Knife Collector Communities on the Web- SharpFans Yahoo Group

Weekend Edition

camp-cooking-dutch-ovenWant the recipe for some good clean knife fun? Take the company of fellow collectors, add a dash of raffles and knife pictures, and then throw in the Web and a little technology, mix it all together and what do you have?

A wildly popular online knife collecting group, of course!

That’s where our next guest comes in. He started a knife club that has grown to almost 1400 members in less than 2 years. The good news is his knife club doesn’t have to worry about finding a large enough meeting room because they meet virtually. It is an online knife club.

Really it is an understatement to call this a knife club. Its membership rivals most any group and some associations, on and offline. You may have heard of it- it is called SharpFans. 


Firen Skyshadow founded this Yahoo Group back in September 2007 and now it is one of the largest knife groups on the web. A Yahoo Group is a cross between an email list and a forum. Folks can post messages that are then sent to the other members, as well as read there on the group’s yahooogroupshomepage. Plus, members share photos, upload files, share favorite links, vote in polls and keep a group calendar.


“SharpFans is an international Family club with members all over the world. We have members in India, Australia, Iraq, Afghanistan, the UK, and elsewhere. We welcome children in the club and keep our forum clean and respectful.

We talk about everything from knives to recipes and try to have a good time.”                                                                                                                         Firen Skyshadow, Founder



I caught up with Firen yesterday to ask him about SharpFans and all that is going on there. 

Q) What got you interested initially in starting a yahoo knife group? And how did you choose its name?

knivestvliveA) “I started SharpFans after hearing Steve Koontz on SMKW’s Knives Live Show always speaking of their Fans. I thought we would see how many Fans there were and started a Fan Club. The guys on Knives Live always say that “Knife collectors are sharp people” so it only seemed right to call their fan club SharpFans. Steve Koontz and Knives Live took to the idea right away, and has been invaluable in promoting SharpFans on the show, even flying me out to Tennessee last December to appear on the show with them to receive our first club knife. Our members donated the funds to do this out of the goodness of their hearts.


Beau- SharpFan's President

Beau- SharpFans President

When I formed the Group, I made my dog Beau our president for lack of another member. When I offered to change it, the members decided that they want a dog for president. Hence, not only are we the only Knife Collectors club on the web with a dog for president, but Beau is the only dog to ever donate his personal Club Knife to the National Knife Museum in Sevierville TN.”



American Cutlery History Trivia 2


Knife Company History Trivia

Knife Company History Trivia

It’s that time again. Time to test your remembrance of American Cutlery History.

This week, we are looking into old- I mean really old-  knife companies here in the States. To get your pump primed….think back to the 1800s. Think about the firms you are familiar with and their locations.  

What firm laid claim to be the oldest cutlery company in America?

Hint: It isn’t Buck Bros. or Russell


Published in: on February 27, 2009 at 6:28 am  Comments (3)  
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Citywide knife ban considered by mayor

alberta-skyline2Edmonton, Canada: Mayor Steven Mandel last week publicly discussed a total ban on all knife sales. 

In the last two months there have been six homicides- half involved knives. 

Bill Clark, a 30-year veteran of the police force there, said, “There’s no way you can get rid of every knife that we have in this city. Butter knives can kill people. Steak knives can kill people.”

The Mayor is reconsidering his new law proposal today. “Logistically, we might not be able to ban knives,” he said, “but we can give the police…greater search rights when it comes to knives.”

(Editor’s note: This is the same city proposing an anti-idling law for cars idling over 3 minutes. Also, population in the metro area is about a million people.)

Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 6:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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Another set of knives scheduled for auction

gavelEarlier this week I learned of a sale you may want to check out. Greg Martin Auctions is conducting the sale the last of March. This firm handles antique firearms, edged weapons and the like. Included as part of one of their auctiona is a few dozen knives, swords and daggers. They have a general brochure up on the sale download it.

This firm sold a historic Colt Single Action Army Revolver Serial No. 1- called the “Peacemaker” for $862,500 in Jan of this year. How’s that for a collectible?

