Monday, July 12, 2021

Young Turk

I ran in to a young man who is just starting to make knives.  For the last two years he’s hammered, removed stock, taken classes, sharpened edges and dropped a lot of sweat on the ground.  Why?  Because David Pienta wants to be a master knife maker.  But the road is long and twisty and not everyone makes it, but he’s starting.  Right now he’s working with stainless Damascus steel he hammer forges himself.  

I bought the one on the bottom

The name of his forge?  Fenic Forge.  The name derives from the chemical symbols for iron, nickel and carbon, important elements in steel.  He doesn’t have a tang stamp yet and I urged him to.  Many of his knives are objet d'art and without a tang stamp their value will be less.  I’ve handled too many nice knives that everyone simply shrugged and said “Beats me who made it or what it is worth?”

Bold Tiger Stripe Damascus

We disagreed on the artistic nature of his stainless Damascus choppers.  He thinks they are practical Choppers.  Perhaps.  I think you will not see too many Damascus knives as choppers.  Yes, I know the maker has the edge on what he thinks his knives are for, but it is really up to the consumer.

I bought a small kitchen utility knife, maybe seven layers of steel in an exotic burl handle. The handle has good symmetry and the blade has nice lines for a small working knife.  The small number of layers allows the differences in steel to be bold statements.  The working edge ends with a gap between the steel blade and the handle.  I like the way my finger sits in that place, so clearly defined with no worries of sliding onto the blade.


My kitchen utility knife

I’m going to sharpen it bit more and treat the handle to a good wax coating and Karen will have a special kitchen knife.

You can find David on Instagram or http://fenicforge.com/.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Spyderco K390 steel

It an Endura, one of Spyderco’s top selling knives. But this one is a little different . It has the new K390 steel blade. The flat grind blade is quickly becoming one of my favorite configurations. I grew up with saber and convex grinds but I’m won over by the flat grind. The absence of shoulders makes for easier cutting. If you’re slicing a wedge of Swiss cheese, you may want the shoulders as they push the materials apart and away from the knife. But you also encounter drag. Drag just means you have to put more force on the blade, and for most applications, forcing a blade is never a good idea. So I’m running some test because K390 steel sounds like a step backwards.

It’s not stainless. In fact a product insert warns you to protect the blade.

Bohler-Uddeholm list the following reasons to use their K390 Microclean steel:

  1. Good machinability because of uniform mechanical properties,
  2. Excellent grind ability even with deep engraving in the tool & die center,
  3. Uniform low dimensional change during heat treatment,
  4. Non sensitive against overheating or long soak times.
  5. Optimal EDM characteristic due to uniform carbide distribution.
EDM is Electrical Discharge Machining and it is becoming industries’ favorite machining and milling tool because it is efficient, economic, fast, controllable and computer-driven. Many of these steel properties, like dimensional stability are a big draw for knife makers.

The Chemistry also looks interesting.

  •  C  2.4%,
  •  Cr 4.2%,
  • Mo 3.8%,
  • V   9%, 
  • W  1%, 
  • Co  2%.

I should also note, new steels aren’t simply made by dumping elements together. Tempering, stress relief and hardening cycles have a major part in any production metal. Still, I find these numbers amazing, especially the 9% vanadium and 2.4% carbon!

Strictly speaking chromium levels should be around 11% to be classified as stainless. Chromium forms carbides that stabilize the microstructure, so in ordinary steels you need an excess of chromium to react with carbon and still have enough to protect against rust. Here you have vanadium to form carbides. So is there enough chromium to form the transparent chromium oxide barrier?  I don’t know.

Let’s play.

I’ve been cutting cardboard all week, I haven’t noticed any loss of sharpness. Today I cubed semi-frozen beef for a future chili dinner. I thought the knife handled better than many of the larger chefs’ knives or the smaller utility knives.
I sliced up some lemons and limes for summer drinks and the knife worked fine.

Tasted pretty darn good, too!



Afterwards I noticed the acid fruit left a start of a faint patina. I could lightly rub it out with a fine metal polish, but I think I’ll keep it. I like a working knife that looks like a working knife.
I increased the contrast slightly so you could see the patina. I'm wondering if it will wear away on it's own.

