Features KnifeForums



Features KnifeForums
KnifeForums Features
SHOT Show 2003, Report Knives,
Part Two
By Doug Ritter
The CRKT Rollock, Think of it as a
fun puzzle with a knife blade attached.
By Lawrence Keeney
The Emerson Hard Wear Series
Makes the World’s Most Popular
Tactical Folders more affordable
By Lawrence Keeney
A Companion for the Journey
By Glen W. Lewis
Practice What You Preach
By Alan Hill
Steven Seagal and Ken Onion team
up with Kershaw Knives to design a cool
new folder.
By Fred Brown
30 The Kershaw Blackout
ByLawrence Keeney
32 I’d Rather Fight and Switch:
Benchmande’s Model 5000 Auto Axis
By Michael Janich
High Plains Gators: A Study of
the Gerber Gator By Bill Conrad
The Benchmade Mini Griptilian
Model 556
By David Schmitt
Cold Steel Ti-Lites Tactical Folders:
Blue anodized and Zytel handled models for
Staff Report
Letter From the guy in charge
or the chief cook and bottle washer
Well, the ball is rolling…
With each month we gain new faces and
learn about new products and events.
This month we are privileged to have a
brand new Axis Lock to debut in KnifeForums the
Magazine, and actually have one to take a picture
The new writers submitting articles should
indicate to the knife industry that as consumers we
love it when you listen to us, the same way the
forums have indicated that.
You may also notice a few more
pages…more content about knives and knife
We have a new size also…we have shrunk
a little with age… ½ inch , I was told they have
medicine for this, but I am not too concerned yet.
Yes, the ball is rolling. Keep submitting
your articles and you will be noticed.
This month we look at a 5000 Benchmade
Auto and introduce you to the 520 Manual version
of the same knife, the Cold Steel TI Lite, and the
Steven Seagal/Ken Onion offering, and Ken’s
Blackout from Kershaw, the Rollock from CRKT
and a Bob Dozier Companion. A whole bunch or
new stuff from the SHOT show is covered bt Doug
Ritter in the second part of a long report. We have
a great piece on the Practice What You Preach
weekend that was hosted by resident photographer
Terrill Hoffman and some insight to tomahawks
and axes by Jim Keating.
So grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage, sit back and enjoy. Summer is here!
The Tactical Tomahark Tour 2003
By J. A. Keating
54 The Case Seahorse
By Shirley Boiser
56 Introducing: Benchmade’s Model 520
Staff Report
JULY 2003
Knifeforums Publications, Inc.
James D. Nowka
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KnifeForums Publications, Inc.
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Contributing Authors
Shirley Boser
Fred Brown
Bill Conrad
Alan Hill
Terrill Hoffman
Michael Janich
J.A. Keating
Lawrence Keeney
Glen W. Lewis
Doug Ritter
David Schmitt
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July 11-13
-Orlando, FL Knifemakers’ Guild Show, Marriott’s Orlando World Center. Contact Al Pendray,
Dept. BL2, 13950 NE 20th, Williston, FL 32696 (352) 528-6124.
July 16-18
-El Cajon, CA Buck Collectors Club 15th Anniversary Celebration, Buck Knives, Inc. Contact
Larry Oden, Dept. BL2, 1112 Veach’s, Peru, IN 46970 [email protected]
July 18-20
-The 8th Annual Knifemakers Association Showis scheduled for the Holiday Inn Parkside in
Missoula, Montana. Contact Darlene Weinand at (406) 543-0845 today, or at 14440 Harpers
Bridge, Missoula, MT 59808
July 25-26
-Queen Cutlery Show-Titusville, PA
Aug. 1-3
-5th Annual Central Texas Knife Show, Holiday Inn South, 3401 S I-35 at Woodward, Austin, TX.
Contact Chris Carlson, Dept. BL2, 108 Johnson Cove, Hutto, TX 78634.
-Central Kentucky Knife Show-Lexington
Aug. 22-23
-Winston-Salem, NC Tar Heel Cutlery Club Show, the Elks Lodge. Contact George Manuel, Dept.
BL2, 3682 Bowens, Tobaccoville, NC 27050 (336) 924-6876.
Aug 15-17
-Denver Custom Show
Aug 16-17
-The Bay Area Knife Collectors Association (BAKCA) Show is scheduled once again at Hyatt
Ricky’s Hotel in Palo Alto, California. Contact show chairman, Jeff Pelz. At: [email protected]
-The Great Northwest Knife Show is at the Grand Ballroom, Salem, OR contact Kim at (800) 6118849 or via [email protected]
Sept 5-6
-Johannesburg, South Africa, Southern African Knifemakers Guild Annual Show. Gold Reef City
Theme Park. Contact at: [email protected]
Sept. 6-7
-Winston-Salem, NC Southeastern Custom Knife Show, Benton Convention Center Ballroom.
Contact Tommy McNabb, Dept. BL2, 4015 Brownsboro, Winston-Salem, NC 27106 (336) 7590640 [email protected]
Sept. 12-14
-Spirit of Steel-Mesquite, TX
-AECA Knife Show- Oak Lawn, IL
Sept. 19-21
-Louisville, KY NKCA Louisville Fall Knife Show. Contact NKCA, Dept. BL2, POB 21070,
Chattanooga, TN 37424 (423) 892-5007.
-Ontario, CA NEW SITE! BLADE Show West, Ontario Convention Center. . Contact BLADE
Show West, 700 E. State, Iola, WI 54990-0001 (877) 746-9757, Mary Lutz, ext. 313, fax (715) 4454087 [email protected]
Oct. 4-5
-NW Knife Collectors-Puyallup, WA
Oct. 24-26
-Wilmington, OH NKCA Ohio Knife Show. Contact NKCA, Dept. BL2, POB 21070, Chattanooga,
TN 37424 (423) 892-5007.
JULY 2003
hole with a combination edge and
liner lock. The non-load bearing
carabiner, 4.126 inches overall
Kershaw’s “National Geographic length also hides folding flat and
Tool” ($60) is a carabiner based tool Phillips screwdrivers and has an inlicensed to use the Society’s name. tegral bottle cap lifter. The springloaded carabiner gate has a rotary
screw type lock. While relatively
comfortable to grip, our initial impression was that it is too gimmicky,
but then we’re pretty conservative
Kershaw Knives / KAI USA Ltd.
hand opening and a removable nonambidextrous, non-reversible pocket
clip, but no lanyard hole.
The “LFK” (Little Folding Knife) is
a small, lightweight (1.1 oz.) liner
lock folder with aluminum scales,
m a t t e
black and
at a lightweight price, $25. The modified drop
point blade is AUS 8A with thumb
stud opener. No pocket clip or lanyard hole.
The unique terraced blue anodized
titanium scales of the “Sapphire”
The 3.24-inch AUS 6A stainless ($100) make it a striking folder. Four
sheepsfoot blade is retained in the inches overall, with a 3-inch AUS8A Kershaw’s “Steven Seagal” folder
backside of the carabiner style alu- spearpoint blade, it uses a stainless ($150) is collaboration between the
minum frame. It has an oval opening liner lock, has a thumb stud for one- action film star and knifemaker Ken
Onion. The ground portion of the
blade has Seagal’s signature in English on one side and in Japanese on the
other. The
black 5-inch aluminum scales have
black stingray leather inserts, which
are quite grippy, as you might expect.
The blade shape is unique with 3.625
inches of recurved edge, almost a
skinner shape tip, and a long swept
clip. The AUS8A stainless blade is
available plain or with a short serrated section at the base of the blade.
The choil, such as it is, falls under
the forward end of the handle; thus
the cutting edge covers the entire
useable length of the blade.
The ergonomic handle incorporates
a deep integral guard that also accommodates the liner lock release
and a thumb rest at the top of the
handle. At the butt end, a ridged
pinchy lip and butt provide additional
security. The skeletonized pocket
clip is reversible. Somewhat inexplicably for an otherwise practical
utility/tactical knife, there’s no lanyard hole, but we were told that,
“adding a lanyard hole messed with
the lines of the knife. Neither Ken
Onion or Steven Seagal felt it was
is available.
Leatherman Tool Group
For the first time in years,
Leatherman had no real new products to introduce. Their big news was
a 20th anniversary edition of the
Wave, celebrating 20 years since
Tim Leatherman started the company
that created a new category of multifunction tools. There are really two
versions of this anniversary edition
Wave, the more commonplace version and an even rarer edition with
Tim’s signature, limited to 500 serial numbered units.
