View Full Version : United Way knife

07-26-2004, 01:23 PM

I've been approached about making a knife to be a raffle prize for our United Way fund raiser. I know that Steve has done several charity knives and I was wondering what I should go for. I work with a real mix of people from Beemer clad suits to the good ol' boy. I have only been making my own blades for a short time and most of them have been hunter styles. I don't mind using this as a chance to try something different.

So, any suggestions on what and how?


07-26-2004, 02:48 PM
Make anything you like, they'll appreciate it. Make sure they know if you're giving them all the money or part of it. Also whether the check is to made out to them or you. If it's made out to them, then the donation is decuctible for the buyer. Do you need money for postage to ship the knife, etc...?

Personally, I'd ask them if they support the Boy Scouts of America! But that's just a hang-up I have.

07-26-2004, 03:09 PM
Thanks for the quick reply Steve. The fund raiser is through my work so getting it to them isn't an issue. As to how much money, it's a raffle for the knife, so all the money will be going to the fund, which they will be collecting so I'm not going into this thinking I'm getting any money.

And yes the United Way does support the Boy Scouts.

Thanks again,

07-26-2004, 05:45 PM
It's great of you to offer your talents and materials for charity!

Having been involved in stuff like this before, let me give you some simple advice:
1. Fishing lures are not painted all those colors to catch fish. They are dressed up like that to catch people who are buying lures. It doesn't really matter about the style of the knife, but if you want to generate bidders, then it needs to be eye-catching. "Shiny" is probably the most obvious adjective that would be applicable. I don't know if you're planning a sheath, but the same dress-up applies. You might also think about a simple stand to show it off.
2. Make sure you pay attention to the auction. I had a bad experience donating a knife to a fundraiser for the high school band. The women running the event decided that they couldn't have anything sharp on display, so they put a picture of it on the table. Shortly after people started walking through the tables, the picture blew off and landed somewhere on the floor. I retrieved it sometime later, but the top bid was about 1/4 of what the knife was worth. A good friend - one of those people that always tries hard to hold up their end of whatever they do - wanted the knife for her son. I ended up bidding the thing in at the last second and giving it to her kid. (No regrets about that.) I'll admit that it was a poorly run event, but if I hadn't paid attention, somebody would have gotten a real bargain. (Same event, I picked up a new leather jacket for 1/10 of it's value.)

As far as United Way goes, it operates differently in different areas. In Houston, there was a big mess some years ago with the local agency head, and they changed up the way that charities were selected for distribution of money (among other changes). Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts used to be about the least contraversial groups you could think of, but there are areas where Boy Scouts are being cut off because they don't want to accept gays and atheists and Girl Scouts are under fire for teaching girls about abortion. (Remember when kids just went there to have fun????) Boy Scouts around here discourage the possession of knives!! (Remember when that was a good reason to BE a Boy Scout??) I must be getting old to allow this stuff to p*** me off like it does. Charities - IMHO - should help take care of needy families and children, and kids should be allowed to be kids. {sigh} I'll get off my soapbox now.

07-26-2004, 05:48 PM
I called the United Way in this area and they do support BSA. San Fancisco is another story, as may be case in other specific areas of the country. It's a regional thing and is decided upon by the local chapters. Have fun, they'll appreciate it, I'msure. You're certainly a generous person.

07-26-2004, 11:24 PM
I hope I conveyed what I meant about United Way - I am NOT anti-UW. But WHO they give money to depends on the local chapter. Therefore, people in some areas may find that they aren't happy with the choices.

BTW, a friend of mine was unhappy with UW a few years back. In trying to complain, he found out that it was relatively easy to volunteer himself onto the committee doing the selections. During the time he spent there, he had some positive impact on the distribution. Surprisingly few people control surprisingly huge chunks of money - mostly because they were the only ones who bothered to get involved.

(And the rants about Scouts has to do with it being a Monday all day long :mad: , and my general crotchety disposition towards Political Correctness :evil and such.)

