Man would still be dead if not for a pocketknife carrying doctor

Stan and Jaci Wisniewski. Stan is the oldest living cardiac arrest survivor. (Eric Reed/Pasadena Star-News Staff Photographer)

Fascinating story about one, Stan Wisniewski. On Dec. 10th, 1954, he died and yet, last week he celebrated his 55th anniversary- of his second life.

And all because a doctor had an EDC.

The Pasadena Star-News reports Stan died of cardiac arrest while in a hospital’s X- ray room at the age of 24. Dr. David Brown was called in and quickly realized he had nothing to lose, so he opened Stan up with his pocketknife and cut out two ribs to start internal massage and the rest is history.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t give at least a few seconds thought to what happened back in 1954, ” Wisniewki said. “You’re here today and you’re gone tomorrow.” 

…I wonder if it was a Case XX (1940- 1964).

Published in: on December 21, 2009 at 7:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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Knife Artist- Mr. J. J. Smith III

Millions of knives are used everyday. You may have even used yours today too. We cut, stabbed, sliced and carved, but how many of you used your knife to scrape? Yes, you read that right, I said scrape.

Allow me to introduce Mr. J. J. Smith III– a master scraper. When I first saw his work I incorrectly assumed he whittled, but he informed me- he scrapes.

Two things you will find interesting- one is what he crafts and the other is what he crafts with. Better yet, I know of no way to explain his talent other than to show you.  He works with his hands and his knife to scrape some of the most unusual art I have seen.

Bowl of Peach Pits

Bowl of Peach Pits

Let’s start with what he uses as his raw material.

Rumor has it he “carves” while watching his daughters practice soccer.

Now let’s see what little creatures and creations lie beneath that outer shell of the seeds.


Published in: on August 25, 2009 at 7:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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Smoky Mountain Knife Works Executive Killed in Accident

Lee Chipley, an executive of Smokey Mountain Knife Works, was killed earlier today while riding his 2009 Harley Davidson motorcycle on the way to work.

Tennessee Highway Patrol confirmed the accident occurred around 6:56 a. m. this morning when a Ford Explorer turned in front of Mr. Chipley.

Are you a User? Give a little bit!

Knife collecting is all about knives, isn’t it? Well, yes and no. Today, we’re going to look at the people who make up the knife world.

crowd1I have observed two types of knife people. Don’t know if they collect or not. Don’t know if they like new ones or old ones, or if they have an EDC or not, and it really doesn’t matter for the purposes of their introduction. The point about these knife people isn’t about the knives anyway.

I’d like to introduce the two knife folks I see in our hobby. The first is the person I call “The User” and the other is “The Giver” (bet you thought I was going to say a Collector, didn’t ya?).

The User

The User is just that- a user. He takes. It’s the- what can I get from you or the situation that benefits me– perspective. It’s all about him. You don’t want to be a User. I see them everywhere. This person drains you and then is on his way. It is the knife seller who is only interested in relating to you as long as you are interested in one of his knives and when you aren’t, he is gone. This person exploits others. If you can’t do anything for the User, then the “relationship” offers no value to him.

The Giver

There is, on the other hand, this second person- The Giver. The Giver approaches another person or situation from the opposite direction. The Giver is a how can I help you person- without an ulterior motive. The Giver helps and shares. As too good to be true sounding as this person is, I see them all the time in our hobby. When you meet one of these people, you know it immediately. And yes, we will often think, “Now, I wonder what they want?”, but the fact remains, a Giver isn’t looking for anything from you.

The Giver isn’t necessarily a knife expert. Instead, his approach isn’t about knowledge or facts anyway. It is about relating to you, or me. When you meet a Giver you will know it. On the other hand, when you meet a User- you’ll know it too, immediately. Givers are the good knife folks.

Thanks to all who have given to me!

Give a little bit! 🙂

Published in: on May 24, 2009 at 3:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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You will never guess who I found in the blogosphere

A little while ago, I was surfing around and you will never guess who I ran into? None other than a very well respected knife expert, author and fellow auctioneer- Mr. Bruce Voyles.

