Sunday, August 29, 2010

Butterfly Knives History

The term "Bali-Song," with the hyphen, is a registered trademark of Benchmade Corporation and was previously used by Pacific Cutlery and originally by Bali-Song Cutlery before that. But the word "balisong," without the hyphen, is a generic word.

There are a lot of myths and rumors that surface and resurface with various explanations for the meaning and origin of the word "Balisong," but one thing is agreed: it originated from the Philippines.

In the contemporary language of Tagalog, the most common of many languages spoken in the Philippines, "balisong" means "a folding knife with two handles that counter-rotate around the tang."

Here in the United States, as well as in other English-Speaking countries, the term "butterfly knife" is used to describe such a knife. But where does the word "balisong" come from and what does it mean?

A written theory from authors Tom Wei Ding and Tom Wei Toi claim in the book they wrote in 1983, The Manipulation Manual for the Balisong Knife, that balisong means "sharp knife." On the other hand, an author, Jeff Imada, who published the 1984 book, The Balisong Manual, theorizes that "bali" means "break" and "sung" means "horn," and that the handles of the balisongs (originally called "balisungs"), were made from broken animal horns.

This theory was coraborated by Tai Jo in his 1985 book, Balisong Knife, where he explains his theory that the word "balisong" can be translated in variables as either "broken horn" (referencing the use of horn as a handle material), "breaking/rattling horn" (referencing the "clicking" sound that balisong knives make when manipulated), or "to break the horn" (referencing the use of a closed balisong as an impact weapon). Other sources have reported that "balisong" is a proper name and has no meaning at all.

Recently another knife maker who grew up in the Philippines, was trained in the knife making business in the Philippines, plus studied the origins of these unique knives, explained that there is a commonality in the Philippines as within The United States of America, of the country being broken down into states and cities. The nation of the Philippines have provinces (like States) called "Batangas." In Batangas there are Barrios (like cities). One of these Barrios is called "Balisong."

This city is famous for making knives much like the city of Sheffield in England, and Soligen in Germany are famous for knifemaking. Or like the American city of Detroit, Michigan is famous for making automobiles.

This Filipino-American claims that "Balisong" is just the name of this city and has since come to be synonymous with the butterfly knifes made there. Incidently, the city of Balisong is still a thriving city and making butterfly knives is still a prominent industry there. The city even has a semi-professional basketball team named "The Batangas Blades."



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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Knife Laws

Is A Particular Knife Legal in My State?

The following copyrighted article has been provided with permission of the American Knife and Tool Institute. This is an important association to the knife community. Please check out akti.org and join!

Background

The ability to produce and use tools is what has enabled humans to rise from a very primitive existence and adapt to almost every climate or situation existing on this earth. Granted, we have superior intellectual and reasoning ability. Wit alone, however, did not enable our long-ago ancestors to overcome the lack of fangs, claws, horns, antlers, size, speed, and/or strength possessed by other members of the animal kingdom whom they either preyed upon or competed with for food. Intelligence enabled them to fashion stones, bones, and other material into increasingly efficient tools. Knives, in the nascent form of naturally occurring sharp-edged stones, were undoubtedly among the first tools they ever used. We should consider that without these tools, the dietary and wardrobe options available to our ancestors would have been quite limited. Our "lifestyle" of today is built on this foundation.

Knives are indeed tools. Occasionally, knives are employed as weapons, both defensively and offensively. Unfortunately, knives are also occasionally used to commit crimes. It is the potential that knives can be used criminally and perhaps a misperception as to the frequency of criminal use that has given rise to laws regulating knives in essentially every state.

Our Federal government became involved in firearms regulation in the early part of this century and continues to assume an increasing level of control as to firearms. Given the relatively long period of Federal involvement, the doctrine of Federal preemption, and the fact that firearms laws are for the most part based on purely objective factors, such as barrel length or action type, there is a greater degree of consistency among the laws of the various states as to firearms.

Such is not the case with knives. Laws regarding knives are a hodgepodge of legislative action, some of which dates back to the 1800's.