For the standard anniversary edition,
the Wave frame receives black chromium oxide plating. The bolsters and
the pin/screw sets are coated in black
nickel. The signed addition also gets
black Tungsten DLC (Diamond-Like
Carbon) coated pliers, blades, saw
and even the file. The 20th Anniversary logo and Tim’s signature are
laser engraved into the frame, the
stainless contrasting sharply against
the black coating. It looks sharp and
I doubt very many of these will actually see any use.
The standard anniversary edition is
limited to orders in hand on March
31st with delivery starting July 1 and
priced the same as the standard Wave,
Kershaw has joined the folding saw though street price is still an open
brigade with their appropriately question. Collectors get your orders
named model 2550 “Folding Saw” in to authorized Leatherman dealers
($30). It has a 7-inch aggressive now. No distribution decision has
wood blade of “Swedish saw steel” been made with regards to the even
powder coated black and molded more limited signature edition
Santoprene rubber handles, 16 inches Waves, other than they will be disoverall when open, 9 inches closed. tributed direct from the factory.
There’s a push-button lock to both
open and close the blade. A lanyard
Lone Wolf Knives
hole is provided, but no belt sheath
JULY 2003
Lone Wolf knives has come into its
own in the past year and these Gerber
refugees, unhappy with the direction
Fiskars was taking the company,
seem to have done a heck of a job of
quickly developing an increasingly
impressive line of higher end production and limited production
T h i s
seems to
be a Bill
year, with
from three
different manufacturers in this review. Lone Wolf’s large “Harsey
Tactical Folder” ($289) represents
his take on the subject. The modified drop point blade of S30V stainless is 4.75 inches long, 0.17 inches
thick, with a long false edge on the
spine, for obvious tactical reasons.
Opening is via ambidextrous thumb
studs. The titanium locking liner is
also equipped with an Action Lock
safety. The titanium frame is covered
with black canvas Micarta scales.
There’s a non-reversible, non-ambidextrous titanium pocket clip.
Action of the prototype we handled
was silky smooth, which was true for
all the Lone Wolf folders, so hopefully it will carry through to production. The large handle, 5.9 inches,
has a deep integral guard with a second finger indent and ridges on both
the bottom end and top fore end, along
with a thumb ramp on the back spine
of the blade. The butt has an ergonomic curved to it, with a lanyard
hole. The open frame makes for easy
c l e a n i n g .
Lovers of the “Paul Pocket Knife,”
and its unique axial locking mechanism, will be doing flips over the
variety offered up by Lone Wolf. All
have 2-inch highly polished 420HC
blades and a stainless frame. Closed
length is 3.12 inches. No pocket clip
or lanyard hole.
and then pares down everything
around it to a very slim package with
a 2.25 inch wharncliff blade, 3.12
inches closed. Available in stainless
or with ivory or wine Micarta
A trio of “Loveless Traditional”
folders ($200) with 3.25 inch
blades, 0.125 inches thick, of LV02 are mirror images for the most
part of Loveless’ classic fixed
blades with forged stainless
bolsters and frame and a stainless liner lock mechanism.
Green Micarta scales with a
red “spacer” are affixed with
stainless hardware. The blade
has a nail nick for opening, in
keeping with the traditional look and
feel, and there’s a flat-ridged thumb
rest at the base of the spine. The 4.24
inch handle is the classic Loveless
shape with traditional guard at front
and a pinkie hook at the butt, plus
the requisite lanyard hole. There’s
no pocket clip. Available in three
blade styles: “Drop Point,” “Utility”
and “Semi-Skinner.”
Offerings range from the basic unadorned stainless version ($130)
through engraved ($150) and on to a
variety of scales material including
ivory Micarta, wine Micarta, burl
wood, rosewood (all $150), thence
to Jade scales with 24K gold plated
fittings and lock pieces ($180).
Ratcheting it up another notch is the
“Signature Series ($200) with carbon fiber scales inlaid with an ivory
Micarta insert engraved with Paul
Poehlmann’s signature and 24K gold
plated fittings and lock mechanism.
Not enough for you? How about a
raindrop pattern stainless steel Damascus steel blade with red Amboyna
burl scales and 24K gold fittings and
lock mechanism ($300)? All come Lone Wolf’s lone fixed blade line
in a metal gift box with a leather comprise a pair of classic R.W.
sheath. Loveless designs, aptly named the
“Loveless Classic Utility” and
Also new is the “Paul Perfecto “Loveless Classic Semi-Skinner,”
Knife” ($140), which takes the same both $190. There’s currently no Drop
locking mechanism and materials Point, the most classic of the Loveless designs, but that could change
now that Gerber’s deal to produce
that fixed blade style has expired.
Blades are 4.5 and 3.75 inches, respectively, forged in one piece with
the tang and guard of LV-04 stainless. Scales are green Micarta with
red spacer and stainless rivets. Overall length is 9.25 and 8.5 inches, re6
All the above Loveless knives come
with leather belt sheath and zippered
storage pouch.
Lone Wolf also offers what they
claim is the “first pocket knife designed by R.W. Loveless in over 20
years,” the “R.W. Loveless City
Knife” ($100). It features a 2.6 inch
modified wharncliff blade of LV-03
stainless. The stainless bolster, red
spacer and green
Micarta scales
are the same as
the larger traditional folders,
with a 3.31-inch
long straight
handle with no guard. There’s no
pocket clip, but there is a lanyard
hole. A leather pocket sheath and zippered pouch is included.
Of the peculiar “LV” designation
steels used in the Loveless knives,
said Lone Wolf, “you have probably
noticed that some of the steels used
in our products are not listed on common blade steel charts. These new
blade steels have been developed for
our products by working closely with
several major steel producers to develop proprietary steels based on
modifying the chemistry of their better blade steels.”
Marble’s Outdoors
The “Marble’s Safety Axe” is back.
Now outfitted with a composition
handle, it retains Marble’s unique integral folding safety cover, also now
composition, that folds into the
handle when you need to use the axe.
The head is forged high carbon steel,
20 oz. with a 2.75-inch long cutting
edge. Overall length is 11.5 inches
and the handle is textured on the
a small neck knife and when the
blade is extended it becomes a very
effective blade size.
In the closed position the Phoenix exposes two inches of blade and can
be carried as a neck knife or very
discretely on the belt or gear. Blade
length is 3.5” when fully extended.
THE TRITON-Jeff Harkin’s design
lower portion for a more secure bet- OTF Auto, with the addition of
ter grip. We have always admired the
elegant simplicity of the original
Marble’s Safety Axes that formed the
foundation of the original company
and it’s nice to see them introduce
an updated version. Price was estimated to be “under $50.”
Marble’s also introduced an inexpensive line of flat ground 420HC
stainless knives with molded rubber
handles, their “Safe Grip” series, estimated price of “under $35” and M.O.D.’s innovative bear-trac
made in the U.S.
slide system, allows the Triton the
tightest lock-up an OTF has ever
Masters of Defense
Jim Ray who origiunally brought you
McGowan Manufacturing
the MOD series with 5 designes from
well known warrieers now has a few McGowan introduced a pair of more
new Designs that are pretty neat.
affordable versions of its FireStone
Belt Axe , the “FireStone Utility
THE PHOENIX, designed by Allen Axe” and the “FireStone Carving
Elishewitz, offers the convience of Axe”, both with a $50 price tag.
These are made of the same materials at the original, investment cast
head and laminated wood handle,
just not as finely finished, or as they
put it, in an “industrial finish.” Both
come with a leather belt sheath.
Adventure & Training
(RAT), the “TAK”
($80), following on
the success of
last year ’s
T h i s
new knife
is at the
other end
of the practical
utility spec- trum from the huge
RTAK, with a 4.25-inch drop point
1095 carbon steel blade (0.1875
thick), full tang with green canvas
Micarta handles bolted to the tang.
It is 10 inches overall, weighing in
at 10 oz. The blade has a black zinc
phosphate finish. The tang protrudes
just enough to provide a lanyard hole.
There is a deep integral guard up
front and a simple hardback Cordura
nylon sheath.