07-27-2004, 07:42 AM
Thanks for both of you jumping in. The knife is part of a raffle so there won't be any bidding. Just $1 tickets. I know that I maybe giving the knife away for less than its worth but it's for charity and I'm really not all that great a maker :o . I was thinking about going more towards the EDC style as a bit of a compromise to try and get both ends to buy tickets for the raffle. Already one of my co-workers is thinking about buying a ticket just to get a chance at it, and he doesn't want anything to do with the UW. He doesn't want to support some of the charities it gives to.

As for the BSA, not being a Christian I can understand some disappointment in the organization. I have nothing against them personally and I think they help make kids better persons. I not the outdoors kind of person, my idea of roughing it is a Holiday Inn with no pool :D . It's just hard sometimes not to be a little bitter that if I had wanted to that I would not be considered a good enough person to join. But I don't have any problem with the UW supporting them.

Thanks again,

07-27-2004, 11:06 AM
Our Founding Fathers had a pretty good idea - We should all be allowed to worship as we believe and each of us should respect one another's right to that freedom. Are there going to be problems with that? You bet. But ironing those out is part of the process.

Sadly, our PC world has decided that the only way to be "fair" is for no one to have the right to public participation in worship. (And you can extend that to other basic rights as well.) So our poor children learn to be bitter and divided instead of learning how to get along. Most importantly, children - e.g., Boy and Girl Scouts - should not be used as pawns in these political battles. The further away from the original intent of the Bill of Rights we get, the less important the children become.

Years ago, I was president of an employees recreational group for a large corporation (that is now non-existant). We had a occasion where we were able to donate money to charity and we were provided a lengthy list of charities the company supported. I gave the little committee that was going to choose where the money went 2 rules they had to follow: The charity must help needy families and children, and it must be open to everyone. I refuse to support a charity that would check a kid's skin or religion before feeding him. The company was a little p.o.'d that I did that, but I offer no apologies.

Good luck with your knife donation! I hope it brings in a ton of money.

07-27-2004, 11:37 AM
I am firm believer in the Bill of Rights; I still serve in the Naval Reserves to help protest my right and others to the 1st Amendment. I do not hold anything against the BSA/GSA because of their beliefs no more than I hold it against FCA that also holds to the same standards. I do not want them to accept me. I don't want them to tolerate me. I just want to be given the same respect asked of me by them and the Scouts still teach just that, respect for others and nature. I don't think that forcing them acceptance for my beliefs is respectful, nor is forcing them to rewrite rules for an organization that is founded on Christianity. That would be like telling a church it couldn't hold service because it wasn't also about Pagans, Buddhist or Muslims. Saying that I still believe in "the right to swing your fist ends at my nose." Attacking someones beliefs is not respectful.

As I said I think the Scouts help make kids into better adults. I still buy popcorn and cookies when they come around. You do have it correct in that people try to force all these opinions and changes and it?s the kids who suffer. I may have some feelings that aren't always the best but I don't take it out on the kids, it?s my problem to deal with not theirs.

As it was said before around here the Bill of Rights does not promise that we will not be offended by what people say or believe. (Enough rant, no back to our regularly scheduled discussion on knives)


07-27-2004, 01:46 PM
We are in total agreement.

Now, are you gonna post a pic of that knife?

07-27-2004, 01:53 PM
I'm still in the design stage right now. That's why I was asking for ideas and suggestions. I was thinking a little along the line of this on:

This is one I made recently. Flat grind, S30V, hand sanded to 1200 grit, 416 bolsters, mosaic pins and stabilized Honduras rosewood burl from WSSI. I don't know what I going to use for the handles to catch people?s attention but I'll keep options open for any suggestions.


07-27-2004, 04:21 PM
Desert Ironwood Is An Eye Catcher If It's Pretty Contrasty. Nice Knife. Good Project.

07-27-2004, 05:01 PM
That's very nice! I like knives to be rugged and useful, and this one certainly meets that criteria. It's already pretty attractive - I hate to mess with the layout you've got.

You might think of a nice stand to show it off. I've seen some pretty simple ones with a small deer antler for the fork. A sheath would be good, and that can be dressed up pretty simply with some silver conches or beading. How about a contrasting spacer to help show off the wood? I'm also fond of a lanyard hole in the handle. I guess we could come up with a number of ideas, but short of a really cool engraving job, I don't know that we could improve it much.

