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Chaser Knives: Superior Craft and Art

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December 05, 2012

Chaser Knives: Superior Craft and Art

By David E. Petzal

From time to time it is my pleasure to introduce you to people who are both superior craftsmen and artists as well, such as D’Arcy Echols and Ryan Breeding. Now, let me present Mike Malosh, who makes knives in the style of William Scagel, and does his own designs to boot. Mr. Malosh’s creations are called Chaser knives, and he does a number of things that set him apart.

But first a word about William Scagel, who was an eccentric, semi-reclusive Michigander who could do anything with metal, and who, for a very long time (he died in 1963) turned out a limited number of highly distinctive knives of all kinds (mostly hunters) and hatchets. Bo Randall got interested in making knives when he saw someone scraping paint off a boat with a Scagel, and Scagel was a great help to him in the early part of his career. Today, a Scagel is worth a great deal of money.

Scagel’s trademark was his handles, which were half leather, half stag, and made colorful by the copious use of fiber and metal spacers. He pinned his handles to the tang, and ground his blades with what is known as a rolled, or apple seed, or Moran (another great smith who used it) edge. A rolled edge is convex rather than concave in cross section. It’s very strong, has excellent cutting geometry, can be gotten ungodly sharp, but is very difficult to grind, as it requires the smith to work with a slack belt and roll the blade into it. Very few people use it nowadays.

Enter Mike Malosh, who started as a collector, then learned how to make knives, and began selling them in 2006. He originally forged O1, a tool steel that all knifesmiths love, but has now switched to another classic called W-2 which, he claims, gives him superior results. He hardens his edges to Rc 58-60, which is pretty hard. His hilts are made either of silicon bronze or stainless steel, and he crafts his handles from leather washers, sambar stag, and all sorts of other stuff. Like Scagel, he pins his handles, but it would not surprise me terribly if he uses epoxy as well.

Chaser knives cut like the Wrath to Come. I’ve tried out two on manila rope, and can tell that that the only other knives that are in their league for sharpness, edge-holding, and ease of re-sharpening, are DiamondBlade knives. The scabbards are made by a craftsman named Jack Mosher, of whom I had not heard, but whose work is as good as you can find. He does gorgeous, and very strong, things with leather.

Of the two knives shown here, the big fellow is a camp knife, a concept popularized by Bill Moran. It’s too big to be a hunting knife, but is great for butchering, and can do anything else that a knife can do, plus most of what a hatchet can do. It’s done in the Scagel pattern. The other one is a drop-point hunter with a compass in its butt, made in Malosh’s style.

Prices, for what you get, are very reasonable. The drop-point is around $270, and the camp knife is $200 more. You can order from chaserhandmadeknives.com, or from Arizona Custom Knives, which gets them in occasionally. However, they go quickly, and if you dilly-dally or shilly-shally you will regret it.

And a postscript: On October 5th, Ted Dowell passed away at the age of 83. Ted was a founding member of the Knifemakers' Guild in 1970. He was a combination of mechanical genius, perfectionist, and gifted artist. I had the privilege of knowing him and owning several of his knives. He was a dedicated elk hunter and a good guy. If you happen upon a knife with his TMD stamp, you are looking at the best that can be done with a piece of steel.

 

Comments (29)

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from Del in KS wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Those are beautiful knives Dave. Alas I have a drawer full yet am always seeing new knives I want. Saayyy if you need a fellow to test knives I'm your man!!!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I have always admired well made knives and own more than I will wear out including a Moran and two Randalls. Does anyone remember Blackjack knives? They actually were excellent quality for the money. Unfortunately even though I shoot mostly 1911's I admit that other than being ugly a Glock is as reliable, accurate, and less costly. How do the two pistols relate to knives? Havalon. As several local outfitters have showed me that knife is difficult to fault from a practical user standpoint. Get the orange handle one so you might not lose it. Recently the tip broke off my Knives of Alaska meat saw. I returned it to them and am waiting to see if their guarantee is as good as they say. I should look into those Chaser blades in more detail as they appear to be pure quality.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Safado wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Dave,
Those look like fine knives. I was surprised by the price which I think is reasonable for a high quality hand made knife. Are you familiar with Chris Reeve knives of Idaho and where would you rank Chris Reeve knives relative to Chaser knives or some of the other fine knives that you have reviewed? I own three of his knives so I guess you could say that I am partial to them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jerry A. wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

They look really nice. Maybe if I convinced my wife to combine a couple years of Christmas and birthday presents...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

That really is a good price. I would be interested in the camp knife. I'm in the same boat as Del though with a number of good knives. It's like my wife shoes, it's hard to notice the new one that just appeared.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Every hunter owes it to himself to own one good knife in his life. I bought mine last year and have wondered ever since what took so long.

