there. I seldom buy used knives. For one, most people want back what they paid for it. I can’t do that. Many of my sales are impulse buys. It’s a new knife; you haven’t seen it before and it beckons to you. Unlike Ulysses, the songs of the Sirens prove too much and a purchase is made. Well, it’s not quite that pleasant but impulse buys are a big part of my business.
Older knives almost always need to be marked down to sell. It may surprise you, but I am in business to make a profit. If I pay you top dollar, I can’t sell the knife.
Collectables are another story. Many of them are too valuable, or rather too expensive to buy at “market price.” I can’t buy your collectable at market price if I want to make some small but fair profit.
|The collectable Randall knife|
You bought it for the pride of ownership, for the status, for the physical appeal and maybe for the investment. I have to speculate the market will remain hard long enough for me to get my money out of it.
I did run into one fellow who wanted to sell a knife, so he claimed, made by Kershaw. It was some sort of “collectable” but he left the knife at home. Instead he brought a crappy picture of the knife which he displayed on a smart phone screen.
Not interested – Pass!
I also had a person ask me why Benchmades are so expensive. I’m not sure how to answer that. The big question is why do things cost what they do?
That’s a cosmic question. It deals with how we value things and the sliding scale we use to trade hours of our work for hours of someone else’s work. Honestly, in the face of that question I’m often at a loss for words. Can I explain our economic model to him? I don’t fully understand it myself and I’m in it, like most of you.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
The Ohio Gun Collectors Association (OGCA) held their only meeting in the northern part of the state at the I-X Center in Cleveland. It is a gun collectors meeting and not a gun show (even though it looks, talks and walks like a gun show), but I was disappointed by how few knives were present. I was even more disappointed by the prices and lack of attendance.
The IX center is a cave–like building. The impossibly high ceilings and open spaces need a lot of bodies to fill it. There were 800+ tables but very little foot traffic.
One dealer had two Warther WWII fighting knives. The blades were scratched, not unexpected as Mooney Warther made metal sheaths
|Mooney Warther's fighting knife. He stopped working on fighters the day peace broke out.|
that used folded chevrons of metal to retain the knife. I didn’t ask, but I’ve been told that these knives sell for over $9000 in mint condition. I didn’t ask the dealer his price.
I stopped off at another dealer who had a nice selection of Randall knives. He had a smallish one with a black micarta handle and a 3 to 4 inch blade. I thought “Why not?” and asked the price. He wanted $600. I was thinking I’d spend $150-$200. Oh well, if everyone could afford them, collectors would not be interested in them.
My knife table backed up to LT Wright and his wife from Blind Horse Knives www.blindhorseknives.com. They are both nice people and good gun show neighbors.
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.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
My father called me the other day from Florida with a question about math. I suspected it might be about work or taxes. Of course I’m flattered. What child wouldn’t be when a parent asks for help?
“So,” he says, “how much dirt is in a hole 4 ft by 4ft by 4 ft?” Now I’m thinking about footers and dry sumps and buying fill to plug a Florida sink hole. Did someone cheat my dad by selling him 600 cubic feet of soil for a 64 cubic foot hole?
I tell him. 64 cubic feet.
“There is no dirt in a hole,” he responded.
|Well, at least it wasn't this deep!|
I’ve started ordering knives for upcoming shows. I have a table at the Medina
Knife gun show as well as a table at the upcoming OGCA show in Cleveland. The Ohio Gun Collectors Association is one of the biggest gun shows in Ohio and our adjacent states. It used to be in Cleveland at the IX Center, a big empty, hulking building used by General Motors to build bombers during WWII and later tanks. That should tell you it’s big.
I’m not sure who owns it now, but it was incorporated into Cleveland and of course Cleveland wanted nothing to do with guns, so good-bye to tax dollars, good-bye to local income from vendors, visitors who need to eat, sleep somewhere and buy gas. I used to have a table there every show.
Well it’s back. And frankly, the attendees have a little more pocket money and know that price and value are connected.
|This little guy has a retail value of $40,000. Yeah, that's a comma not a decimal point.|
They often buy a better knife. So my dilemma is if I under-stock the expensive knives, I could run out. If I over-stock expensive knives, I might not have a market for them anywhere else.
|The opposite of expensive is cheap. There is market for cheap, but... do you really want to be known a a cheap knife buyer. Me? I want to be known as a quality knife owner.|
Purchasing knives is always a gamble. Granted, if you’re big enough, what doesn’t sell in Ohio could be a hot item in Maine or Wyoming. The problem is how expensive is it to get those knives out of your Ohio stores, ship somewhere else, and then sell ‘em.
If you’re a little guy, well, all you can do is drop your price and hope the right person comes along.
I just placed an order and we’ll see if I guessed right.
I just read that Servotronics has sold Queen Cutlery to Daniels Family Cutlery. I understand DFC is in southern Ohio. I had no idea that Queen was owned by another company, especially one that is a “distributor of fasteners and electro-mechanical hardware for aerospace, military, medical and commercial industries.”
I wish them Good Luck!
