Share the joy of collecting knives

Knife collecting is fun.

I think we’d all agree to that, right? But do you know what is equally as much fun? It’s what I’m going to call- Sharing the joy.

Sure, we all love tracking down new, in my case new old, knives to buy and all that is a part of that, but if you want to experience a different level of fun, then help a new collector.

What got me off on this today? This did-

Good morning Scott. Thanks for your reply.

I am pretty much a novice with elephant toenails, but am very captivated by the big funky old time nostalgia look and size. Most of the knives I have collected so far are bowies and conventional slipjoints. I have not ventured into the ancient past yet.

Any advice for starters?

If you know me at all, this was all she wrote. Katy bar the door. Advice, oh my, where do I even begin.

When collectors seek advice the responsibility we have to guide them is tremendous. Think about it. And, I bet if you had to do a quick list of the top 5 recommendations you could do that as fast as you could write, right? I couldn’t type fast enough.

What I found as I offered my suggestions was I enjoyed sharing the joy- helping this collector explore the world of elephant toenails.

So, this collector wanting some advice is what promoted today’s post here.

Want to experience a different level of fun? Then share the joy!

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Published in: on February 27, 2010 at 9:33 am  Comments (2)  
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Bradford, Pa., here I come

Well not exactly, not today anyway. Really not until July, but I am going.

Case Collector Appreciation Weekend 2008

Every two years, the W. R. Case Cutlery Company hosts their Case Collector Appreciation Weekend and I’m going.  It’s a fantastic time for any knife nut. Even if you are not an ardent Case fan by the time it’s over, you will be.

Why am I going to travel 900 miles to attend this event? Because Case asked me to, that’s why. Many of you know I’m a fourth generation auctioneer. And while I don’t sell knives in my real job, I can and for this special event- I will.

Case hosts an auction at each of these events. They sell one-of-a-kind knives made especially for their fans. This will be my third year to be their auctioneer…evidently my southern drawl isn’t too noticeable when I chat.

I know it’s a little early  to hit the road now, but do make plans to attend and please let me know when you do. We’ll make time to grab a cup of coffee together.

Published in: on February 25, 2010 at 9:36 am  Comments (5)  
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The State of Knife Magazines & the Web Part I

A recent editorial by Mark Zalesky in Knife World Magazine caused me to stop and think about the state of our Knife Magazines and the Web today.

Mark writes Irons in the Fire each month and in the February 2010 edition he shares with their readers the reasons for not publishing current, or past editions, articles or features online. I would link to the editorial so you can read it for yourself, but…

One of Mark’s reasons, among many, for KW not going digital is a concern about sustaining their revenue.

“But once one factors in the cost of material, preparation, setting it up and maintaining it online….generating enough income to make the effort pay for itself is one hard row to hoe.”

OK, that’s Knife World’s position for not publishing online, so what about our other Knife Magazines? We can tell a lot about their business models by looking at how they are using their websites today.

Knife magazines and their websites

What about Blade Magazine? When you visit their website, you quickly get the impression Blade is stuck between publishing fresh content for their website and selling print magazine subscriptions. In fact, the moment you hit their site a “subscribe” window pops up and won’t go away until you click it closed, or subscribe. Clearly their business model is to use their website to sell magazine subscriptions, or CDs of back editions. To their credit the site does include some articles and a blog.

Then take Tactical Knives Magazine, part of the Tactical-Life family- Tactical Knives publishes its traditional print magazine every other month. Their website is also used to sell subscriptions or back editions but they take a different approach. Once each edition comes out, they will put up the contents. I’m not sure of the lag time between when each print edition hits the street and when they add it to their website, but why subscribe if each edition is published online?

“Stuck in the middle with you…”

The traditional print magazines are stuck-not just our knife magazines, but the whole print magazine industry. Their business model is to generate ad revenue and sell subscriptions. If they go online with their content, folks will probably quit subscribing to their print magazine. Then their circulation drops and advertisers quit running ads. On the other hand, web users today want content- substantive content. The trend is clearly going that direction. Sure some folks may want to curl up on the couch with a print edition, but more folks are comfortable reading online than ever before, and that trend will continue too (more on this in Part II).

Flip the switch?

You’d think traditional print magazines could just flip a switch and go totally online. Think of the huge cost savings- no more printing, paper, or postage. Sell online advertising and move on without a hitch. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that. The challenge our print knife magazines face is the continual operating expenses during the time to get the new online business model up and running. And they may not be able to have the same amount of ad space in their digital magazine as they do in their print editions, which are very ad heavy.

Plus, another challenge is most content online today is FREE. While there are a few online magazines that charge for access to their articles, it is too early to see if the other content providers are going that way. A publication must have an extremely strong brand or exclusive content to pull it off right now. If the others follow, then the norm becomes for consumers to pay for content, if they don’t follow, then it will be difficult to be in the minority.

Traditional magazines simply can’t make the shift to publishing exclusively online without additional risks. At face value it appears they will have to generate additional revenue streams, like charging fees to join their forums, putting up a paywall to access their magazine or even pay-per-click articles, like the New York Times does with their archives.

My opinion is they are right dead in the middle of a paradigm shift and the answers depend on how you look at it. However, there are clearly other strong forces blowing right now- we’ll look at what they are in the second installment.

Stay tuned for Part II

Cutlery Company History Trivia

It’s been a while since our last cutlery company trivia question, so for you history buffs, here you go.

What company used this as their slogan?

“It Was A ‘_____________’ That Was Used To Cut The Locks From Samson’s Head.”

(more…)

Published in: on February 21, 2010 at 8:14 pm  Comments (2)  
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Knife Rights Law Updates

Doug Ritter, Executive Director of Knife Rights, keeps us informed of our legislative progress on a regular basis.