{I might have to throw a buck in on this one myself...}

07-28-2004, 08:27 AM
Thanks for both of your compliments. Luckily bad photos hide the mistakes as well as the good stuff :D .

I like using ironwood but I haven't got around to buying a resaw band saw yet so I can't get it cut thin enough for this sort of project. The band saw is one of the top items on the wish list.

I had considered engraving but while I know a couple of engravers through the forums I don't have a good enough relationship with them to say "Hey (Joe), I doing this for charity, will you donate some engraving?" Nice people around here but I can't expect most of the engravers who do this for a living to just give away their time. I also considered a lanyard hole but despite the picture the knife is small, the blade is only 3". It didn't leave a lot of room for one.

Now a sheath is a definite. I hoping when the knife is done I can get Sandy to do one. I can make a usable basic sheath but that?s the limit of my leather skills. I'll pay the sheath makers to what they do best and stick to the knife side.


Sandy Morrissey
07-28-2004, 06:57 PM
As regards the sheath. You silver tongued rascal you---you just talked this old man into making the sheath. My pleasure, Jim. Let me know when you want it and I will hop on it. Really enjoyed your discourse on this thread. I, personally, never judge a man by his beliefs, only by his actions. You seem to have some #### fine actions, good friend! --Sandy---

07-29-2004, 01:28 AM
Just goes to prove - no shortage of good folks around this forum!

Kinda proud of both of you. Hope whoever ends up with the knife understands a fraction of the good effort put into the project.

I'd gladly offer to slice the ironwood for you, but that's a long way from here to McKinney. Ya know, I might just have a nice piece of cocobolo I could donate to the project. Just drop a line.

Rick Hare
aka Texasjack
The Woodlands, Texas

07-29-2004, 09:04 AM
Hey Sandy. Thanks for the kind words. Actually I've been saving up several knives once there done I was going to call you to see if you had time. I have about 4 ready, but I was going to finish 3 more and than this charity knife came up so when I them finished it would be 8 :eek: . It will still be a little while to get the other blades done, but was hoping you'd be available. If not for the bulk of them then I would take you up on the offer for just the charity one, it deserves better than me :o .

Rick, thanks for the offer, I might take you up on that. I'm kind of waffling between several woods. On that's in the lead is some red oak that I had stabilized this past year by WSSI. RED OAK? "How Boring!" you say. This red oak I got while doing my "2 weeks a year" on the USS Constitution in Boston. This is wood from the mast. I have several things from it, copper plating from the powder room (less than 50 yrs old, it gets replaced a lot), wood from the mast (same age), iron from a cannon (last time they had functional cannons on the ship was the Civil War, so at least 150 yrs old) and 2 copper pins and a brass spike that are from the original ship so they were made in Paul Rever's(sp?) shop :D . I am hoping with another knife maker in this area who forges to make a project out of the parts. I have a lot of the wood, but it came with a condition that I can't use it on anything that I sell to make money on. A respectable request.


08-26-2004, 07:58 AM
When a survey was taken the chose was one I already had made. Coop was generous enough to take the time photograph this for the raffle.


08-26-2004, 09:34 AM
Beautiful. Very nice project. Thank you for showing it to us!

08-26-2004, 11:59 AM
VERY nice, Jim! I was just wondering the other day how that was coming along. How about some description of materials?

08-26-2004, 01:04 PM
I got lucky that I had already had this finished for all but the sheath when the popular vote was for a hunter. I figured with the damascus it would catch people's eyes.

Blade: 30 twist Damasteel, flat grind with full tapered tang and distal taper (but I can't figure out how to do flat grinds without one)
Heat treat: Paul Bos
Bolsters: 416SS
Handle: Stabilized curly maple from WSSI
Spacers: Vulcanized from TKS
Pins: Mosaic from TKS
Sheath: Hand stitched with pig-skin lining

Honestly, Coop made it look way better than it really is. He set it up that the flaws are all hidden and luck had a role to play in it as this is only my 6th knife I ground and only the 4th on my own. All the rest have been kits and as to the two I had help with, when you?re working with someone who has 25+ years it's hard not to make something nice.

