Saturday, August 23, 2014

Easy Open STR-EK-Rad

I recently saw a picture only of a knife that rather surprised me. That knife was the first radio knife produced by GREAT EASTERN CUTLERY CO. I should have known great minds think alike tho but being that my electricians came out in 2013 and the Radio knife came out later by GEC I need to make sure folks realize I had no way of knowing they were even considering doing any radio knives when I did my knife as we didn't discuss that model. I quietly kept the idea to myself for the future thinking in the event someone in my family wanted a radio knife that I could make mine into one for them. They'd consider it a semi-custom SFO or if the electricians did real well I'd do the Radio knife as the next model just like the electricians shown here exactly which means had I done the radio with GEC it would likely look like this here.. I mean I had it all drawn out too! Here is what it included. Its what both of these shown have going for them also. 

Domed pivot for better long term life and resistance to side to side play in the driver twist tool

A half moon recess to better access the nail nick

A lock on the driver! Something that always bugged me about the cute little radio knife driver and the four blade Camillus and other Swiss Army knives with that little cap lifter flat head driver that always popped shut in the middle of a screw install!> Drove me crazy!

Mine also included a lanyard hole! 

Lastly, my radio knife has the wire stripper in the back still in tack for stripping small or large casings or wrappings off the wires to bring out the bare copper! Great tool and it works very well also! 

While history shows what I did do with GEC in my electricians knife because it is my own favorite between the two models the truth is the Radio knife was a better idea if you were in it for the money and quicker sales as they are hotter with collectors by far.

Being aware I may need to present the idea of a radio knife I was sure when I was privy to view the drawings and protos of the first electricians that we moved the nail nick on my electricians where I needed it in the event I wanted to take a broke blade and make it a radio cap lifter blade or just convert one for a family custom knife or something and where it is just for this modification should I decide to do one.

Some of my family members are radio heads and liked this model and I of course was familiar being that I have several very old ones in my own collection and some new ones from GEC in that wonderful yellow bone and ebony.  Then when GEC came out with the Radio knife well I backed out of doing any at all and thought it best not.

Well, that all changed and not for great reasons but these here are two of three I've done this to so far.

This came about like so. Not too long back I was watching a old thread on a international forum about Radio knives and noted a gent saying the radio knife was his grail knife. Like others he missed out and I had two but somehow in a moment of lapse for mental clarity I contacted him telling him I had one and he could buy it if he wanted one of the two I owned. He picked and we both assumed we were good. I mistook his grail for the ones I owned with the clip blades.

He got it from me and sold off his own carry knife before mine arrived thinking he had a new one and bottom line is he didn't have a new knife at all cause Steve messed up. I messed things up pretty good for the guy and mistook his grail for the clip blade models I had not realizing he liked the sheepsfoot and the easy open of which I had not ever owned or seen until later. Turns out I did see it tho I just forgot I guess and it was posted by him but somehow my mind never noted the EO just scrolling. Needless to say he was pretty miffed at me and while I finally decided not to make any of my EK's into the radio knife because I didn't want to compete with Charlie or GEC with my own I did one for him and mailed it to him as a gift to try to at least get him something to pinch hit until we find the real deal for him. In the mean time enjoy the pics.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

FLASH: It's Here! STR- EK, A.K.A., "STREK" by (GEC)

This will be the label for the canister tube the knife comes in. Some of these are being signed if I'm asked