Published in: on February 25, 2009 at 4:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The cutting job determines the blade

rq10_fullWe tend to think of blades as being pointed. In many cases, we use the pointed tip to start the cut. There are times though a pointed tip isn’t what is needed. Like on an electric razor, for example, it has round heads with blades and no pointed tips, and these blades cut just fine.


It is the cutting job that determines the blade needed.   

One really big cutter-

270041531This gigantic blade weights in at a 100 tons. It is 22 feet in diameter with 44 rotating discs.

It is currently being put on a tunnel-boring machine in New York City. The City is extending the No. 7 subway line.

The cutter head will be mounted on a machine to cut a 7,100 foot tunnel. Actually there are two machines and two tunnels will be drilled.

Talk about a mother of a cutter.


Source: The New York Times’ article by Sewell Chan

Published in: on February 24, 2009 at 9:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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Open Letter From eBay to their Sellers & the Internet Sales Tax

Here is an open letter I received from eBay on the Internet Sales Tax

Tell Congress, “No New Net Taxes”

Internet Sales Taxes- Your costs go up. Your buyer’s costs go up. You are required to comply with the same tax laws as the nation’s largest retailers. This scenario could soon become a reality.

The sales tax laws governing today’s Internet and catalog retailers are simple: If you sell something to a person living in your state, you collect sales tax. If that customer doesn’t live in your state, you don’t collect the tax. However, a number of state governments and the biggest retail giants in America are planning an aggressive lobbying campaign to change the law. They want to require small retailers to operate like the biggest retail chains, collecting taxes everywhere.

We all know times are tough and state governments are looking for more tax money. Likewise, big retailers see an opportunity to gain a competitive edge by imposing new costs and higher prices on their smallest competitors. Luckily, the tax ground-rules can’t be changed without congressional action. There’s still time to stand up and be counted. If you think adding a new tax burden on small Internet retailers is a bad idea, now is the time to make your voice heard. Click here to send a letter to your U.S. Representative and Senators today.”


My take is this: Raising taxes, whether on Internet Sales, or to “reduce the deficit,” that has seemingly become a high priority within the last week, is pure economic suicide right now.

The gov. is trying to get folks to spend money to kick start the economy. It is trying to raise consumer confidence. So, is it a good idea for the gov. to then take the taxpayers’ money-  including the money the gov. is “giving” back to the taxpayers through the so-called stimulus package? Sounds to me like we’re playing the “guess which hand?” game. They hope the taxpayers might eventually get confused enough to actually think it really is the gov’s money that is being taken back anyway….

Maybe one day I’ll tell you how I really feel about this mess we’re in. 


Published in: on February 24, 2009 at 6:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Think you are buying a knife soon, well think again. You may have already bought it.

217441_f520Many people not familiar with the sales process think the purchase is made at the cash register, or when clicking a button on the keyboard. Retailers know the purchase is made before then. And this fact is known among the Knife Industry too, and for a long time.


“Millions of dollars’ worth of cutlery is purchased everyday by people on the sidewalks looking in at window displays. Although the actual transaction takes place in the store, the decision to buy is made standing on the street.”                                                  The Cutlery Journal, December 1931

While most of us no longer walk down Main Street, we may, however, drive through town while on our way to check out knives at the Bass Pro Shop or WalMart .

So, is the decision to buy made at the point we are walking up and down the isles looking over their knives?

In some cases, yes, but most of the time we made the decision even before that point. Knife companies know we decide to buy very early in the sales process, and sometimes at the point we first see a knife. Because of this, they place ads and messages everywhere we are sure to see them. We know about ads in magazines and on websites, but what about the ones on the drive over to the store?

Here’s one of my all time favorites. And while it isn’t for a knife we carry or collector, it is one we regularly use.



Henckels, the knife company advertising along the roadway, was born on June 13, 1731, when Peter Henckels registered the Gemini twin (Zwilling) with the Cutlers’s Guild in Solingen. 278 years later the knife manufacturer from Germany is a global player.

Editors note: This photo was not altered by CNJ. We have contacted the US division of Henckels to verify the billboard’s legitimacy and are waiting for a response from their corporate headquarters in Germany, however, based on our research to date, we believe it to be authentic.