Monday, September 10, 2012
I was at a
knife gun show last weekend. There has hasn’t been a show in this area for several months so I expected a good turnout of tire kickers and browsers.
I used to do the same thing myself. For a 5-spot I could look at stuff, ask questions, swap lies and have a good time. I’d take a little extra cash in case I saw something I liked, but my little extra was 60 bucks. I seldom found anything I couldn’t live without for under 60 bucks. Under 500 bucks, there are a lot of once-in-a-lifetime deals in that range but beer budget doesn’t support champagne taste.
On the whole I enjoyed the show. I sold a few knives and swapped a few stories. Bumped into a few-off the-wall conversations with customers.
“Got any full automatic knives?” he said.
“Yes, I just happen to have two. One from Spyderco and one from HK. Benchmade makes the HK line.” I did my Vanna White imitation and gestured at the knives. She is much better at that than I am. He looked confused. So I picked up the Spyderco and plugged on.
“I like the Spyderco because they put the safety next to the release button.”
He takes the knife opens it and said, “But you have to close this yourself!”
He grins and shows me a Microtech out-the-front and flicks it in and out.
“Very nice.” I said.
“And your prices are too high. I paid a lot less,” he gestured with the open knife blade, “for this than you’re asking for that.” He points to my price on the Spyderco.
I try being nice, but I like the role of the curmudgeon too much to not play that part.
“That’s great. Too bad you didn’t buy two of them when you had a chance and then you wouldn’t have to spend your time bothering me.”
Well, as Groucho Marx said, or maybe it was Karl, “Don’t just leave in a huff, leave in a huff and a half.” And he did.
Later I see a fellow check my prices online with his smart phone. That almost always means I won’t get the sale.
“Will you take $15 for that knife?” Something about gun shows makes people think it’s a flea market and we will haggle like two Armenian rug merchants. I’ve gotten used to it to some degree.
I look at the price. I’m asking $24 for a nice Kershaw folder. I typically mark my prices reasonably below MSRP. I also pay sales tax out of that and of course I have to pay for it in the first place. I don’t have a lot of room to wiggle.
“No sir, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
“Well, I can get it on Amazon for $17.” (I checked later. It’s a close-out and it’s a good price but you have to pay shipping and tax.)
“Well sir, in that case I think you should.”
He wandered back a little later and said, “Don’t you want to make a little money right now? I want that knife, but I don’t want to wait two weeks for delivery."
Of course the answer was I couldn’t help him. I also didn’t tell him that SIR stands for Simpering Imbecile Retard. (No, it’s not politically correct, but it is true.)
If I was smarter I would have said something like:
“Yes I’d like to make a little money. I’ll sell it you for the internet price of $17 but I have to charge you $7 shipping and handling, a buck for tax, grand total $25. Oh, and you have to pick it up at my house in two weeks. Or you could just pay me the $24 now and walk out owning it.”
That’s what I write this blog for. To get it out of my system. Someday, I’ll actually say that to some hairball.
I over heard this snippet of conversation at the show:
One man to another:
“I have to get home before the third quarter to protect my TV from my wife.”
“Oh, is she a football fan?”
“No. She’s a Browns fan.”
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Living on the knife edge isn’t about doing crazy things or throwing yourself into the unknown willy-nilly. It’s about taking manageable risks and experiencing everything life can offer. The key phrase is manageable risk. It’s different for everyone.
Take Daniel Samuelsen.
ABC news reports he fell into a tunnel, near the mouth of Parleys Canyon and broke his leg during a hike on Wednesday morning and spent four days and three nights trapped in a drainage tunnel.
His cell phone died or was broken in the fall so no 911 call ("Excuse me operator, but I fell in a tunnel and broke a leg. Could you send someone to rescue me?") to get the troops moving.
He wasn’t able to attract the attention of any of the passers-by, but the acoustics of banging a rock inside a buried pipe can be daunting.
After four days without any food or water, he decided he would have to self-rescue if he wanted to survive. The news media has confusing reports at this point in the saga. He either made a splint and crawled out of the tunnel or got out and then splinted his leg.
Once he got out he was able to find someone who could help him.
Daniel made some mistakes and he may still lose his leg over them. He didn’t apparently tell anyone who cared enough where he was going so they could look for him when he didn’t come home or into work. His biggest mistake may have been to delay self-rescue!
He didn’t take any useful survival equipment, not a pack of crackers, not even the Yuppie Canteen, the plastic water bottle.
Okay, I don’t think you need to gear up with three days of rations and a three-season sleeping bag to walk through the local metro park, but depending on your cell phone to save your butt following an accident is stupid.
Telling anyone you’d be back in three hours should have them thinking about what happened to you after a day has gone by. Even leaving a note in the front windshield of your car about your hike could make a difference. Surely, packing a shoulder bag, or stuffing a pocket with a mini-thermo blanket, carrying a button light and a power bar isn’t too much of anchor to Dullsville?
I bet Daniel wishes he’d taken a whistle.
I am reminded of what my co-worker Stan once said: “Maybe your purpose on earth is to show someone what not to do.”
Don’t be that person.