Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hey, Good-lookin'

Check out this little honey. The Ka-Bar Dozier – in pink – is a sweet addition to their otherwise masculine and well-made line of folders.

The AUS 8A stainless steel blade is 3 inches long. It arrived sharp and has stayed so. The locking mechanism is solid and trustworthy. The handle is a lovely pink zytel, and is appointed with a handy pocket clip.

My wife bought one of these for our most recent camping trip and it lived up to Ka-Bar's standards — tough, well-balanced and dependable. And one more thing, gents — once the sun goes down, finding a misplaced pocketknife is a lot easier when it's bright pink. I don't know if I'd trust my life to it, but this beauty sure held up to slicing apples and sharpening s'mores sticks.

As you can see, the drop point blade sports a Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon. Good for them — a folder with a conscience. Go Ka-Bar!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ninja powers ... activate!

I can't imagine what you'd do with two giant switchblades strapped to your arms ... aside from the inevitable accidents. Dollars to donuts this kid cut himself to the bone while a friend videotaped. It's probably on youtube.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

This may sting just a bit.

This, my friends, is an Amputation Knife, c. 1750.

At this point in medical history amputations were the recommended cure for gangrene, infected limb, fractured bone and charley horse.

The procedure would go something like this:
First, both the patient and surgeon socked away several slugs of the strongest grog in town. Next, the patient would be secured to a table – either by leather straps or a few muscular assistants. Then the surgeon – whose qualifications included ownership of a sharp saw and reputation for hasty work – would get down to business, doing his best to ignore the screaming and the stray dogs lapping blood off his floorboards.

This instrument of medical carnage is curved because surgeons of the era tended to make a circular cut through the skin and muscle before the bone was cut with a saw. By the 1800s, straight knives became de rigueur because they made it easier to leave a flap of skin that could be used to cover the exposed stump.

Personally, when I look at the thing I can't help thinking of Toucan Sam.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Now here's a bloke who loves knives

I can't believe I've managed a knife blog and heretofore not mentioned the most famous knife-wielder of all, Jack the Ripper.

Prowling the seedy alleyways of London's White Chapel slums, Mr. Ripper had two fetishes: prostitutes and murder. And wouldn't you know he managed to indulge both yens at the same time. His modus operandi consisted of killing a harlot in a quiet but public lane, then quickly disemboweling her — sometimes taking the body to a private location, sometimes carving them up on the spot.

Mr. Ripper terrorized and fascinated Victorian England as only a serial killer can. The question of his identity not only captivated his contemporaries, it has been one of the most lasting mysteries in the history of crime. There have been several suspects, from local meat butchers (obviously handy with a knife) and surgeons (ditto), to a member of the Royal Family — Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence. Whoever it was, his bloodthirsty exploits catapulted him into the spotlight and public imagination.

Recently uncovered evidence has linked the crimes with the culprit. And now, after more than a 1oo years, we know the identity of history's most notorious murderer -- a man who preyed on women, who murdered with impunity, who captured the media's attention, but alas, was never brought to justice. I give you ... Jack the Ripper.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Oliver's Army

Ah, the Swiss Army Knife — nearly synonymous with "pocketknife" and grand-pére to folders the world over. There are two brands of SAKs: Victorinox and Wenger. I once bought a Wenger SA Watch and it stopped running within a month. Ergo, I'm a Victorinox man. The Victorinox shown here belongs to my friend's 9-year-old son, Oliver. And unless he loses it, I suspect he'll pass it along to his own son some day. I myself received a similar model as a youngster and I still use it frequently. Oliver's SAK is a great starter tool and it's to my taste: classic red handle with Victorinox shield, two functional blades and no frivolous accoutrements (what's a 9-year-old need with a corkscrew anyway?). Congratulations to Oliver on his first pocketknife. Don't hurt yourself, laddybuck.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What the hell is this?

Benchmade makes really natty folding knives. That butterfly is their logo. But other than that, I don't know what to make of this thing. If you have any ideas, please share.

Friday, September 22, 2006

This TiNi is too tiny

Behold the fearsome SOG Flash. There was a time when these were the apples of my eye. The Flash series comes in a variety of specs, all of which are cool in their own way.

