Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Collecting

The recent (Dec 2015) stabbing in London by some Other Dickless Asshole (ODA) will surely result in a call to de-fang the British citizenry even more.  There has already been a call by English doctors to eliminate pointy kitchen knives.  Even the presence of a Stanley utility knife in your work belt can land you in an English jail until you can explain to the judge’s satisfaction why you needed one.  I hope your employer feels like appearing in court to bolster your claims you have to cut up cardboard boxes as part of your job.

It’s hard to understand how anyone could think they can eliminate pointed knives.  Fleming’s James Bond pauses in “Dr. No” to sharpen a purloined dinner knife into a sharp point before escaping from his cell.  It just took a concrete surface and a little time.  This is a basic prison skill known to, unfortunately, millions.

Here in America we also have our share of ODAs and the incidents they create.  While the anti-knife people are present, so far they haven’t made too much of an impact.  Part of our protection is granted by the 2nd Amendment.  This amendment isn’t only about guns, which aren’t mentioned.  It talks about arms, which can be guns, knives, spears, axes, clubs, canes, bow and arrow and other material objects.

But given the right circumstances an anti-knife backlash is possible.  One only has to recall The Woman’s Home Companion’s article about switch blade knives, “The Toy That Kills.”  Following movies and plays like “Rebel without a Cause” and “West Side Story” the media published stories about violent youths and changing sexual mores and conservative America demanded to be protected.  The politicians of that era responded by making Switchblades illegal.  How a switchblade is more deadlier than any locking knife or fixed blade was never explained. 

Politicians, fearful of exhausting their political power and prestige by addressing the real causes of crime, did/will scapegoat inanimate objects as a way of placating the voters.  That object could be your knife collection.  What’s a collector to do?

Pick up a copy of Knife Laws of the U.S. by attorney Evan Napper.  It’s worth $25 and a couple hours of your time.

One of his interesting ideas is to join a knife collecting club.  I suspect it would be better to join a physical one with meetings you can attend rather than an e-club.  Another valuable step is creating a listing, either spreadsheet or index cards with each knife entered, date obtained, value and written description.  This extra effort could help validate your claim that you are an active trader/purchaser and a “official knife collector” as well as make collecting more enjoyable.

One word of advice.  Use a ‘scientific’ description of your knife.  It is an early Vietnam era, serialized, survival knife by Gerber and not just Gerber seven-inch stabby thing.

Speaking of stabby things, did you know the classic KA-BAR fighting knife was made in Cleveland, among other places?  At the last knife gun show I ran into a fellow who told me how he built up stacked leather washer handles on KA-BARS working his way through college.  Since he was my age that ruled out WWII and Korea.  He indicated he had quite a few seconds at home, as a nick or chipped blade couldn’t be sold.


I don’t know if it’s a true story, but it would be interesting to see what he considers ‘quite a few.’

I just attended a local knife club meeting and one fellow denied he was a knife collector, but was rather a knife gatherer. That description fits me much better than collector. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

On Display

Attended the museum show at Medina last weekend.  I thought it was a gun show so I brought my knives and set up.  Boy, was I wrong.

But I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know it was a museum show.  Just about all the displayers thought they were going to be vendors.  We were so wrong.  Still i had fun that week-end.

I have several favorite knife companies; Spyderco, Benchmade, Ka-Bar, Boker and Shadow Tech.  Sure there’s a few others, SOG, Buck, TOPS and I like them too, but I have a soft spot for Shadow Tech.

It’s a two man company and Dave still finishes all the blades by hand.  I just bought a fixed blade made from Alabama Damascus' Buckshot Damascus steel.  It’s a US company  and they make their Damascus from 4 layers 5160 steel, 3 layers 203E steel, 3 layers 52100 steel, and 3 layers 15N20 steel folded 5 times.  If you do the math, that gives you  a 416 layer Damascus pattern.


Damascus blade, Shadow Tech Damascus
Shadow Tech


I’m just tickled over it.  It’s a wonderful knife.  Of course, you need to keep it oiled.  Etched steel has a tendency to rust but I can live with that minor inconvenience.