The above knife and any with the area in front of the saw teeth obviously given a zip with the belt were done by me for customers wanting it. I tried to add this change last minute to the design after seeing and using the first examples of the folder when I received them as I feel it makes it a better poke saw but it was too late to make this change and it would have changed the cost once more to my folder. It pokes as it comes from GEC and is well tapered now with the tip adjustment that was done by GEC. . These first few like shown above of the first 35 received were among those deemed the 'fat tipped STREK' so they did not fit the screws they should fit anyway. As a result of those first few I found that were fat on the tips I did some modification on my first carry knife. I liked the addition of a straight edge so much when I  did that to my own knife, especially after I used it.  I wanted to incorporate it along with the tip adjustment GEC had to do anyway as noted but it just didn't fly.  For what it is worth  I've found it helps with digging around and particularly when using the folder as a poke saw. It may be best not to if you use the flat head a lot though as you'll ding the cutting part if you take the edge all the way to the end. Using this folder of mine,  I installed a new dead bolt and had to make a square hole in a door jam in wood. the other night. This tip edge and saw worked together like a champ for this. I could see a real advantage to adding micro serrated teeth to the area I put an edge on. Something like the old SAK Wenger scissors had for that tip portion in front of the saw could be a real useful item for things like notching and corner making in tight spaces but perhaps nothing will be more useful than a plain straight edge just sharp enough to cut printer paper.. Since Bill refused that part of the adjustment doing this yourself voids the warranty to put an edge on it but most people  using these folders abuse them and most companies would call what we do to electricians knives abuse. I have no hesitation about doing this should someone want it done to theirs. 

The STR-EK was designed to bring all the same things to the table as its larger predecessor , electricians folding knives, and more.  What I wanted was a pocket-worthy folder; something very much pocket-sized and not something big and bulky that couldn’t be added to the EDC line-up.  The old 29 models of yesteryear were huge and, depending on handle material, could weigh upwards of 5 oz.  Most were famous for being nail breakers upon opening due to heavy back spring pressure and draw.  This excess stiffness, as well as large size and pocket damaging protrusions, are a drawback to an otherwise great model.   The STR-EK does away with those annoying issues.

Classic fans of the original are already referring to this as the “STREK” folder.  Its weight is no more than 2.7 oz per folder.  The handles on all are green linen micarta but offers a choice on the blade: sheep’s foot or spear point.  The original EK has a flat head screw driver small enough to fit electrical outlets as well as screws used on license plates.  Unlike the old EK, the STREK driver is equipped with a push-cut saw that can cut drywall or wood panels.  With the cut on the push it decreases the mess seen when installing outlets; most of the mess goes inside the wall.  Simply put, push cut is much neater and also easier to control for straight cuts where appearance is a factor.  The addition of the saw is not a drawback to use, nor does it cut your hand in use as it is primarily a sheet rock saw.  It can be used for other small sawing projects in a pinch and you’ll be glad to have it handy.  The driver/saw blade has 2 wire strippers in both choils, the half-moon shaped finger rests of the blade.  Just because it has a saw will not negate nor diminish the other features.  These choil rest areas double as both a stripper and a choil/index rest and are effectively tapered to an edge to strip wire quite well.  The STR-EK is a Bill Howard/Steve Rice collaboration purposefully built on the #15 frame that is 3and 3/8” long when closed.  While supplies last, it is available here as well as Great Eastern Cutlery dealers as the “Titioute Electricians Knife”. 
Quite simply these are the best electricians knives ever offered to the public.  If you do any residential install work and make any kind of living with a drywall saw and a screwdriver, you owe it to yourself to get one of these.  Write it off taxes as a business expense, put it in your pocket and one day you’ll be thanking me when a project arises where this tool saves the day or saves you a lot of steps back to your toolbox to find the right tool.
I came up with this design as youngster and had physically modified several knives trying to create this with existing knives.  Even at a young age, when working as a plumber’s helper, I thought that it would be handy to have a drywall saw to carry in my pocket.  As the plumber’s helper even I had to cut drywall a few times around pipes, vents, light fixtures, etc.  poking  through  walls, floors and ceilings.  It always puzzled me, and irritated me since I was the one doing all the running, as to why a saw was not included on an electrician’s folder!  The electricians knife is my most used and abused knife pattern and the design is as much for contractors as well as electricians.  This is a darn handy little folder, extremely well made by GEC.  Only a limited number have been produced.   The picture shows 2 knives just so you can see the different blade shapes.  The cost is $90 per knife.   If interested I advise you purchase now as they may not ever be available again and certainly will not be offer ever again in green linen micarta.  Please see my videos of this model in action on Youtube.