Thanks for the advice and compliments,

08-26-2004, 01:34 PM
Coop made it look way better than it really is

Oh, no, no, no! That's a terrific looking knife! Don't you dare take away from that!

The guy who first taught me how to make a knife told me - almost before anything else - that I would never be happy with a knife I make. He said that I would be able to see every flaw, every place that "shoulda been" different, every gap, scratch, or gouge. Keep in mind, he continued, that the customer would see the beauty of a well-made knife, and not those microscopic problems.

Coop may show it in a good light, but he can't make a bad knife look good.

" judge you by your failures
would be to reckon the power of the ocean
by the frailty of it's foam..."

08-26-2004, 08:56 PM
Coop may show it in a good light, but he can't make a bad knife look good..

In this example you are right on, Jack. :) :D

This IS a good knife. So is his sheath. The photos are simply a better recreation at two dimensions of holding the knife in-hand.

Jim, you done good.... REAL good!


08-26-2004, 11:04 PM
SIXTH KNIFE!!! I am one nerrrrrrrrrrrvous knifemaker!!!

08-27-2004, 09:50 AM
Thanks for the compliments from all.

Steve, I don't think I'll be any threat to your business anytime soon :rolleyes: I do really enjoy making knives and work toward what, to me, is some of the best work. Terry's feel when you pick up one of his knives, the balance of Gene Osborn's, the flow of Dusty's, the class of Don Cowles', the composition of Tim Herman's, ect. High levels to shoot for but worth it. And yes Steve, your in there also, on you it's the lines that catch my eyes.

For some more philosophy they say it's the journey that matters not the destination, but without the destination it's just wandering around not a journey.


(boy THAT was long winded :rolleyes: )

08-27-2004, 10:06 AM
Man, you nailed it! That's why a lot of us hang around this forum, to try to absorb some of that great talent and build on it. Sometimes it's a bit lofty - and they keep raising the bar - but that's what makes it so much fun. There's no need to have a race if you win (or lose) every time.

Roger Gregory
08-27-2004, 03:11 PM
Excellent knife, excellent project! This just confirms everything we already knew about CKD/Knife Network people :101


08-27-2004, 03:50 PM
Thanks Roger.

The estimated final total was over $300 for the knife with ticket being $2/ea or 3 for $5.


08-27-2004, 04:08 PM
The winner got a bargain, United Way got money, and you got a tax deduction - along with a few well deserved compliments. Doesn't get much sweeter than that.

Sandy Morrissey
08-30-2004, 08:04 PM
Although I did not fashion that sheath, I do believe that I influenced the pattern used, and that is a genuine compliment to me. Perhaps next time, Jim, my friend!-----Sandy

08-31-2004, 05:26 AM

Yes it is the same style of the one you made for me before, but with the skill and ability of yours. In all the back and forth I forgot to metion the design of this sheath comes from another that Sandy made for a previous knife. If it hadn't been a rush I would have had them to you. I can get by on a sheath but I really did want to give them better than getting by.

I have three more coming back from heat treat this week and once they're done I would be honored if you'd be able to find the time. Specially as one is a gift for one of my family this Christmas.


08-31-2004, 12:18 PM
I hope everyone will find this as funny as me.

I met with the winner of the knife and I asked if this was for her or was this going to be a gift? She said that she and her husband don't hunt or carry knives, so she was going to check to see if any of her husband?s relatives would like it. When she said that it would be easier if it were more of a woman's style knife (what's a woman style?) I offered to make her another knife thinking she might have more enjoyment out of the blade. She said "Oh no, I be afraid I'd cut myself all the time!"

She bought tickets for the raffle because it was for the UW; she also won a nice fishing rod and reel that they have no use for either :lol

You have no idea how many of the guys are fuming over one ticket, win and not knowing what to do with it. Some of the guys bought 20+ tickets.


09-01-2004, 09:32 AM
Final update:

The husband fell in love with the knife and is not letting it go. He been showing it around "making his friends green with envy." Thanks to all for the help and suggestions, and once again (I called him yesterday) thanks/apologies to Sandy for forgetting to include him in the credits.

I have a happy "customer", what more can anyone want out of this.