I had a chance to see some early prototypes that John had with him.  Shadow Tech is working on a folder that’s quite interesting, but it is the folding karambit prototype that’s exciting.  It will have a wave opener and ambidextrous studs.  You can catch the wave on pockets and open it or use the studs.  The studs will be positioned so your thumb naturally travels to it and glides the blade open.  A second opening mode is available to anyone who carries on the inside of their waist band.  The stud will catch the seam and open while you draw it.  Will it take some practice?  Sure, but it didn’t look like a skill set too difficult to master. 

Many fixed blades and folders sport a glass breaker or impact point.  It is a nice accessory.  All across America people are discovering a need to suddenly open a car window to rescue a child or pet.  On a 70 degree sunny day, temperatures in a sealed car can reach 120 degrees.  Following an accident, breaking a window may be the only way into or out of a car.  Most knives put the impact point on the back of the knife where your hand wants to sit.  This can limit the amount of force you can apply to an open knife because the point digs into your palm.  The ST karambit will have the impact point situated on blade spine on the front of the knife for easy use with the knife closed. 

There’s still talk about an auto with a hidden split bolster opener.  Made here in Ohio.  How cool would that be?

I’m so excited about seeing these, maybe by the Blade Show?   Who knows.

I’m only kidding about the museum show.  We had a few real customers and a few real weirdo’s.  The one that best comes to mind was a nicely dressed fellow inspecting knives.  He settled in on Benchmade’s Nakamura Axis folder and then zoned out.  It’s a nice knife, worth pondering if you have a few seconds.  The 3–inch blade is made from M390 super steel with a RHC 60-63.   The handle is dressed in black contoured G-10 with steel liners.  Of course it has that great axis lock I’ve come to really appreciate.  It’s a great knife.

He visually inspected it.  Touched every part he could several different times.  He opened the knife half way put it next to his ear and listened to it, did another intense visual inspection and I swear to God, even sniffed it.  I was watching him like a hawk.  If he tasted it, I was calling the cops.  Fortunately it didn’t come to that!

I never saw anyone inspect a knife so closely and then wordlessly, put it down and walk away.


What a show!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

SOG’s Aegis

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I open the box containing the SOG Aegis.  I like the new pillbox style container, but the real importance is what’s in the box.

The company SOG was started in 1986 in California by Spence Frazer.  Frazer, who didn’t have direct military experience, was inspired by a the SOG knife carried in Vietnam.  This knife fired his imagination and following its re-creation, he built a top-end knife company.

What about the original knife that inspired him?  We can thank Wikipedia for the background. 

It was Vietnam.  Highly trained men slipped behind enemy and neutral lines on dangerous and often one-way missions.  They were given a code name that wouldn’t say anything: Studies and Observations Group (SOG).  Kind of sounds like a group of professors in some college think tank.  Of course now we know how misleading that was. 

They needed a knife.  It’s hard to beat a knife for silence and up close interaction.  It’s hard to beat a knife as a basic survival tool.

Benjamin Baker, the Deputy Chief of the U.S. Counterinsurgency Support Office (CISO) wanted a sterile knife that would give no clue to the nationality of its owner.  He designed a knife with a blade pattern featuring a convex false edge similar to the clip point of a Bowie knife.  It’s been long established in knife lore that stacked leather washers gave the best grip when your hands got wet or bloody, so he added that.  Finger groves were cut/molded into the leather washer handle.  The blade was made from SKS-3 steel hardened to a Rockwell hardness of 55-57.  We might consider that a bit low by today’s standards, but Baker wanted a knife that would bend instead of break.  A small sharpening stone was added to the leather sheath. Lastly, the blade was blued to reduce sunlight glinting off the steel and reduce rust. 

The knives were made in Japan and issued.  They are now quite a collector’s item.


That’s quite a bloodline for my little Aegis to live up to.  Lets take a look at it.

Drop point Sog Aegis
It comes top up right hand out of the box.


The knife is an assisted opener.  The opening isn’t as explosive as I’m used to, but there isn’t a tendency to jump out of my hand either.  The 3.5 inch blade of AUS-8 steel
 is hardened to Rc of 57-58.  The blade is coated with a Ti-N which reduces reflection and adds a “tacti-cool” look.  The relatively high level of chromium gives AUS-8 good rust resistance, but remember it’s just resistance, not proof.

The knife has a safety, which I tend to ignore.  I carry my knives pressed against the pocket’s  back seam so the blade is pressed into the knife.  They seldom if ever open on their own in my pocket.

