And CBSNEWS was surprised knives cost $300 an inch

CBSNEWS did a special video feature on knifemaker Bob Kramer, one of only 114 Master Bladesmiths in the world.

The funny thing is they were surprised his knives are so expensive. Welcome to the world of custom and collectible knives CBS.

Here’s the link to the video. Great national exposure for Bob, knifemaking and custom knives.

Published in: on November 24, 2009 at 8:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Knife makers in unsuspecting places

orvisEarlier today, I was looking through the new catalog from my favorite clothier – Orvis. My wife calls them old man clothes, but what can I say…I am an old knife collector.

Even though I don’t fly fish, or get decked out in my Orvis hat to boots outfits to go deep woods, I really like the look of their clothes. This day, however, I was causally skimming through the pages not looking for anything in particular and whala- a custom knife maker’s knife pops right off the page.DanielWinkler

Yes, Daniel Winkler is an entrepreneur/marketeer as much as he is an award-winning custom knife maker. The exposure value of having a third page in their catalog, plus the Orvis endorsement is tremendous. Good job, Daniel.

The knife is a rugged Limited Edition Elk antler handled Damascus.

Winkler Orvis Limited EditionNow I like Orvis all the more…but I still can’t bring myself to order the “Winter coat without an equal.” It’s a casual, oh, so cool looking, leather jacket for a meager $2750.

Image credit: winklerknives.com and Orvis.com

Published in: on November 10, 2009 at 11:42 pm  Comments (1)  
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Knife collecting still making the cut

us-economyThis year’s been a doozie and we’ve still got a quarter to go. We’ll end up at over a hundred bank closings. Auto maker bailouts. Record high foreclosures. Unemployment near 10%.  Record business and personal bankruptcies. Makes your head spin doesn’t it? Not since the Great Depression has our country been hammered like it has this year.

CNJ reported successful knife makers reduced employee’s salaries or have been forced to adjust by laying off workers due to low knife sales. In some cases other business failures have impacted knife companies too- distributors, retailers and suppliers.

In regard to our knife organizations, the timing of this severe downturn couldn’t be worse, as most need the steady revenue while the leaderships conduct SWAT analysis on their organizations. The economy’s caused many collectors to drop club and association memberships.

economyThe dark-side of the recession is also having it’s toll on collectors in other areas too. More collectors are selling knives to help make ends meet. I spoke with another collector yesterday who is selling because he needs the cash.

One knife industry expert claims, incidentally, these collectors will become tomorrow’s dealers. His theory is this-  these individuals who do need to sell will hit the show circuit in order to liquidate. Then they will eventually need to buy more knives from other dealers in order to have additional inventory to sale. I think that is hog wash, personally. The guy I mentioned earlier who is selling off a major chunk of his collection isn’t going to set up at shows- he’s using eBay.

Even with the tough times, knife collecting is still making the cut.

The 2009 CNJ Knife Collector Survey taken earlier this year revealed almost half of the 1300 collectors surveyed stated their participation in the hobby hasn’t been affected by the recession.

Click to enlarge

2009 Knife Collector Survey Q#6 II

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There is an additional bright-side to all this too- Record low interest rates and tremendous investment buying opportunities. Untold billions will be made as a result of this recession. Cash rich companies and individuals will make a fortune buying in a down market, but when we do come out of this-  the business landscape will look all together different.

Don’t be surprised if there are some knife company mergers and buy-outs before this is all said and done too.

Photo credits: http://www.uml.edu; http://www.blogtrepreneur.com

Like Hotrods and knives? Then this one is for you!

Knife makers are cutting edge. They are always out there making what they like- and in some cases, what they hope buyers will like. Did you notice in the recent edition of Blade Mag the article Every Father’s Favorite? Had some nice knives, but one in particular shot right off the page when I saw it.

Philip Booth's The California Kid

Philip Booth's The California Kid

Introducing Knife Maker Philip Booth’s The California Kid.

Phil describes the Hotrod knife as a ’34 Ford profile. Sporting a 5″ damascus blade that is spring fired when the  headers are pressed. If you like this check out his website. I’d say he likes Hotrods too.

Photo by Philip Booth

Published in: on May 29, 2009 at 5:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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Knife History References

Since the majority of knife collectors are into traditional pocket knives, I wanted to share a list of knife books that are helpful to me when I’m deep into trying to run down some bit of knife history.  

I admit history was not my favorite subject growing up, but for many of us into old patterns or brands, we can’t help but get a little crazy about it now.

Need to check a fact or date

There are times almost all collectors need to turn back to the pages of early American cutlery history to look up a date or fact about a particular company or community.  

An old postcard picturing a burned building

Smethport Cutlery Co. June 1910

Smethport Cutlery Co. June 1910

The other day  I was looking around eBay and ran on an old post card. It pictured a burned cutlery plant in Smethport, Pa. Not sure if it was significant or not, off to my books I went.

Bingo! It was the Smethport Cutlery Co. factory and it burned on June 11, 1910. Even more significant was practically the whole Case extended family had been involved in this company.  

Jean Case, W R Case, Russ Case and H N Platts put up the money to buy the company and not long after that it burned. If you want the rest of the story, Brad Lockwood gives excellent details in The Case Cutlery Dynasty.

Thankfully, I ended up winning this prime piece of American cutlery history, but had I not been able to identify its significance, I would have passed it over.  

Reference List

Here is the list of books I have found to be helpful. They aren’t listed in a particular order, although I flagged some of my favorites. 

(more…)

Gustafsson’s New Age Dagger

Once again I was perusing through custom daggers and got stopped dead in my tracks.

My problem is a mixture of liking odd, large and, unfortunately, expensive knives (champagne taste on a beer budget).

Anyway, I don’t think it hurts to look, does it? Check it out. If you end up buying it, please don’t tell me. 

 

Johan Gustafsson "New Age Dagger"

Johan Gustafsson "New Age Dagger"

johangustafssonnewagedagger2

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I know, I know, as hard as I was on tactical fixed blades I’m expecting to get my chops busted for lusting over this dagger (but you know I’d never carry this beaut).

If you care to look at it more closely (or purchase it), it is listed on BladeGallery.com. Follow this link.

The bowie blade is 10″ and the “smaller” folding blade is 4 1/8.” It is almost 20″ OAL. The colors of the bolsters and blades are so cool! The handle is Fossil mammoth ivory. The design is killer. I’m not to crazy about its price though- $4800. I’ll stick to my vintage toenails, thank you anyway.

I know! I’ll add getting a custom dagger to my 2009 New Year’s Resolutions! Hey, maybe Daniel will put it on the knife layaway plan for me 🙂

Published in: on December 27, 2008 at 10:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Custom Jumbo Swellcenter

Over the last month knifemaker Jeff Claiborne has provided us with a photo journal of a knife he was making. It is finished now and probably on its way to its new owner as we speak.

While I don’t normally keep up with knives as they are being made, this one is one of my personal favorites and since we are “fair and balanced” here at CNJ (meaning we like all “things that go cut”– to borrow a phrase from our good friends at the Oregon Knife Collectors Association– regardless of whether they are old or new), I thought you would appreciate the beauty of this work of art.

Needless to say, if you know anything about me, you know elephant toenails are my all time favorite vintage pattern. I promise to keep 99% of my toenail writings limited to our sister site, but just couldn’t resist sharing this one with you.

Platts Style Jumbo Swellcenter Toenail

Platts Style Jumbo Swellcenter Toenail

Published in: on September 22, 2008 at 6:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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