The Project Knife~ bonus

I almost took a “flyer”on this second “project” knife a week or so ago. Fortunately, it went for a price above my pay-grade, finally selling for $44US plus $7.99 s/h… fair, but not for me right now.

Described on eBay offering as:

“NICE OLD WADE & BUTCHER “TEDDY” MODEL, TEDDY ETCHED INTO BLADE, KNIFE SHOWS AGE AND SHARPENING, STACKED LEATHER HANDLE SLIGHTLY DRY, POMMEL CAP SHOWS SLIGHT DINGS, BLADE SHOWS SOME IDIOT PUTTING GRINDER MARKS ON IT.  SHEATH IS CRUDELY HANDMADE WITH A CROSSDRAW BELT LOOP BUT SHEATH IS IN GOOD CONDITION !”

Wade & Butcher are well known British cutlery makers in Sheffield, and most Sheffield is pretty nice steel… carbon and well formulated. Most interesting about this though is that the “TEDDY” is supposedly the first widely offered “stainless” steel hunting knife made.

The grip seems a bit bulbous to my taste, but I really loved the brass spaced catalin decorative disks at each end, and the single tang blade guard.

The fool and his grinder marks I can deal with, but what put me off making any bid was that I could see that the blade was rather heavily worn in right there before the ricasso [the squared off chunk between the edge and the guard… zoom the photo and you can really see it]. That was going to mean substantial regrinding forward on toward the point to flatten the bottom edge.

Still and all…. that’s a really nice looking knife, I will probably keep my eye on eBay in case another one comes along.

EDIT~ for a second “Bonus

Just to show that you can pick up a “good enough” used knife in reasonable condition for a reasonable price…. I passed on this KA-BAR USA 11″ Stacked Leather Bowie Knife with Leather Sheath as well, but it went for only $35US [shipped] over on eBay the other night… Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 9.43.26 AM

 

 

 

 

 

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The Project Knife Arrived

The semi-Bowie blade shape is just what I was looking for to add to my arsenal. Whatever it’s unknown age might be, the shape is the one popularized by the WWII “M3” combat blades issued to the US armed forces, and made by a number of quality knife companies including Camillus, Case, Ka-Bar, and Cattaraugus Cutlery. This one lacks the concave “blood groove” along the upper blade that marks the fighting knives. It is also shorter at 6″ as opposed to the M3 mil-spec standard of 6 3/4″.  As such, mine was probably [hopefully] made in the 50s-60s as a hunting or Boy Scouting knife. I had one very similar back in my own scouting days.

 

 

My EBay seller did not make it clear that the sheath was “non-original”, and had been modified to allow easier slashing of your pants leg.

 

 

In the upper photo I laid my fully sharpened Buck 692 over the new blade. It is obvious that there is not much on the way of an edge left on the new guy. You can see arm hairs from shave-testing the edge on the Buck… NO chance of that on the n00b. Although it is not really as obvious from the long angle of the shot, the new knife has very little if any damage to the point. It hasn’t been over-abused, just neglected and poorly sharpened/ maintained.

The classic aluminum pommel has a the Ka-Bar shape that I find really appealing… less rounded off than some scouting type knifes. It too shows no sign of abusive handling. Thank god it didn’t have the dreadful, disgruntled eagle pommel that got put on too many Boy Scout knives back in the day.

 

FullSizeRender 24The stacked leather on the handle is still tightly compressed with no missing disks, no gapping between the disks, and not dried out. I particularly like the finger grooves. They are a feature that I had not seen in the seller’s photos. The three color, plastic stacks at each end are right purdy as well.

 

I will want to do some overall smoothing with a file and high-grit sandpaper to even out the grip, and then finish it with a soaking coat of urethane.

This is what a brand new “stacked disk” handle looks like.

Here’s hopes that the project knife might make a come back to something similarly good looking.