The blade has a thumb stud on both sides which facilities the tip-up carry.  You can reverse the clip for right and left side.  The clip lets the knife ride completely submerged in your pocket.  This may create problems with local ordnances about “concealed weapons.”  I know if you’re arrested, the nail clipper in your pocket will be written up as a concealed weapon.  Give it some thought and be careful.

I don’t know if the SOG arc-lock is the strongest lock in existence.  There are a lot of claims about lock strength in the knife market.  It really depends on how you run your test and how you define strongest.  Previous ownership of SOG arc-lock knives make me trust it as much as I trust any locking folder.

The black zytel handle has a pattern of raised features to increase the friction between the hand and handle.  More importantly, it felt good in my hand. 

I don’t own this knife, it’s going on my sales table marked at $87.  I can’t do any cutting test but I’d sure carry it.  

Monday, September 28, 2015

Making a New Cut

My favorite knife club, WRCA, has gotten a new website.

They want to be a gateway to interesting and useful links for the knife community.   It looks like they up-graded their photography and writing.  My spies tell me they are looking for source material from their members, always a dangerous proposition.  What do you say to an active club member who can’t write but has been asked to contribute?

Will I contribute?  I don't know.  Maybe on tactical knives.

So, with the old one still up,  running like an abandoned steam engine on a downhill grade (they can’t find the password to get in and take it down) and the new site, struggling to get it’s feet, we’ll see what happens.

You can find their new website at WWW.WRCA-knives.org!

If you find any interesting knife related links, pass them onto me and I’ll give ‘em to the boys!


Monday, August 24, 2015

More Ivory


Ivory remains a bone of contention between collectors and the bureaucrats who make our lives more difficult.  The ban on ivory by the Feds had suffered a set back, so the new tactic is to institute bans in each state.  This is a common divide and conquer tactic. 

I don’t the feds should be sticking their nose into you selling your grandfather’s ivory chest set or preventing you from buying across state lines a set a ivory dominoes someone brought home from Korea in the 1960’s.

A pro-ivory stance makes me a rotten SOB for supporting elephant poaching doesn’t it?  But before you go much further you should know, no, I don’t support poaching.  I support the 1989 ban on ivory importation to the US and urge other countries to stop the illegal trade in ivory.  We stopped the importation of ivory in 1989.

(Propaganda mode on)
“The United States is the world’s second-largest market, behind China, for illegal wildlife artifacts. The legal sale of ivory in the United States and around the world helps to disguise black-market sales, U.S. prosecutors and other law enforcement officials say.”
      Washington post Feb 11 2014
(Propaganda mode off)

The above is a lie.  The vast majority of the poached ivory isn’t coming into the US.  Despite what the Feds said in the above Feb 11 2014 issue of the Washington Post, most of it isn’t headed to the US.


In fact, it’s estimated that 70% of all poached ivory is headed to China.  That’s a lot of dead elephants.  And China seems to be all right with it.

That doesn’t surprise me at all.  When a government assumes that each human has no intrinsic value and only a person’s service to the government matters, why would they value animal lives?

No, reports of wide spread pollution, heavy metal poisoning, and adulteration of baby formula with melamine from China don’t surprise me at all.  What does surprise me is the sudden insistence by our politicians that somehow owning an ivory handled knife, or a hairpin somehow makes us low level criminals.  And we aren’t going to discuss what it means to own sperm whale scrimshaw or mammoth ivory!  You bastard, you!   I don’t know how you did it, but you inspired people who were dead long before you were born to kill whales and all those mammoths!

Even Road Show Antiques has to say something about ivory. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/stories/articles/2015/06/22/ivory-law

The problem with the current and proposed bans is the need to know when the ivory was brought into the country.  You kept the provenance on that pair of carved ivory earrings you bought your mother or wife in 1985, right?  

Of course, if you own ivory-handled daggers from the Third Reich or other historic artifacts you may not have any problems.  But that scrimshaw pendant bought from a local artisan made from the white key of a junked player piano isn’t likely to have the documentation you need.

So, if you live in a free state, one that still allows you to sell your possessions, no matter if it’s ivory or not make sure you remind your elected officials to keep it that way.  If you don’t, laws can be changed.  Make sure your government knows your feelings.

Since I started this tirade, the Feds have proposed a new ban in interstate ivory sale.  Tune in for more. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Wooden Pliers


In this part of Ohio the hot ticket for knife fanciers are wooden pliers cut from a single piece of bass wood by Mooney Warther.  I vaguely remember watching him making one on the Johnny Carson show, but I may have seen that film clip at the Warther Museum.