I'm partial to the wicked-looking half-serrated, all-black TiNi (Titanium Nitrate) blade. There's even an amusing all-camo version in case you want to hide your knife in the jungle or something. But the piece de résistance of this family is the opening system called S.A.T. (SOG Assisted Technology). It is truly top-notch, flinging the blade open in a blink and locking it firmly into place. A secondary feature worth mentioning is the high-riding pocket clip. Because it's mounted high on the hilt, the knife sinks low in your pocket. Hence, the Flash stays stealthily and tastefully out of view.

I first fell in love with the Flash II (4.5" handle, 8" open). It is so weighty, so serious, so black and scary. But also, so big. The Flash II transcends pocketknife status and moves into — I don't know — call it a tool or even weaponry. It really is a mighty unit. But frankly, it's more knife than I was looking for. So I bought the SOG Flash I instead — sight unseen, as they say. I expected the Flash II's little brother; what I got was a fetus. The Flash loses its awesomeness when you shrink it by almost half. My hand cramped just trying to engage the admittedly kickass SAT. You know, some things can be shrunk to the point of impracticality.

I showed my new Flash I to a couple of my friends at a bar. One guy (I'll call him "Evan") couldn't even figure it out. So I took it away before Evan hurt himself. Then D-Rex gave it fondle and agreed: too small. The Flash I would be better suited to a petite-handed woman. Of course, that collides with the fact that women don't carry switchblade-like knives...at least, not the women I know. I will be selling the Flash I on ebay. It's a shame. The large Flash II is so boss; the mini-TiNi was a real disappointment.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

This isn't a knife, it's a contradiction

At first blush, this appears to be a perfectly ass-kicking redneck pocketknife. But under closer examination we uncover some disturbing fundamental flaws. I can make two cogent arguments as to why this otherwise intimidating chawcutter fails, and both are wrapped around the contrary relationship between the words and that glaring skull that wants to jump off the hilt and rumble. Whoa, did I say “skull?” I did. And therein lies the first logical breakdown. A skull typifies death. It’s a careless swordsmith who uses a skull to represent birth. I refer to the motto of this dead head blade: “American by Birth.” And now we move to our second incongruity. “American” is clearly and appropriately symbolized by the skull’s Old Glory ‘do-rag. Bravo. Unfortunately, that image is violently undermined by a background featuring a Confederate flag. To claim American status while waving that flag is incompatible in the extreme. You’ll remember from seventh grade that the Confederacy started the bloodiest war in American history, the singular goal of which was to secede from our great nation. In the end, this item fails on every level. It’s an embarrassment to knives and patriotic corpses everywhere.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I think I found your whittlin’ tool, Mr. Gates

This pocketknife is priced at $5,000. It's the second most expensive item at knifeart.com. The same site features a $10,000 masterpiece (that’s right, four zeroes). But I think the one shown here is the bitchinest. These prices only sound absurd. You might have to click the images to savor the details. But they're guaranteed to leave you a little weak in the withers.

Check it out: the oak leaves and acorns on the bolster and along the spine are crafted from bronze. Now brace yourself: the handle is “black fossili mammoth ivory.” Could that be true — mammoth ivory! Just a sec, I’m hyperventilating.

The blade is forged from Turkish Damascus, which is a technique of combining two types of steel for extra awesomeness. Master sword smiths can manipulate the process to produce patterns on the surface of the blade (thanks again, Wikipedia). For a closer look, click the image below and try not to soil yourself.

This is the knife I’d display in my smoking room, if I had one. I might even cut a cigar with it if I wanted to impress a friend.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Avast, ye chumbuckets!

The hilt of this cutlass, crafted in the middle 17th century, once belonged to English sailor Edward Teach. Ye probably know him by his dread knickname -- Blackbeard, piratical menace of West Indies and American East Coast. The blade is not original. The protective basket is of noticeably intricate craftsmanship. It would have been expensive, suggesting it was swag from one of his many raids on wealthy merchant ships. The grip has been determined to be wrapped in cured human skin, clearly a replacement from the original leather.

The sword was taken from Teach at his death by a British Naval officer charged with capturing Teach.
Also taken was Teach's head, which was used to collect the bounty.

"With that he gave him a second stroke, which cut off his head, laying it flat on his shoulder." -- The Boston Newsletter, November 1718.

This was not Teach's only sword, nor do we know how long it was in his possession. But due to a reputation bloodier than the Gramke brothers, it's reasonable to assume this sword was used to kill. You'll notice it's fairly short, hardly longer than a man's arm. Once the cannon and small arms had been discharged, pirates preferred shorter blades when boarding ships for attack. It was close-quarters combat. Among pirates bent on mayhem, there was nothing more embarrassing than swinging to cleave an enemy's skull, only to have your sword snag in the overhead rigging.