This idea blossomed in several steps as we communicated and Bill went to work drawing up things based on feedback from me.  The saw was my idea. Bill called it genius. The lanyard sleeve was Bill's idea. Steve called it genius. The boys knife size was all Steve, the push cut saw was pushed by Bill, like minds locking horns at times as I wanted push but had only seen pull saws from them so I figured that would be the best I'd get. I was relieved when Bill said he thought push also. It went like that, agreeing, disagreeing, getting irritated, getting happy, throwing our hands up in the air ready to call it quits, I think we had it all here! I know he had to get frustrated at one point. Even at the end with the tip adjust I pushed to get more. Bill was patient and we manged just fine though and hopefully you will all agree it was worth the wait once you have one in your hands.  

 $90 shipped USA is my easiest to type and remember email for pay pal but any of my emails work. Be sure the address in the payment is the one you want it shipped to. Pay pal insists it be shipped to that address in the payment if you expect them to cover it for the buyer/seller protection thing my advantage plan apparently offers. Please know this is only applicable to USA sales only. Overseas must contact first to find out if I'll even ship to your area.  Thanks again for your interest. Oh and by the way, to nip this inevitable question to come up even if not asked directly to me. From a copy and paste of my first post on this on my thread in my forum please know: Mine as stated are in the price point I need them for my cost. I cannot control what other vendors will sell their versions for. Please know my price, as in my true out of pocket cost is higher than it will be for GEC on theirs for several reasons. Mine have shipping to add to the cost of getting them to me in the way of several heavy boxes. Also my cost changed again when I had to pack and wrap up one box of a lot of knives back to have them re-tapered. I paid that not GEC, and of course my knives are laser etched with a unique and custom logo which GEC did not have to buy or use on their own blank blades and mine came with a from scratch design for the canister label and a special order bought outside and shipped in handle material not one Bill stocked or had already done for that particular line so when theirs comes out at other retailers and the price is different than my knife now you know why or most of it.

Original write up from before any pictures or drawings were posted below:
  Great Eastern Cutlery, along with myself, have put our heads together to form a updated modernized more pocket friendly version of the old work horse electricians we have all known all our lives.. Its not going to be anything new entirely in the industry and many will already recognize it once they see it. Truth is I've carried something similar to this most of my life, or kept one handy and nearby modified such so it was the same look and always because they were just so handy.  For years, long before the internet I also modified these for others putting a set of saw teeth on the stripper parts of the blade. I used to modify existing folders to create what I presented to them at the manufacturer and I did this design idea when I was young long before one handed opening folders were even really out yet. I mean everyone thought the Buck 110 was the cool advanced folder then you know?. Even then what I came up with was nice and a working machine in the hands but they were always too large for my pocket and bulky heavy knives for me and I knew from other brands of lesser folders but smaller size footprint in the pocket knives, some even with more than two blades proved a small knife could still work big if you just do them right. Bill Howard at GEC liked my idea and together with his professional team we worked up some drawings that really excited me.

My favorite older patterns were Remingtons and of course these were copies of older 1880s knife patterns but I grew up with the Remington and Winchester easy finds at flea markets. These were a lot easier to find back when I was young. You could go to yard sales and flea markets where there were the Remington made slip joints in various celluloid handles available for cheap. Many times I'd have to replace a handle or repair one to carry it but I liked those knives and felt Remington did some in their day worthy of high praise for the way they were manufactured. I enjoyed the way they could work hard and heavy but you didn't really even realize you had them on you until you needed them for most of their popular folders. They were perfect for the pocket! While Remington never offered the exact idea I had they came close with some models, well,  to a point and I liked those a lot still having some in my collection. When GEC ran that first line of #15 size knives they were calling the 'Boys Knife' I knew I found my company to approach for this project if I could muster the know how to go about it. I will thank Charlie (WayNorth) for instigating that Boys knife pattern coming back for the rest of my life! Thanks Charlie! Big thanks from all us TL-29 fans that wanted all it brought to the table and more only in a smaller package. Now we got it! 

