Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Doctor, Doctor

I'm a big fan of doctor or physician knives.  They usually come with a spear point blade and a spatula.  The knife butt, on the best of them, is a solid flat end cap used to grind medications and materials.  There was a time when doctors would make house calls, especially in the more remote parts of the country.  Sometimes they need to open their black bag and formulate medication by absorbing a liquid into a solid and solids to ointments.  This called for a spatula and a way of grinding materials.  Hence the doctor’s knife. 

Rough Ryder's Doctor Knife

“…this was entirely done by hand. The pill mass was rolled into the form of a cylinder, placed on a graduated tile and divided by means of a spatula into measured lengths calculated to contain the required amount of active ingredients. These were then rounded between finger and thumb to give the final product.”  Hong Kong Medical Journal 2015.

Of course, the blade was needed to lance boils and carbuncles.  Medicine in the early 1900s was not for the faint of heart.

I’ve always been fascinated with spatulas.  As a chemist, I used a variety of sizes to weigh out chemicals and unknowns.  Then I turn around and see a chocolate maker use the same tool.  Take a step and you’ll find printers keeping the ink in the printing bank mixed and evenly spread out with spatulas.  You’ll find them in kitchens, paint and pigment stores, in labs and pharmacies, but you’ll seldom find them with doctors.

I don’t see too many doctor knives around, especially the older ones, so I was happy to find one from Rough Ryder.  Yes, they changed their name from Rider to Ryder.  I don’t know if it was the condom association or Teddy Roosevelt.  Perhaps the change was just a public relations move to get more notice.

I think of that blade as more of a sheep foot blade, but there is a high degree of freedom in naming blades 

The knife is 3.6 inches closed and has nickel silver bolsters.  It has a spey blade and the traditional spatula.  The handle is malachite and pearl from Stoneworx.  The knife has brass liners and the two blades are separated by brass as well.

All and all, it is a really nice doctor’s knife and I really like it.  Rough Ryder has an upscale group of knives, and this is one of them.  It is a nice example of knife art at a reasonable price.  You can buy one for the princely sum of $26.00.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Friday, November 5, 2021

Sea Snake

I finally got around to breaking out and using Artisan Cutlery’s Sea Snake.

Artisan Cutlery, sea snake, G-10 handle
Artisan Cutlery's Sea Snake

I came across it at the 2021 Blade Show and it followed me home.  I’m sorry I waited so long to break it out. 

Artisan Cutlery is a Chinese company making innovated blades as well as using interesting steels.   My Sea Snake was crafted from AR-RPM9, a proprietary powdered metal steel.


The formulation?  Well, it’s proprietary, but few compositional secrets remain secret for long.  Here’s what I found on the Internet:

0.9% Carbon,

18% Chromium,

1.0% Molybdenum,

0.45% Manganese,

0.1% Vanadium,

0.30% Cobalt,

0.2-0.8% Silicon,

less than 0.40% Nickle,

less than 0.05% Rare Earth.

I’ve never seen anyone list or express concern about rare earth composition.


Chemical analysis can tell you what’s in a product, but not necessarily how it performs.  Looking at these numbers, I could do this analysis with a half decent SEM and EDS.  There are no significant elements below 0.1%.  But like Coca-Cola, it’s how it’s cooked that makes the difference.  That would take some real research into metallography to unwrap those secrets. 

In any case, enjoy this steel, because I am.


The 3.15 inch flat ground Wharncliffe blade is fixed to a G-10 clad handle giving the knife a total length of 6.78 inches long.  The blade has a RHc value of 59-61.

I like the feel of the knife in my hand and I can’t stop playing with it.  The balance point is back in the handle and the finger groove provides plenty of grip and prevents you from sliding onto the blade.  That’s always important to me.   There is a secondary finger groove carved into the blade shortening the actual cutting edge to just under 2.5 inches.  Using the two finger grooves and the jimping on the blade’s spine locks the knife in my hand and gives me fine control over the blade.