Friday, August 25, 2006

What's he need a cane for? He doesn't even have legs!

I went to a bar last night that served free peanuts. I must have eaten 300 of those freakin' goobers. And all the while I was thinking, I'd sure like to have a PB&J sandwich and a glass of milk.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I didn't know Karl Rove was a smithy.

This just about sums up the beginning of the millennium: a weapon graced with the befuddled countenance of our Decider in Chief, as bombs explode in the background. Carrying this knife is a patriot act in itself. I wonder if I could board a plane with it.

Monday, August 21, 2006

This 900-year old dagger has only been used once and is in perfect condition. The knife and it's equally ornate sheath were forged in platinum and given as a birthday gift from Mongol ruler Ghengis Khan to his younger brother. The charging horse on the hilt symbolizes the Kahn's fearsome style of attack, while the sleeping dragon on the sheath represents a warning to would-be invaders. The history of the knife's single use, like so much of the Kahn's legend, is bloody.

Considered the black sheep of the clan, Ghengis' brother chose not to enter the family business of savage military conquest, followed by savage political rule. Rather, he amused villagers with rhythmic love songs featuring empathetic themes. As the older Kahn's power and empire grew, so too did his reputation as the most feared barbarian on the Eastern continent. But with this, his brother's tender profession became an excruciating embarrassment to Ghengis. The rift grew and became irreparable after Ghengis caught his younger sibling wrinkling his nose at a magnificent display of piked heads that Ghengis commissioned for his Royal yurt. That very evening, at a feast honoring Ghengis and his benevolent reign of terror across Asia, the prince took a sip of overheated egg-drop soup and squealed in pain. Infuriated at his brother's display and the muffled laughter of the court, Ghengis shrieked, "You behave like a woman. So you will be a woman!" Exhibiting the propriety and justice for which he was famous, Ghengis snatched the horse-dagger from his brother's belt and gelded the young man on the spot, using his own knife. The irony is thicker than a yak skull, as the eunuched prince's next song, "I Feel For You," went platinum.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I didn't see THIS guy at the petting zoo.

What is this, a knife? A paperweight? A dashboard ornament in the neighbor-kid's Trans-Am? Look -- when I think of goats, I think of fairly docile creatures. The worst I could say is that they can be a little pushy about getting my 25¢ worth of pellets from the gumball/goat food machine at the petting zoo. But look at this thing. The Satanists are trying to hijack the goat brand. Fangs on a goat! And it's resting atop a pile of bones...while severing a serpent. Holy Baphomet!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I found the perfect knife in the produce section of Kershaw

The quest may be over. The Kershaw Leek, designed by artist Ken Onion, is so beautiful that grown men weep in its presence. Mr. Onion has also designed two smaller versions called the Scallion and the Chive. I chose the Leek because it's the right size for my hand and I love the more elongated profile. Here are the specs: 4" closed; 3" blade; 3.1 oz. I paid $30 on ebay.

The Leek is a seven-inch monument to simple splendor. It's whisper-thin, light, and quite sharp, yet possesses a solidity that makes you want to hold it forever. My stainless steel model is a monochromatic dream. The shape of the handle is graceful and the transition between hilt and blade is practically seamless. There's a serrated-blade option, but I chose the plain blade; why interrupt the beauty of the straight edge?

Opening the Leek is seductive. With just a gentle pull of your index finger, the SpeedSafe® system instantly and smoothly kicks the blade into open and locked position. The catalyst is something they call a "torsion bar." Whatever — it gives me butterflies.

My awesome new knife has a reversible clip so you can hang it from your pocket. But it'd be just as at home behind bullet-proof glass in the MoMA. No flash photography, please.

Monday, August 14, 2006

For ninjas and circus performers

Here's the perfect ensemble for knife-throwers everywhere: two stainless steel weapons (in case you miss the first time) and a hide-a-sheath that fits invisibly under your shirt sleeve. But then, if it's under your shirt sleeve, you can't really get to the knife. And it almost seems as if it's on backwards -- that the hilt should be at the guy's wrist for easy grabiture. Geez, now that I think about it, the whole knife-throwing policy seems a bit flawed. But then, I'm neither an assassin nor a circus act.  