A handgun "legal" in a given state would in all probability be "legal" in the vast majority of states. The law regarding what a person may or may not do with a legal handgun for example would vary considerably from state to state. The situation is slightly more complex in the case of knives. What constitutes a legal knife varies greatly from state to state and may depend upon objective standards, such as blade length, or more subjective standards, such as the shape or style of the blade or handle. As is the case with firearms, the law of the different states regarding what one may do with a legal knife varies.

The Consequences

Criminal prosecutions based exclusively on the simple possession of an "illegal" knife are rare. At least the cases that become reported seem to involve coalescent criminal activity. As a practical matter, the constitutional prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures protects the otherwise law-abiding citizen who happens to be walking down the street with a pocketknife having a blade one-eighth of an inch over the limit.

This may give rise to a false sense of security based upon the "it can't happen to me ...I'm not a criminal" mentality.

There is also a perception that a violation is generally considered to be a "weapon" violation, which can lead to all sorts of disqualifications, ranging from acquiring or owning firearms to military service, as well as public and/or private sector employment. As an example, in Pennsylvania, it is a misdemeanor to possess a knife or cutting instrument on school property. There is also a law in Pennsylvania which disqualifies persons convicted of any firearms. Persons convicted of any of the listed crimes who own or possess firearms must sell or transfer any and all firearms in his or her possession within a period of sixty (60) days. The list of crimes runs the gamut from murder, rape, kidnapping, arson, robbery that also includes the misdemeanor of possessing a weapon, meaning any knife, on school property. Pennsylvania is not unique in this regard. Similar legislation exists in many other states.

Attend a PTA meeting or a high school football game with a small folding knife in your pocket or handbag, or even a tiny knife on your key chain, and you are subject to the same legal disqualifications meted out to murderers and rapists. If there is even a small knife in your pocket or car when you drive your child to school, or perhaps exercise your right to vote (many jurisdictions' plots are located in school buildings), various rights which you may have thought to be "inalienable" may be in jeopardy.

By the way, if you read the entire text of the Pennsylvania law regarding weapons on school property, it merely advises that a breach of the law is a misdemeanor and makes no mention of the other law listed somewhere else which sets forth these additional and somewhat harsh disqualifications. It should also be observed that in many instances, several different laws of any given state that might apply to the possession of a knife were enacted decades apart. This would have happened quite likely without a full appreciation by the legislators or their constituents (like American Knife and Tool Institute, aka AKTI) as to the implications. Remember that adage about making laws and making sausages are two activities that should not be observed by the consumers or the electorate.

Finding The Law

Knife laws vary from state to state, as discussed above. Laws are also changed or amended from time to time. This often occurs in a "knee-jerk" reaction to some problem or event. Also, courts, in the form of opinions addressing a given case or dispute, interpret these laws. Each "interpretation" introduces another change or perhaps refinement to the law. Accordingly, it would be an ongoing task to maintain an up-to-date reference of all American jurisdictions as specifically related to knives.

The individual interested in learning about the laws involving or pertaining to knives in a given state, or perhaps more importantly, in avoiding difficulty with the laws, should turn to the state statutes or legislative enactments, and in particular, those dealing with crimes. You may find that for a given state this would be described or referred to as the Penal Code or Crimes Code. Within this Code, you will likely find laws regarding knives under any of the following headings:

Prohibited Weapons - Typically there will be a statute defining listing various weapons which are prohibited. As to knives, there may be specific size/blade length limitations. Often times there will be prohibitions against "dirks or daggers." Switch-blades or other knives, the blade of which is exposed by gravity or mechanical action, are frequently prohibited.

Possessing Instruments of Crime - This type of law deals with the possession of an instrument not otherwise illegal but possessed under circumstances indicating intent to employ the instrument for criminal purposes. For example, a 12-inch butcher knife would be commonplace and unquestionably legal in a butcher shop or meat packing plant, but might be questionable in the proverbial dark alley at 3:00 o'clock a.m. This type of law is sometimes found under the heading of "inchoate crimes."

Possession of a weapon in a prohibited area - In most states, it is a crime to possess a knife on school grounds. In some instances, exceptions are made for small pocketknives. It is also a crime in many states to possess a weapon to include a knife in a court facility or some other government buildings.