BTW, Received my copy of The Comprehensive Guide to Tracking by Cleve Cheney today. Good. Damn good. Thanks for the recommendation.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BackRoad600 wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Dang...those are pretty...and not at all badly priced either...are they made to order, or do you usually have to find them at some external dealer? The reason I ask is when you go to the "Available" section of the website he says that he is "Looking to have something here soon."

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BackRoad600 wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Oh, never mind...the Arizona Custom Knives site seems to have some...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RJ Arena wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

People that do not understand the true cost of a fine craftsman's labor do not understand the price they demand.
These knives are beautiful, extremely useful and will last a lifetime, they are an investment. I am going to own one, which one, I am not yet sure!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carney wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I wouldn't make a knife for less than $470. Fat chance that I'd buy one at that price though.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Very nice knives, but I have two friends that make custom blades and they are as nice as the ones in the blog. these guys do not advertise and only make a few knives per year. I have four of their creations, two from each of them.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from capt.seagull wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

yall are gun nuts I'm a knife nut and those are sure fine knives although I don't know where I'd get the money

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sb Wacker wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

So it's drawer queen's now is it, any knife with a compass in the handle is a collector's toy not an outdoorsman's tool. Lots and lots of companies and individual knife makers are still selling thousands of convex blades every year. I trust you to write about rifles.
SBW

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walter Wood wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Ishawooa,

Blackjack kinves were made in Effingham IL between 1992 and 1997, the owner was Mike Stewart. they are also convex grinds and very good quality. After the business closed Mike sold the brand name and moved over to Marbles. He currently owns Bark River Knives, again very good quality. The Blackjack brand is owned by Blueridge Knives and they produce some overseas. However, they have Mike produce the Blackjack Clasics in his Bark River shop. Very good craftmanship and quality at a reasonable price (usually can be fould under $200). The Eff'en knives, as my wife calls the Blackjacks from Effingham, have become quite collectable.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bernie wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Sorry to learn of Ted Dowell's passing. I have owned one of his fine knives for many years. Thought I lost it in Alaska over 9/11/01. I was hunting moose in the Tikchik Lakes area, flew back into Dillingham with my partners, and everything was chaos. I had to take my Dowell knife off my belt, and I watched the clerk put it into my checked bag and zip the bag. When I got to Anchorage the bag was partially unzipped and the knife was gone! I was mortified.