I think the K390 steel is going to be a winner. I haven’t had to sharpen it yet, but I have no doubt my Spyderco Sharpmaker is up to the job. I understand you’re going to see K390 steel in a lot of other Spyderco products. I also think you’re going to like it.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Blade Show 2021

The 2021 Blade Show was unlike any I have experienced in the past.  There were many empty tables because exhibitors like England’s Grace Horne and South African Bossie Knives simple couldn’t travel to the U.S. because of covid-19 restrictions.

Many of the Japanese and Russian bladesmiths were missing.  Some of my favorites like LT Wright had only demo knives pushing everyone to web-based orders.  More than one vendor talked about an inability to get components including steel, also a continuing complication of Covid-19.


Burls and Steel  Knives  Contact them at Burlsandsteel@gmail.com


The aisles were larger and fewer tables were set up.  The people at Blade seemed confused.  E-mails were sent telling people they could pick up wrist bands at 8:00, but they weren’t allowed in until much later.  Karen and I were able to pick up our CAP passes the night before, but many people had to stand in line to get the passes that gave them immediate access.


And really, isn’t it time Blade cuts out the privileged ticket levels? The table holders get several “free-in-any-time passes” for their helpers and they pass them out to friends so they can get access anytime.  For a bump in cost, you can buy the early bird passes so you can get in at 10am Friday morning.  CAP, Customer Appreciation Pass got in at 11 and the great unwashed mass of humanity got in at 12 noon.


Still despite all the flaws the Blade Show is the greatest knife show on earth.


I stopped off to see Raegan Lee, a knife maker, out of New Mexico.  She has been making knives since 2015.  I saw her work two years ago and didn’t buy.  This time I bought one of her neck knives right away.


One of Raegan Lee's knives.  But Sunday Morning her table was down from plenty to a few.  Find her in Instagram 


Boker is expanding their line of Out-The-Front.  I got a California legal from them.  They are also introducing a line of battle-hardened Damascus knives.  With help from the National Museum of Americans in Wartime they are incorporating portions of M-1 Sherman tanks into very nice knives.   This will be a long-term project of limited yearly production.  Eventually English, German and other American weapons will be made into Damascus by Chad Nickols and then into knives. 


Always a new sharpening system on the market.



I had a chance to talk with Boker’s Kurt Ronacher about the donut knives they made for Blade HQ.  The knife, if you haven’t seen it was a Boker Dessert Warrior Kalashnikov Dagger Automatic Knife with a light blue blade, pink handle with colored sprinkles.  Blade HQ sold out almost instantly and they started appearing on eBay and e-stores.  They were fun.  Perhaps, just perhaps, we’ll see them again.  Kurt doesn’t want to promise, because it’s a Blade HQ exclusive.  But I’m hopeful.


Santa Fe Stoneworks


I noticed more and more slip joint knives made by companies that I associate only with locking blades.  Local laws limit the type of knives you can carry.  Ohio has just made a major revision concerning the legality of knives.  Now it’s more about that you do with a knife and less about the type of knife.


Rike Knife  Thor 7


Over at Rike Knife I was thunderstruck by the Thor 7.

It is an amazingly beautiful knife.  The blade is ground from Bohler M390, carbon fiber in a swirl of orange on a titanium handle with a flipper and it opens so nice.  If you are a lover of knives, this is one you need to add to your collection.


Yes, it’s made in China.  How can I put it?  Should I talk about the difference in standard of living and how an American made knife of this quality might be bouncing around $1K? Should I talk about workmanship from people who want a better life and see quality, pride and performance as their ticket?


All of their knives use ceramic ball bearings, some use ceramic roller bearings.  No big deal you say.  Yes, big deal.  These aren’t ceramic coffee cups we are talking about.  They are precision spheres of material at least a 1000 times harder than steel.  They will not be affected by sand, ordinary dirt or granite dust, they will work at higher temperatures and need less lubrication.  I can’t think of any American company using ceramic ball bearings.  And you know what?  They will learn how to use them in knives, then maybe electric motors and perhaps jet engines and tanks.  Start small with thing for which there is little to lose if it fails and build on the experience.