Transactions B - In many states, it is a crime to engage in certain transactions regarding knives and other prohibited weapons or to furnish such items to children or persons known to be incompetent or intemperate.

Many state statutes can be found on the Internet. Two good sites are FindLaw.com - Click on "US Law: Cases & Codes" to find statutes and cases (if any) for your state. And, State Knife Laws. State laws can also be researched on the Internet. Check out the AKTI web site Legislative section, click on your state for a link to its web site.

If you are conducting your research outside of "cyberspace," meaning real books, you should note that there are typically supplements published in paperback format or as "pocket parts" inserted in the rear cover of the hardbound book which contain the current law. Once you locate an applicable code section, be sure to check the "pocket part" for the same section to be sure the law has not changed.

There are also some cities/municipalities that have their own ordinances pertaining to knives. The best place to obtain such information is to contact your local police department and inquire if there are any applicable ordinances regarding the use, possession, carrying, or sale of knives.

Understanding the Law

We are all presumed to know the law. Generally, ignorance of the law is not a defense or excuse, notwithstanding the fact that lawyers and judges spend an enormous amount of time arguing about what a particular law means or what the legislature intended.

Typically, in your research of statutory or enacted law, you will find annotations or cross-reference to cases where a particular law or section of the law applied to the circumstances of an actual case. These case opinions or decisional law will contain a narrative by a judge, or perhaps a panel of appellate-level judges, describing in some summary fashion the facts which gave rise to the prosecution; the dispute about how the law should be applied and the decision. These resources will be helpful in developing an understanding as to the laws of a particular state and should be read together with the statutory law.

Some states have case law on line and others do not, in which case you will have to visit a law library and ask the librarian for assistance. Once you have located your state's case law "reporters" (books), look in the index (the last few volumes of the reporter) under "knives" or similar terms. In reading the statutes or written laws from a state on weapons or knives, it is helpful to keep in mind certain legal principles regarding interpretation and the application of law:

Ejusdim generis - Latin for "the same kind." It is common technique in writing laws to specifically list various prohibited items followed by a general inclusive term. For instance, you may find a statute which prohibits "any dagger, dirk, switch-blade, gravity knife, cutting instrument the blade of which is exposed in an automatic way by switch, push-button, spring mechanism, or other such implement". Under the rule of ejusdem generis, "other such implement" could not legitimately be read to include for instance a drop point fixed blade hunting knife. In other words, the drop point fixed blade hunting knife is not of the same kind or class as the specifically listed items such as the dagger, dirk, switch-blade, etc. However, you must be careful. In construing a New York statute prohibiting the possession of a dagger, dirk, dangerous knife, razor, stiletto or any other dangerous weapon, an ice pick was found to be a "dangerous weapon" under the principle of ejusdem generis.

Burden of Proof - Generally, the prosecution must establish and prove every element of the offense. In researching knife laws, you may find an example, as follows:

"Knife means any dagger, dirk, knife, or stiletto with a blade over three and one-half inches in length, or any other dangerous instrument capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds, but does not include a hunting or fishing knife carried for sports use. The issue that a knife is a hunting or fishing knife must be raised as must be raised as an affirmative defense." California Revised Statutes, 18-12-101. In the above example, a hunting knife with a four and one-half inch blade would be prohibited, but not if it was carried for hunting or fishing use. In this example, the prosecution does not need to prove that a given knife was not being carried for hunting or fishing use. The portion which is in italics describes a condition, which if proved by the defendant, would be an exception to the prohibition. Another typical burden of proof example is the "curio" exception, which is found in connection with many statutes prohibiting the possession of switch-blades. If you live in a state where such a law obtains, the prosecution would establish its case by approving a mere possession of a switch-blade. It is then incumbent upon the defendant or "actor" to prove its curio status. Exactly what constitutes a curio is somewhat subjective. A switch-blade in a glass case on a bookshelf in your home is likely to be a curio. However, if it is in your pocket, its "curio" status becomes much more questionable.

In pari matera - Latin for upon the same subject matter. Essentially, this principle requires that statutes on the same topic be construed together. If you find several statutes on the topic of knives, these should be read and considered together. The prohibition against any knife on school property, as mentioned above, is an example where a knife clearly permitted under a general statute becomes illegal under specific circumstances.

