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, March 12, 2017
I recently spent an extended weekend in a cabin in southern West Virginia. It is beautiful country filled with rugged trails and incredible views. The cabin had a brick lined fireplace and a wood pile was available, so I made use of it.
In anticipation of chilly nights and warm fires I packed my SOG hatchet. It didn’t work very well. Despite the small amount of cutting I did several years ago, my hatchet was dull. Using that axe really brought out the true meaning of the expression, “Firewood warms you twice. Once when you cut it and again when you burn it.”
Fortunately my nephew brought his hatchet, a smaller and much sharper Gerber. It didn’t take too much work before I realized that my SOG made fast work of splitting quarter logs in to eighths, but was crappy for making the thin pencil-like sticks need to build fires. The Geber made nice pencils of wood but failed to impress the larger quarter logs.
|The Gerber is noticeable lighter and compact than the SOG|
The two hatchets would complement each other (after I re-sharpened the SOG), but you really can’t completely interchange them.
The Gerber has a small head resembling a flat grind Regular Wisconsin while the SOG has what appears to be a modified double bevel Virginia.
|Gerber hatchet head|
Don’t be confused, think of grind the same way as you think of knife grinds. Axe head style defines the shape and appearance of the axe head. Historically, some heads worked better than others for specific jobs. What worked for splitting long logs into quarters or fence rails, wasn’t the best design for log bucking. Some axe heads just develop a regional interest and became known by that name.
|SOG hatchet head|
My cutting experience indicated the Gerber might be a great hatchet for backpacking. It weighs in at 22.4 ounces and is 14 inches long. Not a bad combination for carrying in a pack. The small size limits its practical use. Need to cut a tent pole or cut down branches into small burnable size? Great! Quarter a four inch diameter log, not so hot. Typically, after you drive the hatchet into wood, you would pull the handle to one side or the other to rotate the metal head to act as an expanding wedge. This action causes the crack to propagate down the wood. The short handle made it feel like I couldn’t produce enough torque to turn the axe head and the split wood. The handle is a fiberglass composite and I felt queasy about using it as a lever arm.
My dull SOG weighs in at 33 ounces and is 16 inches long. The steel is a 1055 steel. It is too heavy for very much backpacking. Car camping, sure bring it along, but why not bring a three quarters length axe and really chop wood?
The SOG’s weight and steel handle gave me confidence I wasn’t going to break anything but the log when I twisted the hatchet handle to pry wood apart. The dullness made it difficult to cleanly split the wood into pencil size kindling.
The SOG camp axe has a RC hardness of 50-55. Not bad for a hatchet, but I noticed that after several days of chopping wood the edge had several dents. Clearly a sharpening stone or file should be this hatchet’s constant companion.
|Pick the right tool for the right job!|
All I could find on the Gerber was that it has been replaced by a new and improved version. The hardness wasn’t published. But I wouldn’t be afraid to carry it into the woods.
So, I learned I need to look after my hatchet better and that proved what I already knew: the right tool makes any job easier!
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
The last Medina gun show was a little trippy.
Right off the bat two guys comes up to my table and point at the Benchmade knives and asked “Are they real?”
Wow, what an existentialist question! Plato thought that everything was an imperfect copy of an ideal object. Somewhere there is the perfect knife which displays all the attributes, all the knifieness that a knife should have and in perfect portions.
Astrophysicists suggests that all matter is a hologram of an information trapped in the event horizon of a massive black hole.
I really didn’t know how to answer them until I realized they were asking if my knives were counterfeit. It was a little insulting and I should have told them to fuck off. I usually only come to that conclusion sometime later, so I told them what I know and suggest that if they buy a $200 knife for $50, something isn’t on the level.
One of them asked if his Spyderco Civilian was a knock-off. Frankly, in many cases, it’s almost impossible to tell without doing both destructive and non-destructive testing. They bought it for 50 bucks off a guy who thought it was a counterfeit. I think they got what they paid for.
After a few sales I realized the main advantages of not buying from the internet.
One: you can pick it up, hold it and compare it to similar object and decide which is the best for you.
Two: you get it right now.
In the gun side, I was surprised to see a lever action cowboy rifle with a bullseye type peep sight fixed to the top of the receiver. In retrospection I don’t see why not. Most guns are more accurate than we are, I just don’t think of a lever action as a 500 yard gun.
I was filling in for my friend John, who needed to make a pit stop. John sells ammo among other things. So I was surprised when someone asked if the one ounce novelty pennies were gold.
“No sir, just copper.” I said. Especially since they are on sale for 5 bucks.
I get similar questions about a line of Marttiini fixed blades I carry. People what to know if they are made from the laminated steel they have read about. Again a simple examination of the prices revels they don’t sell for the $500 plus that Fallkniven asks for their laminated steel.
We had a little bad news on Sunday morning. We arrived just ahead of the opening bell and found out our neighbors had an S&W watch stolen. They covered their table and were one of the last to leave. Only a few other vendors and security was left behind. It means someone:
Knew it was there,
Waited until the place was empty,
Walked around to the back of the table,
Lifted the cover cloth and stole it.
You expect a small amount of theft from the general public but not from the other vendors. (We had a inexpensive CRKT knife lifted from the table during a show.) It wasn’t an expensive watch, but now I have to wonder if someone will do that to me?
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
I just got a knife from China.
Too bad, you respond.
Nay, nay I say. It’s a Real Steel fixed blade called the Observer.
|I've seen that blush on steel before, but the best I can find out is it's an affect from heat treating.|
Real steel is located in Hanzhou City on the east coast of China and has been making knives as a contract manufacturer for the last 15 years. In 2013 they launched the Real Steel Company. China doesn’t allow the sale of folding knives with locks on the mainland, so Real Steel has focused on external sales. This, in my opinion, has made Real Steel quality conscious. (Interesting note on the sale of lock blades in China.)
The Observer is 8.25 inches in overall length with a 440C steel blade 3.5 inches long. The full tang knife has a grooved G-10 handle and comes with a kydex sheath and adjustable belt clip. The blade is 0.197 inches thick.
440C was one of the standard knife steels used by the knife industry. You’ll still find plenty of knives with this steel. It has the highest carbon content of the 400 series family, 0.9 to 1.2% carbon. The elevated levels of chromium, 16 to 18% provide small, hard chromium carbides that anchor and stabilize the steel grains. This level of chromium also provides of a thin, self-forming layer of chromium oxide that makes the steel resistant to staining. Still, a little care is required. Remember, it’s stain-less, not rust proof.
|The machined G-10 scales are removable.|
440C steels can be hardened to around 58-60 RHc. I’m good with that. These levels of hardness allow for a little flexibility in the steel. After all, a bent knife can be sharpened and used. A cracked knife is just junk.
Look, it’s a basic fixed blade knife with a nice working length. It feels good in your hand and you can resharpen it with ordinary stones. No complicated or advanced sharpening systems are needed, always a plus in the field. You can remove the handle for cleaning if you want. All for under $69.
It feels good, seems well made and looks good. It’s for resale so I can’t test it, but reviews I have seen make this knife seem like a good deal. If I was still camping and hiking I would carry this knife. Let me remind you, it’s not the country of origin that establishes quality but the workmanship of the company.
Real Steel also makes some very nice folders. You can find better for more money, but these seem to have the best value for the price.