Archive for April, 2008

29
Apr
08

Pocket Knives Galore

You may or may not have guessed this, but I am a big fan of knives. 😀 I would love nothing more than to be able to pick which big knife to put on my belt after choosing what color shirt I to wear on any given day. Only problem is that most of my knives are illegal to wear on the street.

All except for my pocket knives. These I can (and do) wear with impunity anywhere and everywhere. Almost. I will admit to having had to surreptitiously “discard” a knife here or there because I forgot that I was wearing them. Until I see the great looming metal detector ahead… :/ Sadly I have lost more knives that way…

But today I thought I’d share a few pics of some cool looking knives I recently ran across. Nothing designer, like J. A. Harkins stuff, just some cool off the shelf Timber Wolf blades:

Tough Terrain Folder

Tough Terrain Folder

[view Full size]

<^>

Tavern Dweller

Tavern Dweller

[view full size]

Now these I like simply because of the design contrast. Black pocket knives tend to be a minority. But I love them. And these, with nicely accented with red wood grips, are not particularly hard on the eyes.

Now me personally, I usually have 3 or 4 pocket knives that I carry around either with me, or nearby. I use them on a near daily basis, so I look for specific characteristics such as speed of operation, ease of one handed deployment, durability, and, of course, aesthetics, though the aesthetics criteria is a rather hit or mis affair. Today, the following three blades were on active rotation…

First:

Gerber Paraframe

Gerber Paraframe

This one usually ends up being my backup knife, for no good reason, save perhaps the fact that the design doesn’t really do anything for me. It seems too light in my hand. It opens fast though, so I guess that’s why I keep it around lol 🙂

Next up:

Kershaw Vapor

Kershaw Vapor

My second favorite carry knife. It usually swaps places with my favorite pocket knife for daily carry. Design is not bad, and it is a fairly quick, easy to open blade. It’s blade profile is not my favorite, I prefer a deep clip or westernized tanto point but It’s also got a nice balanced heft to it that I like, and is one of the more durable pocket knives I own.

Last, but certainly not least:

CRKT M16 10KZ

CRKT M16 10KZ

This folder from CRKT (Columbia River Knife and Tool) is perhaps my favorite daily carry knife. Oddly enough, I like it more for it’s aesthetics than it’s actual functionality because, ironically, though this has more features, it is the hardest and slowest one to use… Go figure.

The CRKT has a unique secondary locking mechanism that requires you to push a little red button before you can depress the liner lock to can close this it. Very safe, but a serious pain in the neck to learn how to use. It took me a week to get the hang of it, and even then, if I switch over to one of my other pocket knives, it takes me a second to remember that I don’t have to perform that awkward step before I can close it.

But I will say that it is a very cool knife. The Tanto style point actually makes point work easier, and the serrated section comes in very handy for cutting heavier items. But ultimately it is the fact that it’s black and cool looking that makes it my favorite, rather than any specific functionality, which I berate myself about on a daily basis every time I have to disengage that freaky little locking mechanism…

Timber Wolf Pocket Knives – [True Swords]

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27
Apr
08

The Modern Kunai

In a few previous posts I’ve made much about how the Japanese kunai had undergone an amazing transformation at the hands of Hollywood, from a cheap, multi purpose garden implement into the omnipotent Swiss Army knife of the Shinobi warrior. The modern replica kunai is now part throwing knife, part parry tool, part fighting knife, camp knife, hunting knife, scalpel, the list goes on… Well, the point of this post is that I found yet another incarnation of kunai, from veteran knife shop Cold Steel…:

Cold Steel Kunai

Cold Steel kunai

[view full size]

Now as Kunai go, this is fairly recognizable, though it is a rather unique design, and a major departure from the traditional Kunai design in two very important ways.

First, the blade is a flat, wide triangular blade. Your traditional Kunai was more leaf shaped, than actually a triangle, though this is not a bad approximation. This also stays in keeping with the diamond shaped blade cross section, which gives the kunai a lot of strength, though it is much more shallow diamond than some traditional designs. It would make a strong thrusting weapon. Not so much for cutting, even though it has two very sharp edges. Kunai really weren’t the best design for cutting. Too short and too wide.

The second design departure is, to me at least, a much more important one. In defiance of the traditional full tang Kunai construction, Cold Steel has seen fit to simply encase a tang in a kraton handle. Yes, it looks cool, it probably provides a great grip, and it’s got this great tactical ring on the end of it, but this, imho, is a grave mistake.

There is simply not as much strength in a grip molded onto a rat tail as there is with a full tang with scales. given the kind of use that a kunai might see, i would always be worried about the tang somehow working it’s way out of the grip material. I’ve seen it happen too many times. And it’s a great shame.

But speaking of different kinds of uses, I couldn’t help but notice the handy little chart that cold steel provided on the different grips that could be used to wield the kunai. Now I will readily admit that I am no kunai fighting expert, but seriously, half of those grips seem very… well… pointless… It looks almost like they just held it in as many ways they could think of and then picked the coolest looking ones for the pic.