Federal

The Federal government has cognizance over matters involving commerce among the states, Federal property and federally-regulated activities, such as aviation. This does not mean that if you drive from New York to California, Federal law governs the legality of a knife you may be carrying or your use of it along the way. The law of the individual states would prevail, although in many instances, there are exceptions for persons engaged in travel.

The Federal Crimes Code is set forth at Title 18 of the U.S. Code, and in particular, 18 U.S.C. '930. There you will find provisions of dealing with dangerous weapons on Federal facilities, as well as definition of what constitutes a dangerous weapon. Interestingly, there is an exception for a pocketknife with a blade of less than two and one-half inches in length. However, you must also observe that there is a difference between a Federal facility where a small pocketknife would be tolerated and a Federal Court facility, where there is a policy of "zero tolerance" regarding tools such as knives.

Federal law also provides for a "civil penalty" for carrying a weapon on an aircraft. This "penalty" may not be more than $10,000 for each violation. See 49 U.S.C. '46303. A similar prohibition occurs in related Federal Aviation Administration Regulations regarding airport security. In theory, the "dangerous weapon" definition from the Federal Crimes Code should apply, and a pocketknife with a blade of less than two and one-half inches would be acceptable or permissible. Remember, however, if you are engaged in air travel, you are not at all unlikely to find yourself in another state, which as pointed out above, may have a different standard as to what is a legal knife.

Helpful Hints

The Label - What a particular knife is called by its maker or manufacturer "may be used against you." For instance, a knife labeled and sold as a "fighting knife" or a "tactical knife" is quite likely to be presented as such by the prosecution to a Court or a jury.

A comparison can be drawn to the label of assault rifle that was applied by manufacturers to various semi-automatic rifles which were military-like in appearance, but otherwise functionally indistinguishable from semi-automatic sporting rifles in use since before the II World War.

Consider the fact that a knife labeled by its maker as a camping utility survival or hunting knife might be more acceptable in the eyes of the law than essentially the same instrument labeled as a "fighting" knife. If the packaging, care and usage instructions or warranty information that is provided with a new knife touts its sporting purpose, you may wish to retain that material.

Gimmicks/Disguised Knives - Blades which are disguised as a cane, ballpoint pen, tire pressure gauge, belt buckle or other such innocuous objects are types of tools which should be evaluated very carefully. These items may suggest an intent on the part of the person possessing the item to deceive others.

Concealment - Laws prohibiting the carrying of "concealed" weapons were developed during times when weapons were routinely and openly carried by a majority of the population. In those times, a person with a concealed weapon was a preference that people carrying weapons do so discreetly. Many state statutes that establish licenses for carrying firearms require concealed carry. While you should read and abide by the law of a particular state, if there is any uncertainty, consider the circumstances and the activity that you might be engaged in. For instance, it is generally expected that someone engaged in hunting or fishing will have a knife. The same holds true perhaps to a slightly lesser extent, for other activities, such as camping, hiking, farming, etc. There is probably no real purpose to be served by a hunter concealing his skinning knife.

Length - When applying a law that specifies a length, assume the worst possible scenario. Include the choil or the unsharpened portion at the base of the blade when measuring. The prosecution will almost certainly do so. Similarly, be extremely careful about any knives that utilize stored energy, such as a compressed spring, to expose or move the blade, even if it's only a spring assist.

Set a good example - If you must use your knife for some appropriate task in the view of others, do so without flourish and in a non-threatening manner. Avoid giving somebody any reason to complain or be anxious about the fact that you have a knife.

Attitude - If you should find yourself detained by a police officer and your knife becomes an issue, it may be good to remember the adage that "Penitence is an avenue to grace." By all means, avoid appearing to be combative or threatening.

Further Assistance

Your own research efforts may very well satisfy your inquiry or curiosity as to the law of the state where you live, or perhaps the state or states where you intend to travel. You should seek advice from a lawyer if you have any question or if, for instance, your knife or possession of a knife would appear to be in any way questionable.

