Tuesday, August 25, 2015

USN - Knives and Pens galore

My friend Pat has invited me to share his table at the Usual Suspects Network annual show in Las Vegas for Labor Day weekend.

This is intimidating because:  
1. I have never done a real knife show;
2. They are a tactical crowd and I don’t really do tactical;
3. I don’t really like people all that much and have a hard time pushing my own work;
4. I don’t really know how to price this stuff, and general just wing it.

That said, I am interested and very curious if I can sell any of my work – be it classic or tactical.  I’ve also decided I should do some tactical style knives to increase my chances.  I’ve got some designs in mind already – just need to have the time to put them all together.

Then there are the sheaths.  People like to have places to keep their knives, and I can make leather sheaths of various styles.  BUT…tactical people like kydex, which I find to be noisy.  So I need to figure out if I can felt-line kydex to make it quiet.  And figure out if I can make kydex sheaths at all.
Experimentation is expensive and takes time.  So I need to buy a kydex kit.  I want to try wrapping handles, so I need some cord – but not just plain Para cord.  I should probably buy some taps and dies and get some other screws for handles.  I need more leather to build sheaths for the knives I already have.  It may seem like September is a long way away – but it feels like next week. (Update 5 - Now it IS next week).

Update 1: I haven’t made it that far yet, but making some knives has been fun – I think I want to do a couple machetes as well – which are a pain in the butt since they are so big.   I’ve started a kerambit of sorts, and a tanto, and a short bladed stabby knife, and a unicorn shank, ok so the unicorn shank isn’t very tactical – tacky maybe.

Unicorn Shank - Twisted CruForge V with Cocobolo and Ebony Handle.

I’ve looked for better cord than para, but haven’t been very successful, the options seem to be dyneema, spectra, and Kevlar, but they all have some problems, so I may just go with para after all. Boring, but what people are used to. And available in a rainbow of colors…like black…or drab…or rescue orange, because really, who needs any other colors?

Update 2: I want to make the knives black or grey.  Seems like the style for these things.  I was going to use GunKote – which I have used in the past, but my can of it seems to be dead, and although it isn’t hugely expensive, shipping is ridiculous and I haven’t found it locally yet.  I may check a couple gunsmith shops this weekend.  There are a couple of other options.  Bluing the knives, dipping them in acid, mixed mustards, and probably some others as well.

I did pick up some paracord – went with Digital camo.  Should look good with black.
I still don’t want to do sheaths.

I also have an idea for a knife that may take precedence over the machetes – especially since I don’t have the metal for machetes at the moment. Hmm…don’t have enough for that either. Guess I need to buy some steel.

Update 3:
I blued the tanto and the kerambit.  I paracord wrapped the tanto – which I think turned out pretty well, but I may have my friend rewrap it since I am new at this.  The kerambit got M3 Lava macromolecular material, which I think turned out beautifully.  It was my first use, and is kinda pricy, but so far I’m pretty impressed.  I’d definitely use it again. I think it would be pretty sweet on the kind of tactical folder that I don’t make. :/

The stabby knife got an acid-wash, and a coyote tan canvas micarta handle.  I wrapped it with paracord too, for good measure.  I think they all turned out well, but the kerambit is definitely the most elegant.

I started a couple more kerambits since I liked the first one so much.  I may even try to make an inside curve to the blade. I don’t currently have anything particularly good to grind that curve, but I bet I can manage.

I also have ideas for friction folders, which I haven’t done yet.  I keep trying to decide if I want to buy some titanium to use as a liner.  Decisions, decisions.

Update 4:
No friction folders in the short term at least, no time before the USN Show.

The 4 loophole knives are coming along nicely – 2 kerambits and two scimitar bladed.  Cutting ¾-1” holes is a pain in the butt. I’ve got them shaped and quenched and tempered, now I need to spend the time finishing them and putting on the edges.  I have 2 weekends left!

In the meantime I did build 15 bullet pens…

I was also thinking about rehandling AR86.  I don’t like the way the handle turned out.  That is what I get for using man-made materials.  But I have some others – so IF there is time, I will strip it this weekend and shape the replacement.  While finishing the other 4.

I still need to carve in all of the numbers and logo’s also.

Update 5: In taking the handle off AR86, I snapped it in half.  I was in a bad mood and did some stupid things - like cutting myself with a hacksaw. Never work in your shop when you are in a bad mood.  I've turned it into something new now, but that wasn't the plan.

 I did finish AR94 - A Maple handled knife - specs to come later...


Pretty sure I'm not going to have many sheaths for the show...


BrianK said...

Adam - I can imagine how intimidating it is to be a new guy on the other side of that table.

Just wanted to drop a note of encouragement. I was done for the day, but was chatting with some USN friends in the lobby and one walked up with this pen and was showing it off. I really liked the look, so I asked him about it and he directed me to Pat's table. I headed back in before closing and found you guys, and ended up buying two of the pens because I couldn't decide.

Really great work, I am carrying mine every day and I hope to see you at G8 next year!

A. Ringia said...

Hi Brian and Thanks!
It was very intimidating having never been to one, and being next to Pat, and really not knowing the market at all. I didn't even have the pens out the first day since David Broadwell at the next table over made such amazing ones (and of course charges accordingly).
I will probably be changing my knife strategy, and may not make it next year while I figure out what the heck I am doing and if USN is the best market for me, but will still be making pens and sundry other turned items for sale at my Hangedmandesigns etsy site. It doesn't have everything up on it since my wife runs a full time online business and I have a full time job too, but if you need something just let me know.
I really appreciate the support though, and that you thought to reach out after the fact is extra special.
I'm truly touched, and thank you again!