Learning as I've done from hands on building knives myself and the projects I myself still do I have learned that the difference between a masterpiece and an everyday piece of art are the subtleties. While in our hurry to meet deadline some tolerances were not quite kept for final fit to the flat head due to that slap issue the knives are certainly spot on the money for every other aspect one considers when looking into the making of a folder. In the end we got a real little giant of a worker knife in the STREK and I'm quite proud to have helped make it happen. Thanks to all the fans of these knives for your support and encouragement in this venture. It is much appreciated! 

Here is the link to the proto-type first one up over at the Great Eastern Cutlery web page.
STR GEC Production SFO

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Fold Over Style Clip (How To)

Someone emailed earlier asking if I had a how to on how to fold over a clip using some titanium or stainless and I only had written ones so I thought I'd show a simple way anyone can just do a couple if you want to play around. Just don't burn yourself. No long sleeves or if you do wear them have cuffs on them so it is not flapping around on you. Get the long hair tied back. Don't have anything flammable around that you might lay a hot clip on to burn the place up and stuff like that. Remember measure twice, bend once. Look and fold only when hot and if your timing gets messed up you can't hurt anything to heat it again. Start over if you need. Keep the scraps for learning until its so small you can't make it fold over anymore.

On many of the issues regarding factory clips I can save you some time getting too carried away unless you are a glutton for punishment like I was and like learning the hard way. I will caution again even though I put it in a bubble in the video, going thicker can sound nice but bending it is an art, and if you go too thick the factory screws won't grab and some manufactures cut things pretty dang close as you know. So sometimes just bumping the thickness .005 of an inch is all it takes to mean the screws no longer grab to tighten down. So unless you want to get into cutting and custom making your own screw lengths to fit you want to stick with as close to the factory equipment as possible. 

Below is me on my day off but after getting this email I liked the idea and thought you know, I can probably help with that. So let me know how I did and if you try some hey bring em on over and show me. :-) 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

About Folding Knife Locks

Shown here in these videos and as stated in the description if you click show more once you go to youtube I try to cover some of the questions I've had both in the past and recently regarding this subject. If you have questioned what it means when someone on a forum writes something about 'peening the lock' to adjust the lock or other such things about lock adjustments this may help clarify some of it. 

As you know in an ideal world there are proper ways to do things and there are other ways to 'skin a cat' as the old saying goes. Cutlers both past and present day are aware of many ways to meet an end and this is but one way to adjust a liner lock. It is also possible for a skilled cutler to adjust the stop pin diameter to achieve the same results rather than peen the lock. In some cases where a knife never seen before is opened up after being disassembled you sometimes find that the lock has already been adjusted by peening. I've opened up knives bought new both by myself and customers that have had this adjustment done at the factory. So in the event that this is the case it may not be possible to continue with another attempt to correct it again the same way. In cases such as these adjusting the stop pin size can work but it also means adjusting the blade and how it sits at rest when in the closed position. If you increase the diameter of the stop pin which it rests on it may lift the blade so high that the detent ball no longer catches. To adjust for this one goes though much the same process as one does to make a slip joint back spring flush in both the opened and closed positions making baby step adjustments until the detent once again catches and/or the point of the blade is once again tucked safely between the liners instead of sticking out to catch something like fingers or pant pockets. 

See the video for more. Now that I have a half way decent small camera for video I plan to try to do more of these for folks and some days I may have more time to devote to this than others so bear with me. I've been meaning to do this for a long time. See the video for more. 


About lock cuts and how to do them.