I mean seriously, a kunai is not a punch dagger. Punch daggers are short for a reason. You don’t want the blade rotating out of your hand. That is why grips 1 and 6 fail miserably in that respect. And grip 4 is pointless when you could use either 3 or 5 to accomplish essentially the same reverse/ice pick grip in a much stronger way. Grip 8 is a good strong hammer grip, while 7 looks like a good way to break a pinky. And whoever came up with grip 2 must have been smoking a controlled substance…

In fact I’m thinking the only ones who could find any practical use for grip 2 would have to be Ninjas… But you can try it for yourself if you feel so inclined… I’m just saying…

Cold Steel Kunai – [True Swords]

23
Apr
08

I can has braek teim nao?

I’m taking a little unscheduled break. The astute among you, before my surreptitiously predated sub post, might have been asking yourself whether or not I had actually skipped a post.

No, you are not insane, as a matter of fact, I did. Much to my chagrin, I have a whole lot of things going on that are leeching time away from my precious posting regimen.

But fear not, this too shall pass… And in a day or so (probably sooner) I will be returning you to your originally scheduled programming. So stay tuned, same fiery channel, same blade time… 😀

I’ll be back…Phyreblade

21
Apr
08

Dragon Slayers Shouldn’t Have Dragons…

One of the unusual habits of modern day blade designers I find a bit puzzling is their penchant for questionable weapon names. Take this set of swords for example:

Dragon Slayers

Dragon Slayer 41" Dragon Slayer 23In

[view full size] [view full size]

Now I’m not saying these aren’t cool looking swords. Because they are. Albeit perhaps a little gaudy for my taste around the cross guard area. But the point is, What we are looking at are a set of dragon themed swords, called… Dragon Slayers. Yes. Seems innocent enough, right? Except that, in the face of tradition, this name makes no sense. I’m making no sense? Ok, ok let me explain.

Traditionally, any special sword design or name would serve as an obvious indicator of either it’s use, abilities, or as a tribute to something. Look at the LOTR for example. Every weapon had a name. And each name had a significance in relation to it’s history or purpose.

Let’s take, for instance, Gandalfs Sword, Glamdring. AKA “Foe Hammer”, “Beater”, and in more contemporary works “Goblin Cleaver”. Pretty self explanatory what it’s supposed to be for. And then there are sword whose design is intended to pay homage to a creature of strength and honor, like, for instance, the Japanese Dragon Katana, where the Dragon is an honored good luck charm of strength and power, whose design has been integrated into the grip.

This weapon, on the other hand, seems confused. The design itself is actually fine, the idea of a black scimitar with a rearing dragon cross guard, black grip and dragon head pommel is ok, (though perhaps too many dragon heads for my taste) but then naming it the “Dragon Slayer”? Seems a bit contradictory to me. Either you are honoring the dragon by designing a sword around it, or you design the sword to slay it… Not both.

Perhaps I am confused about the sword naming rules, (or maybe there aren’t any…), but personally I probably would have gone for a more Dragon friendly name…

Dragon Slayers – [True Swords]

19
Apr
08

A Narcissistic Battle Spear…

I don’t post a whole lot about spears, not because they aren’t cool, but more because I don’t run into many that I find particularly remarkable. There are a lot of different spear designs, but i keep running into the same old ones I’ve seen before. But then there are those that literally jump up an down saying “Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!”:

Warrior Blood Lust Battle Spear

Warrior Blood Lust Battle Spear

[view full size]

Now this particular weapon caught my eye for several reasons. First, it’s design is actually somewhat difficult to classify. Calling this a spear… well… it’s quite a bit of a stretch. Actually it’s quite a large stretch. In fact, I highly doubt it’s spear heritage. It seems a little lacking in ex”pear”ience, as it were… (pun intended or not, you choose 😛 ) Actually it appears to have more in common with a melee axe than a spear…

I mean for one thing, this is rather short for a spear. At 18″ It’s actually the perfect length for a melee axe. And then look at the head. While there is a large point that could pass for a spear tip, the most dominant design feature appears to be the uncannily axe-like crescent blade affixed to the head, with the double sharpened points aft of that.

And then theres the… *cough* tassels…? Err… Removable tassels actually… yeah… Now in a real spear, the tassels would be made of some lighter material, and would be wrapped directly behind the head of the spear to redirect wayward blood, from your average freshly perforated foe, off the spear head and away from the grip. On this weapon, they have taken up residence on the pommel… More like a dark pom-pom than a spear…

To be totally honest, I think this weapon is really an melee axe with self esteem issues… Hence the tassels. And referring to itself as a “spear” when, in reality it’s a small melee axe… And then there’s the heavily testosterone laden name: “Warrior Blood Lust Battle Spear”… yeah… And the kicker is, I never thought that there was anything wrong with being a simple melee axe. They are pretty lethal in their own right…

Perhaps it’s designer was trying to compensate for other shortcomings? I dunno, I’m just idly speculating here… But I’m just saying… You know…? Or am I being too harsh…?