These guidelines have been prepared by Daniel C. Lawson, of the law firm of Meyer, Darragh, Buckler, Bebened & Eck, P.L.L.C. These guidelines are not a substitute for appropriate legal advice and are not intended to express an opinion as to the legality of any particular type or style of knife or the application of any Federal or state law regarding knives or other weapons.

The American Knife and Tool Institute would like to thank Dan Lawson for his generous time developing this guide and to everyone who has reviewed it.



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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Collectible Knives For Beginners

So, you want to collect knives! Collecting knives is a rewarding hobby that pays off in satisfaction, pride, and an investment in products that will grow in value over the years. Some knife collectibles become valuable heirlooms that are passed generation to generation.

Before you begin, the first thing you want to do is come to a decision about what kind of collectible knives you want to pursue. You might want to pursue collectible pocket knives, limited edition knives of a different makes and models, or antique collectible knives. The best collectibles knives are going to be the ones that give you the most pleasure. So, take your time and do some research before investing too much money.

Some people decide to focus on a particular brand of knives, like collectible Case knives, limited edition Marbles, or old timer pocketknives from Schrade. Others decide to collect a certain type of material, such as pearl handled or stag. Buck bowie knives are also a popular type of knife to collect. They do take up quite a bit more room, so you may want to plan ahead to make sure of what space you'll have to keep your precious collectibles in.

Once you determine what kind of knife you want to collect, it's time to decide how you want to begin collecting your knives. Some people will start one knife at a time. You can give your family and friends a list of the knives you are hoping to add to your collection so they can buy them for you for gifts on the holidays. Some specialty or online stores will offer incentives or discounts for collectors, so make sure to ask around for this as well.

Make it a point to find out where and when the local knife shows are being held in your area. Visiting the different vendors at a knife show can give you more information than most of the books that are out on the market. The dealers also love to talk about their products, so you will learn a lot and might find some excellent deals on new knives to add to your collection!

Talking about books, you will want to look into
Levine's Guide to Knives and Their Values
. It's considered the bible of knife collecting. The Official Price Guide to Collector Knives, 14 th Ed by Houston Price is also an excellent resource. Then there are a myriad of knife forums and even collectors associations, such as The National Knife Collectors Association where you will also find much information and others who share your interest.

Once you have three or more knives, it's time to decide how you want to store them so that they will retain original quality and value. There are a variety of knife storage and display cases available. If you want to keep your knives displayed for your every day viewing pleasure, you will want a glass topped display box, possibly to hang on your wall. Knife rolls will also keep your knives protected and you can store them virtually anywhere that is dry and away from extreme temperatures.

I hope this article has given you some good direction on where to get started. In no time at all, you will become a knife-collecting connoisseur. As an excellent knife-maker Darrel Ralph once said, “Beware, like any other hobby, knife collecting can become addictive!”



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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Most Intimidating Blade Ever?

It's easy to assume that the kukri shape arrived in India via Alexander the Great and his conquest, which stopped at the Indus River. While such is reasonable conjecture, it may not be the case at all. There’s no evidence to support a direct Greek influence, and the shape had been used in Western Europe centuries before it appeared in India.

Information on early Indian swords is not readily available, but there are rock carvings, drawings, paintings, writings and a very few archaeological finds. None show a forward-angled blade until about 400 A.D. After that, the shape appeared quite frequently and, indeed, seemed to proliferate, supplanting many older, straight-bladed pieces.

It’s generally acknowledged that there was a lot of contact between Rome and the Deccan area of India, and it seems logical that the Romans introduced the blade shape there. Once it was introduced to the subcontinent, the Indians adopted the shape as their own, and did so with a great deal of imagination. The forward angle was tried for many sword blades, a large number of which weren’t practical fighting tools—but they sure did look mean! The shape made its way throughout India as one warlike tribe after another adopted it, and, through conquest, spread it farther and farther.

The early history of Nepal is largely unknown, as are the weapons the Nepalese used. Early art plus a few finds indicate that the Nepalese used the leaf-shaped short sword a great deal, as well as the Chinese straight sword. There’s no evidence that the Nepalese used the curved sword.