We were also able to handle the prototype for the 3rd generation collaboration, a similar design with a 7-inch
blade. Price for this is expected to
Also show was the prototype of collaboration between RAT and rocker/
outdoorsman Ted Nugent, the
“NUGE.” This was a sharp looking
modest size utility/hunter with clean
lines. It was shown with a 4-inch
drop point blade of highly polished
440C and the production knife would
have a molded handle, overall length
of 8.4 inches. A deep integral guard
along with a large finger choil and
thumb rest provides lots of options
The “Freedom Fighter” series builds
Ontario Knife Company
upon the Spec Plus line with many
of the identical blades, textured epOntario introduced a new fixed oxy powder coated finish for all the
blade collaboration with Randall’s knives and substantially improved
JULY 2003
molded Kraton handles with solid
steel butt caps, along with a flat steel
double guard. The new handles,
which duplicate the stacked leather
handles of the traditional pilot survival knife to a great degree, definitely felt better in the hand and side
by side with the Spec-Plus handles
the difference is obvious. Prices
range from $31 to $49, depending on
blade, there are seven styles including Quartermaster, Survival and
Combat in the range of what we’d
consider utility and survival style. A
combination leather and Cordura nylon sheath is provided. Unfortunately,
these are not equipped with a lanyard hole, so are not suitable for survival use, a frustrating omission on
these and many other potentially useful Ontario knives.
sheepsfoot utility blade. The other
handle contains only a bit adapter
with a double-ended Phillips #2 and
medium flat screwdriver. The
adapter locks in both the 90-degree
and fully extended positions, a nice
feature. Unfortunately, there is no
storage in the sheath for additional
1/4-inch hex drive bits.
Schrade’s “Spitfire LTD” ($115) introduces their iteration of an ambidextrous locking mechanism with the
stud moving in the vertical plane
(patent pending, of course). The 2inch ATS-34 modified drop point
blade has ambidextrous opening
studs. Liners are stainless with G10 scales; the knife is a compact
3.125 inches closed.
An attached wrist lanyard is secured
via a small shackle that is attached
Schrade Cutlery
to the butt of the knife. It can be released by simply squeezing the blade
Schrade’s latest “Tough Tool” ($80), when closed. We’re not sure we like
model ST5E (it had no identifying the idea, it seems to open the possiname to separate it from the regular bility of inadvertent release, but
Tough Tool), features slip-joint pli- we’ll withhold judgment until we
ers, a first for a conventional fold- can test one.
ing multi-purpose tool (Spyderco’s
unique SpydeRench is so equipped). The “Nitro” ($65) and “Silhouette”
As with conventional pliers, the slip- ($60) are liner lock folders that
joint allows the pliers to effectively share the same blades. The 2.975
hold larger and thicker stuff, consid- inch modified drop point blade of
erably enhancing their usefulness. 420a stainless is retained in anodCloser to a conventional pliers con- ized aluminum handles, 4-inches
figuration as opposed to needle nose, closed. The Nitro also incorporates
the pliers jaws also incorporate both molded rubber handle inserts that
a conventional large gripping area Schrade refers to the as “gel” and
at the throat, just forward the wire were expecting some sort of squishy
cutters, and a smaller gripping area material, as found on some pens and
forward near the tips. As before, the such, but it is much firmer and not
pliers are of laminated construction. particularly distinguishable from
One handle contains a locking clip other rubber inserts we’ve experipoint blade and wood saw, metal ence with. The slim reversed-overfile/saw, large flat screwdriver and itself design pocket clip is attached
at the tip of the butt end for minimum
knife exposure, but is non-reversible,
non-ambidextrous. There is a small
lanyard hole.
The “Viper” ($60) and “Black Ice”
($65) folder lines are another pair
that shares blades with the handles
and pocket clip the only differences.
The blade is very nearly a spear
point, 3.5 inches of 420a stainless.
One-hand opening is via an oval
hole. The liner lock is not recessed
at all, so we’d be very concerned
about inadvertent unlocking the
blade in use. The Viper has anodized aluminum handles, the Black ice
has translucent black polycarbonate
with a pair of slim rubber inserts,
both 4.25 inches long closed. Both
have a small lanyard hole. The pocket
clips are non-reversible; non-ambidextrous attached for tip down carry.
The one on the Black Ice is a reversed over itself design for minimum exposure.
SOG Specialty Knives & Tools
The “SEAL Revolver” ($75) from
SOG incorporates both a 4.75-inch
knife blade and wood saw into a
fixed blade knife…of sorts. The tang
of one is the blade of the other and
they rotate, “revolve,” in the handle
for access. Carried in a Kydex
sheath, this is an attempt to
provide the benefits of a
fixed blade with the alternate availability of a wood
saw without having to add
any weight or go through
the rigmarole of a blade
exchange with attendant
storage issues as well.
The AUS 9 stainless
blades are locked into
position by the pivot point and a second locking pin about halfway down
the blade. The prototype locked up
hard with no movement. There’s no
way it’s a solid as a true full tang
fixed blade, but it’s also far more
secure than a typical folder. The
handle is Zytel with a lanyard hole
in the locking lever that extends out
the butt of the handle.
The blade shape is very similar in
shape to that of SOG’s SEAL Pup
with a deep clip point and plain edge;
the wood saw is an aggressive
double tooth style. A TiNi black
coated blade is an available option
for $85.
incorporating an innovation designed
and patented by Rob Hanna, a SEAL
instructor. A slit in the sheath allows
the knife-edge to be used as a line or
webbing cutter without removing the
knife from the sheath. This can be
especially valuable when working
around inflatables or to others in the
vicinity that don’t appreciate an inadvertent poke with a sharp knife
tip—a poke that could really ruin
your day. This is another one of those
palm-to-the-forehead-why-didn’t-Ithink-of-that sorts of ideas. Certainly
a potentially viable alternative to
carrying a separate line cutter.
Delica, a Spyderco classic, the really exceptional part is the bug and
web pattern Damascus forged by Ed
Schempp of Ephrata, Washington,
and used as bolsters. This is truly an
outstanding example of Ed’s work,
incorporating the Spyderco logo in
the Damascus. The remaining portion of the handle is
The final slit configuration will be
slightly different than shown and
SOG is also still working on a release mechanism for the sheath to allow it to be quickly and easily deployed as a line cutter while still retaining all the security and function
as a knife sheath, however it is attached to one’s gear.
Once in production, the Groove will
become the standard sheath for the
SEAL Pup and SEAL Knife 2000.
The sheath will also be available
separately for those that already
have a knife and just want the new
Groove sheath. SOG guestimated
cost will most likely in the $20Locking is via an innovative two- $25 range. Eventually they expect
piece lockbar that splits at the fore to include the Groove sheath as
end to allow the flipper to stick standard with additional knives
through. Behind the lock release is a such as the X-42 Recondo,
slide safety to prevent inadvertent Tigershark and possibly others.
opening. Handles are hard-anodized
satin finish aluminum, 2.85 and 3.5
inches closed, respectively. There is
no pocket clip, a lanyard hole is pro- It’s Spyderco’s silver anniversary
(25th) and the limited edition “C76
Anniversary Knife” is the company’s
The “Groove” is a new Kydex sheath way of celebrating. Based on the
c o v ered in honey-colored jigged-bone
scales. Both are mounted on a stainless frame.
I was somewhat surprised that the
VG-10 blade is plain edged, given
it was Spyderco, after all, who popularized serrated blades with its
trademark SpyderEdge. This edge
treatment has come to be synonymous with Spyderco. With the Damascus and jigged-bone, each knife is
subtly different; no two will be iden-
SOG’s “Twitch I” ($40) and
“Twitch II” ($55) are a sibling pair of assisted opening folders with 1.9 and 2.7
inch AUS 8 stainless modified drop point blades, respectively. Assisted
opening is very quick
via either the thumb
stud or a flipper. The
flipper adds a little
to the guard up front on the
handle, but not as much as
many others.
JULY 2003
tical. There will only be 500 serialized knives produced with a
cocobola rosewood presentation
case for a suggested list of $350. of plenty of times it would have come
Good luck finding one at that in handy on the trail.
