Sunday, May 5, 2013

I May Have the Pocket Knife Virus...

Yes, I may have the pocket knife virus. No, it's not medically  fatal, though at the present time there is no known anecdote; however, it will leave your checkbook in tatters. Some have suggested 12-Step Programs for those who feel they need help. Some say, just sit back and enjoy it. Others say it's some kind of devil at work. The best I can do is to try to track its history and see how it came about or happened. When did I get infected by the virus?
For the past more than 40 years I've carried a Swiss Army Knife Classic on my key chain. An earlier post has a photo of the Classic.
And, I've for years had a few Case and Buck knives around. A couple of years ago I bought a bunch of SAK (Swiss Army Knife). And, a few months back started filling in my accumulation with the alox models. Over this period of time, the virus was most likely festering, I would occasionally look at knives on the Internet and wonder how in the world people could pay over thirty or forty dollars for a darn knife.
OK, let's see, what happened next? What really allowed the virus to gain the upper hand and thwart all of my, well...common sense, limited as though it is?
Yes, I happened upon a Website devoted to a famous name in the cutlery world from years ago. Yes, two fellows, Mike and Derek, who had been collecting his knives and studying his history, decided to resurrect his name and start manufacturing pocket knives from a bygone era. They were going to drag up out of the ashes, like a Phoenix rising, the name of JBF Champlin who manufactured a complete line of cutlery many years ago. Anyway, go here and take a look even if you have no interest in knives. It's a fascinating story.
In order to do this they met with the folks at Great Eastern Cutlery (GEC). GEC is a fairly new company to the knife world, established just a few years ago. They, GEC, brought back a couple of old names from the early years of the cutlery business; Northwood and Tidioute and started producing quality knives in small quantities, using the best of the old world handmade techniques along with modern precision machinery.
OK, where was I?
Anyway, Mike went to the old factory where the JBF Champlin knives had been made. The roof had literally fallen in...not ready to of it had fallen. As I best remember, he'd gone to the factory hoping to maybe gather up some floor panelling or some type of wood to use in making the knives' handles. Instead, he found a bunch of rosewood blank handles.
Anyway, let me go forward a little bit.
I found out about all of this after they'd (GEC) made the first group of knives. The pattern was known as tear drop and they were made with ebony and stag handles. They'd made 50 of each and they were sold out.
Anyway, found that they were making a second group, fifty each, of a pattern (knife folks seem to call the style of the knife the pattern, I think) called Eureka jack. For this series they were making them in stag and yes, using the redwood Mike had gathered from the factory. OK. I got on the list for one of each. Shortly after I received my knives, the stag being a gift to my brother, Mike called and said he'd located an ebony model from the first group. Yes, I bought that which is in the photo.
And, no I ain't tellin' how much it cost (less than an OK used car).
Anyway, if any of you folks have an interest in getting on the list for the next knife you can find Mike's email address at the JBF Website. Hey, own a piece of history.