What followed still puzzles me: I contact Ted Dowell at his Bend, Ore. home, he wrote a note for me, which I sent to Alaska Airlines, saying the knife was valued at $350. A couple weeks later, I got a check for that amount for Alaska Airlines, and the same day my hunting partner from Anchorage called and said, "I've got your knife!" Someone turned it in to the lost-and-found at the airport! I still have no idea if someone stole it, then got a guilty conscience, or if someone got caught with the knife in their possession. In any case, I returned the check uncashed to Alaska Airlines with a letter of appreciation. Also wrote a note to Ted Dowell. I was just happy to have the knife back!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Bernie, thanks for the good story, as you know it is rare to share a good airline story. Indeed usually just the opposite.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Whereas I too am a knife nut, obviously many of you know a bunch more about the various makers than I do. Some years ago I bought a couple of gorgeous folders from a maker in Louisiana named James Wiggins. Any of you ever heard of him? Sadly he has passed away since. Great knives. Being a old geezer, I must admit I still harbor a preference for good quality old carbon steel non-stainless knives. I think they take a much better edge and are quicker and easier to sharpen, as versus some of the stainless that take too long to sharpen, do not take quite as good an edge and do not hold it as long as I think that they should. I have sharpened a slew of knives in my day and am pretty good at it if I do say so. Do you suspect that one of the reasons is that many people prefer stainless for cosmetic reasons and don't like to look at the grungy old stuff that's not nearly as pretty? And that stainless simply sells better? Does anyone agree with me or am I just an old fart stuck in the past? I would never give up my ancient kitchen knives for any amount, at least a couple of which must be well over 100 years old. I can shave with any of them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bernie wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Tom Warner: Good knife steels like D-2, 154-CM, ATS-34 and others are a little more difficult to sharpen that high carbon types like 0-1, but in general, I agree with you. Trouble is a lot of commercially sold knives have so much "stainless" in their properties that they are junk. I have three kitchen knives from a guy named Wright who was from Chicago that I bought more than 30 years ago. They are high carbon steel, stained grey, but as you point out, they are easy to sharpen and one could shave with them. Also bought my wife a camp knife made by the same guy. Can't remember the steel, but I think it is 154-CM. I don't see his name in the Knifemakers' Guild anymore so don't know what happened to him. But from one old geezer to another, you make a good point!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Walter Wood: thanks for the update on Blackjack Knives as I was not aware of any of the content of your entry. I have one Effin (got to remember that term lol) stag handled Blackjack which new in the box. Very pretty knife, never used it as others were already in use when I acquired it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Bernie indeed a great story complete with a surprise ending. Deadeye My favorite also was made by a highly skilled, low production, relatively unknown craftsman. It is not worth much to others but invaluable to me as I designed it in every detail 40 years ago. The professor made it exactly to my liking except for one small detail which is not worth mentioning .

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Bernie: Do you recall the days when the old Herter's was still in business? They sold a lot of stuff that was not the best, despite their wild and grandiose claims. However, their knives were not bad. We have had two wilderness cabins for over 50 years that are furnished with 7 or 8 of Herter's basic knives that are still going strong. Also I have one in my own kitchen. All are pretty beat-up, but promise to go on forever. Simple every day tools made of high carbon steel. I have no idea who the actual maker was. The stainless stuff is not nearly as good. I always got a huge kick out of reading Herter's catalogs and wish that I had saved a couple.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

These blades look like fine additions to one's bare bodkin collection.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bernie wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Tom Warner: Yes, indeed, I remember the big yellow catalogs from Herter's in Waseca, MN! I too used to get a chuckle out of the outrageous claims. I never did own any of their knives though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

All this tempted me to look over the ridiculous number of knives I have accumulated over these many years,and while I was fondling a Morseth knife from A.G. Russell that I have gutted and skinned many a beast with, I was reminded of one other grievance that I have always had with many otherwise good knives, and that is that the blades are frequently made unnecessarily thick. I have never found that this added much to the overall usefulness of a knife unless I wanted to use it as a pry bar,or to chop something. I prefer to avoid that and do the job with some other implement. It actually somewhat slows cutting and slicing, where a thinner and somewhat flexible blade would be handier. Just sayin'.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Very true Tom. It is starting to come down to buying an expensive handle. Most makers appeal to the Rambo, lost in the Wilderness crowd. It is becoming like every off road SUV that never gets off the black top. I worked as a butcher in my youth. The most important thing in a knife is edge retention and ease of sharpening. After that is your skills. Two people come to mind Buffalo Bill. When asked by Zane Gray "what knife he used to kill Yellow Hand with"? He replied "any old knife ,we thought of them as tools". Second was Joel Rifkin a serial killer that lived several blocks away. He dismembered some poor girl with an Exacto knife. IE. knife skills and anatomy.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

The more hide and meat I cut the more I like a thin "hollow ground" edge like that found on a buck lite. Cheers to knives and guns, out of curiosity I will buy more.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dale freeman wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Uncle Dave;
I sure wish you and cousin Phil would get back to your old syle.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from outdoorsman170 wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I love knives.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

OFF TOPIC

Here's a column written in response to Bob Costas' call for gun control after the death of a KC Chief player:

Gun not at fault for Belchers acts
Updated Dec 4, 2012 12:18 AM ET

Jen Floyd Engel
FoxSports.com

The burning embers of the Twin Towers had a way of being invoked when a particularly dicey part of the Patriot Act needed selling 11 years ago.

