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Posts Tagged ‘knives’

Shopping from Germany – Mercator K55K Pocket Knife

August 29th, 2013

Amsterdam airport security confiscated my beloved Opinel #6.   Despite a low replacement cost, I was sad to see this one go.  It was purchased from the now defunct George & Son cutlery in Portland, Oregon.  For whatever reason, the knife lacked a proper locking mechanism.  Tom’s Dad was nice enough to fashion a leather toggle that kept the knife safely shut during pocket carry.

Here is grainy evidence of the knife in use during my recent visit to London (actual location: Snarebrook Travelodge).  Despite concerns about TSA confiscation, I always bring an Opinel along on International trips to facilitate my austerity dinners of salami and cheese. IMG_7542

For variation, Tom suggested that I try out the Mercator cat K55K folding pocket knife.  The design is over 75 years and is still made in Solingen, Germany.  The Mercator features a carbon steel blade, black coated steel handle and lanyard loop.  I’m a little intimidated by the all around sharp edges of the knife so I’ve been sheathing it in the original (non Archival) plastic packaging.  Here’s a great short video showing Mercator blades being stamped out in the Solingen factory.   I bought the knife because of this video.




I’m already shopping for my next replacement knife.  I’m tempted by this club sized Opinel photographed at Columbus Cutlery by Puck Ananta.



On an aspirational level, I’m in love with this red handled model by G. Wiseman for Kaufman Mercantile.  Friend and frame builder Eric Estlund recommends another domestic model made from quality steel at more of an Archival pricepoint:


Great Eastern Cutlery Farm & Field orange Delrin Lock

 Here is my original August 2010 post on shopping for pocket knives

Archival Utensils

August 31st, 2012

I’ve been shopping from Cornell library’s Human Ecology Historical Photograph collection for new utensil sets. I love the elegant presentation and the grouping of tools by function. Each photograph reminds me of the first frame of an Eadweard Muybridge motion study. I’m waiting for a pair of hands to enter the frame and activate each items use value.

Camping dishes should be light, strong and effective

Strainers of all kinds from a wire basket for blanching to puree strainer for pulping.

Canning: Knives and sharpener, spoons and lifters, Funnels and ladles – all invaluable in preserving and pickling.

Camping: A hunting knife well-sheathed, the not-to-be-forgotten screw driver and pliers, a compass to guide you, with matches protected from the water and even the corkscrew.

Glass ovenware

Equipment – general

Cake and mold pans

Archival Field Trip: NYC/Brooklyn (Pt 1)

October 30th, 2010
Bobby Short portrait at the Cafe Carlyle. Soon after we landed we headed over to the Carlyle for a dinner show featuring OFAM favorite, John Pizzarelli and his wife Jessica Molaskey. Jonathan Schwartz was in the audience. 

Tom, Sara and I breakfasted in Brooklyn with Matthew from the William Brown Project.

Pratt campus. We wanted to see to whence Tom has disappeared.
Visit with Emil and Sandy, the kind and creative gents behind Hickoree’s/The Hill-side.
Some Hill-side wears with Brooklyn view

Exemplary packing station

Sara and Tom inspecting a Stanley & Sons conveyor belt tote
Brooklyn transport

Brook Farm General Store. Our Chaz would enjoy being a shop dog.

In constant transit. Footwear report to follow.

I emailed with this nice gent about places to stay in Brooklyn. We ran into him–by chance–at the restaurant he manages, Marlow & Sons. In addition to serving food, they sell woven towels and Armor-Lux apparel.

The Brooklyn Kitchen. Tom and Sara browsed the pickling supplies. I obsessed over the MKS Design paring knife on the left.


We stopped by Epaulet to check out their new Thorogood farm boot and Vanson for Epaulet waxed cotton motorcycle jacket. Lots of foot traffic in the shop.

A few doors down from Epaulet, we made a quick visit to Smith + Butler. Tom checked the fit on a Pointer chore coat. Just out of the frame, a reality TV couple browsed the inventory of nautical scarves, Barbour jackets and American workwear.

An all-important, end of day pause for cured meats at Los Paisanos meat market.

NYC/Brooklyn field trip, part two, coming next week.

Archival Pocket Knives

August 16th, 2010
A.C. endorsed Opinel (Tom’s model)

Discontinued Victorinox (L.L.’s current pocket folder)

I’ve been shopping for another knife ever since I saw a gent in Seattle cutting leather straps with a self sharpened Randall’s Adventure knife.

Unauthorized obsession

Tom and Sara both say NO to a jungle survival knife. Admittedly, I’m not sure what I would use it for save for opening boxes or cutting up cured salamis. A Randall would be overkill for my needs since it would spend most of its life in a kitchen drawer (too large for daily carry).

My second choice would be an Oregon made knife by the William Henry studio. Back in the day, I used to catch and release these from the display case of our favorite, now closed cutlery shop in Portland: George & Son Cutlery. A staff member once described William Henry as the CC Filson of pocket knives: high level of workmanship, local production, best quality materials. At the time, William Henry issued fewer, special edition knives and the lower end of their price point was still semi affordable (though painful enough that I never made a purchase).

William Henry pocket folder

Another pocket folder from Oregon’s Lone Wolf Knives

I’ve asked Tom to suggest some alternative folding knives to William Henry or Randall for daily use. Although he’s steadfast in his support of the Opinel as the best bang-for-buck user knife, here’s what he selected from Garret Wade‘s knife counter:

Tom is very fond of this brass Japanese folder, since it reminds him of his beloved scribing knife.

Sheepsfoot blade German-made Sailor’s knife.

The famous French Douk-Douk. Featuring a Duk-Duk spirit from Papua New Guinea on the handle. The other Opinel, in a sense: very popular with the FFL and throughout the French Colonies (although I didn’t find one in Morocco).

The safest option that Tom approves for Lesli’s use.

For fixed blade knife users, try making your own. It’s a basic process of finding a blade and mounting a handle. Here’s one that Tom made for his timber framing teacher.

Tom’s own custom creation