No, we didn’t really run into each other; instead I ran up on his blog. Yes, you read it right- his blog and yesterday was his first post, or first since January.


You just thought I was the only hyper-techie knife guy who blogged didn’t you? 🙂 Not any longer. Yes, I do know there are a handful of knife folks who blog- but very few, that is until iKnifeCollector was created a month ago. Now that knife collector community is growing in knife blogs. But outside of our community, there are very few that aren’t trying to sell you a knife or something.

Bruce’s blog is entitled Knife Comments by Bruce Voyles. I encourage you to drop by and welcome him to the blogosphere. I am tickled to see him joining us by providing free thoughts and observations from the world of knives.

Oh, yeah, while you are there let him know we’d love to have him a part of iKnifeCollector. We have a captive audience for his blog (as well as his own personal My Page just waiting on him). He belongs in our community, not out in cyberspace among the millions of other bloggers vying for our attention. We are over here.

Bruce is a tremendous asset to this hobby and is one of its founding pioneers. He has authored many books on knife collecting, including my favorite The IBCA Price Guide to Antique Knives.

Knife is Good!

Reprinted from

We have a really good conversation going.  Lynsie Johnson, one of our members, added a thought provoking topic for discussion- “Do you feel that a knife is like a tattoo?” While the topic might be viewed a little “different” for a “knife forum” topic- it is stirring some really good discussion.

You know how conversations go- much like following a road- they follow the original thought for a bit then turn to the left and right, all the while still following the road, but maybe veered off topic, just a little.

life-is-goodAnd while the original discussion was how picking a knife is like trying to pick a tattoo. Tattoo’s come in every shape and size, depending upon personal preference- just like knives. Well, we got off on getting a knife tattoo, somehow. Then in the middle of that discussion, Keelen Grimm, another iKC member, suggested he’d get a KNIFE IS GOOD tattoo- taking off on the LIFE IS GOOD phenomenon sweeping the county.

I have to admit that while KNIFE IS GOOD is Keelen’s original brain child, I really like it! It would have made a great slogan for the  National Knife Collectors Association, but NOT!

With Keelen’s permission we’ll adopt it for ours here at iKnifeCollector. Now I just need to get a graphic artist to create us a logo for it.

Ten reasons why KNIFE IS GOOD!

1. Knives are FUN!

2. Knife people are nice people!

3. It’s fun to hang with knife people!

4. Knives connect people!

5. People are one of the very few meanings of life!

6. Knives provide us an outlet for creativity!

7. Knives keep us off the street (and in front of my computer)!

8. Knives provide us a better way to spend our money- better than on debauchery, wild trips, fast cars, or plastic surgery!

9. Old knives provide us a window to the past and a hint of the future!

10. Knives are FUN! (or did I say that already?)

Care to add to the list- go ahead- what Knife is Good reason do you have?

Published in: on May 4, 2009 at 2:59 pm  Comments (1)  
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Meet a master whittler

The art of whittling is fading.

In days gone-by, whittling was very much a part of everyday life. Cowboys whittled around the campfire. Old men whittled while out front of the corner store. Whittling was a skill taught to Boy Scouts. Knife companies sponsored whittling contests and produced “How to Whittle” pamphlets to keep folks scraping wood with their knives. There were even whittling classes taught after the Great Depression- government sponsored classes. And as a part of the pubic works program, the gov actually paid folks to whittle.

In case, you missed how we got to this point, over the last few weeks we have looked specifically at how times have changed and how boys (and adults) no longer whittle as a hobby or pastime. Now there are other recreations used to entertain and occupy our time. Then we talked about boys not carrying pocket knives like they used to.

Donald Mertz

Donald Mertz

With this as the backdrop, I’m excited to report I met a professional whittler. The minute I met him I knew I had to record our encounter. His name is Donald Mertz- He is a master whittler. Listen in on my conversation with Don about his life and his craft.

How long have you been whittling?

Ever since childhood, I am sixty seven now, so at least sixty years.”

