Wow. What a day. I am honestly still processing it all. I just got back from Dinner with Dogwood Dan Eastland, Joe Flowers, David, and several others. It was the second year in a row I was invited to this private shindig, and the only thing more wonderful than the food at Local 3 is the company I ate it with. It capped off a great day full of old and new friends, and of course a lot of knives.
My day started auspiciously when I got off the hotel elevator and ran into martial-arts master Doug Marcaida. As I mentioned in my morning post, I had a great conversation with him about learning to employ a knife in my self-defense strategy. I didn’t know at the time, but I would end up talking about the topic with several other people today. Most notable among them was Ryan Hoover of Fit to Fight, who it turns out has trained with and is friends with Terry Bullman who is the owner of the studio where I train Krav Maga. Both Ryan and Terry are 2nd-Dan (Degree) Black Belts in Krav – 2 of less than 2 dozen in the United States if I recall correctly.
Ryan has developed a last-ditch fighting-knife in partnership with First Edge. It is ringed like a karambit without the curve, and with a tanto-point as opposed to a claw shape. The fact that I train with Terry was bona fides enough that it is looking like both an HR-1 knife and trainer are hopefully soon to be headed my way. Ryan is confident that Terry will see that I will be testing it properly in its given purpose. I have not written much about the topic, since I am not an expert, but with proper instruction I feel I can write something tactically sound and with actual instructive value.
I spent a good portion of my day trying to establish a point-of-contact-person at bigger companies with whom I did not have one. I believe that I have been successful with several including Great Eastern Cutlery and Boker, but the company I feel like I connected with most is ESEE.
It turns out that they do a portion of their production in Idaho Falls, where I happen to be headed in a couple of weeks. I was already planning on visiting TOPS, but now I am going to try to fit a visit in to ESEE’s facility there as well. Today at the booth they showed me a couple of new/upcoming releases that they are extremely excited about. The first is the Junglas II, a slightly smaller version of their popular Junglas coming in 2″ shorter with correspondingly scaled reductions in other dimensions.
The other knife is their new PR4 knife. PR stands for Patrick Rollins, the designer, and 4 for the 4″ blade. While this knife is inspired by the Kephart knife, there are several aspects of the grind and handle that are unique to Rollins’ interpretation. David and I both have detailed pictures, but I feel like sharing ESEE’s instagram post below is more interesting.
As you can see in this picture, the pedigree is there. However, there is plenty in this knife that make it ESEE’s as well. I look forward to working more with ESEE going forward as we have not been able to cover the company adequately due to lack of prior contact.
David’s friend “Stumpy” from LT Wright Knives took us over to meet Pete Winkler of Cross Knives/Buckeye Custom Knives. Pete is a Forged in Fire champion (S3 Ep.9), and the knives he crafts when he isn’t under an artificial time-crunch are even more amazing than the ones he did on the show. I am looking forward to his participation in our 5 from the Grinder series, as I am looking forward to hearing more about his philosophy of knifemaking.
There were actually quite a few makers who have agreed to submit 5ftG posts. I am particularly excited about receiving tentative commitments from Rick Hinderer, Brian Tighe, and Liam Hoffman. The former 2 are masters with decades of experience, and Liam is a wunderkind maker on a trajectory headed in that direction. All three will be great to have represented in the series.
Not only did I receive a tentative 5ftG commitment from Greg Medford, I had an extended converation with him as well. He showed me a couple of their knives and explained the design philosophy behind them. I will be writing more about Medford, as I gathered enough material while talking to him to do a standalone post. I was impressed by how important the company’s commitment to hand-craftsmanship was to Medford personally. To him it represents an unbroken connection between maker and user, something that is lost the more machine manufacturing is involved in the process. While this is not unique to Medford Knife and Tool, it is clear how passionate Greg is about this.
I have lots more to talk about in later posts, but it is now 1:30am and I am toast. So I will leave you with a couple of video clips from our instagram feed (@knifetruth). The first is one of the competitors in the BladeHQ balisong contest.
I didn’t stick around for the whole thing, but it was a nice break from show floor. I didn’t see the whole Bladesports World Championship competition either, but I made a point of checking out Big Chris Berry’s run on the course.
I have about 5 more hours on floor in the morning, so if there is anything in particular you want us to cover please drop us a line. I doubt I will get another post up before I return home tomorrow evening, but be sure to check out our Instagram for fresh floor-content before we leave.