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This Old Knife Here is a little forum dedicated to talking about, but not limited to, vintage and antique knives. Pics and stories of special knives or your favorite patterns are encouraged. No experts here. Just guys chattin about old knives and the legends we hav

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  #1  
Old 07-17-2005, 08:47 AM
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Lies,Legends and Tall Tails

Most of what I thought I knew about old knives has turned out to be Lies, legends and tall tails. Some of them I can let go. Some are a little harder to part with, and some I absolutey refuse to discard.

Anyone have any knife stories that they have heard and were wondering if they are true or not? If so, post them here and lets see if we can track down the truth of them. Come on, it will be fun. Don't be shy. Lets tell some tails.


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Old 07-18-2005, 10:52 PM
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I've heard about the old time maker Frank Richtig, who was featured in Ripleys Believe it or Not, cutting buggy springs and other pieces of steel with his knives...That one seems to be the most unbelievable. Anyone know more about this Frank Richtig guy?

There's also a story of Phill Hartsfield taking one of his Japanese style knives and slicing off the edge of another maker's knife at a show.


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Old 07-18-2005, 10:54 PM
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share some of your stories hammerdown...I'm a sucker for these types of things.


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Old 07-18-2005, 11:21 PM
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Old 07-19-2005, 12:01 AM
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According to Ed Fowler in his book, Knife Talk, The Art and Science of Knifemaking, the Richtig legend is TRUE.

Ed states in the book that he was able to test some Richtig knives owned by a collector named Harlan Suedmeier. After rigorous tests, including a 90 degree bend test, he concluded that Mr. Richtigs knives were, "A cut above the rest". See the book for the complete details.

And now for your drooling pleasure I humbly submit:


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Last edited by hammerdownnow; 07-19-2005 at 12:04 AM. Reason: insert larger pic
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Old 07-19-2005, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nozh_scrap
share some of your stories hammerdown...I'm a sucker for these types of things.
Pick a famous knife. Lets track down some facts !!!!! Expose the raw underbelly.

We always lament over how ebay is full of fakes. people jack up their knife stories to get the best price for some old POS. This is not a new phenom. It has been going on since Og told Grog about the magical Mastadon killing power of his blades, made from his "secret chert stash" on the other side of the Sacred Mountain and blessed by the tribes Shaman. It continues today in every flea market , gun show and swapmeet I would be willing to bet every collector has been burned more than a few times by a good knife story. I know I have. And everytime, I had nothing to blaim but my own ignorance and greed. Knife trading is a game. Just that. a mans game, and dare I say, a gentlemans game. Like liers poker, it is up to the listener to determine if the teller is just playing dumb, is dumb, or is an outright hornswoggler. We are powerless to change the rules, and should we, if we could? Hate the game if you must, but not the player. I myself am but a babe in the woods. Learning and doing homework is part of the fun. Lets learn something together.

That Richtig in the pic above sold recently on ebay for $222.50. I sat with my finger poised over a 500 dollar bid till time ran out. I could not deside whether to bid or not. What was going thru my mind? First, is it real? If it is real how much would it be worth? 3000? 5000? priceless? If it is real, how come it is going for so cheap? Of all the knowledgable collectors on ebay that have "Richtig" programmed into there favorite searches, how come they are not bidding? Will it explode in the last 30 seconds? If so, my punk a$$ 500 will be swallowed up instantly. No, maybe I will get it for 223, then, if it is fake, I won't be out.....much. If you can call two bills and some change, "Not much".
Ok, bid. no, don't bid. Bid. Don't bid. Bid....TIMES UP! ....ARRRRGGGGGG!

Was it real? , I say "was" cuz it is gone. Should I ask now and kick myself in the butt if it was, and look stupid for asking? Should I have asked before? "What, and call attention to it and really drive the price thru the ceiling?

They say only black steel will burn ya, but you never know unless you've touched it before.


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Old 07-19-2005, 08:25 AM
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Roc, I know where there is a knife exactly like your Rictig, except that the handle is stacked leather. The rest of it, guard, blade, pommel, and even the sheath are exact. Wonder if it truly is a Rictig? It's in a little antique store between me and the coast. Maybe I better stop by there next time through. I don't recall any markings though.


