"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

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Finally. Something about knives.

Good lookin' SOB, innit?
Some time ago (a criminally long time) a faithful reader, Mike wrote and mentioned that he'd acquired two chunks of Civil War sabers and wondered whether I'd like to make a knife out of one of them.
I wrote back something to the effect of "hell yes" and added that if he let me have one of the chunks, I'd make him a knife out of the other.
Well, to make a long story only slightly longer, we traded e-mails for a bit as I'd allowed that I really enjoyed the theater knives that were made from existing blades - especially the aluminum ones.
During said process, one of the pics he sent me this one above which... you can figure it out.
Well, this got me interested in the whole concept of the cast-aluminum-handle-on-broken-saber-bayonet-etc... knives.
So, I went a Googling and found this wonderful example that's pictured next.

Now, this one doesn't seem to use a recycled blade but, as you can see,it was cast from that over-designed, overly-heavy, committee-designed travesty the M1918 MKI. For my money, that's the best use they can be put to.
What's especially sweet is the provenance, existing in the form of the stampings.
They cover a gamut of North Africa postings; "CASABLANCA, ORAN - ALGIERS, TUNISIE, BIZERTE". The name of the owner, "TED SEZLUNG" and the date: "NOV 8. 1942".
Best of all; "GERMAN MESSERSCHIDT" presumably referring to the source of the material used.
Now, Ted misspelled "Messerschmidt" but letter-stamp sets don't come with spell-check. His punctuation was random and he had several overstrikes - all of which adds to the charm. A true hand-made piece of kit.
I found it on this forum. More photos of it also be seen there.
Now, what torqued my jaws to some extent were some of the replies this guy's posting of his new purchase generated.
One fellow, apparently not a close-reader, immediately ID'ed it as a chrome-plated, WW1 MKI.
No, aluminum. He did have the grace to later correct himself.

I'm going to toss in another saber-bladed knife here, just for visual interest.
Now, back to the discussion.
Another reckoned it to be a Parson's knuckle knife tricked out to look all WW2 "theaterish".
Okay. Deep breath.
Kevin Parsons started making knuckle knives at the very tail-end of the Viet Nam mess, early '70's.
He only sold around 1000 of them and the cast aluminum handles they used looked nothing like the MKI. I suppose one could maybe have filed away enough Parsons aluminum to get there but I doubt it.
In any case, it's my feeling that an unaltered Parson's knife would in all likelihood be worth more than Ted Sezlung's blade.
What's most comical about all these spoil-sports wanting to rain of this knife's parade is this: The real theater knives don't generally go for much money. Certainly not anywhere close to enough to make it worth faking them.
You could make money faking some of the famous ones; Howard Cole, Taylor Huff, Eugene Stone and some others but those are valuable enough that people would actively look out for fakes so it would be more work than it would be worth.
No name theater knives; some of them go for less than twenty bucks. Hardly worth the faking.
Next, a Stone knife made from what looks like a bayonet.
The point I'm getting at is this: People on the internet can be full of shit.
You can toss me into that category if you'd like but I do try to be correctable.
It breaks my heart when I read some earnest guy asking the giant brains on whatever forum not realizing that many of them are ignorant in the extreme.
Just this morning, I read a post on the same forum linked to above concerning an Australian, Gregsteel, aluminum knife. He posted questions about it two years ago without a single reply - and this on a militaria collecting forum.
His knife is in "The Flook Book" by the way. A volume I can't imagine a serious collector not owning. I bought mine when they were waaay cheaper. Hielige sheist! But, at least no one posted that it was a fake.
The most egregious example of this arrogant, dimbulbitude was on our favorite, Blade Forum. I found out about it because someone had linked to me as the question concerned a Middle East Commando knife.
Before the conversation was brought back to earth, one asshole had suggested "The blade's probably crap steel. Just grind it off and enjoy your knuckleduster."
Oh my head.
This ties into one of newest guilty pleasures: Finding books and movies that I enjoy and reading the one-star reviews they've generated on Amazon.
You will never find such a bunch of pompous dinks trying to look smart.
So, my point and I do have one (Ellen Degeneres) is this:
To quote that guy... tall, kinda ugly - he's on the five. You know the one.

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

9 comments:

Big W said...

Does this mean we can expect some aluminum handle M1918's in the future?

Jimh. said...

I've been following you for awhile and never commented, but, that is a quote that I live by. Don't prove to others you are an idiot.

I am a substitute teacher, and I use it more than I probably should. When I am unsure of, or cannot decide on a reply, I remain silent and also call on something I learned from Patrick McManus, I alternate between a few different expressions, eliciting from the child the guilt that they ever asked such a stupid question, and they go off to try and figure it out themselves...

Also, I hate stupid people, especially when they are expounding on things they know nothing about. In my case, I know a lot about aircraft, and on more than a few occasions have corrected college professors. That is a joy that has no bound.

Thanks for your blog!

Dan brock said...

Hey Big Dub, that's what I'm sayin'.
Just need time. Time...
And, Jimh, thank you. I first noticed the widespread, public stupidity trend during one of my many trips to college. All those fresh-faced 19 year-olds asking idiotic, argumentative questions in the hope of being noticed... I guess.
Irritating.

Andy said...

Good post Dan, cool stuff.
Oh and finally scored a jungle carbine, all matching #s etc. Some ogreish lout varnished the damn thing, but a little elbow grease and acetone will get it back in shape.

Andy said...

Sorry, have been brainstorming but rolling a doughnut. There was another dude here in OR circa desert Storm el primero who was making pretty nive aluminum knuckle knives, with disvounts to GIs, White Mtn? or something or other?
Oh, and I bet you really meant "heiliges scheisse"

Dan brock said...

Eight-Dollar-Mountain Foundry.
Somewhere here in OR.
His website hasn't changed in years - including the "one year waiting period" notification.

Jakey said...

I'm wondering, because I'm a knuckle duster collector, what is the name/maker of that trench knife, that has aluminum/iron handle, with the skull at end? The last one in this blog entry?

Best regards, Jakey.

Dan brock said...

That would be one E. W. Stone who was stationed aboard some ship (I should probably know) and using a Chinese knuckle duster as a pattern did pretty well casting them onto existing M2's, bayonets and the like.
Some one related to him has a website about him.
I think http://ewstoneknife.com/index.php

Katagelan said...

Messerschmitt means knifesmith in german.

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