This was the smart play. Watering down constitutional rights is not easily undertaken. So scaring Americans and then using that fear to explain why this egregious assault on their rights is for their own good is genius. This is exactly why the right protecting against unreasonable searches and seizures of Americans is no longer absolute, thanks to the Patriot Act, and a right to a speedy and public trial by jury was only days ago finally reaffirmed in the Senate, with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) so eloquently arguing, “If we relinquish our rights because of fear, what is it exactly, then, we are fighting for?”

Yes, tragedy is a dangerous time for the Bill of Rights because somebody is always there to wave a flag or an orphaned baby and use that to explain why we need to voluntarily give up rights our Founding Fathers so wisely gave to us. And so it is with this Jovan Belcher tragedy.

The Kansas City Chiefs linebacker gunned down his girlfriend — the mother of his baby — and then killed himself, leaving a 3-month-old girl without parents. That this is a tragedy is inarguable. That this is some sort of referendum on the Second Amendment and our right to bear arms is absurd.

My esteemed colleague, Jason Whitlock, argued just that in a very thoughtful column, noting “What I believe is, if (Belcher) didn’t possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.” NBC analyst Bob Costas used this as a jumping off point to proselytize during halftime of “Football Night in America” about perspective in sports and the dangers of guns.

The problem with intelligent, impassioned, well-reasoned arguments is how seductive they are. It is easier to blow off the crazy guy screaming “ban all guns” than journalists such as Whitlock or Costas who are arguing rather convincingly how the Second Amendment threatens our liberty rather than enhances it.

What I know for sure is the distinguished senator from Kentucky is right. And his impassioned defense of the Sixth Amendment on the Senate floor last week needs to be Googled and viewed by everybody calling for a gun ban in response to the Belcher tragedy.

“We have nothing to fear that should cause us to relinquish our rights as free men and women,” Paul said. “I urge my colleagues to reject fear, to reject the siren call for ever more powerful government.”

This is not simply about guns. This is about rights. It is a slippery slope from doing something in the interest of public safety to giving up what we hold dear. The slope is greased with fear, with a self-righteous belief that we know better than the framers of the Constitution. And it is all based on informal fallacy.

The idea that if we just ban all guns Kasandra Perkins does not die and a 3-month-old baby is not orphaned is the very essence of a stated premise that fails to support its proposed conclusion. Yes, guns are dangerous and people such as Belcher sometimes use them to do awful things. What I believe in my heart is Jovan Belcher was going to find a way to wreak havoc that day whether he had a gun or a knife or only his fists. And even the potential to stop him is not justification for willingly handing over rights guaranteed to us.

If this makes me a gun nut or a wing nut or a preachy PITA, I am OK with those labels. Although, I prefer Constitutionalist.

There are not a lot of us left — not absolutists, at least.

Conservatives argue for limiting the right to a speedy trial because terrorists are dangerous. Liberals argue for taking away my right to bear arms because people like Belcher use them in unspeakably horrific ways. Hell, the mayor of New York wants to take away my right to buy a big cup of Coke while in his city because obesity has become such an epidemic. Where does it end? Taking away free speech, freedom of the press? Restricting our right to peaceably assemble? Whittling away our very liberty?

Liberty and democracy are not the same things.

Democracy means the majority decides what rules govern us. Liberty is the idea that we all have certain rights that cannot be taken away, not even by a majority. These are the “inalienable rights” of the Declaration of Independence, and when we give them up voluntarily, for whatever reason no matter how altruistic, what we find is all we have done is given more rights to the government that were intended for us.

Doing so makes us less safe, not more.

So I absolutely believe in “a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” just as I do the right to a trial by jury and freedom of religion. And as tragic as this Belcher murder-suicide story is, as much as my heart breaks for that little girl, the answer is not taking away or willingly giving up the right of Americans to bear arms.

Because if we give up our liberty for the mirage of safety, what really have we won?

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from Bernie wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Sorry to learn of Ted Dowell's passing. I have owned one of his fine knives for many years. Thought I lost it in Alaska over 9/11/01. I was hunting moose in the Tikchik Lakes area, flew back into Dillingham with my partners, and everything was chaos. I had to take my Dowell knife off my belt, and I watched the clerk put it into my checked bag and zip the bag. When I got to Anchorage the bag was partially unzipped and the knife was gone! I was mortified.

