Strike Anywhere Matches:
I have had some difficulty actually figuring out how to write one of these “blogs” on our SRE website as I am old enough to be a bit technically challenged regarding computers. However, I felt it was time to do something reminiscent of what Thomas Paine and other outspoken colonists felt the need to do to initiate dialogue on the issues of the times, rather than just remain silent and subject themselves to manipulative misinformation – something we call propaganda or more boldly, lies. We hear lots of those these days, and being able to tell the truth from a lie or partial truth, requires intelligence, education, and experience. It also means we must be willing to talk to each other.
I do not think sending out barbs to attack the ideas and opinions of others is positive. I like to share my opinions when I have an idea. I expect respectful dialogue. I learn from this exchange of ideas. Some of my “blogging” will be about things people sometimes talk but never act upon. Others are about ideas and principles upon which our freedoms depend.
This first one attacks a broad movement using a simple example. I recollect that this movement really began to gain momentum sometime during the late sixties and early seventies. I am unsure exactly who or what group , agency, or other movement was responsible for its beginning, but as I muddle through this first “rant”, maybe someone out there will be able to shed some light on why these things happened and what we might do to get back what was lost to us over the years. It concerns the dumbing down, timidization, and ultra-regulation of America.
Strike Anywhere Matches:
This morning I started a fire in the wood stove I built in 1982. This stove has been the exclusive heat source for my house ever since. I used a Diamond brand “Strike-Anywhere” match made in the USA. I struck it on the stones of my hearth and was surprised that it actually lit. It seems that over the past 30 years, I have experienced less than satisfactory ignition on any surface other than the striker panel on the side of the match box.
In my youth and up through the 80’s, kitchen matches had large phosphorous tips of blue or white, (Diamond or Ohio Blue Tip) and would ignite when struck on a pair of new jeans, your zipper, a tooth, or my favorite, a thumbnail. You could even throw one down on the sidewalk head first and it would ignite.
These great old matches could be coated with wax for waterproofing. (which also supplied more fuel to the match for starting camp fires)
When I was a boy scout, I used these extensively when I went camping.
Now here’s my beef.
The old style matches with the large white or blue striker tips no longer exist in the US. I have read about a few brands available in other countries (Chile and Canada) that still have barely adequate phosphorus on the tip to pass old standard strike tests, but the puny US made ones are not much better than the old strike on the box versions, having barely enough white tip to ignite the red section of the match. Why is this so? Who removed the phosphorus? Is someone protecting us from ourselves or just trying to make our fire starting experience more difficult? For whatever reason, I was not consulted.
I think this is another example of the wimping of America where there are very few high diving boards, real firecrackers are illegal, pocket knives for kids create terror in helicopter moms, playground fistfights end with the kids in jail!, and strike-anywhere matches are becoming extinct. I can talk about many other things that affect almost every part of our “protected lives” to the point that we may as well be inside a bullet proof plastic bubble breathing filtered air and surrounded by foam cushions.(maybe also feed through tubes).
I want my real kitchen matches back. I don’t want or need to be protected from myself. I took the time to teach and prepare my children for the eventuality of having to use a sharp tool, build a fire, shoot a gun, or climb a tree. These days parents seem to be so afraid of everything that they pass this fear on to their children who have become timid, incompetent, and shy. If you shield your children from life and its dangers, then they really will become “babes” in the woods, and eventually fragile adults who are unprepared for life’s challenges, living in their own unrealistic world. I believe in preparing children so that they will be exposed to the things they will encounter later, making them stronger, not weaker, and preparing them to respect dangerous things, but also to have self confidence based on real experience, not video games.
So… I throw this out to you and ask: Who presumed that they had the responsibility and authority to manage my life down to the level of regulating my matches? What happened to the self reliant American? Does no one care that we are being herded into smaller and more manageable one size fits all cages? Are there people in the regulatory agencies who think that we Americans are now so fat, lazy, stupid, and scared that we need a government powerful and pervasive enough to regulate every phase of our existence? Personally, I don’t want or need to be regulated. I don’t want to pay people to take away my freedom to self regulate. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my employees telling me what to do.
March 13th, 2017
The time just flies by.
