Memories of a knife….

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It’s amazing how memories work. Certain scents and tastes can suddenly bring you back to a different time and place – almost like it was happening all over again.

When I was 16 years old I lived in Greensboro, NC for a year. I lived in a two-story apartment complex. A neighbor friend downstairs, Jay,  lived with his father who owned a gun shop. Jay and I became good friends during the time I lived there and I often would spend time with him at his father gun shop.  As it often happens in apartments my buddy and his father ended up moving and asked me for some help.

Over the course of two days we loaded up furniture and boxes and drove across town. Every so often we would stop at the shop and I would gawk at all the guns and knives.

Once the move was complete Jay’s dad said he wanted to pay me for my help and asked me what I wanted. What I wanted was a Colt CAR-15 but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I had been eyeing a cool looking survival knife every time I went in the shop. It reminded me a lot of the knife Rambo had in First Blood. Running about $35.00- I asked him if I could have it. He said “Yes” and I was very excited.

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 The knife was a Japanese made Explorer Survivor II manufactured by Gutmann. I had dreams of sticking a stick in the hollow handle and jumping out of a tree stabbing a wild pig for dinner. Anyways – as a 16 year old this was awesome.

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My brothers Birthday was coming up and I decided to give him the knife. It was tough to part with – but I thought he would really like it. I always figured I would just buy another one.

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 That was way back in 1986. Just a few months ago I looked on eBay and guess what? There was a brand new Explorer Survival II Survival Knife. I paid WAY too much money for it but had always wanted one. Now it sits on the shelf.

I pull it out once in awhile and remember Jay and that old gun shop.

Someday…..just someday I am going to get up in a tree and wait for that wild pig.


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  1. Slow news day in your neighborhood?

    Just a suggestion, shoot the porker and then use the knife to field strip it for dinner. That way the liberal tree huggers won’t complain about you cutting off a tree limb just to satisfy your pig sticking whimsy. But, then you lose the opportunity to piddle on a liberal tree hugger’s day. Catch-22.

  2. Believe it or not my friend I actually bought one of these exact same Knives in 1986 at a local flea market and I still have it .

    Robert W

  3. I still have my “Rambo Knife” that hung on my web gear when I was a young paratrooper in the 82nd & 509th Airborne units in the early 1980s. I have purchased a few cheap imitations over the years. I just bought another “Survival Knife” recently from Kennesaw Cutlery. I see many different models at local gun shows. They range from $9.99 to $19.99. Online reviews are are generally critical of these blades, as though the handles will fall off easily. But, I am still enticed by the wealth of survival supplies and cheap compass on the handle. Perhaps my collection will have barter value post TEOTWAWKI.

  4. These sorts of knive can be fun to look at perhaps collect.. But never count on anything like them.. A knife without a full tang secured to the pommel is an accident waiting to happen..

    Further a knife larger than the job intended is one more accident waiting to happen.. Quality knives are purpose built.. for specific tasks..

    440 Chrome is popular because it is rust resistant.. Not because it is a good material to put and maintain and edge on.

    There really is a lot to learn about knives, their metalurgy, sharpening and maintining them..

    For our purposes a fixed blade knife with a full tang and solid pommel really is the only acceptable survival blade.. The best folders cannot match them for durability and utility..

    Again like a handgun one none and two is one. A quality folder in your pocket attached by a piece of Paracord to a real (not Wally World) survival flint and magnesium bar.. Your Fixed blade full sized knife in your ruck on your back.
    That’s a good combination.


  5. It is amazing how the significant things in our life that get away have a way of coming back to us in time and the role that it may play in surviving the future! Very Good Story.

  6. I bought two of these knives back in the mid 90s from Smoky Mountain Knifeworks. I still have one of them. They have seen a fair amount of action, but I always felt they were too fragile for real survival type stuff.

    Putting it on the end of a pole and sticking pigs might be the best use for it, once.

  7. I have a knife very similar except it had a camo paint job. I got mine in about `83` while in my early 20’s. 🙂 I had the same idea about the pole in the end and spearing a pig. 🙂

    I guess great minds think alike.


  8. Cool knife. I do remember my first knife. It was a yellow handle Case double bladed “Trapper” I think. Back then I didn’t worry to much about what model a knife was. I had it for a while as a teenager until my one and only brush with the law at 18. When I was released the next day they kept it because the blade was too long (according to the Sheriff) . I guess that was the start of an attitude or two. Any way since then I have collected several knives but I don’t think any of them quite stick out in my mind like that one. Sadly I’ve never replaced it. I’ve never been back to jail either. Hmmm….karma?

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