What followed still puzzles me: I contact Ted Dowell at his Bend, Ore. home, he wrote a note for me, which I sent to Alaska Airlines, saying the knife was valued at $350. A couple weeks later, I got a check for that amount for Alaska Airlines, and the same day my hunting partner from Anchorage called and said, "I've got your knife!" Someone turned it in to the lost-and-found at the airport! I still have no idea if someone stole it, then got a guilty conscience, or if someone got caught with the knife in their possession. In any case, I returned the check uncashed to Alaska Airlines with a letter of appreciation. Also wrote a note to Ted Dowell. I was just happy to have the knife back!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Those are beautiful knives Dave. Alas I have a drawer full yet am always seeing new knives I want. Saayyy if you need a fellow to test knives I'm your man!!!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I have always admired well made knives and own more than I will wear out including a Moran and two Randalls. Does anyone remember Blackjack knives? They actually were excellent quality for the money. Unfortunately even though I shoot mostly 1911's I admit that other than being ugly a Glock is as reliable, accurate, and less costly. How do the two pistols relate to knives? Havalon. As several local outfitters have showed me that knife is difficult to fault from a practical user standpoint. Get the orange handle one so you might not lose it. Recently the tip broke off my Knives of Alaska meat saw. I returned it to them and am waiting to see if their guarantee is as good as they say. I should look into those Chaser blades in more detail as they appear to be pure quality.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carney wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

I wouldn't make a knife for less than $470. Fat chance that I'd buy one at that price though.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Very nice knives, but I have two friends that make custom blades and they are as nice as the ones in the blog. these guys do not advertise and only make a few knives per year. I have four of their creations, two from each of them.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Safado wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Dave,
Those look like fine knives. I was surprised by the price which I think is reasonable for a high quality hand made knife. Are you familiar with Chris Reeve knives of Idaho and where would you rank Chris Reeve knives relative to Chaser knives or some of the other fine knives that you have reviewed? I own three of his knives so I guess you could say that I am partial to them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jerry A. wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

They look really nice. Maybe if I convinced my wife to combine a couple years of Christmas and birthday presents...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

That really is a good price. I would be interested in the camp knife. I'm in the same boat as Del though with a number of good knives. It's like my wife shoes, it's hard to notice the new one that just appeared.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Every hunter owes it to himself to own one good knife in his life. I bought mine last year and have wondered ever since what took so long.

BTW, Received my copy of The Comprehensive Guide to Tracking by Cleve Cheney today. Good. Damn good. Thanks for the recommendation.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BackRoad600 wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Dang...those are pretty...and not at all badly priced either...are they made to order, or do you usually have to find them at some external dealer? The reason I ask is when you go to the "Available" section of the website he says that he is "Looking to have something here soon."

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BackRoad600 wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Oh, never mind...the Arizona Custom Knives site seems to have some...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RJ Arena wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

People that do not understand the true cost of a fine craftsman's labor do not understand the price they demand.
These knives are beautiful, extremely useful and will last a lifetime, they are an investment. I am going to own one, which one, I am not yet sure!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from capt.seagull wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

yall are gun nuts I'm a knife nut and those are sure fine knives although I don't know where I'd get the money

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walter Wood wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Ishawooa,