Is there a difference between whittling and carving? If so, how would you describe them.

“Whittling is the art of shaping a hand held piece of wood in one hand and a knife in the other removing wood chips in a slicing action. It could be as simple as drawing the knife blade in a slicing action down the length of a piece of wood to create a thin, curling shaving the entire length of the wood. (more…)

Published in: on May 2, 2009 at 8:25 am  Comments (10)  
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Wall Street investor put his money in collectibles

Talk about getting out of the market, Antique Week reports in the April 13th edition, on an investor who got out in time. Then he turned around and jumped into collectibles as his investment of choice.

Ralph DeLuca said, “I didn’t like what I was seeing.”

So, he cashed in well before it was common knowledge things were out of kilter. He added that he wanted to deal in more tangible items.

1933 King King Poster- sold for $345,000

1933 King Kong Poster- sold for $345,000

Now to knife collectors what he jumped into might be considered an odd place to stash millions. Yet he had a hunch and followed it. He could have ended up in any area of collectibles, but he chose vintage posters. Yeap, posters.

Last month, he paid a new world record for an original 1931 Universal studio poster of Dracula, staring Bela Lugosi. The price? A cool $310,000. And at the same auction he paid $107,000 for a 1932 poster.

Mr. DeLuca now owns over a 1,000 entertainment posters, but he also buys other types too. He remains confident that all quality antiques, sporting items, firearms and collectibles are good investments.

“If you collect for a hobby, buy what you want. But if you collect for an investment, look for the best. I look for the rarest and the best.”                                                                                                                                                                         David DeLuca

I don’t know if we want somebody like this guy cornering the knife collector market or not? All it would take is one or two guys like this to change our market dramatically. It would be fascinating to watch though, wouldn’t it?

Positive Press Against Zero Tolerance for Knives

It’s not very often we see positive press about how ridiculous things are getting here in the US when it comes to outlawing knives.

Maureen Downey of AJC

Maureen Downey of AJC

I am very pleased to report Maureen Downey, a writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, did a piece, earlier this week, entitled-  Zero tolerance doesn’t always add up.

The aspect of this story I like the most is her own experience motivated her to speak out. It didn’t result from a Knife Rights, or knife company, press release. I’ll let you read her account, but will quote her on this important point about the Zero Tolerance stance, especially in the context of our schools.

“… also eliminates common sense and discretion, and can make school officials appear inane.”

Unfortunately, what we see most of the time are writers jumping on the “knives are weapons” and should be outlawed bandwagon- purely in the abstract.

Let’s applaud Maureen for taking what could be viewed as an unpopular position.

Since I am from Alabama, I had to look up “inane” and it means stupid or silly.

Best of Show- NCKA Knife Show

Weekend Edition

We are all winners when knife folks support the knife community by taking the time and preparation to enter knife show contests.

Earlier this week, we focused on knife displays and their benefits to collectors and the exhibitors. There is also another contest held at most knife shows, and it is the Best of the Show Custom Knife. So, without further ado allow me to present the two Best of Show winners of the NKCA’s show in Dalton earlier this month.


Gary Kennedy Hunter & Trapper Display

Gary Kennedy's Hunter & Trapper Display

Gary displayed an excellent collection of Case hunters and trappers.



Doug Casteel's Dark Shadow (click to enlarge)

Knife maker Doug Casteel of Monteagle, TN describes the knife and making process for us-

Doug Casteel- Best of Show Winner

Doug Casteel- Best of Show Winner

“First, the blade is 12 inches long and overall the knife is 16 1/4 inches. The handle is of Picasso marble and resembles bare winter trees at dusk in colors of black and gray.

The blade is carved and pierced in a scroll pattern. The pattern was first cut into the steel with a graver and the material between the scrolls was removed with drills.  Once this was finished, I detailed the holes to match the scroll with small burrs and diamond carvers, this took a very long time. I use very fine pure sand and blast the areas I wish to texture.  These areas are then rubbed with black enamel until the proper shades of black and gray are complete.”