Perhaps I should simply say: If you can’t see and feel the quality in this knife, your opinion means nothing. And that’s the way it should be.


Roper Knife  

I have a Roper Knife at home.  Yes, I know you are surprised.  I actually own a few slip joints.  It is a well-made knife with quality workmanship. You’ll find them in AG Russell’s catalog.  But they are taking their game to the next level.  They are introducing a new high-end line of David Yellowhorse designs.  The initial runs are limited to 100 knives and they hope to do two or three runs a year.  This is really upping their game.


The Ruple 1, limited production of 125 total



I’m noticing more and more slip joints at the big name vendors.  While Knife Rights is working hard to remove the oppressive laws governing the sale, manufacturing of knives and the impact on collectors, many cities, states and countries continue to severely limit the type of knife you can carry.  Manufacturers, wanting in on even these limited markets are making more sellable slip joints.  In much of Europe and the rest of the world, locking knives are banned.  They have to buy slip-joints


Double Helix from WE on the bottom


Another Chinese company to watch for and if you make knives, watch out for, is WE Knife Co.  I fell for their Double Helix.  The locking mechanism locks the blade both open and closed.  It’s not a one-handed tactical knife but it is a unique knife.  Does it look futuristic?  You might expect Marian space marines to be issued this knife.  The two-tone blade is S35VN steel sheltered in a titanium handle.  Pulling back on the locking studs allows the blade to open or closed.  It’s very rad!


You know what he is thinking:  "Oops! Told my boss I was at my Grandmother's funeral."


We stopped by Cobratec knives to check out their OTFs.  Right now, the market is crazy for Out-The-Front knives.  Cobratec makes their knives in Meridan, Texas and I liked the way they performed.  I picked up a nice American Flag motif with a single edge blade of D2 steel.  I wasn’t able to meet with Chad Cochran the owner, but everyone in the booth was so nice, I bought one.  Did I mention Boker is selling OTFs?  Guess who’s making them?  You’re right, Cobratec!



I walked the show.  The Blade show is a great place for people watching.  One woman had a table covered with ‘Halloween candy’ she was giving out.  Her husband had the table next to her with his custom-made knives.  Another table was filled with Steel Warriors.  Steel Warriors?   Those little folding junk knives seemed so out of place at this or just about any show.  Still, I saw adults carefully selecting one for purchase.  Perhaps if you go to a knife show you feel compelled to buy a knife but you only want to spend ten bucks.  Perhaps a Steel Warrior is the answer to that dilemma.


Zac Brown’s Southern Grind makes a great knife.  But they were having trouble meeting sales production goals.  They were bought by Diamondback Firearms recently.  Zac is staying on as a creative consultant and designer.   Diamondback is cutting back on Southern Grind’s SKUs or for us laymen, Shop Keeper Units.  Having fewer options will improve scheduling and production .  They are also strengthening the technical and manufacturing side.  Does that mean Zac Brown is a great designer but not so hot of a business man?  Not at all.  It could simply mean Zac would rather makes knives than run a company.


We had owned a Diamondback semiauto in .380 ACP several years ago and liked it, but the slide didn’t lock back.  We saw that as a critical need and no longer have that gun.  We’ll have to see how Southern Grind shakes out.  Southern Grind should be back in production by September 2021, I am told.


 Another of Mickey's unique outlook on knives

Another stop, almost a pilgrimage for me, is visiting with Mickey Yurco.  Mickey makes some of the most unusual knives around.  Boker has picked up several of his designs and it looks like they are about to do another one.  I bought a thin scalpel-like blade from him.  Hannibal Lector would have liked it.  I like his leather work, but I wish he would make his belt loops about an inch longer .   They are too small to fit my standard belt  but might work with a dress belt. 

The Sunday Morning Crowd

I walked past Pro-Tec and a fellow was buying 16 of their knives.  I figure he had at least $3K worth of knives.  There was a time that you saw deals in high end companies.  Somewhere between 60 and 75% of the suggested retail.  Not this show.  Benchmade, who used to have a wall of knives to sell, had nothing.  No catalogs either, everything online.  We’ll see what they do next year.  After all why sent 10 people to Atlanta and show off some of your new knives if customers can’t buy them.  There were plenty of other vendors, like Smoky Mountain Knife Works selling new Benchmades.