Friday, August 11, 2006

Is that a dagger in your blouse or are you just happy to see me?

Wow! Looks like you could serve cake with it too. I've never heard of a "Bosom Knife" but I found this on ebay. I could not have written a better description than the seller: "Many a black and evil knight has felt the sting from this bosom dagger. For the Fair Lady who desires protection from those who would rape and pillage. When No means No! This knife fits nicely in a woman's bosom for easy access." I hope he gets a lot of guineas for it.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

"Possum on a gumbush!" — Deputy Enos Straight

Check out the li'l folder adorned with the confederate flag and further emblazed with the mating call of Redneck Nation. The owner has a pair of ropers for any occasion, he drinks only domestic beer with this freedom fries, and will hoot like a wild coyote any time Dale, Jr. slips past that sissy in #24. I would guess most knives are used to dissuade anyone from uttering the tired and annoying phrase, "Git 'er done." But this in-your-face good ol' boy wears his phonetic twang with unapologetic Southern pride.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Welcome to My Knifemare!

Holy ring wraiths, Frodo. The Fantasy folk have outdone themselves. Or something.

If I were going into battle against a troop of frumious bandersnatch, this is the weapon I'd reach for -- and probably cut myself in the process. This bad-to-the-bone number boasts six -- hell yeah, six! -- blades. Four of them appear to be tiered, for a total of 10 cutting surfaces. Damn. You've probably heard the phrase "grinning skull." There's no grinning here, my friends. This sonofabitch wants to part you from your soul and bathe in your cooling blood. Sleep tight, kiddies. There's no such thing as the boogie man. This knife killed him.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Leatherman makes a great folder

I've owned a Leatherman multi-tool pliers thingy for 5 years and the damned thing is indestructible, so I decided to take a gamble on this knife. I bought it brand new on ebay for $9 +shipping (a steal; it's typically about 3x that). Even at full-price, it would have been money well-spent. The Leatherman c302 with a straight-edged blade (as well as the c303, with half-serration) leans towards function over form. There's nothing fancy about it, which is a-okay. Both the handle and blade are stainless steel so I expect it to hold up under any circumstances -- whether cutting rope, slicing summer sausage, or just a-settin' and a-whittlin'.

I like the look of the vent slits in the handle and I guess that reduces the weight, though not significantly. The grip is nicely form-fitting. The blade arrived sharp (I actually shaved a patch of my leg when I unpackaged it) and seems to be holding its edge. It opens with Blade Launcher™, which I give a B for getting the blade completely open; it almost always requires a wrist-flicking motion to fully lock the blade into place.

My favorite feature is the carabiner that rotates out of the handle; it doubles as a bottle opener — brilliant! It also has a pocket-clip, but at just over 3 oz. it's a bit heavy to hang on one's slacks (I attach the carabiner to a lanyard in my backpack and this little gem is always handy).

When push comes to cut, the Leatherman c302 is ready and able. If you're looking for a great knife at a reasonable price I think you'll be happy with this.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Oh my God, I want to date this knife.

The Benchmade Osborne 960

Benchmade makes very nice, very expensive pocketknives. Their Osborne 960 -- designed by someone named Warren Osborne -- is so beautiful it would make any man cheat on his Boker. But like most fine objets d'art, it'll cost you. I haven't found it for less than $120, and more typically in the $140 - $160 range. A buddy of mine has one and holding it was a bit Gollum-like. Oh, my Precious. The Osborne is incredibly well-crafted -- light, solid, thin as a breeze. It comes in silver, green and red with a subtly textured black inlay -- in a photo-finish, I prefer the red. The only drawback is that it lacks an assisted opening feature. But who cares -- you don't knock Mona Lisa because she didn't smile for the picture. This beauty belongs in a museum.
If you can pull yourself away from the picture, check out the specs. This may be the perfect pocket knife, but the quest continues.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Dual-Blade Batwing

Did this thing come from Batman's utility belt? Who but the Caped Crusader would wield such a crazy knife? Imagine him, masked and stealthy, prowling the shadows of Gotham City in search of those who would harm the innocent. A flick of a gauntleted wrist, a barely audible "flit flit flit flit" and suddenly the baddy is on his knees wondering whence came those twin black blades of justice. A crime is undone and Gotham returns to a peaceful slumber, thanks to the Dark Night and his Dual-Blade Batwing.

Thank you for your participation in Poppersmoke's Knife of the Day Club. Have a nice day.