 

 

In conclusion, the “project” knife is just about what I hoped to get for the money [$22 shipped]. The biggest question is of course that of the steel grade used, and with no quick way to evaluate that beyond re-edging it and then seeing how the blade holds up to use. The good news is that the overall construction seems to be of a quality that would at least imply a decent grade of steel was used in the build. It could be German Solingen. I know they made plenty of blades in this style, but “unbranded” for use by a variety of US companies.

Other than that, there are no glaring problems to be seen. I know what my knowledge, skills and tool kit are capable of… I don’t think there are any real obstacles to ending up with a highly usable, and nicely restored knife at far less cost than buying one new. Plus I get the satisfaction of the process. I’ll keep updating as I work on it.

Of course, I am gonna have to buy a new sheath! [$9 on Amazon].

[Quik Note~~ I was wrong about how bad the blade was. A fast whetting on my kitchen steel and I sliced up onions, carrots, and beef for stew just fine. It’s a bit thick in the blade for real kitchen use, but already good enough for my camp cooking chores]

 

Restoration Project Knife Inbound

I have been looking for a good project knife to restore as an exercise in what “can’ be done to bring a blade back to life.

I picked up this Boy Scout type semi-bowie for just over $20 on EBay. Nothing glamorous, but it truly needs work. Just a quick look shows that the blade will want a complete new edging, and the handle needs to be reprofiled.

It is also a great chance to really work out the Lansky System sharpener I got last Fall and my other stones, etc, to see just how good my licks are.

Overall, it appears to be good bet for a project… the handle looks to be tight and not too dried out, the steel is not pitted, and even the sheath is in OK condition, although I may pick the stitching and resew it. So… “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

I’m looking forward to this, as I have wanted a large/long blade for a while now and this one harkens back to knives I had as a kid [and have no idea what became of].

I’ll get some photos when it comes this weekend and let you know how it goes.

Get To Know The Moon

It’s always good to know when and where the Moon will rise and set when you are out camping on a nice night.

Search “Rivolu LLC” from your phone…

Their “Moon Calendar Pro” is free right now [Feb 12th, 2018] and check out their “Tide Alert” app, too, if you camp down near the ocean

[EDIT:]

“bigbenny” from Sydney, DownUnder suggested a really full featured alternative in WillyWeather on iOS in Australia. It is “Not Just Weather”, and includes wind, tides, rainfall, swell, sunrise and sunset, moon phases, and UV all in one app.

Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 9.23.29 AM

 

“CAMPTON AX”

I finally received the small axe that I had ordered off AliBaba in the 11/11 sale. As I had already concluded, it was not a Chinese POC [piece-of-crap] It was a Russian POC. After playing with both a Cyrillic keyboard and a Russian to English translator site, I managed to figure out that they had branded the blade “Campton Ax”… do you suppose they were trying for “camping”?

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I am not even going to go into detail about it until I have messed with the axe some, but after having “bashed” it a bit in my previous post, I wanted to go into some digressive info on just why I had gone ahead and bought one. For now you can check it out in the post from a week ago was about “Chinese Inscrutable Advertising“.

The site description on this axe was a wonderful example of the difficulty in translating/ transliterating between languages, and the misuse and overuse of catchwords. It was described it as “Damask” steel at one point, 440 Stainless at another, and high-carbon steel in a third. I guess the first instance is a misunderstanding of the word Damascus, which is used to describe both a type of  highly-figured and layered steel, and a historic manufacturing process. The other two phrases are frequently used in the descriptions on forums discussing high-quality knives… I guess they just seem catchy. Not accurate, but catchy.

In fact, the little axe I got is 65X13 steel. This is the Russian made equivalent of AUS8… not a bad steel for this use at all. On other sites offering the same axe I had been able to see the branding on the shank, so I was pretty sure what it was actually made of. This elevated it just out of the POC range and made me think it was good for a shot as a “project piece” to see if I could bring it all the way up to worthwhile.

My second reason, and the real basis of this post, is that I have always wanted an “Ulu”.

    

These are two examples. The ulu is the traditional knife of the Inuit peoples of the North American Arctic. Before the white man and his supplies of metal, they had knapped a similar shape in stone, and beaten them out of copper ores. It was their butchery tool for whale blubber and sealife.