Blackjack kinves were made in Effingham IL between 1992 and 1997, the owner was Mike Stewart. they are also convex grinds and very good quality. After the business closed Mike sold the brand name and moved over to Marbles. He currently owns Bark River Knives, again very good quality. The Blackjack brand is owned by Blueridge Knives and they produce some overseas. However, they have Mike produce the Blackjack Clasics in his Bark River shop. Very good craftmanship and quality at a reasonable price (usually can be fould under $200). The Eff'en knives, as my wife calls the Blackjacks from Effingham, have become quite collectable.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Bernie, thanks for the good story, as you know it is rare to share a good airline story. Indeed usually just the opposite.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Whereas I too am a knife nut, obviously many of you know a bunch more about the various makers than I do. Some years ago I bought a couple of gorgeous folders from a maker in Louisiana named James Wiggins. Any of you ever heard of him? Sadly he has passed away since. Great knives. Being a old geezer, I must admit I still harbor a preference for good quality old carbon steel non-stainless knives. I think they take a much better edge and are quicker and easier to sharpen, as versus some of the stainless that take too long to sharpen, do not take quite as good an edge and do not hold it as long as I think that they should. I have sharpened a slew of knives in my day and am pretty good at it if I do say so. Do you suspect that one of the reasons is that many people prefer stainless for cosmetic reasons and don't like to look at the grungy old stuff that's not nearly as pretty? And that stainless simply sells better? Does anyone agree with me or am I just an old fart stuck in the past? I would never give up my ancient kitchen knives for any amount, at least a couple of which must be well over 100 years old. I can shave with any of them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bernie wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Tom Warner: Good knife steels like D-2, 154-CM, ATS-34 and others are a little more difficult to sharpen that high carbon types like 0-1, but in general, I agree with you. Trouble is a lot of commercially sold knives have so much "stainless" in their properties that they are junk. I have three kitchen knives from a guy named Wright who was from Chicago that I bought more than 30 years ago. They are high carbon steel, stained grey, but as you point out, they are easy to sharpen and one could shave with them. Also bought my wife a camp knife made by the same guy. Can't remember the steel, but I think it is 154-CM. I don't see his name in the Knifemakers' Guild anymore so don't know what happened to him. But from one old geezer to another, you make a good point!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Walter Wood: thanks for the update on Blackjack Knives as I was not aware of any of the content of your entry. I have one Effin (got to remember that term lol) stag handled Blackjack which new in the box. Very pretty knife, never used it as others were already in use when I acquired it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Bernie indeed a great story complete with a surprise ending. Deadeye My favorite also was made by a highly skilled, low production, relatively unknown craftsman. It is not worth much to others but invaluable to me as I designed it in every detail 40 years ago. The professor made it exactly to my liking except for one small detail which is not worth mentioning .

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Bernie: Do you recall the days when the old Herter's was still in business? They sold a lot of stuff that was not the best, despite their wild and grandiose claims. However, their knives were not bad. We have had two wilderness cabins for over 50 years that are furnished with 7 or 8 of Herter's basic knives that are still going strong. Also I have one in my own kitchen. All are pretty beat-up, but promise to go on forever. Simple every day tools made of high carbon steel. I have no idea who the actual maker was. The stainless stuff is not nearly as good. I always got a huge kick out of reading Herter's catalogs and wish that I had saved a couple.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

These blades look like fine additions to one's bare bodkin collection.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bernie wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Tom Warner: Yes, indeed, I remember the big yellow catalogs from Herter's in Waseca, MN! I too used to get a chuckle out of the outrageous claims. I never did own any of their knives though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

All this tempted me to look over the ridiculous number of knives I have accumulated over these many years,and while I was fondling a Morseth knife from A.G. Russell that I have gutted and skinned many a beast with, I was reminded of one other grievance that I have always had with many otherwise good knives, and that is that the blades are frequently made unnecessarily thick. I have never found that this added much to the overall usefulness of a knife unless I wanted to use it as a pry bar,or to chop something. I prefer to avoid that and do the job with some other implement. It actually somewhat slows cutting and slicing, where a thinner and somewhat flexible blade would be handier. Just sayin'.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Very true Tom. It is starting to come down to buying an expensive handle. Most makers appeal to the Rambo, lost in the Wilderness crowd. It is becoming like every off road SUV that never gets off the black top. I worked as a butcher in my youth. The most important thing in a knife is edge retention and ease of sharpening. After that is your skills. Two people come to mind Buffalo Bill. When asked by Zane Gray "what knife he used to kill Yellow Hand with"? He replied "any old knife ,we thought of them as tools". Second was Joel Rifkin a serial killer that lived several blocks away. He dismembered some poor girl with an Exacto knife. IE. knife skills and anatomy.

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from Drew McClure wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

The more hide and meat I cut the more I like a thin "hollow ground" edge like that found on a buck lite. Cheers to knives and guns, out of curiosity I will buy more.

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Uncle Dave;
I sure wish you and cousin Phil would get back to your old syle.

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from outdoorsman170 wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I love knives.

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

OFF TOPIC

Here's a column written in response to Bob Costas' call for gun control after the death of a KC Chief player:

Gun not at fault for Belchers acts
Updated Dec 4, 2012 12:18 AM ET

Jen Floyd Engel
FoxSports.com

The burning embers of the Twin Towers had a way of being invoked when a particularly dicey part of the Patriot Act needed selling 11 years ago.