Naaaaah… Definitely some issues there… 🙂

Warrior Blood Lust Battle Spear – [True Swords]

17
Apr
08

More Multi Function Madness…

SO I was kinda just minding my own business, looking at knife pics, when I ran into another over sized knife with a little too much on it’s mind:

The Raven

The Raven

[view full size]

Now much like the last target of scrutiny, this blade has also fallen victim to extraneous design “features” that attempt to solve problems that do not exist while at the same time seriously compromising the utility of the blade. In this blade, I’d have to say it is a pretty heinous compromise as well. In fact, many times more so than the last.

Basically what we have here is a big knife. With a blowgun built into the grip. Seems like a good idea in theory right? A survival knife with a blow gun? Sure. I mean if you get stranded somewhere, the three (yes, only 3) darts would come in handy for hunting dinner right? After all, if you run out of darts, you could always make more out of local materials right? You could even offer a local poisonous toad a back rub with said darts and you’d have a winner.

Which, incidentally, always begs the question, if the poison doesn’t break down in the cooking process or something, aren’t you eventually also poisoning yourself when you hunt your dinner with poisoned projectiles? Some food for thought… But I digress. My point is, a blow gun would seem like a nice addition to a survival blade. Or is it? Well, unfortunately I’d have to respond, at least in this case, with a resounding NO!

You see, in order to get this blowgun into the handle, they had to do away with a very, very, important part of any well constructed survival knife. The blade tang. And I mean all of it. Look at this thing. Can’t be more than an inch of tang (if that) going into that skeletonized handle. I’m sorry but that just doesn’t work for me.

Actually, many commercially available “survival knives” make the same mistake. They replace a proper grip with a hollow tube that contains all sorts of cool things like fishing wire, a compass, mirror, flint, etc. But what people don’t realize is how much that design compromises the strength of the blade. Yeah, you have all this cool stuff, but your actual knife isn’t worth jack squat because it has no tang, and thus no strength, and it’s gonna break the first time you hack at wayward branch with it… 😦

Survival indeed. I’d much prefer a solid well constructed knife, over the fancy, schmancy fishing line, compass, etc. They are nice things to have, yes, but not at the expense of a good strong knife. All you need to survive in most places (barring extreme weather conditions) is a reliable cutting implement. The rest you can usually get from what’s around you. Bah. Ok, ok, fine. I’ll stop with the ranting.

Getting back to my original point. This knife is a dud. It’s black and cool looking and all, but you have a blade that is effectively attached to a perforated black grip by a really short nub of steel. The grip and the blades will not stay friends for long under duress. It’s an Epic Phail waiting to happen.

In fact I think the blow gun is probably the only good feature of this whole deal. At least with that you can do some target soda can shooting with the darts in your back yard…

The Raven – [Collectors Edge]

15
Apr
08

Is a pen really mightier than a sword…?

Eerrr… Maybe. Being the pragmatic sort that I am, I would much rather be armed with a sword than a pen. As they say, never bring a pen to a swordfight… or an dog to a catfight… or a Cessna to a dogfight… Or something along those lines… or whatever… *cough*

Actually, my meandering intro was supposed to come to a pithy point somewhere… Something about pens being used for combat. Ah, yes. As I was saying, while your average pen might not neccesarily be the ideal defense against a sword wielding assailant, occasionally you might find a pen a useful combat weapon against an unarmed aggressor. Especially if you happen to be carrying a pen like this:

Timberline Lightfoot Combat Pen

The Combat Pen

[view full size]

Now this, my friends, is a combat pen. What is a “combat pen” you ask? Well lessee. Most pens make bad weapons because they are not designed to withstand any significant bending forces. And wile they fare much better as thrusting weapons and shanks, they are marginal at best, as an of-center strike could still break the pen. This little gizmo is designed to withstand considerable bending and impact stresses the likes of which would make a regular pen cry for their mommies.

It is actually quite simple, the pen is made with a high strength fluted aluminum shell with a pointed end and cap with a flat top covering the ball point. Nothing really all that fancy. The design is such that it could be held in he hand with the thumb atop the flat end, enabling rather crippling blows to vital strike points on your opponents body. Pretty nifty eh?

Nifty it is, but the truth is that this is really just a modern iteration of an old school Japanese weapon commonly referred to as the Kubotan. The Kubotan is a short, (roughly about 5 inches), usually unsharpened rod held in the palm of the hand. The ends used to strike pressure points on your opponent. Except now, in pen form, it becomes an even more innocuous and clandestine self defense weapon for the workplace… Did I mention how nifty this is?

OK. Now the inquisitive among you are probably asking yourself why I am posting about a pen today. To be frank, one of the primary motivations for posting about a pen instead of say, a sword, is… Taxes.

Blasted tax day is upon us, once again, and to be brutally honest, when I saw this pen, it just seemed appropriate. Seriously, after doing taxes, I’d like nothing more than to stick a combat pen into the jugular veins of the people who came up with all those mind bogglingly complex tax regulations…

Timberline Lightfoot Combat Pen – [True Swords]




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