Awww geeze, not another blog!

Welcome to A Fine Blade!

This blog will focus one of my lifelong passions and one of man's most basic tools - the knife!

As time and events permit we'll tiptoe into other territory where we can use the knife as a metaphor in discussions about current events and have a little politically incorrect fun.

Because you see, knives rank just below guns as the most politically incorrect subject on the web today.

Guns & Knives = Bad. Gay Marriage & Recreational Drug Use = Good

We'll see if we can't have some fun with that.

So stay tuned, and welcome aboard!

Friday, October 7, 2011

An Interesting Provenance

I recently picked up a Becker BK-10 Crewman Utility knife.  Ethan Becker of Becker Knife and Tool (BKT) designed this knife years ago as a potential replacement for the Air Force Survival Knife.  Ethan essentially cut down his successful BK-9 Combat Bowie to create a shorter, lighter, tough and well balanced utility knife for use by military aircrews.

Becker BK-10

This knife was recently manufactured by Ka-Bar and is still offered for sale by them, but you won't see it listed in any Ka-Bar catalog or on their website.  In fact, Ka-Bar has never officially manufactured the BK-10.  Huh?

BK-10 marked Ka-Bar

So how can a knife not be made by a company that manufactures it and sells it?  That's the story that makes this knife interesting.

Let's go back to 2007.  At the time Becker Knife and Tool had a licensing arrangement with the Camillus knife company to manufacture the complete line of Becker knives.  This agreement included the BK-10.  However, in 2007 Camillus went bankrupt and all knife production ceased.  Ethan Becker then turned to Ka-Bar to take over production of the BKT line.  Ka-Bar jumped at the opportunity and cranked up production.  Ka-Bar is now the sole manufacturer of Becker knives and makes most of the same knives that had been produced by Camillus.  As part of the new licensing agreement Ka-Bar got ownership of all unfinished BKT knives and components that had been left in the Camillus factory.  Part of that haul was around 200 heat treated blade blanks for the BK-10.  

These blanks sat around the Ka-Bar factory for a few years while Ethan and Ka-Bar management tried to figure out what to do with them.  There were too few to open a new product line with, and besides they were Camillus blades.  Ka-Bar had not (and still has not) agreed to bring the BK-10 back into production, so these were effectively orphaned knife blades. 

Word of these orphaned blades leaked out to the Becker knife collector community (affectionately known as 'Beckerheads').  Discussions started up between the president of Ka-Bar, Ethan Becker and leading members of the Beckerhead community.  In a short time a brilliant idea was hatched.  Ka-Bar would finish out the 200 or so BK-10 blades as completed knives and sell them directly to the Beckerhead community as a special offering.  Ka-Bar was even able to secure enough original Camillus sheaths to include in the package.  

The BK-10 would effectively be a Camillus knife finished by Ka-Bar.  Sort of a Frankenstein move - raising the dead.

"It's alive!"

The knives were first offered to official members of the Beckerhead community.  You needed to have a Beckerhead membership number to be able to order a knife.  Once that demand was satisfied Ka-Bar opened sales up to the general public, but you had to call the factory to order one.  That's how I got mine.

An interesting knife with an interesting provenance.

So how good a knife is it?  Very good.  We'll get more into depth on that topic a little later.  But for today it's just about the provenance.

Stay sharp!


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