Our tax rebate checks are coming! Our tax rebate checks are coming! The government wants us to use our rebates to boost the American economy. At least, that was my reasoning on a recent trip to the Bass Pro Shop. As I perused the shelves for dude stuff that I really needed, I started thinking about getting something that was made in the United States. I found an inexpensive little pocket knife for only $14.99. A lot of big brand names had “sourced” their knives from China or Taiwan. But, I was pleased to see that the little Case Mini Blackhorn was made in the U.S.A. Although it measures only 3 1/8-inches long when closed, the little knife even came with a limited lifetime warranty. I was pleased. It was my patriotic duty to buy the little Mini Blackhorn pocket knife for myself and for my country!
When I got home with my new pocket knife, I wondered about the company that made it. I visited the website of W.R. Case and Sons Cutlery Company. I found a proud company that had been selling handcrafted knives since 1889. In 1905, the company moved to Bradford, Pennsylvania, and became one of the most respected makers of knives. In addition to listing their many lines of knives, the company website recounted milestones in the history of the company, and opened the door to an active community of knife collectors. Space was provided for customers to recount stories of the roles that Case knives played as touchstones in their lives.
I particularly enjoyed Case College: the portion of the website that explained how knives are made and the materials that are used. I learned that the blade of my humble Mini Blackhorn was made from Case Tru-Sharp(r) high carbon Stainless Steel for strength and the ability to hold a sharp edge for a long time. The CaseXX marking on the blade also indicates that like all Case knives, my knife was tempered and tested twice. While my inexpensive Case knife has a black plastic or vinyl, I learned that company built its reputation on using exotic materials like bone or stag horn in the handles, learn more.
According to the website, the Mini Blackhorn is categorized as a small lockback knife, weighs only 1 ounce, and has a drop point blade. The top of the blade gently tapers down to the point where it meets the rising knife edge. According to the Case College, drop point blades in larger knives are used for gutting large game animals. After reading about all the neat Case knives, I could have kicked myself for only looking at knives that hung on the shelves. I’m sure that there were many far finer Case knives safely locked away in display cases.
I put my Case Mini Blackhorn to the test with a small block of wood from a whittler’s wood block kit that I bought a year ago for a craft project. I thought the Case Mini Blackhorn Pocket Knife might work well for making a pine-wood derby car, but decided to commit myself to whittling the block of wood into a matchbox-sized car. While I haven’t carved anything since my days as a Cub Scout, I found that the basic form of a car took shape quickly and I was able to create a small mound of wood chips in a very short time. I also found that it was a highly enjoyable way to while away part of a Sunday evening.
Throughout my whittling, I found that the small knife retained a very sharp cutting edge. While I’m not an expert, I found the Mini Blackhorn pocket knife to be well worth the $15 price tag. I was also intrigued by the larger world of fine knives and knife collecting that the W.R. Case and Sons Cutlery Company website opened up. Over time, I think I’ll enjoy adding more American-made knives in my small collection.