"A Copse. Evening"

"A Copse. Evening"
A. Y. Jackson, 1918
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Back to the Ek "legacy"

I'm back on my high horse about the Ek family again - actually just the later generation. The old man was a wonderful human being.
First photo (there's always going to be one. What can I say, I'm a visual guy): John Ek's most expensive WW2 model, the Paratrooper. These came in at around $20 each back in the day and, again if you weren't on active duty, you couldn't get one for love nor money. This, as well as other models, differs from the style that the kids at Ek Knives are producing these days. Unlike those (such as the original Ek #1) where the handle slabs are straight and follow the lines of the tang, it's got a handle shape that Bill Wright refers to as a "Bolo shape". Works for me. They look like Kitchen knives with a bad attitude. No slam intended with that comment. It's just an observation that this guy's fighting knives look no one else's - but they worked. They're obviously functional.
This is where I'm going to toss in a link to my previous tirade against the travesty that's being made of this man's legacy. It should bring you up to speed if you're not one of my three regular readers.
I dug around the Ek site a bit and discovered some interesting info, stuff that goes some distance in explaining what the hell happened. Turns out that in 1982 a guy was put in charge, a guy who shall remain nameless - but if I can find the info, anyone can - who came from this company, "The American Historical Foundation".
Let me back up a bit. I went to the big Eugene knife show last weekend (reputed to be the largest in the known universe).
I got to handle, among other things, a Floyd Nichols knife (priced to move at $2750.) and an Ek #7 (the upper one). The lead rivets on the latter were loose but it would have been tacky for me to take off my shoe and beat them tight again to tune them up. Anyway, while I was at one table I overheard this guy going on about how he has one of the "gold-plated 1911's from...the aforesaid "foundation". His idea was that this thing was going to be some big moneymaker at some future time when, after the other 2500 folks who bought one accidentally left them in the glove box before the car was crushed or...whatever.
What I'm driving at is this: This isn't a "foundation". It's a business. Nothing wrong with that, but a foundation is something different. What it is is the gun-nut equivalent of The Franklin Mint, those folks who flog their stuff on the last page of Parade Magazine.
Anyway, the "George S. Patton Jr. (a registered trademark by the way) Single Action .45 Limited Edition". This is a good gun. I own the identical item. It's not actually identical. They're both made by Uberti, the best of the Italian makers of Colt knockoffs, but mine was assembled and marketed by Beretta (one of the oldest corporation on earth - check out their web site). The only big difference, other than caliber) is the transfer bar safety that mine has.I paid $410 for my sweetie. Now, to be fair, the photo shows mine with "nonstandard" grips. The ones that came with it were black plastic, meant to emulate the hard-rubber ones favored by gunfighters. That also explains why it's oriented opposite from the Patton model. When I made the new walnut grips I tricked them out with a penny, Indian-head, dated 1888, that I found in my change after a night of hitting the bars in Helena with my old high-school buddy, Cowboy Dan. The other side has the tails side of another Indian-head.
Actually, this is bullshit. The entire right side of my gun is made out of Play dough. If you want a real one go to the "The Foundation".
Kidding aside. There's $2600 difference between the "Patton" model (am I infringing on a trademark here? Time to call the lawyer) and my, realistically priced, Baretta Stampede. Is silver plating (don't say "sterling" - that word only counts with solid silver) and engraving worth that? I don't think so. The cost of plating alone - "sterling" notwithstanding - would probably be less than what you'd pay to have a bumper chromed. Anyway, check them out and draw your own conclusions. Hell, all three of you may decide to buy one of the "Limited-Edition, Henry, Repeating Rifles" (Uberti again) for the "buy it now - they're going fast" price of $14000. Christ, that's 2/3 of what I paid for my first house.
I'm growing tedious and need to get to the point. The "Patton" looks like a cap gun to me. Next photo: One of my lad's side arms. Looks like the "Patton" but for the cavalry-length barrel. I admit, I broke off the orange plastic thingie that's required by law so that convenience store clerks never need educate themselves about what guns really look like. So kill me.
Below is another cap gun. This is just included for interest. I found it between the jamb and frame of a door in a house I was remodeling in Cottage Grove, Oregon. By the dates on the 20 or so pennies and nickels I found in the stud bays around the place, this piece was stashed sometime in the early fifties. If anyone (They'd be in their sixties by now) recognizes it and can tell me their dad's occupation (more hints from stuff in the house) I'll send it to them. No one should be without a gun.
My point, and I do have one: I've decided to say, to hell with it. Mistakes were made. Rice bowls were broken. I'm making my own Ek knife. I plan on doing the #1 and #7 (the straight ones) as well, but this is what I'm starting with: Model #4, and I like the name. The forging's done and, if I can break free from all the moneymaking projects I've got going on (I'm a millionaire, I tell you) I'll soon have the pictured knife (courtesy, again of Howard Cole) available. Just to stir the shit a bit more, active duty personnel can buy it for the price advertised on the included ad. I know they're not the same knife, but they're close enough.
Yes, you heard me right, $7.95 (adjusted, of course to modern dollars. I'm only a partial idiot) to an APO or FPO address. That adjusted figure comes to $95.01 in 2006 buckage and includes, as usual, shipping. Hell, keep the penny. Just another gesture to show that, even though our government is approaching the moronic, the guys in the Gumby suits are the shit.
By the by, today is the 19th of April. After midnight on July 19, 2007, all bets are off, everyone will pay the same. Something, I'm guessing, in the neighborhood of $135. Still a fairly cheap neighborhood.So, now we know what happened to the Ek Co., what caused them to fall into the hellish pit of marketing over substance. We can always hope they'll come to their senses. Finally, check the Pattonesque grips of the three-grand revolver. Notice that, in the copy, it's never mentioned what they're made of. Plastics, young man, plastics.
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