Knife marketing and RAT Cutlery Company

Weekend Edition

Knives come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and designs. 

Many of us have different knives for different uses, and moods. Kind of like hats and boots, and if you are like me, I decide which to wear based on what I’m going to do and what kind of mood I’m in.

There are about as many knife makers as there are different kinds of knives, and as I watch the knife industry and its players I pay attention to how each knife company brands itself. How it attempts to separate itself from competitors and the message points in its advertisements. 

One company’s ad gets my attention every time.



And while it catches my eye for more than one reason, I find their location to be of particular interest. The firm is based here in Sweet Home Alabama- Gallant, Alabama to be exact.  

The firm’s name is one you probably have seen before and you may even own one of their knives. It is RAT Cutlery Company

I was reading through the current issue of Blade Mag and noticed this ad again, so I decided to google map Gallant.

Would you believe they are only 20 minutes away?

I acted on a wild hair and emailed the owners requesting a time I could come visit on behalf of CNJ. Later that night, I got a favorable reply. So, in March I’m going to go check out this knife maker and it should be interesting. I’ll report back.

Published in: on February 21, 2009 at 10:25 am  Comments (6)  
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A Tribute to Knife World Magazine

knife-world-logoWe are extremely fortunate. In the big scheme of things our world of knife collecting is but a speck in the universe of collectibles and yet, we have several monthly publications tailored specifically to our hobby.

My sentimental favorite is Knife World. I got started on it because I liked old pocket knives and to me, Knife World was the best fit. I have not been disappointed in a single issue. 

Knife World is balanced in its articles. Obviously, I lean toward Knife History- all things related to the who, what, when, where and why of the knives and the companies that made them. KW is the only pub that allows an emphasis on early American cutlery history.


If you are new to collecting, or aren’t familiar, here’s what KW is all about-

“Each month, KNIFE WORLD offers a wide variety of information about knives …new knives, old knives, military knives, custom knives, factory knives, special issue knives, knife books, and more. You’ll learn about knifemakers, knife companies, knife values, knife history, and read stories of interest to all knife enthusiasts.”

Knife World isn’t about glitz, glamor or glossy cover stock. Instead, it is about quality content. 

Mark Zalesky Knife World EditorOne of my favorite sections is Mark Zalesky’s Irons in the Fire. There he lets it all hang out. No sacred cows. All is fair game. Fortunately he hasn’t taken aim my way yet, but may well one day.


You can also go to and do an index search. Then you can order back issues til your heart is content. In the past they have published knifeworld_2042_4126163The Best of Knife World. These are truly gems. Find them if you can. There were three editions published.

I am fortunate to have most of 20 years of issues. I love to take the time to grab a few, hop in bed and read the dusty things. The articles are timeless. And while some of the past articles are more “meaty” than others, almost all have interesting knife factoids.

When you have time read how it all got started and KW’s history.

I’m thankful to have Knife World and hope you are too.

Published in: on February 20, 2009 at 6:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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A new study proposes knives need to be less pointed

From the You Really Aren’t Going To Believe This Department

A recent article published in The Economist cites a knife study to suggest fewer people will die from knife wounds if the knives are duller.

Here’s the story.

41ytbymt-1l_ss500_Dr. Hainsworth, a forensic-engineering specialist at the University of Leicester, has concluded knife tips that are sharp will cut more than knife tips that aren’t as sharp. 

Dr. Hainsworth’s team conducted tests on a pig carcass because it evidently has some similarities to human skin.

They studied the wounds made by different blades as they were dropped on the pig.  


While there is some technical mumbo jumbo about which part of the knife does the most damage- they concluded it is the radius of the tip.

CNJ Translation- The more pointed the tip the less force it takes to penetrate the skin.

The study calls for a systematic redesign of knives so the tips won’t be so pointed, thus will be safer.


Obviously, I am really missing something here.

Now, I know we don’t advocate sticking folks’ skin, as most of us here are knife collectors, but still dull knives defeat the point, wouldn’t you say?

big-tooth-pig2-798260And yes, a less sharp knife will not cut as well as a more sharp one will.

Published in: on February 19, 2009 at 6:42 am  Comments (2)  
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