Struggling all winter to finish projects, keep the shop fairly organized, all the while attempting to take steps toward improving our products and process so we can be ready to take more orders and actually do some real marketing to those who haven’t found our website.
I’ve been grinding my first batch of CPM3V blades. It’s not as challenging as I had been lead to believe. I still get very good belt life from the Cubitron 36 grit. I really can’t tell much of a difference from annealed 1095, except that 3V sparks less.
This week I aim to get that batch ready for heat treatment, which means a fair bit of finish grinding and hand work to make sure all the geometry is right before things get hardened.
I recently took our 3D printer in to be upgraded with new firmware, nozzle and material profiles, so with luck, I’ll be able to print out some prototypes of various knife designs and other inventions, as well as make a few production parts for sheaths. I’m thinking that the locking mechanism for the bowie knife could be made from ABS plastic and hold up fairly well. It would save me from having to make it from micarta by hand.
On the list for this spring:
Finish all Anubis tomahawks and contact verbal order customers to see if they are still interested in what we have available.
Finish all other 1095 blades that are heat treated and Cerakoted (Grips, sheaths, sharpening) and then revise the website to operate more like an online store for inventory that we actually have.
Generate some new designs to be made from 3/16 1095: Kodiak one hander, Kodiak XL, Kitchen knives, Revised Lotor S.E.R.E. knife, and others.
Finish design and construction of tools for tomahawk and knife production so that I don’t have to do every operation by myself with just my hands and eyes.
Work on a few secret side projects and see where they lead.
As always, I want to try to do a great job of answering emails and getting my blades into people’s hands who will appreciate the time and effort I put into them. If you have a question, or want to order one of my blades, don’t hesitate to contact me.
So far, this adventure hasn’t really been about making money, but about building a reputation, enjoying my craft, and accumulating the necessary knowledge and tools so that we can take it to the next level, and actually make a good living by putting quality tools on the market for folks to enjoy for generations.
January 9, 2016
The holiday season has been a whirlwind of distractions, with SOME work getting done, but not nearly as much as I would like. Having family and friends visit is wonderful, but when even my solitary days are too short to make the kind of dent in my to-do list that I want, it becomes even more challenging to manage time with guests.
As the first month of the year progresses, I have some new goals to work for. During the coldest days, I plan to actually start 3d grinding of the many CPM3V blade blanks I have had laying around. I will also be rigging up a wet grinding/sludge catching attachment for the Wilmont or KMG grinder so I can take care of heat treated blades with a little more speed, accuracy, and less risk of ruining edge or burning fingers. hardness.
Since pretty much all of my 1095 blade inventory is heat treated and Cerakoted, I only have some sheath development, handle making/fitting and sharpening to do before everything is ready to head out to new owners. Anubis, ETA scout, 3B ultralight and Camp hatchets are all available as well as many Kodiak swords, Bowie knives, Predator series blades, and some smaller models. I will make an effort to update product pages today, since it’s really too cold to be in the shop at all today.
As I learn to grind 3V, and finish grind AEBL, I will hopefully be moving through the 1095 inventory, and working toward developing the next revision of the Anubis and 3B tomahawks which will be more manufacturable, have equal or better strength, and allow for even more customization options by implementing a hidden tang instead of full skeletonized tang. I already have 8 prototype blanks cut out of .285″ thick CPM3V, which will be a sort of special edition; subsequent batches will made from be our proven Austempered 1095 because it works so well, and will keep costs reasonable. I will also be working on a revision of the Lotor S.E.R.E knife, and offer it, as well as some of the smaller blades from 3/16″ CPM3V.
As a diversion from knife making, and to ensure my mental and physical health, I will be scheduling a couple of hours a day for exercise and side projects. I also hope to get away from the shop on some upcoming weekends for some winter hiking and camping.
Since I got my first smart phone in May, I have slacked off on web work, and email because it seems the phone can get the essentials done, but I haven’t figured out how to really make it work for me. I have also been trying hard to complete old work, so I can unreservedly move on to the new. I guess I could keep a calendar to remind me to do these web journal entries, and put new pictures on facebook.
We’ll see how it goes, and hope for the best.
