2012 Blade Show - Blue Skies and BLACKWATER
I could say that it goes without saying that Blade Show 2012 was a BLAST! It was also, of course, very busy and even a bit exhausting. For me, the 2012 Blade Show included everything from misadventures with online hotel bookings, important meetings, browsing, boozing, wheeling, dealing and smoking cigars.
I have returned home with a number of fantastic items that I will be working my ass off in coming weeks to review in a timely manner. So get ready for some exciting reviews to come, and I have no intention of keeping anyone waiting.
Speaking of exciting stuff, there was a lot going on at the DPX/BLACKWATER booth this year. Robert Young Pelton and crew were busy showing off their new array of Bad Ass cutlery! The new selection included the Aculus 3, a stunning limited edition titanium mono frame folder; the Grizzly 6, a meaty fixed blade field knife; the Ursa 6, a wicked pig sticker with a serrated spine and the Specwar 4, a half serrated blade variation of Pelton's popular HEFT 4 Fighter, magnificent productions each and every one of them.
What's more, LionSteel Italy was awarded best import for their production of the DPX HEST/F Triple Black. To say the least, it has been a good year for both companies. The proof is in the outcome and Pelton's choice to align himself with LionSteel has proven to be spot on.
Back to the knives
I was fortunate enough to be back and forth to the BLACKWATER booth on several occasions while the DPX/BLACKWATER crew had time to spare for me. Most intriguing was Pelton's explanation of the methodology behind the latest designs. Pelton's goal was to cater directly to job specific necessities of the Navy SEAL teams with his new designs. Each design had a purpose and some had mission specific characteristics that were not shared by others, but all had serrations because, apparently, SEALS like serrations. I will have to take Robert Young Pelton's word for it as I do not know nearly enough Team guys personally to make an assessment.
The ACULUS stood alone as possibly the most mission specific, but its mission was entirely different. Not only in that unlike the others it is a folding knife, but also that it is pretty much exclusively a dress knife. For all practical purposes, the Aculus was a James Bond Knife of sorts. In fact, I think that James Bond would actually be a little cooler if he did carry one. My only hope is that Pelton, in all his wisdom, will one day produce a titanium/G10 version of the knife so that mortal men might own one.
Although every knife stood out in its own way, I was made aware that the URSA 6 was the hog hunting knife of choice for Marcus Lutrell. I was previously unaware that a knife had much of a role in hog hunting in Texas as does a helicopter, but you learn something new every day. Hog hunting Hawaii style I could instantly see the URSA as a perfect fit for pig sticking up close and personal.
I suppose that it is fair to say that I was a little less impressed by the SPECWAR 4 than the others. But it is hard to be taken back twice by a knife that is essentially the same as the DPX HEFT 4 that I already own. Different, of course, but not in a truly captivating way to me, yet truly different in a way that might certainly sway a perspective buyer to choose the SPECWAR 4 as opposed to the HEFT 4. Serration of course being one differentiating feature, as well as a customizable inlaid medallion in the handle featuring the Navy SEAL Trident.
The specimen that truly caught my eye, however, was the Grizzly. The unique ergonomics, robust blade and chiseled serrations made for a screaming hot combination that seemed ready to take on any given task. The ergonomics of the Grizzly allowed it to seat perfectly in my hand in multiple grip configurations. The Grizzly gave me the sort of feeling that I didn't know if I wanted to thrust, stab or chop with it. That is the sort of feeling that speaks versatility to me at least and by the second day of the show I had decided that I could not go home without one.
What was most interesting to me about the Grizzly was that it was SERE oriented. The hefty blade spoke to me in both a general purpose field application but also as a kill tool. The straight sharpenable serrations (the same serrations featured on all of the BLACKWATER Knives) were an extra special added attraction as this innovation negated a hate that I have for most serrated knives; extreme difficulty in sharpening them. The Nilox blade is readily sharpenable using a ceramic stone. Be advised, however, that you should never use a mortar stone for sharpening this type of blade steel.
The Nilox blade scores a 60 on the Rockwell chart and the handle sports a bottle cap opener. While the real use of this device is actually that of a pry par, it is something of a fun extra utility as well as a bit of an inside joke. Although SERE oriented the BLAKWATER Grizzly, it is most certainly up to the task of brining a close quarters confrontation to an expedient... happy ending.
To the Woods
As I am not the type to stand on ceremony, I headed out my door and into the woods. With no real agenda I just sort of let the BLACKWATER Grizzly lead the way. As I headed deeper into the thick, the Grizzly was soon employed to do the work typically reserved for small machete and it did so almost effortlessly. After some time of clearing vines and saplings, I came upon a rock and took a seat. I then decided to make a simple snare pin and utilized the flat serrations of the Blackwater Grizzly to shape a fantastic clean notch. I was half tempted to relieve one of my boots from its laces and set a snare but darkness was eminent and I had miles to go before I sleep (shameless Robert Frost quote).
The next day I returned to the thick and was thoroughly surprised by the path I had cleared the evening before. In less of a mood for work than the day pervious, I decided to follow my path. I came to a clearing and started making tent stakes and other various items. I had already produced a proud little pile of goodies by the time I realized that I had forgot to bring my camera on this particular outing. I was a bit burned by this realization and attempted to make do with my cell phone camera. This of course produced far less than stellar results. Sheathed within its shock resistant case, the lens has a tendency to take on pocket lint and dust. One of these days I am going to have to add a q-tip to my wallet for occasions such as these. I returned home with the intention of returning yet another day to capture my assortment of wilder craft, however, when I began to lay out the blog post and the photos I decided against it. I already had too many photos for one post and an agenda to show all of the knives that I had already mentioned previously. In short, I hope that you enjoy my previous photographs more so then a small showing of relatively unsophisticated bushcraft skill.
It is my hope that Robert Young Pelton continues to deliver his thus far most impressive streak of state of the art design craft in production cutlery. I am honored to take part in introducing to you some of these fine products, including the very fine line of BLACKWATER Knives.
Keep a sharp eye for the arrival of - the Aculus, the Grizzly, the Ursa and The Specwar!
Big Thanks to Robert Young Pelton, Lisa Pelton, Terran Bellamy and other members of the DPX/BLACKWATER Crew!
For more information on these fine products and others, please visit - www.BLACKWATERUSA.com