Got this one via text last night late-

Update on Arizona Knife Law Preemption Bill

This afternoon, our Knife Law Preemption Bill was passed by the Committee of the Whole (COW) on a voice vote with no debate or amendments. This was the last opportunity for any amendments to be added and none were offered, which is a good sign for us. The COW vote is the last critical step before the final floor vote in the Senate, which is anticipated next week. We are also pleased to announce that at their monthly meeting last night, the Copper State Cutlery Association voted unanimously to support our Knife Law Preemption Effort and this bill.

Update on NH Knife Rights Bill

Just a quick update to let you know that Rep. Jenn Coffey’s New Hampshire Knife Rights Bill has passed the full NH House of Representatives (400 Legislators) with a unanimous vote on the consent calendar. Congratulations to Rep. Coffey on this critical vote. Next stop is the NH Senate, which could be a bigger challenge. Our lobbyist is already hard at work helping to get this bill through the Senate. Help pass this Knife Rights Bill in New Hampshire and send a message to other states with similar archaic knife laws.

Published in: on February 19, 2010 at 6:54 am  Comments (1)  
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Pieces of Knife Company History

I’m thankful to be a collector of old knives and knife company memorabilia today.

Why am I thankful? Because I can find things folks are selling so much easier now than I ever could have back pre-World Wide Web.

I’m convinced we now find more of what we collect than ever before. No wonder folks used to quit collecting because they no longer could find knives/memorabilia they hunted.

Think about it- Folks find knife “stuff” that we collect all the time. In the old days, it would get chunked in the garbage. Today, more folks take a few minutes to “research” online first. And as more collectors put up websites and other “flags” folks can find to help them identify the collectiblity of this “stuff,” the more it goes into circulation and makes its way to us.

Here’s a great example of what I’m talking about- A significant piece of knife company history.

Napanoch Knife Company printers block

It’s a printers block used by the Napanoch Knife Company during the years of 1900-1919. It sold on eBay for $261 yesterday.

Napanoch Knife Company ad from 1910

Published in: on February 15, 2010 at 11:34 am  Comments (1)  
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The Unintended Consequence of Pulling a Knife

The Faceoff

Flashing his knife

Knocked loose in scuffle

Now the other guy's got your blade

The Unintended Consequence

Published in: on February 13, 2010 at 11:38 am  Comments (6)  
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How about a pile of pocketknives?

It’s no secret I love playing with knives. And I am every bit as crazy about auctions. So, what happens when you combine the two? Well, I can start a new collection with the nod of my head.

Gotta another knife auction going on. This time a high-profile gun auctioneer is selling them. Interestingly, the knives are mostly all piled together.

Check out Rock Island Auctions. The dates are Feb.27th and 28th. The firm is selling 2100 lots. Only 17 are of knives, but you might find something you can’t resist.

Published in: on February 12, 2010 at 7:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Wide open as a Case knife

It’s funny how once you get tuned into something, you all of a sudden start noticing it. Take cars for example, how many times have you bought a new car only then to start seeing your car everywhere. Well, I heard me another new knife saying yesterday.

I was traveling with a new sales rep for our company. We ran to Chattanooga for a meeting and on the way we were talking when this guy said,

“I’m as wide open as a Case knife.”

After about a second, I interrupted him to ask why he said that and what it means. I’d never heard that expression before. I actually thought he used that expression because he knew I am into knives. He went on to tell me it was a saying he always heard his dad use and that he’d never really thought about it before.

Last night I did a search on that phrase. I found it in a Sports Illustrated article where an Alabama-born coach Curley Hallman baffled reporters when he used it. He was describing a quarterback competition and he said- “It’s wide open as a Case knife in a barroom brawl.”

I also found it used by another Alabama coach reported in the Times Daily. Then I found it used by a southern humorist. It was also used on TideFans.com and then again on SECTalk.com used in an Alabama/Georgia football game discussion.

I emailed my friend at Case to ask about what he knew about it. He replied he’d never heard of it either, so I have concluded it is southern expression, possibly even an Alabama colloquialism.

And even though I’m in and from the Heart of Dixie, if I wasn’t a knife guy, I’d probably never noticed it.

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 10:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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SharpByCoop rolls out new cutting-edge knife photo gallery

The next best thing to buying new knives is looking at them.

Couple a talented photographer with super-cool knives and then throw in the web’s ability to display these knife images, what do you have- SharpByCoop.com, the most cutting-edge knife photography gallery.

Jim Cooper’s ability to capture the spirit of a knifemaker’s talent is something to behold. His client list is a Who’s Who of the custom knife industry and his pictures have been repeatedly featured in every knife publication.

Over the last seven years, Jim amassed over 5000 images of handmade knives. And while Jim displayed his work at shows, his studio and his website, roughly two-thirds of his photo library consisted of knife pictures used by internet dealers and were removed once the knives sold.

When I asked Jim about his major website upgrade, he shared with me-

“The benefit of it goes out to the knife-loving community to admire, compare and archive these wonderful pieces. It was a shame to limit these incredible knives to our private library. We have included thousands of images previously only seen on dealer websites. Moreover, the Gallery now has all our current clients, as well as studio work from 2004- 2007.”

SharpByCoop is extremely easy to navigate and highly functional. All the images are quickly searchable to create a ‘virtual gallery’ of a specific maker’s work. And you can now expand to full screen, tag images, create a customizable slide show, link to a page or email to a friend and the search results are shown in date order too. The Gallery is also set up to purchase any image- in large or small prints, digital files and non-watermarked dealer shots.

Jim’s work is so good that you’ll get a very bad case of the wants within seconds of hitting his new homepage.

Published in: on February 9, 2010 at 6:37 pm  Comments (1)  
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