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Old 07-19-2005, 08:49 AM
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i've never heard of Richtig.... cool post.
-was their any mention of his heat treat methods?

didn't james black have some kinda weirdo heat treat method


and your so right..........even today their are makers with crazy claims.... just look at some of those futuresque military factory knives.......some have interesting claims...... oh and there are some fantasy sword makers with a haystack of hype..

what about those that use magic on their knives..... no seriously..... i've even heard that as a selling point ... (harry potter slicers.... haha )


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Old 07-19-2005, 09:08 AM
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What was once thought of as magic and kept secret, is now common knowlege for those who care to seek it. Never forget though, we are what was once considerd wizards, magicians, manipulators and masters of the elements. The resurgent bearers of our not to distant past into the future.

I need a nap.


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Old 07-19-2005, 09:28 AM
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Speaking of Black, there's a pretty interesting link that shows up from time to time here about his history. As I recall, he went for many years without telling anyone his secret techniques. As a very old man, he finally agreed to teach someone his method. When he started to do it, he suddenly burst into tears as he realized that he no longer could remember how it was done.

It makes a great story, whether it's actually true or not, and a great parable for those assume there will always be time to teach the next generation.

Another legend that I've heard is not true has been told to me by several metalurgists: The ancient method for properly quenching a sword was to "plunge it into the belly of a fat Nubian slave". Whether or not this is actually written up somewhere, I don't know. It gets told because it sounds pretty gory and like something that only a real tyrant could get away with doing. (And it's just about the only way to keep anyone studying metallurgy awake.) The contradiction is that 1) slaves were a valuable commodity, 2) "fat" slaves were pretty unlikely at any time in history, and 3) if you apply the time and materials Steve and Tracy took testing adhesives to this scenario, some blacksmith would have had a pile of dead slaves the size of the Great Pyramid before he figured out the best way to do that.


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Old 07-19-2005, 09:47 AM
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..........not to metion the un-holy stenche and the time it would take to clean that mess off the blade.

good one Jack, I had forgotten that one, I do believe there is a thread on that subject somewhere in the archives. I think I remember something about the time, temp and volume of the blood not being enough to quench fast enough being the conclusion. I think we then drifted off subject and ended up talking about quenching in watermelons, grapefruit and potatoes as we are apt to do....lol


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Old 07-19-2005, 12:52 PM
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I have one, but I am unfortunately lacking a vital piece of information -- the name of the blade. If I remember right it does exist, it is in a museum, it still has an exceptional edge. So maybe the story will jar the name of the maker or the blade itself out of someone's memory.

The blade was comissioned for a very important person (think western European king or prince). The bladesmith forged out the sword to near completion. The smith then ground the blade down to filings, fed them to his starved geese, collected all of their droppings over the next week, smelted, and reforged the sword, ground it back down to files... and so on. The process was repeated either two or three times. This supposedly produced a blade steel of near unsurpassed quality. I know that there is documentation of using this type of process in the distant past, so I do not have much trouble believing the story. I would be just as happy to be able to tell the story correctly as I would to know whether it is true or not.
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Old 07-19-2005, 04:17 PM
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The Richtig one still sounds fishy to me...as far as going thru a RR spike cold and then shave paper. I tried it once...didnt work so well I'm not saying it's not true, I just find it hard to belive.
How about the one where Japanese swordsman cut the ends of machine gun barrels off?

Richtig made stacked leather fighters during WWII and my understanding is they are worth more than the aluminum ones.

Roc, If that knife was not marked Richtig I think that price was fair..
Interesting thread.
Mace


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Old 07-19-2005, 06:29 PM
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In the heat treating section of Wayne Goddards Wonder of Knifemaking book he talks about the old tales of plunging blades into the bodies of slaves for HT. He calls baloney on it because slaves were too expensive for that type of thing, BUT he talks of an old bladesmith who supposedly quenched his blades into live chickens. The tale goes that whenever the guy would finish a knife, his family would always have chicken for supper that night....

Sounds crazy, but makes a good story.


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Old 07-19-2005, 07:17 PM
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How about the one where they take a knife chop thru a 2"x4" and then shave hair????


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