Here’s a link showing Mooney’s son Dave, showing how to make them yourself. 


I’ve got to admit that getting one as a present is just below make-it-yourself on the coolness scale.

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, April 12, 2015

Schrade Color Shift

There was a car called the Crocodile, so the old vaudeville joke went.  It was touted to have Detroit’s newest safety device.  One side was painted blue and the other red.

What’s so safe about that?  You ask.

Well, in itself nothing, but if you were in accident it sure left the witnesses with conflicting statements. 

I did think it was funny the first time I read it, but I was 12 at the time.  Since then I have seen color shifting paint.  The most impressive were gun safes at the SHOT Show.  The colors shifted from red to blue as you walked by them.  It was very impressive.

the Schrade color shift knife
Yes, the handle looks black, but note the waffle-like depressions

Schrade has released a color shifting knife with the imaginative name of Color Shift.  I got one so let’s take a look at it.  And despite my first thoughts that’s this is really cheesy, it does change between reddish purple and greenish blue.  I even got a flash of gold once, but I have never been able to reproduce that relationship between eye/knife and illumination source.
  
The 2.9 inch drop point blade is made of 8cr13MoV steel from Ahonest Changjiang steel in China.  This is a high carbon steel similar to AUS8 made by Aichi Steel Corp of Japan. 

The blade is black coated and I don’t know the Rockwell hardness.  If I had to guess I would suspect it’s in the 56 to 58 range.  It’s not a bad steel for an everyday carry knife.  But it’s the handle that’s so interesting.

The 3.75 inch handle is aluminum with a pocket clip set up for tip up carry but you might be able to find someone who could drill and tap the metal in another position if you wanted it bad enough.  The really interesting aspect of the handle is its coating.

up close look at the pigment in the handle
The small white particles are at different depths in the clear handle material

The casual examination shows a waffle like surface pattern.  I suspect it’s a big part of the color change.  Let’s get up close and personal.

Color shift pigment
The particles have different thickness, shape and orientation in the handle material, the depressions helps insure the particles are at different tilt angles

The coating on the knife has little whitish flakes of material in random directions and depth.  If we move in even closer we can see the flakes.  They look like defoliated mica to me.  

There is a surface treatment used on pigments called ITT.  It stands for a chemical, specifically Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate.  Minerals can be reacted with compounds like ITT which allow the surface to refract light like an oil slick on water.  Oil slick colors (no, don’t worry, I’m not going to draw charts and write equations as much as I would find that fun) are formed by the very thin layers of oil refracting specific colors of light.  The organic coating formed by ITT works the same way.  Add the cone-like depressions from the waffle pattern and you get color. 

Does it work?  The difference in colors is significant in terms of when the colors are in the spectrum.  The knife handle would be more impressive if the colors lived next to each other like yellow and green.  

The Schrade Color Shift Knife at one angle 
















                                                      and 

The same knife at a different angle


Still, if you want a flashy knife for EDC, look into the Shrade Color Shift (SCH106ALC).  I understand an assisted opening is now available.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Knife Expo

I'm flogging WRCA's Warther Memorial Knife Expo pretty hard for a variety of reasons.

One: I liked Dale Warther.  I didn't know him as well as some club members did, but I was always happy to see him.

Two: It's a good knife show.  I'd like to see more custom builders, but we're working on that and have asked several new ones to attend.  This show will give collectors a chance to see some really great knives.

Three: A number of club members think the club will fall flat on it's collective face.  We've had trouble with the last couple of places and we are trying to find a permanent home.  Everything is expensive as compared to times when gasoline was a $1.25 a gallion.  This location is no exception.

The knife show will be May 16 and 17 at the Buckeye Expo center in Dalton, Ohio just off of route 30.  Admission is $5 per person but we'll wave the fee for scouts and military in uniform.

 I suspect you'll find just about any kind of knife you're interested in at the show.

We are also running a great raffle with prizes over $1000.  Second price is a ZT 350STTS AND a Benchmade 531 Pardue AXIS.  I sell Benchmade and I can't get this one!

Here's the raffle flyer and I hope to see you there!!!

Knife Show Raffle
If i win first prize, I'll offer to trade with the second prize winner!!