Chris Reeves Knives


CRKT has won my prize for the worst catalog in the knife industry.  With the exception of the wooden handled T-Hawks and a couple of the M-14s, the images are flat, dull and unappealing.  But don’t let that stop you from looking at their new lines.


The Provoke by Joe Caswell has transitioned to a colored Grivory frame supporting the blade and mechanism.  Grivory is a high performance super strong plastic that can replace metal in various applications.  It’s a good move; it drops the weight from 6.1 to 4.7 ounces.


I met Joe about three years ago and he designed this knife for police both as an aid to weapon retention and body control.  I think that is a little bit of a face saving fib.  It is a right-handed knife.  The majority of us are right-handed and we will wear our sidearm on the right side.  Grasping the knife on the left side is significantly more involved as compared the right side. The Provoke is an excellent right-handed tool for the ‘un-armed’ person.  But it has a few complications for left-handed deployment.


CRKT has improved and simplified their field strip line of knives.  The new version has lost the thumb wheel and gone to a simple latch.  Danish designer Jesper Voxnaes has designed their Cottidae with a 2.6 inch D-2 steel blade, IKBS ball bearing pivot.

But I really liked their PSD, or Particle Separation Device, by the innovative  Jim Hammond.  The 3.6 inch blade is a made from 1.4116 steel.  It also sports the IKBS ball bearing pivot and is assisted opening.


Perhaps the most interesting and perhaps least useful is the Ritual.  With its 4.3 inch excessively curved blade it is the knife you want to swing around you like a dead cat to make room in a crowd.  The handle is a pleasing blend of a blued stainless steel and a fiber reinforced white resin.  If the words ‘simitar swing’ mean anything to you, you know the knife.  I might just need one.


Like the moth to the flame, I'm drawn.



Spyderco's Counter Puppy kitchen utility knife


I’m drawn to Sypderco like a moth to a flame.  Situated in Golden, Colorado, they employ 150 people.  Sal did everything he could to have people work from home, make space to keep workers distant to reduce Covid-19 spread.


I understand they are expanding their production area.  Not offices, but honest manufacturing, knives-out-the-door, floor space.

I had a chance to handle an Endura made with K390 steel.  It’s an interesting departure.  It’s not really a stainless steel with less than 5% chromium.  But the vanadium content should make this a remarkable steel.  Keep your eyes open, you may be seeing this steel in a lot of their light-weight models.


They are tooling up to make a third Fred Perrin fixed blade to complement their Streat Bowie and Streat Beat.  I’m told it will be a neck knife called the Subway.


The knife world is changing.  There are more and more people trying their hand at it.   First time makers and even experienced custom makers specialize with fixed blades.  They are simpler than folders which require more machining and accuracy.  With blade blanks available ranging from simple blank patterns to elaborate finished blades, more people are trying their hand at knife making.  You saw it at Blade, you can find it online, people designing replacement handles, clips, screws and spacing bars.  You can disassemble your knife and customize it to be a one of a kind knife, solely to get ‘Likes’ or as an artistic expression of yourself.  The purveyors of such items don’t tell you that dissembling your knife voids the warranty, but I suspect most of these knives will be barbecue knives.  Only carried at gatherings of friends and family to be seen, shown and oohed and aahed over.


It’s all good, isn’t it?  But there are some changes coming.  The violence we see daily in the media will impact on your right to carry knives as politicians looking for a quick fixes which say much, but does nothing.  Similar circumstances lead to switchblades, balisong and bowie knives being banned.  Knife Rights is still battling those problems.  PayPal is currently attempting to define knives as weapons and not allowing transactions to go through, creating problems for custom makers.  Will this impact eBay and the many sellers, buyers and collectors that use that service?  I don’t know.


Here are a few photos of the “Greatest Knife Show on Earth” to show what you missed!