Eric Glesser (Spyderco owner Sal’s
son) designed the “C80 Dodo”as an
answer to the restrictions on blades
A collaboration with South African that are found in many areas. That
Ed Scott has resulted in the “C73 Im- means you need a short and often inpala.” The 3.687 inch VG-10 blade offensive appearing blade, but typiis available either plain edged cally that also leaves you with a short
($160) or with having a gut hook and not easily gripped handle
with plain edge or partial serrations (Spyderco’s Cricket being a relevant
($170). Being traditionalists and example, which is now available as
members of the KISS brigade, we the C29 Cricket SS ($65), as in all
prefer the simple plain edge version. stainless steel). The Dodo tries to
This one also has a ridged finger rest address those issues with a short
on top of the spine over the tip for 2.062 inch long blade of S30V stainbetter control when skinning. The less that should be legal just about
blade also features ridges on the anywhere that blades are allowed
Syderco hole hump and the choil. with a downward curving tip (simiThere’s a stainless liner lock, G-10 lar to that of Spyderco’s Cricket),
scales and a sleeved lanyard hole is which is obviously not designed for
provided. The clip is fixed for tip- thrusting, but still provides a sharp
down right-hand carry and it is re- tip for all the utilitarian needs we
cessed into a slot milled in the G-10 carry knives for, or for slicing deh
. fensively if needed. The recurved
edge is available plain edged or serDid the world really need another rated, and adds working length withfolding saw, and from Spyderco yet? out adding to the overall length. EvIt’s a fair question, but Spyderco ery little bit helps with a short blade
needs to protect its trademark hole like this.
and thus we have the modest sized
(5-inch AUS-6 blade) lock-back The 4.062-inch long handle is royal
folding “T02 SpyderSaw” ($60). blue G-10. There’s a deep finger
This is bigger than those you’ll find choil and wide finger scallops
in a typical folding knife or multi- for a full-sized grip. This knife
purpose tool, but smaller than the introduces a new ambidextrous
Gerber or Buck (or similar) offer- locking mechanism, the “Ball
ings are. Just right for some, though Bearing Lock.” A pea-sized
the price is much steeper than most. stainless steel ball bearing is
The FRN handles include an integral spring loaded to drop into a repocket clip, though at 1/8 inch short cessed area in the blade’s tang
of six inches long closed, we expect to lock the blade open. Once in
the clip will more likely be used in place, the ball is compressed,
a pack or similar carriage. There is providing a secure lock. To unno denying that the one-hand open- lock the blade, pull back on the
ing is convenient and we can think ball, accessible on either side of
the handle. Our initial impression
was that this is not as easy as it
sounds-the smooth surface of the
small ball deep in the recess of the
handle providing little purchase with
which to pull. Sweaty, wet or oily
hands would only compound this issue. However, in all fairness, we’ll
reserve judgement until we can spend
some time with the lock.
There’s an ambidextrous flexible
wire pocket clip. Overall length of
the Dodo is 6.125 inches (156mm)
and weight is 2.5-oz (71g). Spyderco
declined to provide a price, the knife
won’t be available until later this
year, but given the S30V premium
steel and G-10 scales, plus the new
lock, this is likely to be more rather
than less expensive.
Spyderco also showed off some prototypes, “mostly for dealer/media
opinions,” that we’re always happy
to provide. No lack of opinions
around here. Look for these most
likely later this year, though no guarantees.
An all-stainless version of the slim
C75 Kiwi was presented, sleek
looking in solid polished metal. It
retains the 2-inch wharncliff blade
and one of the most ergonomically
comfortable handles we’ve seen in
a slim knife like this-3.187 inches
over all length. Price was estimated
to be about $75.
it pops. Price is estimated to be $90,
$83 without the pop-out glass
breaker. All in all, this rescue knife
appears to have been very well
thought out, we came away with a
The “C79PS Assist” has a number very good impression.
of features that we liked. This is a
lockback design featuring the David
Strider Knives
Boye style recess in the lock, with
FRN handles having four deep fin- Crucible’s CPM S30V stainless steel
ger scallops with the front integral is hot at Strider Knives and Duane
guard also have ridges to assist in Dwyer explained that they will “appreventing slippage. The blade ply it to the majority of our product
opener is Spyderco’s hole topped line as it applies.” All the new knives
with its Cobra Hood that forms a below use quarter inch thick S30V
wide and steep thumb ramp when stainless. Standard finish is a nonopen. The blade is shallow, making glare aluminum oxide and this can
it easy to slip under a safety belt, with be done in an ersatz camo style, as
an estimated 20/80 plain and serrated shown. Sheaths are Cordura with a
edge. The tip itself is absolutely Kydex liner.
blunt, even extending below the The “MK I” ($450) and “MK IA”
blade edge a wee bit for added pro- ($425) are siblings, only the blade
tection for a victim. The spin of the length is different, 7.5 and 6.5 inches,
blade is scalloped, so the hand can 13.5 and 12 inches overall, respeccomfortably and securely cup the tively. Blade shape is a traditional
blade if desired. The wire pocket drop point with a thumb rest at the
clip is ambidextrous, but unfortu- base of the spine and a large finger
nately there’s no lanyard hole. At choil forward of the integral offset
least with the wire clip, a lanyard or double guards. The tang is 550
split ring could be attached to it. Still, MIL_SPEC parachute cord wrapped
we’d prefer one somehow; a hollow with a lanyard hole.
fastener for the pocket clip perhaps? The “MT MOD 10,” heretofore a
Things happen and often such knives special order knife, has become a
are used in situations where they can production blade ($325)
be inadvertently dropped and lost. and is also available
That becomes more than an incon- signed and envenience, at that point it can further dorsed by
imperiled the victim being rescued. USMC
School classes: 1st Division Scout
Sniper School, 1st and 2nd Division
Urban Sniper Schools and 1st Division Mountain Warfare Sniper
This knife is 10.25
overa l l
with a 5.475
inch drop point blade.
I t has the usual Strider finger
choil and thumb rest forward of the
signature Strider double guard. The
handle is wrapped MIL-SPEC parachute cord with a lanyard hole at the
end of the tang.
The “Model D9” is equipped with a
7.5 in clip point blade, 13 inches
overall. Scales are either G-10 or
parachute cord wrapped. Again,
there’s the large finger choil and
thumb rest forward of a conventional
integral double guard. The rear of the
signature Strider guards slope forward and there’s a small pinkie ledge
at the butt end of the tang, along with
the lanyard hole. $425 cord wrapped
$475 with G-10.
Timberline Knives
Timberline presented a pair of Greg
Lightfoot liner lock designs, the
“Zambezi Back Up” and the “Pistol
Grip,” both $80 and with identical
material specifications. Bead-lasted
plain or combination edge clip point
As for getting to that victim, a carblades are 3.2 inches of AUS-8 stainbide glass breaker remains conless with stainless liners and tapered
cealed in the butt end of the
spacers, stainless bolster and smooth
handle until needed. Access to the Sniper, Sergeant Chuck Mawhinney Zytel scales. Ambidextrous thumb
glass breaker is accomplished by ($350). This blade is awarded by studs feature a domes Kraton insert.
simply squeezing the closed knife, Stryder to a selected graduate of each A removable non-ambidextrous,
which is pretty nifty. Squeeze and out of the following Marine Sniper non-reversible skeletonized pocket
JULY 2003
clip is set up for point up carry, but
alas, no lanyard holes.
The Back Up’s handles (4.9 inches)
and thumb ramp closely mirror the
shape of the fore end of the original
Zambezi fixed blade with a pair of
deep forefinger grooves and a small
finger choil. The butt is tapered. The
deeply curved handles of the appropriately named Pistol Grip have four
deep finger grooves with an integral
guard at the base of the blade and a
small steep thumb ramp. The liner
lock fits the aft part of the forward
finger groove on both knives.
fixed blade is 8.625 inches overall
with a 4.125-inch drop point blade
of 1095 carbon steel. The handle
scales are G-10, which has been
drilled in a stipple pattern, making
for a good grip. There’s an integral
guard, but no lanyard hole. It comes
with a Kydex sheath.
oval hole in the head allowing you
get a good grip on the head for finer
work, using the blade as a knife. A
Kydex sheath is provided.
The big news from Victorinox this
year wasn’t really a particular knife,
Mike Fuller was also showing off rather it was the major increase in
the new “UTE-XL” and a “Strikar the number of knives available. For
XL” fixed blades with some striking years the U.S. has had to make do
“brass bullet” Micarta scales. He
told us this material is used in some
of the bulletproof cockpit doors being installed in airliners for anti-terrorist purposes. Only $199 for the
extra beauty; normally $150 and
$160, respectively, with linen
TOPS Tactical Ops USA
TOPS “Tom Brown Tracker
Knife” ($299), while
not a per-
with a limited selection of these
Micarta scales.