The knife is designed by Mike Embler.  Mike is from eastern Ohio and spent 18 years in the  Navy.  He studied multiple forms of self-defense, including Japanese swordsmanship while stationed in Japan.  This helped shape his views on knives as tools and weapons.  It was in Japan he discovered the joys of flat grinds.

You should keep an eye out for him, I think you’ll be seeing more of his work.

Dressed-up accessory, neck knife, Wharncliffe blade
Dressed up  and ready for a night out.

I got the green G-10 handled knife in the khaki green sheath.  It seemed like the right color for a Sea Snake.  But the black para cord it came with was the pits.  Not content with that, I dug out some woodland camo paracord and found an almost matching green and orange glass bead and dressed up the sheath. 


Neck knives are becoming a fashion accessory for men; women too! 

Yes, I know they started out as a hidden weapon, worn under a shirt or blouse, a tool of last resort, likely to be missed in a fast pat-down.  But really, those days are gone.  Everyone checks around the collar for the tell-tale cord, pats the chest and under the arms.  Then there’s the metal detecting wand.  Just wear it as a fashion accessory.

Besides do you really want to go into combat with an unbreakable noose around your neck?


You can get you’re Sea Snake at https://www.artisancutlery.net/sea-snake-atz-1842b-g10-ar-rpm9?search=sea%20sNAKE&description=true for $39.98.  They currently have a limited issue made with S35vn steel and another with a carbon fiber handle at prices reflecting the more exotic materials.


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Gerber Parabellum

Gerber folding knife
Gerber Parabellum:  Prepare for war

The Gerber Knife Company has a funny origin story.  It’s not secret but I find it amusing.  It's not about making knives, it's about selling knives.

It’s 1939, Hitler fires the opening shots of WWII.  A few Americans are concerned.  Leo Szilard and Albert Einstein draft a letter to President Roosevelt about the potential to build an atomic bomb and advising him to create and fund a government research project on nuclear weapons.

Joe Gerber owns an advertising agency in Portland Oregon that has been in his family since 1904.  Christmas is coming and Joe wants to give special presents to his best customers.  He has David Murphy, a local knifemaker, craft 24 knives.

Somewhere, somehow Abercrombie and Fitch get their corporate hands on one and they want to sell them.

Joe, knowing advertising and business, starts Gerber Legendary Blades by ordering more knives from David.  Eventually David and Joe separate and my source claims David Murphy, despite his fame, dies bankrupt.

Over the years Gerber has employed craftsmen who went out and established names for themselves.  Both Pete Kershaw and Al Mar left and started their own companies. 

It is reasonable to say Gerber started the knife business in Oregon.  Over the years Gerber bought knife designs from a list of Who’s-who in the knife industry.  The list includes Bob Loveless, Blackie Collins, Fred Carter, Ernest Emerson, Bear Grylls, and local hero Rick Hinderer.

Folding knife, Gerber
The Parabellum is not a pocket size knife

In 1987 the Finnish company Fiskars bought Gerber Legendary Blades.  Fiskars is essentially a holding company whose main business concern is owning significant portions of other profitable companies.  Fiskars also owns the classic British company, Waterford Wedgewood, who is themselves a holding company.  Let’s not go down that rabbit hole.

From 1987 to 1994 Gerber made the Parabellum aka Black Bolt.  It was engineered to be one of the stoutest folding knives ever made.  And if you ever handled one, you would believe it.  It is reported that Blackie Collin designed the Bolt Action, the mechanism used to lock the knife open.  It takes a little force to unlock the blade.  That isn’t always a bad thing.

I ran into this one and despite the shadow on the back of the blade I bought it.  The edge looks factory and it comes with the duty belt clip.  The pouch can be reconfigured so the Parabellum can be slipped into it with the blade open like a sheath knife.

Discoloration on back of blade

The 4-inch flat grind drop point blade is over an inch and a quarter at the widest point and 11/64 of an inch thick.  The steel is probably 440C, the best of the 400 series.  At the time 440C was premium mid-level steel for knife making.