Please check the www.youtube.com/sressentials channel for shop updates and news. It seems easier for me to share info that way so I don’t have to pester everyone with a newsletter.
This has been the most humid summer ever, but thankfully, the days are beginning to get shorter and cooler.
Work on everything in the shop has been a little slow, because I tend to take more time on individual projects than I should. Final metalwork on the new batch of Anubis tomahawks should be concluding over the weekend and then they’ll head for the heat treater. There are a few other weird blades I should get done too, so I can add them to the batch, probably later next week.
Today I’ll be cutting out some grips for AEBL blades with the cnc router. Over the next few weeks, I plan to custom fit the grips to their corresponding blade blanks, do some rough bevel grinding in areas that won’t affect heat treatment, and then send the mostly unground blanks out for heat treat so the final grinding can be done wet, like everybody is telling me I should try.
I’m also in the process of flat sanding and straightening some thick 3V blades (not tomahawks yet) so I can grind them in their soft state.
There are a lot of blades hanging around in the armory that need homes. I will be getting them all sheaths, and sharpened and then try to get an online store figured out on this website so we can have a “click and buy” option for items in stock.
I still have plenty of work to get done before I can start thinking about the next batch of blade blanks. I can tell you that if and when we start the next batch of full sized tomahawks, the design will be revised slightly to allow simpler CNC production. We’ll retain all the same functionality and probably improve some of the handling characteristics.
The current model will become a collectible, so if you’ve been waiting for one and haven’t paid yet, there are about 30 in the works that will be available for sale by the end of September. I will be sending out emails to those of you on the verbal order waiting list so we can get payments in, and finalize cerakote and sheath color preferences.
As always, thanks for being patient. This has been a tough year so far, but it looks like we’re over the hump and ready to make some great things happen on a lot of fronts this fall.
It feels like it might be a summer of record temperatures here in the middle of North Carolina. Because the shop is an uninsulated steel Quonset hut, it is necessary to run the exhaust fan as long as the sun is out, because an incredible amount of solar energy transfers into the steel, and radiates down into the airspace, which if allowed to be stagnant, becomes quite intense during the day. Last summer, one of our old inflatable camping pads stored on the upper level of the shop blew its seams. Who knows what other hidden treasures may have also exploded over the 6 summers we’ve been hoarding stuff up there.
Progress with knife and tomahawk making has been dampened by the heat, but more by the humidity. Sandblasting and Cerakoting becomes a chore that is impractical because of flash rust, and condensation that occurs when hot moist air is compressed, and then released from either the blasting nozzle, or the paint gun. It’s just a job that cannot be undertaken during a regular sweltering Carolina summer day.
A hand full of fine customers have come through with payments for some tomahawks and knives, which I should be shipping out the majority of by the end of this week.
Another big task on this weeks list is to do the underhook polishing on the rest of the Anubis tomahawks that I have ready for that process. At that point, I’ll be able to do the bevel grinding, and have them heat treated. They’ll be ready just in time for late August, which tends to be dryer, and sometimes hotter than July so Cerakoting becomes more practical.
Updating our website is also on my list, as well as to begin grinding the CPM3V heavy knife blanks that have been waiting around for a while.
As always, there are too many irons in the fire, and not enough hours in a day to get everything accomplished.
Thanks for your patience and your support.
Since returning from Blade Show at the beginning of the month, I’ve been trying to finish up tomahawks, and complete work that I had been hurrying to finish before the show, but didn’t. Now, the hottest, most humid days of our North Carolina summer are arriving, so working in the shop is pretty miserable except in the early and mid morning. Cerakoting is impossible because of the high humidity, so other tasks will be on the agenda. There are also lots of blueberries and blackberries that must be picked, and lawn/garden work to stay on top of.
Going down the list of customers who have verbal orders for tomahawks dating back two years is a daunting task. I suppose I’ll need to individually email every one and either sell out of what I have fast, or check folks off the list who are no longer interested.
I have only a hand full of tomahawks that will be ready to go in the next week or two, which I would very much like to get shipped so I can make room for the next batch. I am no longer holding anyone’s deposits except one fine fellow who is waiting for the only two full tang Anubis tomahawks that will be made of CPM3V
Finishing old projects before getting started on new ones is going to be an important thing to remember this summer. There are still lots of heat treated tomahawks that need handles, and cerakote before I start on new work.
