Axes, Hatchets, & Machetes

TOPS Knives Yacare released to public

My first reaction when I saw a picture of the new TOPS Knives Yacare was “that looks like a Joe Flowers-designed blade”. I was technically wrong, but I was correct in that it wasn’t primarily one of TOPS President Leo Espinoza’s designs. Leo helped , but it was the brainchild of TOPS’ GM Craig Powell. It was inspired by the machetes Craig saw on his travels in Central America, including a Columbia trip with Bushcraft Global – which just so happened to be led by none other than Joe Flowers. I seem to be getting better at this whole knife recognition thing.

TOPS Knives press release:

An “All Belly” Machete

The Yacare is a barong-like machete with a blade that is all-belly. This knife came about from inspiration that TOPS’ GM Craig Powell got from trips to both Costa Rica and Colombia. In Costa Rica he saw locals carrying machetes with similar looks, and after his Bushcraft Global trip in Colombia, it was time to see if he could design one that he would like. As far as machetes go, it’s made of thicker stock than most (3/16”), but it has a high grind to keep the weight manageable and give a fine edge for chopping or slashing. The Yacare is definitely worthy of jungle, mountainous terrains, and everywhere in between.

Pick yours up today from an authorized TOPS Knives Dealer or at

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Knife Making

Strict Apprenticeship causing shortage of Japanese Swordsmiths

In his book Bladesmithing with Murray Carter, Carter-san describes the extensive apprenticeship he underwent to become a 17th-generation Yohimoto lineage bladesmith. As you can see from the photo above, it is far from a glamorous pursuit at the beginning. Apparently this long and grueling process is not so attractive to young Japanese, and the number of smiths is rapidly decreasing.

From RocketNews24:

In 1989, the Japanese Swordsmith Association counted 300 registered swordsmiths in the country. Not 20 years later, that number has been nearly cut in half, with only 188 smiths currently registered, and their average age rapidly increasing.

Swordsmithing isn’t just an industry, it’s also part of Japan’s cultural heritage. To preserve the craft, Tetsuya Tsubouchi, one of the Japanese Swordsmith Association’s directors, says two things have to be done. First, new swordsmiths have to be trained and certified to replace the craftsmen who’re retiring or otherwise being lost to old age, but there are some major hurdles in the way.

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Victory!: Switchblade legalization signed in Illinois (for FOID holders only)

I admit I was not overly optimistic given Illinois’ well-deserved reputation as a hoplophobic nightmare. However, Governor Rauner has signed SB607 which legalizes automatic knives, effective immediately. This only applies to those with a Firearm Owner ID card, and without a state knife preemption law there is still a patchwork of local restrictions to contend with, but it is significant progress nonetheless.

From Knife Rights:

Knife Rights’ bill to mostly repeal Illinois’ switchblade ban, SB 607, was signed late on Friday by Governor Bruce Rauner.  It was effectively immediately upon signing.

SB 607 allows possession of automatic knives by those who have a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card, which allows the individual to purchase firearms and ammunition. This is not a possession with CCW law, as some have suggested. The new law also allows for manufacture and sale of automatic knives by those not holding a FOID card.

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Knife Review

Review: Ranger-4 CTX Survival Knife by Sean McWilliams

My wife is not a fan of my hobbies. She’s not opposed to the activities themselves, but the safety equipment required is a little unsettling. I think she’d rather I take up golfing, where the emergency kit has a spare bottle of scotch and some aloe vera lotion. Personally I prefer flying my single engine 1963 airplane solo on long cross country flights, which usually necessitates thing like a firearm, survival knife, and a tourniquet coming along for the ride. I haven’t been impressed with my existing knife, so when Sean McWilliams reached out to get his Ranger-4 CTX reviewed I was eager to see if it would cut the mustard. And parachute straps.

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Crime and Punishment

We need common sense hammer control: 3 women dead in Long Island home.

It is time for common sense hammer control. Removing these deadly tools from society could have saved the lives of 3 Long Island women who were bludgeoned to death by one of the victim’s sons.

From Daily Mail UK:

Bobby Vanderhall, 34, allegedly took a large hammer from Lynn Vanderhall’s garage on Perry Street in Long Island around 1.15am and broke through a basement door.

He then beat his mother, 58-year-old Lynn Vanderhall, to death in the kitchen, according to police.

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Video: How things should have been handled in Charlottesville: Ridicule and Scorn

The neo-Nazi/KKK protesters want attention. They want to be seen as victims. They came wanting a fight, and the antifa-anarchists did too. Add to that the police who were simply sitting back and not trying to tamp down the violence, and you have an explosive situation that could have been completely avoided.

It would have been better if the counter-protesters simply treated the supremacist douchebags the way they deserve to be treated: with ridicule and scorn.

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