Swiss Army Knives, receiving only
a portion of what is available in EuThe new “BROAD Axe” ($170) rope. Now, most all will be availwhich TOPS also calls the “OX-6 able. Thirty-Six newly available
Hatchet,” is a 6.25-inch, 30 oz. models cover the entire range from
hatchet with some added utility due small 58mm “Classic” size knives
to its somewhat unconventional de- to the large 111mm lockblades. Some
sonal favorite sign. It is 14.25 inches overall length of these represent some nice combisince I’m big into very simple of 0.25 inch 1095 carbon steel, nations of tools and features from our
knives, has many admirers and ad- coated black with black linen perspective.
vocates. If the regular Tracker isn’t Micarta handle scales. There is an There are nine new “Silver Alox,
enough to stir you, you’d still be
Ribbed” (metal scales) models, as
hard pressed to not be bowled over
in the style of Victorinox’s current
by the beauty of this multi-function
Swiss military issue “Soldier.”
knife with Damascus steel ($650)
The “Farmer” ($33) adds a wood
and either blue or white linen
saw to the Soldier’s basic tools,
Micarta scales.
a useful addition, if you don’t
mind the non-locking blade (we
TOPS’ “Shadow Tracker” ($179)
do mind). There’s also a key ring
added. In exchange for the robustness of the solid metal scales, you
do give up the tweezers and toothpick.
The “Tinker Small” ($21) has the same good basic
assortment of non-locking blades and tools as the traditional “Tinker” in the smaller 84 mm package for
those looking for less bulk.
In the larger lockblade line, at the top end is the new
“WorkChamp XL” ($175) with everything but the
kitchen sink, including a large non-locking clip point
blade to accompany the locking spear point and even
a hoof pick (weighing in at 10.8 oz. and 1.625 inches
thick). No belt pouch is available, a notable oversight if you ask us.
A really excellent addition to the lockblade line is the
new “Locksmith” ($50 - shown at below), basically
a “Trailmaster” with a metal saw/file added. This
adds only 3 mm to the width, still a comfortable to
grasp and manageable size. Our only disappointment
was that this didn’t come in a one-hand opening style.
The “One-Hand Trailmaster,” introduced last year, remains the lone example in the line. On the other hand,
the Locksmith does have a plain edged blade, which
we prefer. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for next
For those looking to impress someone with the size
of your bank account, if not your practicality, the new
Classic Gold Ingot has a one gram gold ingot issued
by the Union Bank of Switzerland inlaid into the black
plastic scale of the 58mm Classic, only $90.
Over at Wenger, some new additions to their traditional Swiss Army Knife line included the
“Matterhorn,” ($55) something of a slimmed down
“Survivor” introduced last year and including their
tubular whistle and snap shackle, and the “Zermat,”
($48) which replaces the whistle with a wood saw.
Unfortunately, neither has the locking main blade of
the Survivor. Both are equipped with a 60% serrated
The large lock blade “Century” ($32) and “Century
with Wood Saw” ($42) introduced last year in camo,
is now available with gray scales.
JULY 2003
Recently, I received a strange and yet,
intriguing new folder from Columbia River Knife and Tool, (CRKT),
the innovative company from Oregon.
When I first opened the Rollock, my
first thought was “How do I open
this crazy thing? It doesn’t have any
buttons, or holes, or thumb studs.
Maybe they didn’t want anyone to
open it?” When a company breaks
the rules and discards the conventional wisdom on how to make a
knife, I find myself having to look
closer, like I did with this cool new
lumbia River reached an agreement
to reproduce the Rolox as a production folder. The company then enlisted famed custom knifemaker
Allen Elishewitz to update it. The result was the Rollock!
Even though it pains me to
admit it, when I first started
working with the Rollock, I
couldn’t figure out how to
get it open. And then, when
I did get it open, I couldn’t
figure out how to close it
again. My father, who has
owned dozens of knives
The Rollock was evolved from a over the years, and truly declassic folder called the Rolox. The lights in showing me up,
seldom seen, limited edition cult asked sarcastically, “Well
knife was one of those knives that son, if you had read the incouldn’t be describe adequately, but structions, all would have
you had to see it to believe it. Co- become clear.” And of
course, he was right.
When I read the instructions, I discovered just how incredibly simple
it was to open, then close the Rollock
Finally, don’t forget the knife part of the Rollock. This
folder will serve you well as a gentleman’s knife. In
mixed company, it doesn’t scream slasher, or commando
knife. You can safely use it to open a box or slice a
sandwich while your non-knife enthusiast friends watching and they aren’t likely to become uncomfortable, or
worse. The knife is also sharp. I easily sliced a large
apple in two parts with one swipe. You cannot ask for
much for from a gentleman’s knife.
The best part of the CRKT Rollock is the price. Most
knife retailers will be pricing this model at less than
$30.00, and in some cases, much less. At that price, you
can buy one for yourself, and one for someone else.
over and over. The whole secret of how the folder works
is due to what CRKT calls aggressive friction grooves.
I am not going to reveal the secret in this article, because that’s part of the fun. However, I can assure you,
when you figure it out, you will realize how cool the
Rollock is.
So, you ask, what is it for? To me, the Rollock is sort of
like the knife world’s version of the Rubik’s Cube. Think
of the folder as a fun puzzle. When you solve it, then
show it to your know-it-all buddy at work and challenge him to figure it out. If, and when he throws in the
towel, you can look at him, smile, and make him look
silly. You take your fun where you can get it.
They make great gifts.
For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact
the good folks at Columbia River Knife and Tool.
9720 Hillman Court, Suite 805
Wilsonville, Oregon 97070
Or check their information packed website at
The merchants who support www.knifeforums.com can
hook you up with a CRKT Rollock at a good price. Support the dealers who support the finest knife discussion
site on the World Wide Web.
JULY 2003
One of the latest entries
in this market is the
Emerson Hard Wear series of folders. Ernie
Emerson is well known
as a trendsetter in tactical folders. His Commanders, CQC-7’s,
Raven’s, and other models are sought after by
collectors, as well as
cops, soldiers, special
operators and others who
need a strong folder.
The old saying, “You can’t get something for nothing,” is still valid, even
for folding knives. Don’t expect to
make a cheap Chinese knock off do
the hard work that a good knife with
good design and decent steel can do.
That does not mean, however, that
for less than $50, you can put
a one-handed opener in
your pocket that
harkens back
to the good
old days of
tactical folders.
You remember
those days, don’t
you? Starting in the
late 1980’s, a knife consumer could buy a great
folding knife, with a pocket
clip and a hole in the blade,
so you could open it with one
hand. They put knives in the
pockets of people in all walks of
life, who went on to spend more and
more, money on differand more exotic
b l a d e s .
The three introductory
models in the Hard Wear
series are less expensive
than other Emersons, to be sure, but
that doesn’t mean they are of poor
quality. In fact, just the opposite is
the case. The series comes in three
different models, the Endeavor, Reliant and Traveler. The difference
in the trio, as best as I can tell,
revolves around blade type and
whether they are plain edged,
or partially serrated. They
were manufactured at
Emerson’s specifications by the wellknown Japanese
knife-making firm,
G Sakai.
All three models are made of
AUS-8 steel, and have a silver satin
t r y - finish. Blade length for all three is
l e v e l 3.40 inches, plenty of steel for most
blades were any job you might have to perform.
what made the cur- My test model was a clip point with
rent more acceptable to an almost completely serrated edge.
people who would never Some might not appreciate a totally
serrated blade, but in my case it
need a hunting knife.
comes in handy. I cut a great
deal of plastic cords, cardboard boxes, and other stubborn items. If a consumer
would prefer a plain edge on
their blade, it is certainly
available from Emerson.
The knife opens by a
Spyderco-like hole, that is
somewhat bigger, and sort-of
oval shaped. The hole shape
is interesting, because it allows the user to get his fingertip farther in the hole, making opening a great deal
easier. On top of the blade,
just above the hole, is a series of ridges, leading back
onto the frame. They, along
with an indentation on the bottom of the frame, forward of the lock,
allow you to get a firm hold on the
knife when cutting. The Emerson is
designed to be carried tip up.
The handles are made of glass nylon, in what the company refers to
as an “aqua tread grip pattern.” What
it really resembles, at least to me, is
the pattern on the Emerson Raven,
only in black. It also helps one to
hold onto the knife with wet hands.
Both sides of the frame have holes
to attach a pocket clip, and the clip
comes attached to the right side of
the frame.