Primitive Grind  find 'em at joe.maynard @yahoo.com


 
Hofsommer Forge  Contact Cody at hofsommerforge@gmail.com


It was a great show!

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Condor Indigenous Puukko

I like an underdog and recently I have been admiring Puukkos.  So when I got a chance to get a Condor Indigenous Puukko, I said yes.

The Indigenous Puukko


Who is the Condor Tool and Knife?

They are an El Salvador knife company that was started in Santa Ana under the name IMACASA® in 1964, by the German Company GEBR WEYESBERG COMPANY.  Santa Ana is the second largest city in population and importance in El Salvador and a major contributor to El Salvador prosperity.

In the 1980’s IMACASA’s Central American operations were sold to local investors who creating a reputation as machete and shovel makers. They grew to become one of the world’s largest producers and successfully compete on the world market .

In 2004, IMACASA® developed a first quality line of tools and knives for the North American and European outdoor markets. CONDOR TOOL & KNIFE® was born.

When the Indigenous Puukko arrived, I was amazed with its good looks.  Even my knife-jaded wife thought it looked good.  The designer Joe Flowers is deeply in to all things outdoors and brings his taste, experience and style to a working knife.

The 3.3-inch blade is 1095 carbon steel and hardened to Rockwell C scale 50-55.  That seems soft to many people, but in a survival and backwoods knife, the ease of resharpening and flexibility is priceless.  Noted knife maker Ernest Emerson has been quoted to say that a bent knife blade is still a knife, but a broken blade is junk.  I don’t expect to raft down the Amazon or have to make camp in the Utah mountains, but I do enough cutting to recognize the truth in that statement.

Don't judge a book by its cover.....


The Puukko’s edge is a scandi grind at a 25-degree edge-to-edge angle.  In my way of thinking, that’s a 12.5 degrees on a stone.  It’s a good all-purpose angle for cutting, cooking and resharpening.

The full tang knife has a 4-inch handle of walnut with a little carving at the butt end, a large lanyard hole and a band of woven brass cord at the other end.


Felt good in the hand...

I really like the knife, even if it’s not very sharp out the box.  I have often needed to touch up an edge on a fixed blade knife.  They are all hand ground; nobody has a machine that does as good of a job as a good sharpener.  Everybody has an off day.

The cross-section of the handle is a little asymmetric.  I thought the slightly “D” shape grip on the palm side of the handle filled my palm better.  The larger, heavier handle shift the balance point back into my palm, and I like that a lot in a working knife.  I think it makes the blade lively and easy to move.

The right side seems a little different in profile.  However, my adventures in knife handle shaping see these results too.  So I'm not too unhappy 


It was the sheath that made the difference.  The brown leather sheath is sewn around a wood block to provide both form and protection from the blade slicing through the leather and injuring you.  I couldn’t get the knife in.  The spacing was too tight.  I’ve learned my lesson about forcing sharp edged tools into sheaths.  It’s a good way to end up getting stiches.

Everything looks good until it's time to put the knife away


Would the leather stretch?  Perhaps.  But right now, I needed to grab the sheath in one hand and pull like a crazy on the handle.  Returning the knife is the opposite, grab the sheath and jam the knife in. I’m not doing that.  There are plenty of quality knives that don’t offer the promise of finger amputation.

Monday the knife goes back.  Too bad.  It is an attractive knife and I would have enjoyed using it.  I’ll enjoy having all my fingers more.

But if you’re willing to purchase one (https://www.condortk.com/products/product/62713)

and take a chance on stretching the leather sheath or moving to a kydex custom, one last observation:

Most manufactures list their suggested retail price, and for Condor that’s $79.98.  They also list the minimum advertised price a vendor can advertise their knife for.  This number is usually kept secret between the wholesaler and vendor.  Condor advertises it as $67.98.

That’s a little wacky.

Friday, April 16, 2021

The Freedom to Manufacture

April 12, 2021 is a special day in Ohio. The bill allowing the manufacturing of automatic knives, originally sponsored by Senator Joe Uecker and carried on by others, went into effect that day. 