440C stainless contains:

                                    C   0.95-1.2%

                                    Cr  16-18%

                                    Mn and Si at 1% each,

                                    Mo  0.75%

The steel is magnetic so keep it away from your compass if you’re navigating by map and compass.

Parabellum and sheath
Gerber Parabellum and original sheath

I think my Parabellum was carried and never used.  The pouch shows a little rust on the back snap and the cover snap seems to have been thumb polished.  The discoloration on the back of the blade appears to be confined chiefly to the portion of the blade not protected by the knife handle.  The handle itself doesn’t have a mark or scratch on it.

Gerber original parabellum sheath
Back of Sheath  It can be unsnapped and rotated to a drop leg sheath to hold the open knife

I’m going to leave it the way it is.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Window Shopping

I find myself window shopping in the Böker catalog.  It’s the adult version of creating a wish list for Santa.  Since I’m just window shopping, price becomes irrelevant.  Grab a shopping cart and come with me.

Böker 98K with those interesting handle grooves

I like working blades.  Knives that I’m going to carry and use and surprisingly they don’t all have to be tactical blades.  I really like the Böker 98K Damascus modestly priced at $419.00.  The blade is made from portions of the German Karabiner 98K, best known for its Mauser locking system.  Chad Nichols changes it into a ripple pattern Damascus blade.  

The clip point blade uses a nail nick to open and the handle scales are walnut wood. The knife has a protruding back lock and steel liners for strength. https://www.bokerusa.com/98k-damascus-110715dam

Swiss Dagger
I’ve always had a thing for Swiss daggers.  Maybe it’s the name, Baselard.  It was a popular weapon with pikemen in the 15th and 16th century.  The long tapering 18.5 inch blade with a double edge and distinctive hilt makes it a unique and recognizable weapon.  Too bad it’s associated with damn Nazis.  

Boker has a simple, working pikeman version too.

It’s not available at Böker anymore, but you can find it at…  Well I’m wrong, actually nobody has it here in the States.  It does seem available at the German Böker website.

I suspect it should be called Glamping, not camping.
I remember when being called a Boy Scout wasn’t a derogative term.  It still isn’t to me.  Perhaps that is why I like the Böker Camp Knife.  It sports a stag handle with a main 2.5 inch drop point blade and a smaller 1.75 inch clip point blade.  What would a camp knife be without a can and bottle opener?  Included is a leather punch/reamer and a cork screw for adult beverage camping.  

Your basic scout knife
This pattern has been in use since 1869 which was long before I graduated from high school and Scouts.  I wish I had one.  The blade?  Oh, it’s a 4036 steel, which needs a little care.  You can find one for $279.00.


What can I say, I have permission to use Boker's website images. 

Lastly, I’d want a Böker plus Nori CF.  It a thin streamline folder with carbon scales designed by Kansei Matsuno.  It’s a gentleman’s knife with a pocket clip and a subtle front flipper.  The 3.15 inch blade is completely submerged in the handle and it weighs in at 1.6 ounces.  

A little nicer look at the carbon fiber handle
The VG-10 blade rolls out on ball bearings and locks open with a liner lock.  It could be the perfect knife to tuck behind your cummerbund and it will not pucker the lines of your Savile Row suit.  The list price is a mere $120, which could actually be in my price range.


Ladies did I forget you?  No, I didn’t.

Damascus is hot this year.  The auto kwaiken has very good looks, especial with the abalone button

Böker makes a lovely auto knife perfect for elegant wear.  It’s a Damascus kwaiken with a 3.5 inch Chad Nichols virus pattern blade in a black handle weighting 3.4 ounces.   The activation button is inlayed with abalone.  It is very nice and expensive at $650, but you’re worth it, aren’t you?  At least I think so.  Unfortunately, it isn’t quite available yet.


There no sense leaving post-it notes on the pages.  My wife just throws her hands up and says, “You want it?  Order it.  Don’t make me a party to your edge lust!”  It’s a thought, but I’d rather window shop.  There is always a nicer one out there.

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!