This was the smart play. Watering down constitutional rights is not easily undertaken. So scaring Americans and then using that fear to explain why this egregious assault on their rights is for their own good is genius. This is exactly why the right protecting against unreasonable searches and seizures of Americans is no longer absolute, thanks to the Patriot Act, and a right to a speedy and public trial by jury was only days ago finally reaffirmed in the Senate, with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) so eloquently arguing, “If we relinquish our rights because of fear, what is it exactly, then, we are fighting for?”

Yes, tragedy is a dangerous time for the Bill of Rights because somebody is always there to wave a flag or an orphaned baby and use that to explain why we need to voluntarily give up rights our Founding Fathers so wisely gave to us. And so it is with this Jovan Belcher tragedy.

The Kansas City Chiefs linebacker gunned down his girlfriend — the mother of his baby — and then killed himself, leaving a 3-month-old girl without parents. That this is a tragedy is inarguable. That this is some sort of referendum on the Second Amendment and our right to bear arms is absurd.

My esteemed colleague, Jason Whitlock, argued just that in a very thoughtful column, noting “What I believe is, if (Belcher) didn’t possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.” NBC analyst Bob Costas used this as a jumping off point to proselytize during halftime of “Football Night in America” about perspective in sports and the dangers of guns.

The problem with intelligent, impassioned, well-reasoned arguments is how seductive they are. It is easier to blow off the crazy guy screaming “ban all guns” than journalists such as Whitlock or Costas who are arguing rather convincingly how the Second Amendment threatens our liberty rather than enhances it.

What I know for sure is the distinguished senator from Kentucky is right. And his impassioned defense of the Sixth Amendment on the Senate floor last week needs to be Googled and viewed by everybody calling for a gun ban in response to the Belcher tragedy.

“We have nothing to fear that should cause us to relinquish our rights as free men and women,” Paul said. “I urge my colleagues to reject fear, to reject the siren call for ever more powerful government.”

This is not simply about guns. This is about rights. It is a slippery slope from doing something in the interest of public safety to giving up what we hold dear. The slope is greased with fear, with a self-righteous belief that we know better than the framers of the Constitution. And it is all based on informal fallacy.

The idea that if we just ban all guns Kasandra Perkins does not die and a 3-month-old baby is not orphaned is the very essence of a stated premise that fails to support its proposed conclusion. Yes, guns are dangerous and people such as Belcher sometimes use them to do awful things. What I believe in my heart is Jovan Belcher was going to find a way to wreak havoc that day whether he had a gun or a knife or only his fists. And even the potential to stop him is not justification for willingly handing over rights guaranteed to us.

If this makes me a gun nut or a wing nut or a preachy PITA, I am OK with those labels. Although, I prefer Constitutionalist.

There are not a lot of us left — not absolutists, at least.

Conservatives argue for limiting the right to a speedy trial because terrorists are dangerous. Liberals argue for taking away my right to bear arms because people like Belcher use them in unspeakably horrific ways. Hell, the mayor of New York wants to take away my right to buy a big cup of Coke while in his city because obesity has become such an epidemic. Where does it end? Taking away free speech, freedom of the press? Restricting our right to peaceably assemble? Whittling away our very liberty?

Liberty and democracy are not the same things.

Democracy means the majority decides what rules govern us. Liberty is the idea that we all have certain rights that cannot be taken away, not even by a majority. These are the “inalienable rights” of the Declaration of Independence, and when we give them up voluntarily, for whatever reason no matter how altruistic, what we find is all we have done is given more rights to the government that were intended for us.

Doing so makes us less safe, not more.

So I absolutely believe in “a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” just as I do the right to a trial by jury and freedom of religion. And as tragic as this Belcher murder-suicide story is, as much as my heart breaks for that little girl, the answer is not taking away or willingly giving up the right of Americans to bear arms.

Because if we give up our liberty for the mirage of safety, what really have we won?

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from Sb Wacker wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

So it's drawer queen's now is it, any knife with a compass in the handle is a collector's toy not an outdoorsman's tool. Lots and lots of companies and individual knife makers are still selling thousands of convex blades every year. I trust you to write about rifles.
SBW

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