Prototype Hinderer Automatic, the first legally manufactured auto knife in Ohio

One driving force behind this was Rick Hinderer. Rick makes high quality knives with what he describes as “medical precision.” And it is a long story from the first knife he made to a building filled with state-of-the-art automated mills.
Rick Hinderer
Rick Hinderer in the lobby of his factory


Rick started as a farrier and limited resources caused him to forge his first knife as a retirement gift to a friend. Rick discovered that not only was it fun, but he had a knack for it. He turned the profits back into the business like many entrepreneurs and gained a following. And this following grew partly because of his feelings about warranties.

 “What good does a warranty do if you’re hanging from a cliff and your life-saving tool breaks?” he asked. “It doesn’t do you any good. So, I offer a lifetime warranty because everyone does, but I make my knives so the warranty never needs to be used.” 

This insistence on quality and performance has led him to a point, where despite the price, every knife he makes is already sold before he can finish it. All of his knives are assembled by hand, carefully fitted until each knife is perfect. That is what creates demand! It also has found him favor with the military. He has sent sample knives to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and they like them! 

Hinderer knife
Rick started with art knives and evolved into tactical knives



So where do automatic knives come in? Previously, in Ohio, you could own and you could carry an automatic knife, but you couldn’t manufacture. Our neighbors in Indiana and West Virginia have that ability. 

 So, what happens if he gets a call from the military for an order of 20 thousand automatics? “I can’t do it here,” Rick explained. “But I’m not saying no to an order that size or from our government either.” It’s a dilemma, and it has a simple but unwanted decision. 

 Located in Wayne County, Hinderer knives is a major source of revenue and tax dollars. He’s created jobs and opportunities in an area that needs a little help. Equally important he likes living in the area. 

Doug Ritter and Todd Rathner from Knife Rights got behind Rick and started recruiting legislators. Some senators and representatives studied the current Ohio laws and realized they were nuts. It took six years to straighten them out. Along the way the bill ran into roadblocks, got sidetracked but with help, the bill finally made it to the Governor’s desk. And Governor DeWine signed it. 6 years is a long time, but it is here now. The law went into effect April 12 2021. 

The law allows the manufacturing of automatic knives in Ohio. And Rick isn’t the only manufacturer who will benefit from this change. Other current and future knife entrepreneurs will also benefit. So will the communities from where men and women will be drawn, polished and turned into masters of their art.  The impact of creating jobs, improving the tax base and giving people the opportunity to become skilled tradesman cannot be under estimated. 

The bill also moves the legal focus off the object and onto the user’s action. This is huge! The law takes the rational view that an object isn’t responsible for breaking the law. The responsibility is shifted to the doer causing harm by breaking the law. Many police officers have long felt this was a more enlightened stance. Now the pen in your pocket is just a pen until you assault someone with it.

Hinderer factory floor
The House of Hinderer

 
This benefits the knife collector. I’ve been to shows and heard horror stories of displays of expensive, classic fishtail automatics seized by overzealous enforcement agents. Or the customer who now feels relieved because the tool she carries isn’t a reason to be arrested. 

Rick Hinderer's factory floor
The machinery needed to bring Rick's designs into existence

If you never have been in a modern factory, forget your old stereotypes. The air is clean and the floor sparkling. Men and women work in well illuminated environments, hand-fitting each component together. Anyone who tells you modern knife makers don’t have the quality of the cutlers of the past, is in my opinion, talking out their hats. Hinderer knives are masterpieces of quality and manufacturing. 

Senator Kristina Roegner and titanium sheat
Senator Kristina Roegner modeling a sheet of titanium handle cutouts 


Part of the morning was spent showing us the modern tools of knife manufacturing. Water jets using a simple abrasive cut out titanium blanks. Pods of automatic milling machines do 26 different operation with different tools producing 4 blanks each in just 80 minutes. Finished blades are custom laser engraved. But despite modern automated machinery, Rick has his knives sharpened by hand. Machines just can’t seem to do the job right, he insists.

Hinderer knife assemble
One of the assemblers checks and rechecks all the parts that are custom fitted 


Every component of a Hinderer knife is made on premises. Rick designs everything from the clips on the back to the smallest screw to the beefiest blade. 

