Archaeological Cutlery: Normark Hunter Folder (pics)


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ArfinGreebly
January 4, 2008, 02:05 AM
Ever get tired of having to sort through all the uber-tactical offerings out there to find something simple and useful?

The Scandinavians -- notably the Swedes and Finns -- have a knack for making simple, useful, durable stuff that just works.

Finding Scandinavian knives in sporting goods stores can be a real challenge. Usually I wind up finding hen's teeth instead.

But every so often . . .

Enter a local sporting goods store, Black Sheep, in Coeur d'Alene, that sells guns, knives, skis, kayaks, tents, hiking stuff, fishing stuff -- basically your complete sporting emporium.

At their knife counter in the last couple of weeks, I have found some cool archaeological stuff. For example, three Imperial/Schrade Barlow knives, made in Ireland, carbon steel blades, not stainless, that have been on the rack since 1994 & 1995. Yes, sitting in inventory for MORE THAN TWELVE years!

Tonight, I went over to replenish the ammo I shot up on New Year's Day, and walked by deepest darkest knife counter again. Hanging on the overhead rack was a Normark "American Hunter" folding knife from 1993. FOURTEEN years on the rack. Package all splitting and yellowed.

It's a "made in USA" knife, built on a Swedish blade & mechanism by EKA. The blade is a slightly modified Scandinavian grind, i.e. the usual abrupt angular transition to the bevel has been rounded somewhat. It uses a kind of lock-back mechanism I call "spine lock" because the release is all the way at the butt, and the lock is deeper than a standard lock-back. The spring/release sticks out the butt and has a lanyard hole.

Black (real) leather snap-closed belt case.

There's enough belly that you could skin with it, but it's gently curved enough for general use, and thin enough to use in the kitchen.

The (Swedish) stainless blade is 3 inches long. The handle is designed so that there's enough spine showing that you can open it, use it, and close it, all while wearing gloves. I actually tested this. There is nothing flimsy about this knife at all. It's tight and crisp. And sharp.

The thing is so simple, so elegant, so usefully designed that I would happily recommend it to anyone who just wanted a "good ole folding knife" for everyday use. That is, if you could actually find one in production today.

It's made to be used rather than admired. And for this I admire it.

Anyway.

On with the knife porn . . .

Still in the package, with the tatters trimmed off:
http://www.noisyroom.net/pix/thr/2008_0103-Knife/Smaller/2008_0103-Normark-001.jpg

Reverse:
http://www.noisyroom.net/pix/thr/2008_0103-Knife/Smaller/2008_0103-Normark-005.jpg

Out of the package:
http://www.noisyroom.net/pix/thr/2008_0103-Knife/Smaller/2008_0103-Normark-023.jpg

The reverse:
http://www.noisyroom.net/pix/thr/2008_0103-Knife/Smaller/2008_0103-Normark-028.jpg

Partly closed:
http://www.noisyroom.net/pix/thr/2008_0103-Knife/Smaller/2008_0103-Normark-032.jpg

And the reverse of that:
http://www.noisyroom.net/pix/thr/2008_0103-Knife/Smaller/2008_0103-Normark-035.jpg

Closed -- notice the broad expanse of exposed blade:
http://www.noisyroom.net/pix/thr/2008_0103-Knife/Smaller/2008_0103-Normark-037.jpg

In the case:
http://www.noisyroom.net/pix/thr/2008_0103-Knife/Smaller/2008_0103-Normark-040.jpg

With the case closed:
http://www.noisyroom.net/pix/thr/2008_0103-Knife/Smaller/2008_0103-Normark-043.jpg



My apologies for the rough camera work.

Immediately after shooting the pics, I took it to the kitchen and sliced up a tomato: slicing horizontally while the tomato rested in the palm of my left hand. Clean and smooth, no tearing.

I'm delighted with this find.

It is SO NOT TACTICAL I just have to grin. I love a truly practical knife, and this one is my new love.

Just had to share.

P.S. If you want to view the larger version of these photos, please see http://www.noisyroom.net/pix/thr/2008_0103-Knife/

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p35
January 4, 2008, 11:06 AM
Nice find.

I think Ragweed Forge carries those.

ArfinGreebly
January 6, 2008, 01:27 AM
Yup.

Your post led me to do a little research.

