Big Bertha

Big Bertha
Circa 1940, on the streets of Rochester New York, Bertha does her work.
"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

Monday, May 14, 2007

Echo Kilo Knives


Sorry for the subterfuge but I'm busily engaged in the work of breaking rice bowls (BTW if this reference escapes you, read "The Sand Pebbles" Awesome book).
As the above photo would indicate, again - if you're one of my three readers (Hi, Mom), is that my knives, whose names shall remain unspoken due to copyright, patent and other horseshit legal ramifications, exist in prototypical form and are ready for purchase and/or order at this time at the, adjusted for inflation, 1943 price of $95. shipped.
Let me, at this time, say that John Ek was a genius. Not an artistic one, nor an engineering one. Rather a production genius.
(I'm going to add a qualifier here; "If you call Elvis a musical genius, what do you do with Motzart?") So, forgive my hyperbole. I'm just excited.
But, having built these things which I've tried my best to make true, at least in the salient points, to the originals, that the design lends itself admirably to mass-production. Ek used standard sized tool-steel (1/8" thick) and stocked-removed them. Not a thing wrong with that. Modern steel is homogeneous. It makes no difference. I don't do it that way because - truth be told - grinding blades is no fun. While forging them, God, the most fun you can have with your clothes on. But hey, old John was a machinist by trade so the grinding thing was well within his comfort zone. Not to mention, he was engaged in the serious business of getting weapons into the hands of the boys overseas with as little extraneous, artsy bullshit as possible. To this end, he produced easily repeatable designs which were effective, even elegant in their construction.
Case in point: The #7 pictured above (the one with the guard) is a knife that I always thought looked like someone's metalshop project. It's a simple, 7" dagger blade with two handle slabs of (ho-hum) hard maple. This bare-bones design, along with the, "Oh God, I've got to do something with this handle setup", scallops cut into it seems simple. even simplistic. But, having some background in the artsy field ("less artsy - more fartsy" Bart Simpson) I was knocked out by the elegance of the way the scallops worked once I'd cut them for myself. First of all, from a visual standpoint, given the square cross section on the handle, they work to establish a very nice hour-glass shape on all four sides. Also, they make the handle, not perfectly comfortable in any position, functionally comfortable in any position. The guy was a genius, I tell you.
The best part though... and one the modern morons at "that knife company that shall remain nameless" completely missed, is this: The beauty of the poured, lead rivets is not in their easy repairability, although that certainly counts. It's the fact that... wait for it...The holes in the handle slabs and the tang don't need to line up perfectly. This is a major timesaver and streamlines the process in more ways than I can describe.
In closing: My Ek knives will never be mistaken as original because:
They're forged so thickness is inconsistant and edge bevels are less crisp. This is a shame I can live with.
They're stamped with my mark, the holy, crossed, monkey wrenches - and dated. The year, in Roman numerals, is filed into the spine. Now there may be some who believe that MMVII is the initials of one Malcom Morton Victor... God, I give up.
You can read my previous mean-spirited rants here and here.
Both knives available for sale here.

2 comments:

Stephen Renico said...

Dan,

That EK dagger is just beautiful. I've been mulling another purchase, and that one is one of my top two picks. :-)

Very nice work.

Kevin said...

Yup, I'll have to get my filthy, sausage-like paws on one of them, eventually

Locations of visitors to this page