The Kora

Sometime well after the 10th century A.D., the forward-angled blade appeared. The primary weapon of the early Gurkhas and other warlike tribes in the area was the kora. The sword ranged in length from 18-28 inches, with the blade sharpened on the inside edge. The tip curved forward and flared out and down. Though the shape was completely useless for a thrust, the power in the cut was awesome.

Along the way, technology intervened and the firearm assumed the place of principal weapon. The kukri, which had many uses, was kept and the kora was discarded.

The kukri has since become the national weapon of Nepal, particularly the Gurkhas. However, the Indians were the first to use the kukri. In fact, in the Royal Nepali Museum, almost all the old kukris are of Indian workmanship. Actually, there are very few old kukris in the museum, and the oldest dates to only about 1750 A.D.

One of the more interesting—and amusing—aspects of the kukri is the notch at the base of the blade. It’s amusing because even the Gurkhas don’t know its exact meaning.

The notch is of two cut-out semi-circles side by side, leaving a small projection. It’s been described as intended to catch the opponent’s blade—a sure way to lose a hand if attempted; a symbol of the female sex organ designed to give the blade power; a representation of a cow’s udder (Gorkha—the old spelling—means “protector of cows”); and the Trident of Shiva the Destroyer, a local war god. No one really knows, so feel free to choose whichever you like.

Sweetest Of Spots

All warriors and soldiers need to be familiar with their weapons before they can be effective with them. The same is true with the kukri. In the mountains of Nepal, the Gurkha grows up using the kukri, and he also grows up with a warrior tradition. His weapon becomes part of him.

What makes the Gurkha’s kukri so effective? All chopping weapons have an optimal striking point, the area where the greatest force is generated with the least amount of vibration. This point is the sweet spot on a baseball bat, tennis racket or a sword.

The sweet spot on a kukri is extremely large—in fact, just about the entire blade is the sweet spot. The same depth of cut will result if the blade hits close to the front of the knife or close to the back. Only at the extreme front is there a noticeable difference. The forward-angled blade helps dampen the vibration so that there’s no energy lost in the blow, but the blade also arrives quicker so that you get the effect of cutting through without much effort. With a wrist snap just as the blade hits, much more force can be generated than most realize—enough to lop off the limb of a small tree.

Old Styles

The old kukris were handmade and several styles were popular. The Limbu tribe favored the Sirupate kukri, which has a blade somewhat long in relation to its width. The Rais tribe preferred the Bhujpore style, which has a wider blade, while the Gurungs, Thapas and Magars opted for what could be called the standard kukri.

No two old kukris are alike. (The only kukris that are identical are/were those issued by the various countries that employ or employed Gurkhas: Great Britain, India and Nepal.) Original kukris are as individual as the kami—the village kukri maker/blacksmith—who forges them, and many of the knives are works of art. They were frequently presented as gifts to officers and high-ranking people who happened to please one of the ruling classes of Gurkhas. These presentation pieces were very elaborate, with ivory or silver grips and mounts, and beautiful, highly polished blades.

One of the more interesting tales about the kukri is the trouble the British ran into once they had established a presence, and then a railroad, in Nepal. All too frequently the track was stolen. The English couldn’t figure out why until it was learned that the track was an excellent source of steel, and the kami didn’t have to worry about purifying the iron in it.

Conclusion

The history of the kukri is very rich, and in this short article I could only cover the basics. I wish it were possible to go back in time and see the kukri’s development. Since that’s not possible, I’ll have to be content with speculation.

I’ve been playing with the kukri for over 30 years, and I’m still fascinated by it. It remains my knife of choice on a lengthy trip to the wilds.



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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Survival by Knife

Four Ways To Use Your Simple Knife To Stay Alive In The Wild

Fell a Tree
If you can double a sapling over using one hand (limber it up by bending it back and forth several times), you can slice the trunk in half using downward pressure with an angle cut. The sapling must be green and the pressure should be evenly maintained throughout the cut, although with larger trees it may be necessary to rock the blade. Support the sapling as the trunk weakens. It will be impossible to finish the cut if the wood splinters.

To bring down softwood trees (poplar, birch, some evergreens) up to 6 inches in diameter, pound the knife tip into the tree at a right angle to the trunk, then jerk it sideways or pound the spine with a baton (a hard stick used as a club) to work the blade back and forth and widen the cut. Repeat the process around the trunk.