I’ve been dragging my feet a little in regard to updating the website; mostly because it’s hot and muggy enough that I don’t want to go outside to take pictures.
I did start an omnivore bladeworks facebook page, so here’s the link to that. https://www.facebook.com/omnivorebladeworks/?ref=bookmarks
BUT! I got a lot of cerakoting done while the weather was good.
Now I’m moving onto sheath and more handle work. The CNC router is back up and running, and this weekend, after shipping some swords and tomahawks, we’ll be working on a vacuum hold down table that also may be useful for thermoforming bulkier things than knives. (like gun holsters or stormtrooper costumes)
AEBL knife blanks should be here early next week, so I’ll be working on them when I’m running programs on the CNC or when I’m not doing other work on blades that need to be finished up and shipped. I still need to make some sheath jigs so I can get things like the Uncia Khukri finished up and out the door. It’s a CNC project I hope to tackle next week as soon as the vacuum table is ready to work. Or before hand if necessary.
News video from the shop is my first upload from a smart phone; the quality isn’t all that great, but I think I uploaded it in low quality format by accident: https://youtu.be/mQaUqfaxoRE
Because of the smart phone, I will have fewer excuses for taking and uploading pictures. Not sure if I should use facebook, instagram or google plus or what. Maybe I can link the phone to a photo gallery on this website?
I’m super busy lately. Cerakoting blades, getting logos put on and mounting handles. Those who have tomahawks with payments in should expect delivery very soon.
This weekend we’ll make black micarta grips, and try to get started on some sheaths. The CNC vacuum hold down table is also a priority and we hope to have it built by the end of next week.
see latest shop video: https://youtu.be/sFOKglPgTaI
We can’t really expect to shoot cerakote during the muggy summer months, so any day the weather is good as spring turns to nasty, I’ll be coating everything I can. There’s a lot of prep work, and still a lot of tomahawks that need straightening, handle fitting final grinding and then coating. I’m just going to do a variety of colors, and they’ll be sold as payments come in. I’ll be working my way down the verbal order list as soon as I get some more office work time available.
Yesterday, I turned 36 years old. One of the traditions I started for myself on my birthdays since age 30 is to do as many consecutive pull-ups as I am years old, plus one to grow on. Last night, after a bit of feasting, drinking, and monkeying around in the shop with friends, I attempted my “birthday pull-ups”. I was able to do 32 in a row, then took a 20 second break, and did 6 more. I hope to try again by next Friday and get all 37 knocked out clean.
The video should be a good way to convey all the shop news, so take a look. I’ll be posting pictures of finished blades, and updating product pages as I can, and then once all outstanding orders are complete, we’ll regroup and try to figure out what to do next.
Heat treated blades are getting handles fitted.
The tomahawks and knives that had been heat treated improperly twice are being annealed by our reliable heat treatment vendor American Metal Treating. When they return home, I will straighten them, make sure everything about them is as perfect as it can be, and then send them back to be Austempered according to our tried and true process. The samples that were done are harder than expected, and should serve as well or better than anything we’ve ever made before.
Dad has been away from the shop and home a lot lately, so I’ve been pretty solitary in my drudgery. Rigs also decided to take off after something on Sunday night (Pi day 3-14-16) when I let him out to pee. My guess is that he smelled a nice lady coyote and then got eaten by her boyfriends. It was his first time running off at night and not coming back, so I think he’s a goner this time. For now, I’m taking this as a sign that it’s time for me to make some changes in my lifestyle, have more fun, and get work done faster so the plans I’ve been making for so many years can actually come to fruition. Making quality edged tools was supposed to be a stepping stone to a larger project. I will be sharing details about said project when I get caught up with orders, and have time to iron out the project plan. All I can say now is that many folks who share the mindset of Self Reliance and sustainable living will be very interested.
Time keeps flying by, and now there’s only 2.5 months until the blade show in June. The crunch is upon me, and fate will determine how much progress is made between now and then. Wish me luck.