Hey folks, I have a bad habit of introducing a feature, and then neglecting to follow up. I meant to post this 2 weeks ago, but better late than never. Expect the October edition towards the middle of the month.
SO here is last month’s belated Knife News column…
OKC sold to Blue Ridge Knives
As the Greek philosopher Heracletus once said, “the only constant is change”. That is certainly true in the knife industry as new names crop up and others fade away on a yearly basis. Upstate New York was once the beating heartbeat of American knife manufacturing, but has seen a slow and steady drip of companies closing their doors or restructure over the past century-plus. One of those upstate companies, Ontario Knife Company (OKC) has been sold to Virginia-based wholesaler Blue Ridge Knives.
Ontario Knife Company, which was founded in 1889 in nearby Naples, New York, has been in Franklinville since 1902. The company changed ownership several times over the years, with parent company Servotronics acquiring OKC in 1967. At the time of this writing, the employees have been laid off. According to Servotronics C.E.O. William Farrell Jr., “Severance packages have been provided to all current employees which include efforts to help them find new employment in Franklinville”.
It might turn out to be a return to making knives. According to a company spokesman, “Blue Ridge Knives, Inc is a wholesale distributor and will continue to operate as such. BRK is working with OKC’s previous management to sell them the manufacturing equipment so they may continue producing Ontario Knives in Franklinville, NY”.
What is certain is that Blue Ridge intends to keep the OKC brand alive, and for the company to remain fundamentally American. OKC has a number of iconic models including the RAT series, and their Old Hickory line. Combined with Blue Ridge’s experience in distribution and understanding of broader industry trends, these should form a strong foundation from which to build back.
This is a developing story. Keep abreast of the latest developments at KNIFEMagazine.com. For more information on Blue Ridge Knives visit www.blueridgeknives.com
Fixed-blade Venture Collection from Victorinox
While this isn’t the first time Victorinox has dipped a toe into the fixed blade arena, bushcraft enthusiasts have been sounding off about the new Venture Collection from the company most know for its iconic Swiss Army knife.
The Venture Collection offers two models, the standard Venture (MSRP $75) which includes a molded sheath, or the Venture Pro ($115) which adds a fire drill divot in the handle and includes an upgraded sheath system with included fire steel, tweezers, and a ball-point pen.
Both the Venture and Venture pro are available in 3 colors of thermo-molded polymer handle, Olive, Black, or traditional Red. Both feature a 10.5 cm drop point blade (4.14 inch), and full tang construction. Blade steel is 14C28N. The protruding tang includes a hexagonal lanyard hole, which accepts standard 1/4 drill/driver bits. There is also a separate “Venture Pro Kit” which contains two sharpening stones, and a 2cm paddle drill bit in their own purpose built sheath ($50)
According to industry sources, initial sales of the Venture Collection have been swift, with the Pro model in particular being snapped up quickly in the week between release and this writing. More are on the way to your favorite retailer, or you can buy one directly from the Victorinox website – www.victorinox.com
Daniels Family Knife Brands introduces the Old Man Jack
The Daniels family have been fixtures on the traditional pocket knife scene for more than 70 years, dating back to late family patriarch Norman Daniels who taught the business to his grandson Ken. Ryan was the Sales Manager at GEC when it was co-founded by his dad, and which was later sold to his partner Bill Howard. Ryan and his wife Courtney founded Daniels Family Knife Brands in 2019, under whose umbrella they have resurrected several long defunct classic American labels. According to Ryan Daniels, the company produces about 200 hand-crafted knives per month across their various brands, here in the USA. They are constantly introducing new designs, inspired by the historic patterns produced by the classic Sheffield and New York cutlers. Their brands include Tuna Valley Cutlery, Excelsior Knife Company, Napanock Knife Company, and the label for their latest release, the Titusville Cutlery Company Old Man Jack.
All Titusville branded knives feature 1095 blades, brass liners, and nickel-silver bolsters. The Old Man Jack features a 3 3/4” lambsfoot blade in a 4” handle. Their first run was 50 knives with Burnt Stag Handles (MSRP $285) which are available at the time of this writing from the Daniels Family network of dealers. Their next batch of 50 will feature ”Catalina Wine Dyed Bone” handles ($250), and will be available in early September.
For more information visit the DanielsFamilyKnifeBrands.com website. There you can see all of their knives, as well as links to their network of independent dealers.
Gerber releases ultralight Assert EDC
Gerber Gear has made a concerted effort in the past few years to both onshore a greater portion of their production to their manufacturing facility in Portland, Oregon, and to expand their footprint in the domestic EDC (Every-Day Carry) market. The past 5 years have brought knives such as the Fastball flipper, and the Sedulo with Gerber’s version of a cross-bar lock mechanism, which they call their Pivot Lock.
Gerber has just planted a flag in the American-made ultralight EDC niche as well, with their new Assert model tipping the scales at just 1.87oz. The Assert is fully ambidextrous, with its Pivot Lock and reversible deep-carry pocket clip, and adjustable/removable thumb stud. The 2.9”blade is S30V, and the textured glass-filled nylon handles feature a honeycombed interior for increased strength while further reducing weight.
The Gerber Assert is being introduced in either all-black, or green or grey with satin blade and contrasting blue hardware or orange hardware (lock-bar and thumb stud) respectively. However, the Assert will also be available through Gerber’s customization shop, where further handle and hardware options can be selected, as well as virtually endless options for laser engraving. For more information on Gerber or their new Assert model, visit them online at www.gerbergear.com