Split Wood

A knife runs a poor second to an axe as a chopping tool, but when pounded with a baton, a small blade is perfectly capable of making dry splits from wood blocks. Rapping the knife with a baton, split a thin shingle from the side of a dry wood block. Sharpen the edges of the shingle to make a wedge, insert the wedge into a crack in the wood (or make a crack in the wood with the blade), then pound the wedge with a baton to make wood splits for the fire. Using a series of wedges, you can split a log section lengthwise. You can also use a baton and blade to split the chest cavity of an elk or moose. Keep to one side of the sternum for an easier cut.

Create Cord


550 Para Cord
is a primary survival tool, essential for fashioning bowstrings, lashing gear, and strengthening braces for shelter. The hide of almost any animal can be rendered into strips using a circular cutting technique. Drive the knifepoint into a flat wood surface, then pull the hide into the blade in a circular pattern to make a long strip. A guide peg driven into the wood maintains an even cut.


Make a Fire Starter

If you can’t find dry kindling for building a fire, you can use your knife to make some in the form of a fuzz stick. Rest the end of a stout stick on the ground, then shave downward to lift curls of dry wood. At the end of each stroke, pry outward with the blade to spread the feathers. The end result will burn readily.


___________________________________________

The following features make a knife perfect for woodcraft as well as for field dressing deer:

Blade: Five finger widths in length.
Spine: Flat for pounding with a baton. No upper finger guard.
Handle: Rounded and smooth with a tang that extends through the handle for strength.
Butt: Made from shatterproof material so that you can pound the knife point-first.




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Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Knife... One of Man's Oldest Tools

The Knife is an amazing tool-an ancient tool for which there has been no substitute. Throughout history, knives have been essential for survival, as well as for providing food and shelter. From its earliest form, the knife developed out of necessity, and its evolution may be traced through the paths of technology.

During the Stone Age, knives were made of flint, which could easily be scaled to shape, and then could be re-scaled to produce a new edge. Later, flint knives were ground to the desired shape. Much later in history, man began to make knives from copper, bronze, and finally, from the products of iron as we know them today.

Humans hold a special bond with tools-in particular, those used for hunting. Over the ages, guns, knives, bows and spears have been adorned with ornate patterns. These marks of craftsmanship added a touch of beauty and reflected pride in the skills the craftsmen had learned. Even in modern days, when purchasing a knife for hunting or fishing, the product of choice must be not only of lasting performance and quality, but also have an attractive design and finish that gives the owner a sense of pride. Long-time sportsmen usually keep their tools in clean working order and often display their tools for others to admire.

Most of the world's countries have a knife related to their culture and history. This is one reason why knife collecting has become an increasingly popular hobby. Long, slim bolo knives were uniquely suited to the sugar cane and jungle work of the Philippines. Machetes from South America are a heavier jungle knife suited for clearing dense rain forest vegetation. Curved, wicked-looking Ghurka knives are used by the renowned Ghurka fighters of India. Of course, America's own Bowie Knife has made its place in history. The Bowie was handcrafted, and those looking for the finest in knives today still must look to the hands of the skilled craftsman.

Today, the knife continues to be an important tool, though more for sport and work than survival, as in the past. As knife technology and production methods have advanced, knife uses have expanded and knife forms have become more specialized. Today, you can get a knife in a wide assortment of configurations and materials. And, much the same as yesteryear, when specialized craftsmen made custom knives as prized possessions.



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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Knife Care, Repair & Maintenance

Time, temperature, light, moisture, oxidants, handling and mishap are all factors which will eventually compromise your knife's condition. In order to ensure that your knife delivers flawless performance and that its factory condition and beauty are maintained, please use the following knife care and maintenance tips to ensure optimum performance levels.

Maintenance

  • Kitchen knives should not be allowed to languish at the bottom of a sink full of water and dirty dishes. Surface textures are destroyed in these conditions.
  • Automatic dishwashers are not kind to knives. The temperatures reached in these machines are too high and run the risk of drawing down the temper of the steel.
  • If the handle material is of an organic nature such as wood, bone, ivory, horn, pearl, etc, its life is severely abbreviated by immersion in hot soapy water.
  • Oil the blade before resheathing. Not to do so runs the risk of introducing dirt or grit inside the scabbard.
  • It is important to close a folding knife slowly and carefully, since snapping it shut will force the blade to hit the internal parts, thus dulling the edge.

