Strangers – Part Deux

The knife show – and other excitements.

We woke at 8 AM Saturday morning in Detroit, and got ready to go to the knife show, which started at 9.  It’s about a half-hour drive away.  Back before Christmas, when the son was doing his shopping for presents, he picked up a nice little Garmin GPS unit for himself at $40.  It’s been in his room, still in the box, but he thought he might like to bring it along.  We plugged it into the wife’s laptop the night before, to charge it.

As we were doing breakfast-y things, the son entered the motel’s address, and the address of the hall we were going to.  He’d already put in our home address, so it knew where we lived, but for the rest, it just printed, “Acquiring satellites” and sat there.  He thought it might be because we were under concrete and steel, so he moved it to the window sill, but, another ten minutes and still, “Acquiring satellites”.  When we were ready to leave, he threw it on the bed, bitching that he had wasted $40.  I told him to bring it along.  He disdainfully tossed it in the back seat.

As we moved up the driveway toward the street, a female voice from the back loudly proclaimed, Recalculating.  Please proceed 75 yards to Eureka Rd, and turn left.  Two problems with that, it’s a one-way street, and the show is to the right.  Maybe she wanted me to go to a hardware store and buy her an upgrade.  I turned right.  Recalculating.  Now she’s figured which direction I want to go but, Proceed 600 yards and turn right on Telegraph Rd.  I’ve already checked with MapQuest, and want to continue straight ahead.  It’s two kilometers farther, but five minutes faster, so I proceed through the intersection.  RECALCULATING!  Damn!!  That’s three times I’ve heard that word, and I can still see the motel in the mirror.  Oh, it’s gonna be a loonngg half-hour drive.

The show was bigger this spring.  The hall is modular, so they took three bays instead of two.  The knives were beside the guns, not at the back as they have been stuck in the past.  Lots of the Rusty Jackknife crowd, but several custom makers as well, including one from Sarnia, ON, who we know from the Toronto shows.  There was a certain overlap of displays.  The custom knife makers wanted to display and sell only their knives, but the knife purveyors were permitted to display a few firearms, and several gun dealers also displayed factory-made knives.

We ran into a woman at a booth who told us she was from Sevierville, Tenn.  This is home territory to several well-known makers.  Up here in Canada, where 50% of the English-speakers have to be fluent in French because most of the 10% who speak French, won’t bother to learn English, that name would be pronounced sev-yay-vill.  Down there, it’s severe-vull, like Knoxvull, and Nashvull, and Loo-uh-vull.  (That’s Louisville, for those of you who don’t speak redneck.)

When I suggested that she had just a bit of an accent, she told me I had to visit the maker from Alabama, in the next row.  “Ah cain’t hardly unnerstan a word he’s sayun!”  There were a couple of kiosks in the entry with internet-enabled computers.  I knew that my pre-scheduled post hadn’t worked out, but could do nothing about it from that distance.

I took a few photos of a knife collection, to show the different styles and sizes made.

SDC10407 SDC10406SDC10405


The big bowie-style knife with the man’s face on the handle, was made by that gentleman.  The man who bought it, paid a lady scrimshander to add his likeness.  She also does other art, like ivory carving.  The son bought a hear-no-evil, etc., etc. trio, about as big as two fingers, from her.  The knife-maker is the man I purchased my only custom knife from.  I paid a retired veterinary-magazine illustrator to scrimshaw the two gryphons onto it.  One has eagle’s wings; the other has dragonfly wings.  Note how he wrapped the tails around the center pin.  He included his working drawings, dedicated to the wife and me.


Gryphon 2

Kyle's Scrimshaw


Thanks for coming by to look and read.  I’ll post more about the trip soon.  The ooh-ing and aah-ing may now begin.

20 thoughts on “Strangers – Part Deux

  1. aFrankAngle says:

    Recalculating …. I know that sound!

    I’ve been waiting on knife show picks. A question …. in the pic with the orange-lined box, that big, curvy knife …. any particular use for that style?


  2. BrainRants says:

    I also find GPS’ to be useless, but your custom knife is quite unique. @Frank: blades like that are generally Middle Eastern and Central Asian style and used for slicing versus hacking or stabbing, usually when mounted. However, anything that short would be used for close-in work. Basically it’s a kukri variant.


    • aFrankAngle says:

      Thanks Rants. My knowledge of mideastern knives is based on this documentary.


    • Archon's Den says:

      At least with a GPS, you know exactly where you are when you’re lost. Thanks for the knife appreciation. I don’t even know how to categorize it. The maker called it a hunter, but it’s more like an overgrown scalpel. The handle scales are hippo-tooth ivory, half again as hard as elephant, and a bitch to work. Most scrimshanders draw little scratchlines, and fill them with ink. My guy produced those figures with tens of thousands of individual dots. 😯


  3. 1jaded1 says:

    Nice collection. I have mental GPS and it works just fine. Detroit is my old stomp ground. I could have provided better directions. 😉


    • Archon's Den says:

      We’ve been to Dearborn/Taylor/Southfield/Plymouth/Novi so often, I know my way around well too. If you’ve read my July 30/12 post, You Can’t Get There, you’ll understand why I appreciate the Detroit-area parallel/perpendicular street arrangement. The GPS was an experiment in trust, for when we go somewhere where we’re not as familiar. 😕


  4. Kayjai says:

    Frank, that knife is for cutting cheese. At least, that’s what I use MINE for. Nice post, Archon and I’m so proud of you for adding pics!


  5. fredtharvey says:

    Reblogged this on ftharvey.


    • Archon's Den says:

      Uh, thanx?! But WordPress tells me you no longer exist. I used to live beside a Fred Harvey, but you’re too young. 😦


      • fredtharvey says:

        The site was temporarily suspended last night. The story is that the automated system flagged our site as spam. I was pretty livid and still am. They sent me an email apology. My father’s name is also Fred Harvey.


  6. Daniel Digby says:

    We spend a lot of time in Sevierville when we’re on that end of the state. I suspect you already know it’s the home of the National Knife Museum. Since it’s free, I’ve spent a lot of time there. They have quite a selection of switchblades, one of which has a 3-foot blade that can be concealed along with your 12-gauge shotgun. It does have important items for sale that you may not have found at your knife show, like Geiger counters. Ah growed up about 50 miles from thar, so why do you make fun of the way ah tawk.


    • Archon's Den says:

      I ain’t makin’ fun of y’all. It’s them rednecks over in Alabama. 😉
      There were geigers over in the gun side, and I’ve seen that BIG switchblade, or one like it. Popped it open and almost went on my ass.


  7. Lotta cute little butter knives there. Gimme a call when you get something longer than a foot-worth of blade. 😉 Seriously, the scrimshaw is pretty impressive. I’ve never worked the nerve up to more than just remaking wooden bayonet grips – though I did manage a pair for a beat-up old Mauser K-98 blade that actually stopped a collector dead in his tracks! (Wood grips are rare, most were Bakelite.)
    Great pics! Best use for a GPS I’ve ever found, is holding down the corner of the paper map…..


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s