All in all, the Emerson Hard Wear
series is an excellent deal as a daily
use knife for hunters, anglers, and
just regular guys and gals who need
a good pocket knife. The fun part
will occur soon after you get your
knife, and talk to your friends about
it. “Hey, want to see my new
Emerson,” you ask. “Cool, how
much did you pay for it?” The funny
look on their face when you reply,
“Oh, less than fifty bucks.”
Take at all three models at
www.emersonknives.com You will
like them.
JULY 2003
The perfect traveling companion must be carefully chosen.
When you are miles from
home, civilization and outside
help, your companion must be
low maintenance and a solid
performer. The ideal companion must be unobtrusive, helpful and capable. That sums up
the Dozier Companion.
This small personal blade is
one of the best handling little
blades that I have ever used.
Its cutting edge is just over
2.7”, has a high hollow grind
and is razor sharp. The point
is dropped to the handles
centerline which makes for a
precise, nimble tool. The
scales are made of linen
micarta which give a very
good grip even when wet.
They are well shaped for ultimate utility with a step halfway on the underneath side for
a secure comfortable grip.
The butt is half-round and can
be palmed or reverse gripped
with excellent security and
comfort. The D2 steel has a
very aggressive bite and high
wear resistance for a long
lasting, high performance
This all adds up to a small
easily carried knife that outperforms its size. It is also an
eye pleasing knife with Bob
Dozier’s signature grinds and
superb lines. As pretty as it
is, the Companion will never
be a drawer queen or a sit on
the shelf knife. You will find
a reason to have it near and
use it for a myriad of chores
and projects. It sets well in the
hand and handles effortlessly.
in the way when sitting or
crouching. It holds the knife
secure and has a thumb push
feature for one hand deployment of the blade. I found it
also clips on the shoulder
strap of a pack like it was
made for riding there, ready
and at hand. This is a superb
feature when hiking with a
The knife is easy to carry in a pack that uses a padded hipvariety of ways. It comes with belt that covers the normal
a well fitting kydex sheath set belt area. That’s not all. The
up for horizontal carry. It clips sheath comes with seven open
on your belt and does not get grommets that not only fas-
ten the kydex sheath strongly
together but provide tie down
points for many carry and
placement options. It makes
a very good neck knife as well
and Bob will make a special
neck sheath on request.
The Dozier Companion was
tested and used extensively on
a tour of canyon country from
southern Utah to northern Arizona. First it accompanied me
on a day-hike in the Coral
Pink Sand Dunes near Kanab,
Utah and next in Bryce
Canyon on another long
day-hike. Then it really
kicked into gear with a
multiple night backpack
in Coyote Gulch, a serpentine sandstone canyon that feeds into
Escalante canyon in the
Glen Canyon National
Recreation Area where
we hiked a total of 30
miles. Then it was on to
the North Rim of the
Grand Canyon where we
hiked an 11 mile rim
If you like to use a good
pocket knife for multiple
chores then you will love
the Companion. It is the
size of a medium to small
pocket knife but with a
handle that is so ergonomic that you may want
to carry it instead of a
folder. Also it is much
JULY 2003
extension of my own hand.
This good looking little tool
just kept growing on me until
it became a permanent part of
my kit. The blade did pick up
a couple of tiny spots of corrosion so I occasionally went
over it with my small oil rag
and that stopped immediately.
It was much less corrosive
than the carbon steel on some
of my Scandinavian blades,
but it is not entirely stainless.
One of my Scandi blades
would have been literally covered in rust in the same time
frame, so I was very pleased
at the corrosion resistance of
the D2. I will put up with
some extra maintenance for
easier to keep clean. I like a nerve damage far from the the aggressive bite you get
pocket knife sized blade for trailhead would be very bad with D2. It makes the small
its accuracy, compact size and not to mention heavy bleed- blade perform like a bigger
convenience. I like to use the ing.
point of a knife for quite a lot
of jobs so a blade that does I was not let down. The unob- I couldn’t find anything to not
not fold is not only comfort- trusive Companion did every- like about this personal utiling, it is safer no matter what thing I asked from making ity knife. On a long day-hike
kind of locking folder that it’s meals to constructing a nice with minimum gear I would
up against. I have a premium little fire up on the North Rim. pair it with a larger knife or a
locking folder that locks up The North Rim rises to 7500’ small hatchet. It is not a choplike a bank vault until it gets where we camped and the ter- per, but paired with your fasand or debris in the mecha- rain climbs higher in some vorite chopper, it completes a
nism. Unless you look straight places. We had to dodge some comprehensive cutting sysat it you might not see the snowdrifts on the way in. The tem. I think it would make a
problem until it folds on your fire made some welcome perfect bird & trout knife and
hand in the middle of no- warmth and beautiful light. as it goes with me everywhere
where. My folder actually Somewhere in all the miles now, I will have it on my next
malfunctioned on this same we lost one tent stake but the fishing trip. The Companion
trip until I cleaned it. I packed Companion carved up a new is a keeper.
it away for backup and used one with little effort. It did so
the Companion for the rest of many things with so little efthe trip. Tendon, muscle or fort that it became a normal
It may be a phrase we have all heard
over the years, but in this case, it’s
an excuse for a gathering. Better yet,
it was a gathering of outdoorsmen
and knife nuts. This past April, ten
men and one boy met in he foothills
of North Carolina for a weekend of
camping and playing.
As I understand it, the weekend was
the idea of Terrill Hoffman. For
those that don’t know Terrill, he is
lucky enough to earn his living taking photographs of knives. He also
is lucky enough to own a few hundred acres of wooded property that
he uses as a weekend hide-a-way.
On one trip to his kingdom, he noticed a group of boys checking into
a nearby Scout camp. Remembering the fun he and his friends used
to have on similar outings, he decided that you’re never too old to
play Boy Scout. The idea was born.
Upon returning to his studio in Charlotte, NC, he hopped on the different websites that host “outdoor” and
“wilderness” forums. There he
made an open invitation to one and
all. It was rather simple. Come to
North Carolina for a weekend camping trip. That was the Spring of
2002. A few attended that first year
but it was enough fun to try it again.
About February of this year, Terrill
again made the invitation on the outdoor forums. Getting on the internet
and making an open invitation to one
and all may be a bit fool hearted, but
it worked. As the invitation read, any
form of camping was acceptable and
very few guidelines were put in place.
The dates were set as April 25th to
27th and I could get the time off. For
me it was chance to go back a few
years and enjoy some time in the
woods. Also, I hoped to learn a few
skills from the others attending.
Early on the 25th I found that finding
the land proved easier than I thought.
By time I got there, several had al-
Terrill’s abode; Home, Sweet, Home.
JULY 2003
George shows how to strip bark for lashings.
ready arrived. I must admit I was a
bit curious about who would show
up. After all, no one knew each other
and I had no idea how this group
would mix. It only took about five
minutes for me to realize I could relax and that I had fallen in among
friends. With everyone introducing
themselves every time someone new
showed up, it didn’t take too long to
get the names down pat.
When our number had grown to eight,
Terrill went over a few details. He
gave us a rough run down on the
boundaries for his land. Take my
word on the fact that there was more
land than we could use. Also, we got
a quick trip to the small lake just in
case anyone wanted to try to catch
their dinner. He also filled us in on a
little detail I didn’t know. It would
seem that Terrill knew a few people
in the knife industry. He started pulling out what he called our play toys.
Camillus had sent down a Becker
Knife & Tool model
BK7, a model BK9 and
model BK10. These
were followed by the
RTAK and RAK from
Ontario. There was also
an Armageddon, a Trace
Rinaldi design, made by
TOPS. Just to add some
spice, Jerry Hossom, a
well known tactical
knife maker from Atlanta, was attending and
brought his new “outdoor survival” line with
him. The guidelines on
the blades were simple.
Feel free to grab what
you like, to do any
chore you like, anytime
you like! We were told
not to baby anything and
to feel free to voice our
opinions on any knife in
the group. We were also
asked to allow others to try the
knives that we may have brought.
It was rather nice of these companies to send us something to play
with. Hey, I started to feel like
somebody, here were these major
knife factories, and they wanted
MY opinion.
Terrill pointed out what trees
could cut and suggested that we
spend the remainder of the day setting up camp. Rain was threatening and we just needed the time to
get to know each other.