Knife Sharpening

Always keep your knife blade sharp. A dull knife requires additional force to use and is potentially more dangerous to use than a sharp one. There are a variety of products available when it comes to sharpening your knife. Some of the knife sharpening products on the market today make it virtually impossible to "mess up" and will always put the right edge on your blade. Never sharpen your knife on a power-grinding wheel as this can burn the temper out of the blade and weaken its integrity.

Test for edge-sharpness and edge-uniformity by slicing ordinary newspaper pages. Hold one edge, slice slowly away from you, and move the blade from hilt to tip. A really sharp blade will 'whisper' through the page. A duller blade will sound harsher, as you can hear the fibers tear. Using the newsprint test, you will very easily detect any blade nicks or uneven edge sections.

Cleaning

  • If you get rust on your knife an S.O.S. pad and some alcohol will usually take the rust right off.
  • Use Flitz Metal Polish. Everyone that uses it will swear by it's effectiveness.
  • Clean stainless steel blades in dishwashing liquid and warm water, not hot! Rinse well and allow to thoroughly air dry.
  • Carbon steel blades should be cleaned in warm water and baking soda, rinsed well, dried and oiled immediately. Clove oil, magnolia, and camellia are excellent for the preservation of all metallic and many organic materials. Olive oil is fine for most kitchen knives as it is close to hand and quite serviceable.
  • Cleaning kits. Usually includes, hammer, clove oil, a box of absorbent cloth and a special cleaning paper.

Storage

Kitchen knife blocks are an excellent way to store such using pieces in the kitchen and indeed elsewhere. The block will prevents damage to finish by abrasion and edges will not dull as a result of their coming in contact with one another.

Utility knives are best stored in a sheath during carry, to protect both the knife and the wearer. Otherwise when not being worn, they should be stored out of the sheath as some sheath materials are PH acidic, leading to eventual damage.

Long Term Storage

Prior to long term storage of your important or collectible knives, put on a pair of white cotton gloves. Blades and handles should be cleaned carefully, oiled and wrapped in a soft cloth. Archival materials used by the photo industry may be applicable in this regard because most paper becomes acidic with time so only archival quality paper should be used. Cool, dry and dark places are the ideal environment for storage.

Storage and display containers should be made of P.H. neutral materials. Oak which reacts with ferrous metals, and other acidic or resinous woods, should be avoided.

A simple storage container can be constructed of large diameter PVC drainpipe capped at each end. Glued or screwed endcaps can be used. You may also want to consider incorporating intake and exhaust valves suitable for flooding with inert gas.

Diving and Marine Knives

Sea knives live a hard life with the triple hazards of sun, salt and water to contend with. Regular cleaning and oiling after use will ensure many good years of service if it is not lost over the side in the interim. A lanyard attached to the thong hole will reduce the risk of such a mishap and ensure your knife is always close at hand in an emergency. Bilges and scuppers are concentration points for corrosive salts and other chemicals. Keep your knife and any other equipment out of them.

Hunting Knives

After the hunt clean your knife as soon as possible. Blood and body fluids, especially digestive juices, have a corrosive effect on steel. And remember its better to sharpen a stick as a digging tool than to dig that hole with your knife.

Other User Tips

After putting a mirror finish on a blade, you usually don't want to see fingerprints on it. Instead of using oil or what have you to protect the blade, rub on a light coat of Rain-X, the liquid you put on your windshield to make the water run off. Buff it right back off, and you have a protective coating that resists fingerprints, rust, and it keeps what you are cutting from sticking to the blade.

Spray knife hinges with WD-40, liquid wrench, or other lubricant, then open and close knife 10-15 times to work in oil. This will protect your knife parts from rust, corrosion, and damage resulting from parts scraping each other. It will also make it easier to open and close, as well as extend its life.


All Comments are Welcome and Appreciated.



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