If you’re the kind of guy who appreciates craftsmanship, metallurgy or just tools that can be used to lop the heads off hippies, you’ll want to read this missive from Big Joe. Mad Duo
By the time the last day of SHOT rolled around, I was smoked. Not only that but I had a terrible case of the rumbleguts brought on by one of those $50 too-warm turkey sandwiches and the Twix bar I thought might go good with it (it didn’t). 継続は力なり, I told myself. 七転び八起き. Quit being a sissy! 私はうんちする必要があります! Then I overheard a couple ladies talking about a sword they’d just seen at a nearby knifemaker’s booth. That perked up my ears, and not just because the buttons on the brunette’s white blouse were stretched taut to the breaking point.
Turns out they were talking about the Strider Knives booth; the sword they were talking about was a katana that was featured there. As soon as it became clear none of those buttons were gonna pop loose, I headed thataway at best speed.
This katana was pretty rad. It was a true pleasure to look upon, almost hypnotizing. No, I’m not exaggerating.
Duane Dwyer was the artisan who built the sword, and he was generous enough to let me look it over. If you’re not familiar with Mr. Dwyer, he’s half of the Strider Knives team (the other being Mick Strider) and is a true craftsman; calling him a “knifemaker” might just be damning him with faint praise. Dwyer is a gentleman, a scholar and a fine judge of women (there are so few of us left). He’s also the HMFIC of Dwyer Custom Goods (@dwyer_custom_goods) which we’ll be talking about on down the road.
Anyway, apparently, Strider Knives does a custom sword every year. Those custom swords are, at the risk of using an obviously insufficient word, gorgeous. Lots of thought and many, many hours of labor go into these swords every year, but it was clear from the way the Strider team talked about that they didn’t mind. As Dwyer explained, the wood used on the handle of this katana, which has some carbon fiber inlay, is called Kauri. It’s the oldest workable wood in the world — the wood used on this sword, for instance, was 50,000 years old when it was drug up out of a bog. Fifty Thousand. That’s a five followed by four zeros. The scabbard (Saya) is from zZz Custom Works and is fully suede-line Kydex. Maybe it’s not the same sort of scabbard Date Masamune used, but it’s effective. The same goes for the steel — he might not have recognized it, but he’d damn sure appreciate it. Dwyer says the sword is vacuum hardened and gas fan positive pressure quenched triple tempered CPM3V steel (say that three times fast). The guard (or tsuba) is Chad Nichols ZircTi.
Interestingly, Duane — a detail and lore guy if there ever was one — had some questions about the proper terminology for the weapon. So, he sent a message to a couple of the black belts from Bujinkan Ninjitsu (Hatsumi’s school in Japan) to find out if this would more properly be called a katana or a ninjato. As for me, I don’t care what they call it. I just want one.
After prying the katana out of my hands and passing it back over the counter Duane went on to explain that they had a few goals for 2016, and not just product related. He’s been working with a new metal that’ll give Tony Stark a hard-on, recently completed a new Bowie design and has some new folders. Strider is working to stabilize delivery and the manufacturing of some previous designs — they’ll also be adding at least two new products to their lineup this year.
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Stand by for further news from Strider Knives and Dwyer Custom Goods.
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