The campsite was on a knoll overlooking a good portion of the
property. By the looks of the
camp, most opted for a lean-to of
one type or another. In fact, there
were only two true tents to be
seen. Then there was the “Condo”
The BK9 proved to be a
winner around camp.
of the campsite. Gene Boyd, a.k.a.
“Edgewise”, had a invention of his
own making that seemed to be a cross
between a “Baker” style tent and a
lean-to. He explained that it was designed to have several methods of
erection. I think he tried everyone of
them before the weekend was out.
It was everyman for himself as for
dinner and by the smell of the campfires, no one went underfed. After
dinner, sitting by the campfire, the
next day was laid out. Other than a
little knife testing, we would keep
ourselves active on whatever we
would like. It was meant to be a
weekend of playing. The meaning of
“Practice What You Preach” was also
explained. There are those that make
post on the forums about going out into
the wilderness with nothing but a knife
and your wits. Then there are those that
try every new gadget that hit’s the mar-
ket. Terrill explain that being an old Eagle Scout, he
believed in the motto “Be
Prepared”. With that he and
a few others march down
the where the trucks were
parked. In this case being
prepared meant having a
110 volt inverter on your
truck along with a blender
and coffee pot. A good
Pina Colada or some hot
brewed coffee can make
for a peaceful evening.
The first thing we learned
that day was the how our
campsite held up. As soon
as the last man called it a
night the evening before,
the bottom fell out. Thunder, lighting and wind had
tucked us in. Other than a
“We have a winner!” George
made quick work of the fire
starting contest.
As soon as Terrill starting the coffee pot, Jerry, Mike
and Bill started the serving line.
JULY 2003
little water in one of the tents, everything came out fine.
After a quick breakfast, we were informed that during the weekend there
would be a small contest now and
then. The best part was that there
would be awards for the winners.
Camillus had sent the Becker knives
down and didn’t expect them back!
The first contest had already been
won. Jerry Hossom’s 7 year old son
was awarded his first pocket knife,
a Photon II light and a Swedish
Firesteel for being the youngest
member of the camp. It was your basic four function USMC pocket knife
that has been made by Camillus for
years. Over the next two days Matthew, Jerry’s son, tried his best to
wear it out. As with all of the contests, the idea was to learn something.
night before. It took about 15 minutes for George
Hedgepath a.k.a. “Curdog” to show us how it should be
done. He used his blade to find the dry tender inside of
the wet wood. His prize, a Becker BK7.
The next few hours George took us all on a little nature
walk. His knowledge of edible plants is something to
behold. I have already forgotten most of what he taught
us, but he fulfilled his aim. He got us interested. If everyone
else is like me, they have gone home wanting to learn more.
The afternoon was filled with all of us doing our own thing.
Some tried out the various knives and some tried their hand
Keith tried several knives while
cutting chips for his stove.
This one taught us that if you really want to have fun, take a
kid camping! Watching him over the weekend filled us with
memories of our first outings. Mrs. Hossom, thank you for
letting Matthew come. He made the weekend more enjoyable for all. Lesson number two was that a little old fashion
pocket knife is hard to beat for everyday use. Maybe there
is a reason Camillus still makes that knife.
It was time for a real contest. After the downpour from
the night before, Terrill (ruler and supreme judge) decided that a fire starting race was in order. The rules
were simple. He tied a string between two trees, the
first one to burn through it would win. Several fire steels
were provided and that was the only tool allowed other
than a knife. All materials had to be gathered away from
camp. That was his polite way of saying, we had to use
natural tenders that had gone through the down pour the
Garrett keeps everything sharp.
at fishing. The biggest fish for the day was to end up with
another knife giveaway.
Before I start discussing the knife testing, let me state
that the “results” have been compiled from the comments
of those attending. I listened to what everyone was saying,
line of knifes. I was impressed by
their appearance but even more by
Jerry. I had heard of him but this was
my first chance to meet him. For a
known maker to come and bring his
new products was more than I expected. But he was looking for some
true feedback on the design factors
and performance. More makers need
to learn by his methods. All too often we see a new knife come out and
we’re told that it is the greatest thing
since sliced bread. Only after spending hard earned cash do we find
rather or not this is true. Jerry was
there testing and letting us test his designs.
First there were two knives he
called the “Carolina Chainsaws”.
Same design just different blade
lengths. With 6 and 8 inch blades
these were not small. But with his
hollow grind they were rather
lightweight. Then there was a
cross between a knife and an hatchet.
You have to see this one to understand the concept. Last in the group
was the “Harpoon”. As I understand
it, this was a design Terrill came up
with and Jerry improved.
The “Chainsaws” were what we
would call a camp knife. Big enough
to do some chopping but small
enough to find other uses. The best
part of these knives were the handles.
They were made to be held. Even
after severe use they didn’t wear on
your hand. What can I say about the
that can be found in the ad’s in the
blades? They went through everything
magazines. This month I want to diswe tried. This included pounding them
cuss a few and then finish up next
through small logs to split wood for the
month. The selection of which ones to
campfire. Their perfect balance and
talk about first is solely random.
lightweight also made them easy to use
I’ll start off with the ones that interested
for smaller chores around camp. Other
me the most, and I might add, the most
than a little sap, the blades showed no
expensive. As I mentioned before, Jerry
signs of use. At the price of a custom
Hossom had brought his new “survival”
Keith and Mike in the “Chop Off”.
plus several of those attending emailed
their comments after the weekend. So
if you disagree with the statements
made, I’m sorry. Our testing was rather
simple. We used the knives! No fancy
cutting of hanging rope, no cutting of
soda cans. I’m not even going to spend
a lot of time giving you all of the data
on steels , heat treat, etc., etc. All of
JULY 2003
Mike tried the “Hatchete” but preferred the Beckers.
knife, only you can decide if this is the way
you would want to go. But if you want a
good knife, that you won’t see on
everyone’s belt, give Jerry a call. The
“Chainsaws” were winners.
I’ll jump to the “Harpoon” since it was
designed to accent the larger knives. It is
one of those things you think you will
never need until you have it. The “Harpoon” is mainly a small blade on a short
shaft. It is intended to be carried by lashing it to the sheath of the bigger knife. If
you need it, you just lash it to a sapling and
you have a harpoon or gig for fishing. It also
makes a nice little spear for small game. Besides those uses, it’s small blade ended up
being rather handy for tasks about camp.
From cutting paracord to stripping bark, it
performed well. Jerry’s version had a small
Jerry’s “Hatchete”
The luck of the draw got
Keith the custom “Chainsaw”
from Jerry Hossom.
drop point blade but I understand that
Terrill is working on getting a production model going with a chisel ground
blade. Making just a few of these on a
custom basis, Jerry has to price these
in the range of a full size knife. A poor
writer like myself will wait awhile to see
if I can get a production model. If not,
I may have to save my pennies.
Jerry’s third offering was the
“Hatchete”. It again was a specialized
tool intended to be a cross between a
hatchet and machete. While it had no
problem splitting logs by being
pounded on the spine, just about everyone found it uncomfortable in use.
Felt vibration was a little in excess. All
during the day Jerry was listening to
the comments and as he stated, “back
to the drawing board”. The idea was
there but again to Jerry’s credit, he
won’t make it until it is right.
Going down in price, let me hit on the
Beckers. These are knives made by
Camillus but designed by
Ethan Becker. They are
straight forward using knives.
Nothing fancy at all, not even
the price. They all fall in the
$50 to $100 range and are
worth every penny. The BK7
has a 7 inch blade while the
BK9 has a nine inch blade.
Seems reasonable until they
came out with a five inch
model and called it the
BK10. The Bk7 was
brought out as a substitute
for the Marine combat knife
and fills that niche well. It
proved itself by doing every
job that was asked of it with
no complaints. The BK9 is a
bit more of a chopper than
Gene won the BK9, give me
the 7 and it would depend on
one and I would smile too.
personal taste as to which
model is best for you. The
Next month, I’ll fill you in a little more
BK10 was made as a pilot survival knife
on the Beckers and the knives from
and is a handy size but I and others
Ontario. Also, I know you’re dying to
preferred the “7”. The funny thing about
find out who caught the biggest fish.
these knives is that there were several
Alan Hill
comments made about the handles. Too
large, too bulky. That is what everyone was saying until they used them.