Automated machines can improve production and quality but first you have to learn how to use them. To make the screws he wanted, Rick told us about buying a lathe. How do you learn to use a lathe? Mostly by doing and he realized he needed to teach himself. He decided that a pen was a simple enough shape to practice on. And out of perseverance came opportunity. 

At one of the shows in Las Vegas he met a homicide detective who had a need and he hoped Rick could solve it for him. You can’t take weapons into holding cells when you interview people under arrest. That’s common sense, but you’re still in a small room with a man who has nothing to lose. This LV detective was attacked by a suspect and saved by his partner. The detective wanted to know if Rick could make something that would give him an edge. The tactical pen was borne from that request. Rick claims that was the first tactical pen sold and it was his idea. 

Perhaps. Still, it is a great story. 

But the highlight of the day was Rick assembling the first legally manufactured automatic knife in Ohio. It was an unsharpened prototype and I’m sure it will see some changes, but I was there to watch history be made. 

First legally manufactured auto in Ohio
Parts and tools needed to assemble the Hinderer prototype auto  (Rick didn't do the photographers any favors using a black background with silver parts!)


 Now, perhaps it is small h history being made. But in ten years it could be big H history spawning a homegrown statewide industry and creating opportunities for many people. Who knows where it will go? 


Hinderer prototype automatic knife
The first legally manufactured auto knife in Ohio, the Hinderer prototype automatic


You can find out more about Hinderer Knives at: https://www.rickhindererknives.com

If you love knives and you love the freedom to act responsibly in public, join Knife Rights. I’m a member too. https://kniferights.org/

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Doctor, Doctor

 I seldom buy slip joint knives.  They seem so old fashioned, as if the manufacturer can’t catch-up with the 1980s not to mention 2021.  The blade is held open by spring pressure on the tang and doesn’t lock the blade open.  I see it as a safety issue, but that’s me.  I do make an exception for very cool knives, like Doctor knives or Physician’s knives.

Case pocket knife No 64128
Case Doctor Knife, no64128  You could say it is on target.
.

But I’ve got a list of must-haves.  It’s got to have a spatula and a slender spear point.  The knife butt should be flat and I suspect the originals has a solid, flat end.  Back in the old days when doctors made house calls they often took medical supplies with them.  Sometimes they needed to formulate medication and would grind up a power or pill and makes a salve or roll pills.

You don’t find too many as this was a niche market, but I’ve seem examples from ink and paint companies as part of their advertising and self-promotion.

Yeah, those are scratches on my new knife.

I’m also not a big Case knife fan.  They are, in my opinion, a collector’s club attempting to drive sales by constantly changing handle materials and their unique system of dating blades.  If you collect a specific pattern, you’ll never be done as each year a newly dated knife is made by the thousands.

One of their ploys, which I like from a marketing point of view, is they will “retire into the vault” a pattern that doesn’t have much demand and later release it when they think there is demand for it.

This happens to Doctor knives.  I saw this knife in 2018 for the first time, but even as I jumped on it, it slipped away.  A. G. Russell had “found’ a cache and I didn’t wait.

The handle is natural bone scales that have been sculpted and dyed with the stars and stripes of the American flag waving in the wind and capped with nickel-silver bolsters.  The fact that Case jigs and dyes their own bone in house allows them to create these unique pieces.

The back is a nice white bone
My knife is part of the Star Spangled series Case introduced at the 2017 SHOT Show.  The blade is a slender spear point 3 inches long with a Rockwell C hardness of 54-57.  The blade is made of Case’s proprietary steel called Tru-Sharp.  Case describes as a high carbon steel.  I suggest a drop of oil is called for.

The front is a nice jigged bone handle in a American Flag motif while the back is just white bone.

The one thing I don’t like, half the width of the spatula seems to be scratched by the brass bolster that separates the two blades.  I doubt very much the brass actually did scratch the blade.  I think it is a manufacturing artifact.  I could polish it out, if it’s not too deep, but I’m going to leave it as that’s the way they made it.




I understand A.G. is out of stock and the Case vault is still locked.  I’m happy to have it in my collection.