I found them on Ragnar's Forge (http://www.ragweedforge.com/) (ragweedforge.com) in the EKA section (http://www.ragweedforge.com/eka-catalog.html). They are sold as the "Swede-92" -- pictured here --
http://www.ragweedforge.com/swede-92.jpg
-- which is virtually the same knife I have, but without the Normark logo, and priced at $34. Also available other places for closer to $50.

The same knife is also still marketed (evidently) under the Normark brand, as the Normark Super Swede, available from various sites in the UK for around 55.00 or so (plus shipping, of course). That's what, something like $80 or more in US currency?

The Swede-92 through Ragnar's forge is $34, with the sheath sold separately for $12. Plus shipping, of course. Call it $50 in round numbers, to your door.

So $17 locally is even more of a bargain. So, never one to leave an archaeological dig once the first couple of finds have been unearthed, I went back today. Just to putter around, you understand.

Talking to the girl who works the knife counter . . . "you wouldn't happen to have any more Normark folding hunters back there, would you?"

"I think I just might; let me look under here . . ."
http://www.noisyroom.net/pix/thr/2008_0105-Knife/Smaller/2008_0105-PostFalls-001.jpg
". . . yup, I've got these two."

"Thanks, I'll take them both."

Both of them. At $17.00 (US) each.

*Snoopydance*

sm
January 6, 2008, 01:53 AM
Arf,
Congrats!

Appreciate the pics and history lesson.
I remember these on the shelves and the prices you shared.

Is there a moderator in the house?
We really need a smilie of Arf doing the "snoopydance*

*smirk*

Steve

p35
January 6, 2008, 03:50 PM
I think you owe me one of those. Where do I send the $20?

ArfinGreebly
January 7, 2008, 12:23 AM
Them's fer handin' down to my offspring and descendants.

I'm happy you pointed out the ones in current production, though.

It will be my pleasure to return the favor when the opportunity arises.

Went back there again this afternoon just for grins, and picked up a Normark folding 5" Rapala (fishing) knife.
http://www.ragweedforge.com/eka-1000.jpg
Except that mine's black, not blue, and has the Normark logo.

Used it to prepare my salad for dinner. It's also an EKA product. Decent price, but not a steal this time.

I'm liking the EKA line of blades.

hopkin
January 7, 2008, 02:41 PM
The same knife is also still marketed (evidently) under the Normark brand, as the Normark Super Swede, available from various sites in the UK for around 55.00 or so (plus shipping, of course). That's what, something like $80 or more in US currency?

Somehow the superswede has suddenly become popular as a military knife and the kit stores sell them for ridiculous prices. If you avoid the military/bushcraft sites it's available for 35 instead of 50, still a lot at current exchange rates and way more than your bargain. I bet the price you paid is the 1993 price.

ArfinGreebly
January 8, 2008, 11:39 AM
Whereas I mentioned:
It is SO NOT TACTICAL I just have to grin.

And whereas hopkin quoth:
Somehow the superswede has suddenly become popular as a military knife . . .

:D

You have to know I found that worthy of a chuckle.

Really, the knife not only doesn't have any way to open it one-handed, it's decidedly stiff when opened with both. It completely lacks any of the features normally associated with a "military" knife: it's satin finished (not black), it's gently rounded (no angles), it's symmetrical (not tanto), requires both hands to open (no spring assist, no thumb stud or hole), actually requires both hands to close (unless you exercise great care), simple handle (no guard or "safety" groove), the handle is green with brass screws (not black), the blade template is lacking in any aggressive features beyond a sharp edge and a reasonable point.

And yet, "has . . . become popular as a military knife."

Wow.

Hopkin, perhaps you could shed some light on what led to its popularity in that venue?

That's quite piqued my interest.

hopkin
January 9, 2008, 04:39 PM
You have to know I found that worthy of a chuckle.

Hopkin, perhaps you could shed some light on what led to its popularity in that venue?

I thought that would amuse you. ;)

Apparently they were praised in an instructional book by an ex-SAS guy. I'm not sure which one, apart from that it wasn't Bear Ghrylls. A friend who trains cadets (people too young to join regular army) says they're highly coveted just now. It always amazes me how fashionable the British army is. In the first gulf war you were nobody without a shemagh. :)

Doug S
January 17, 2008, 02:43 PM
Here are a couple of "archaeological" blades, I stumbled upon years ago on a hill above my house. Adena leaf shaped blades. If you look closely, you'll notice the darker area on the larger blade. That is where the smaller blade lay over it as they were buried together, and then probably sprinkled with some type of ochre.

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