After playing with them for awhile, most
everyone was eating crow and thought
they were the best handles in camp on
a production knife. While the “7” and
“9” weren’t the best choppers in camp,
they did prove to be the best “all
around” production blades. Just one
more little note on the Beckers. Terrill
passed around a prototype of the
“Becker-necker”. Ethan Becker has
proven his ability at designing large
knives but this one is small. Designed
as a neck knife this one should be a
hit. Combine it with a BK7 or 9 and
you should be ready to face the wilderness.
JULY 2003
Anyone who appreciates good action
films will certainly be aware who
actor Steven Seagal is. The buttkicking martial arts star with his
ever-present Colt 1911 has blasted
through a number of blockbusters in
the past decade. When I first saw
Seagal, in the 1991 classic “Under
Siege,” I knew he was an actor who
knew the difference between the
front and back of a gun, and he was
familiar with tactical knives and
knife fighting as well. The knife combat scenes that took place on the
U.S.S. Missouri actually looked real,
taking pains not to insult those of us
who know the difference. Somehow,
I knew that the 7th Degree Black Belt
Aikido master was as dangerous off
screen as he appeared on.
When I recently learned that Seagal
had collaborated with famed knife
maker Ken Onion to design a knife, I
had to see it. Onion has enjoyed a
successful association with Kershaw
Knives over the years, marketing
a number of wildly popular folders
and fixed blade knives and with the
Oregon company has pretty much set
the standard for makers of assistedopening folders. I recently received
the new Seagal/Onion folder and the
bar for similar knives has been raised
yet again.
Upon removing the Seagal from it’s
box, the first thought was, “boy, this
sucker is big,” and the dimensions
show that. The liner lock is weighs
5.5 oz, with 35/8-inch blade. Open
or closed, the knife fills
my hand. A press release
from the company noted
that it was designed specifically by Seagal to fill
his own hands, so they
must be large. I’m used to
carrying a big folder, as
my favorite every day
carry blades include the
Columbia River Knife and
Tool Large Kasper and
the Spyderco Civilian,
neither of which can be
deemed tiny. Due to the
aluminum handles, however, the Seagal is fairly light, at 5.5
oz. This translates as less drag in
your already overtaxed trouser pockets. With keys, change, cell phones,
and other knives, it sometimes seems
as if one is carrying a bag full or
rocks in their pockets, but this knife
won’t add to the problem.
Another description of the knife is
good looking. To ensure a proper
grip on the knife, the folder has inlays of Stingray Leather. The skin of
the Stingray has been used on Japanese swords for centuries to help the
wielder hold onto the sword during
practice and battle. Stingray Leather
has the same tacky feel and bumpy
finish of fine tactical knives like the
Masters of Defense Dieter, with a
look that reminds one of,
well.leather. It was obviously added
as a feature on the knife help with
positive control on the folder, even
when wet.
The re-curved belly style blade has
the actor’s name inscribed on one
side of it in English, with the same
on the other side in Japanese characters. This makes it distinctive, and
its value is gone,
right?” The answer
to that, at least to this
writer, is simple. I
buy knives to use, not
to sit on a shelf or be
a drawer queen. My
budget won’t allow
that, nor will my
Scots-Irish sense of
frugality. If I can’t use
it, I won’t buy it. The
Seagal knife is a user.
The main use for a big
folder in my part of
West Virginia is
attractive. While the folder does not simple. Dress out a fine buck you
come with the Speed Safe assisted have just taken in the November deer
opening feature, it does not really season or a 400 pound Russian Boar
need it for at least one reason. Open- you just shot from a way too close
ing the Seagal/Onion folder is very for comfort shot in Boone County.
easy. Featured on the bottom of the This knife is more than adequate for
frame is a “flipper” that when those tasks. And you can look good
pressed, will push the blade out for doing it.
a short distance. At that point, all that
needs to be done is flip one of the Superior design makes it a knife
twin thumb studs on the blade to worth carrying into the woods, lake,
make it fly right out. The knife is car- or campground. Pride of ownership
ried tip down; however, the frame can be had with this as a camp knife
has a corresponding set of screw just as much as if it were sitting on a
holes at the tip end of the frame so display in your den. Buy this folder
the clip may be changed for left- and stick it in your pocket, or pack
handed carry. Like the frame, the clip the next time you head to the fields
or the campground with your kids.
is also black.
And before you ask, no, you won’t
have to grow a ponytail or
Since we have estabcarry a 45 automatic to
lished that the
be able to carry
folder is
well made,
and worth
question remains.
“It’s too nice to use, isn’t
it? I mean, cut one branch,
slice one melon or dress a deer, and
JULY 2003
One of my favorite knives and the
one I believe I have carried the longest is one of the more unique folders
on the market, the Kershaw Blackout. The Blackout, designed by
famed knife maker Ken Onion, is one
of, if not the first
knives ever mass
The Speed Safe
Design uses a torsion-bar mechanism for assisted
A short push on the
thumb stud and a
cam deploys the
blade, locking it
into position. This
torsion bar technology
unique safety benefits, too. For instance, the torsion
bar holds the blade
securely in the
handle until the
user releases it. In
addition, the torsion bar won’t allow the blade to
fall back into the handle until pushed
into place.
that opens like an automatic knife,
but without the corresponding legal
pitfalls one might encounter when
What this accomplishes, if you possessing it. In some states, autos
haven’t already figured it out by now, are legal, but in others they are not.
is to offer the user a folding knife In some jurisdictions it is legally per-
missible to carry one, in others, you
may own and collect them, but carrying one on the street is a more serious offense than carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. As
of this writing, the Speed Safe is legal to carry in all jurisdictions where
a common folding knife is legal to
carry. This fact is why the Kershaws
are so popular with
knife enthusiasts.
I have carried one
steadily since early in
2000, and for anyone,
who knows me, that
is a record. I trade
knives and guns like
some people buy new
shoes. The new wonder designs always
seem to draw me in,
and I get tired of them
very soon. Like my
ever present Glock
9MM, my 1911A1 45 auto and my
Swiss Army Knife, this one is a
The reason is two-fold. First off, is
the obvious, the one-handed opening ability. I spend a lot of time cutting things at odd angles. A substantial portion of my summer and fall is
spent designing and building a charity haunted house. This makes cutting plastic and other items while
perched precariously on a tall ladder a necessity. I can pull out the
Blackout, flick it open and cut something without having to use two
hands. Otherwise, I risked falling off
the ladder and landing on my butt on
a dangerous floor with set decorations crashing onto my head. With the
Kershaw’s 3.5-oz weight and polyamide handles, it doesn’t weigh down
my pocket either.
jiggle the clip. I’m sure you will find
out it is at least a little loose. I didn’t
pay enough attention, and soon, the
clip was history. The loss of the clip
didn’t make the knife unfit for use;
in fact, I still carried it loose in my
pocket for almost an entire year afterward. On a lark, I contacted my
good friend Doug Flagg, from
Kershaw, who, instead of
sending me a new clip,
sent me a new knife instead. Something about
clips on the newer models being slightly different than those on the older
ones. I don’t know, however, I do know one thing,
it was an incredibly nice
gesture from the company.
All I needed was a 50cent clip, and they sent me
a whole new knife. My
old Blackout hasn’t been
retired, however. It reand frankly, abused this folder since sides in the compartment between the
day one. I cut hoses and fishing line, seats of my Ford Bronco, serving as
opened packing boxes at work and a back-up knife in case I leave home
those stupid bubble wrapped pack- without one.
ages from Wal-Mart that fishing
reels, compact disks and other things The Kershaw Blackout would serve
they don’t want you to shoplift come well in just about any cutting task you
encased in. The 440-A steel held a might ask of it. While being a fine
good edge, but needed touching up general use utility style knife, it
about once a month or so. This is would seem to be a fine choice for a
easily done with a Spyderco camper, hiker or angler. I know I like
Sharpmaker, which is by far the easi- mine, get one, you will like it too.
est knife sharpening system on the
market today. The titanium oxide fin- Many of the dealers who support
ish on the blade also retards corro- www.knifeforums.com can put a
Kershaw Blackout in your hands for
a reasonable price. Give them a
The reason this is my second Black- look. In addition to offering all manout is simple. After much hard use, I ner of fine knives at reasonable
somehow lost the original pocket prices, they support the best knife
clip for the second, and final time. discussion site on the Internet.
Look at any clip type folder you may
have carried for a long time and
At this point, I must make one admission. My current Blackout is the
second one I have owned. If knife
use could be measured like the mileage on an automobile, my knife
would have turned over long ago. In
addition to the haunted house use I
mentioned earlier, I have also used
JULY 2003