    

The ulu is generally made of moderately thick sheet metal with a handle above the blade as you seen in the above photos. They cut smoothly, and are surprisingly maneuverable. I know a guy who regularly dresses out his deer with one.

Newer designs are moving toward a more modern esthetic, upgraded materials, and a truly ergonomic styling. They also are making the blades heavier and profiled more like a traditional hunting knife. Benchmade is producing a version they have named “Nestucca” that retails for $150US.

The beautiful units from Bliss [shown in first photo above] are made to order, and start from $130 depending on handle material. Those kind of prices put them way out of my reach, but the little Russian jobbie is as close to an ulu as the “Nestucca”, and was only about $11 on sale/shipped. That fits with my whole 90% utility for 50% of the price deal.

I’m hoping to end up with a fireside beater for wood prep and an alternative blade for use in the camp kitchen. I’ll let ya’ll know how the progress goes, and what the verdict might be some time soon.

Chinese Inscrutable Advertising

OK… yeahyeah, it is sorta “Zombie Killer”/tong wars/kung-fu movie, but I ordered this!

Now, what the WWII single-prop fighter has to do with it… I dunno. I dunno what mountain I am gonna cut with it just yet. I do know that the listing was fascinating.

The lead calls this thingy a “New Damask High Carbon Steel Hammer Wrench Axe Fire Ice Army Tactical Tomahawk Outdoor Practical Axe Hand Tool”… make note of the word “Damask” [my grandma had a tablecloth that was damask. The cutlery set my grandad left me is a beautifully layered Damascene, or Damascus, steel].

Then further down the page under Specs it sez, Axe Head Material: High Carbon Steel”. Then a bit more down it sez, “Blade material: stainless steel 440”.

Of course it also sez stuff like, “dear buyers please contact to us, when buy sure good you want to type. Or leave a message you want to buy the serial number of the product. Примечание: уважаемые покупатели в при покупке пожалуйста дарить нам связь, уверен, хорошо, вы должны модели.Или ты хочешь купить продуктов сообщение номер.”… and, “He: its whole blade open front, nylon sleeve / Function: outdoor camping, climbing, mountain jungle limit, survival rescue / Scope of application: outdoor, camping, gifts collection.

This guy’s obviously down with it for sure.

Oh, yeah… the bad dog also has an “ebony” handle!…. [yeah, sure. Only way it could have gotten any better was if the handle was ZombieKiller Neon Green]

I think you can see why I just had to find out what kind of mountain I can cut with this vicious  Damask440CarbonStainlessSteel mamajama… Well, it’s incoming from customs at ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS) right now and I should have it in a few days. SOMETHING is bound to post from it.

 

Now, in my own defense, I have to say that I bought this thing at a truly ridiculous low price on their 11/11 sale. Is currently up over $21 and there’s no way I would’ve dropped that kind of chump change on a POS like this… heavy emphasis there on the word “chump”. I also picked up a small “necker” style knife (“Ebony Handle Cutter Machete Bowie knife with Nylon Sheath camp tactical outdoor combat hunt survival self defense military army”)… [BTW~ it has a 2 1/4″ blade/ $3.86 shipped]. My only real excuse for this foolishness is that both of these are mostly about trying out the new sharpening system to see what I might could do in the way of regrinding/reprofiling with a couple of classic POSs.

Amazing Freebie !!

The famous “THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS” is now in the public domain, and has become available for  >>download<<  in a number of formats over at the Internet Archive.

As kids, being wharf rats on Martha’s Vineyard Island who were always around boats, my younger brother and I were huge fans, readers, and users of “The Ashley”. Clear, concise, and incredibly comprehensive, as well as entertaining, this is, simply put, THE book. We poured over it for hours, and I know that old copy still has a treasured place on my brother’s bookshelf.

While you can get it as a DL now, I would urge you to get the hardcopy as well. This is a book to pass down the generations to turn kids on to how cool knots and ropework can be.

First time they make their own Turks Head sailor’s bracelet on a rainy day they will be hooked.