JT Hats
James grew up on an Ozarks farm where tools like axes and picks were still used in the daily routine and the blades of stockman's pocketknives served their original functions. Receiving his first pocketknife at age four he got it open by himself nearly a year later and spent his formative years wandering the woods with a succession of ever larger knives, a book of matches and a rifle.

A veteran of Vietnam, James also served in Alaska during a stint in the Army, receiving his first intensive culinary training by setting a record for extra KP at Ft. Richardson.

Settling in the Pacific Northwest after his discharge, James crewed on sailing yachts in local races, backpacked hundreds of miles of mountain trails in search of good trout fishing, and occasionally attended college.

His first serious job as a civilian resulted from answering a Seattle Post Intelligencer want ad requesting someone who could lift 120 pounds repeatedly and wasn't afraid of fire. James apprenticed to John Frazier -- the most knowledgeable traditional foundryman in North America at that time -- for the next six years.

Returning to the Ozarks James made his living by growing ginseng on a hand-terraced wooded hillside and selling handmade wood turnery, furniture, sculpture and architectural carvings. James harvested trees from his own land, processing logs into posts and beams and turnery billets with saws, axes, froes and planes. Since many tools he needed were no longer available, James built his own forge from a barbeque grill, a vacuum cleaner and a 55 gallon steel drum, found a chunk of railroad track for his first anvil, and taught himself blacksmithing -- creating his own knives and tools from scrap steel and sweat.

Changing economic pressures eventually forced James back to the restaurant industry in Branson, Missouri, and later to even more success as a maintenance engineer for one of Branson's largest condominium resorts. Finally escaping to Indiana, James now makes his living telling true stories as a freelance writer.



Columbia Natural Folding Knife by Pat Crawford | CRKT Assisted Opening Clip Point w/ White Bone Handle 7085

1 min read

Columbia Natural Folding Knife by PatPat Crawford, a knife designer from West Memphis, Arkansas, collaborated with Columbia River Knife and Tool on production versions of several other well known Crawford designs prior to the Natural. Usually steel quality drops and corners are cut in the mass market version of a knife, but with the Crawford Natural 7085 Clip Point Folder, CRKT decided to buck the trend. This time you’ll get a Crawford knife that rivals the quality of the custom model, but at a price you can handle.

Using premium 8Cr13MoV high carbon steel tempered to Rockwell 58-59, CRKT makes the pocket clip Natural in several versions including this heavy folder with black bolster and white handle. Pat Crawford custom-builds a knife of the same pattern from S30V steel with ivory handle slabs and carbon fiber bolster — the white bone and black G-10 of the CRKT is a good visual match. You’d find more detail work on the custom model, but CRKT includes filework on the knife’s spine. That usually isn’t a production model feature.

The Natural won’t be disappointing in function, either. This heavy folder weighs 10.4 ounces and opens to a locked length of 9-1/4 inches with a blade 3.88 inches long. The Marauder¬†clip point style of the blade was created by Pat Crawford to serve as either a tactical knife, hunting knife, or utility blade. The heavy stainless steel liners qualify the knife as a framelock design, stronger than the liner lock you’ll find in most pocket clip folding knives.

The opening system incorporates CRKT’s spring-driven Outburst mechanism. Push the thumb stud to swing the blade partly open, past the mandatory detente, and the Outburst system takes over. The spring powers the blade open and locked with the satisfying feel of an automatic.

See the Cold Steel Espada for another example of a classy folder with the heft of a full-sized fixed blade.

Find this Columbia Crawford Natural Knife:

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[phpbay]Columbia Crawford Natural, 2[/phpbay]

JT Hats
James grew up on an Ozarks farm where tools like axes and picks were still used in the daily routine and the blades of stockman's pocketknives served their original functions. Receiving his first pocketknife at age four he got it open by himself nearly a year later and spent his formative years wandering the woods with a succession of ever larger knives, a book of matches and a rifle.

A veteran of Vietnam, James also served in Alaska during a stint in the Army, receiving his first intensive culinary training by setting a record for extra KP at Ft. Richardson.

Settling in the Pacific Northwest after his discharge, James crewed on sailing yachts in local races, backpacked hundreds of miles of mountain trails in search of good trout fishing, and occasionally attended college.

His first serious job as a civilian resulted from answering a Seattle Post Intelligencer want ad requesting someone who could lift 120 pounds repeatedly and wasn't afraid of fire. James apprenticed to John Frazier -- the most knowledgeable traditional foundryman in North America at that time -- for the next six years.

Returning to the Ozarks James made his living by growing ginseng on a hand-terraced wooded hillside and selling handmade wood turnery, furniture, sculpture and architectural carvings. James harvested trees from his own land, processing logs into posts and beams and turnery billets with saws, axes, froes and planes. Since many tools he needed were no longer available, James built his own forge from a barbeque grill, a vacuum cleaner and a 55 gallon steel drum, found a chunk of railroad track for his first anvil, and taught himself blacksmithing -- creating his own knives and tools from scrap steel and sweat.

Changing economic pressures eventually forced James back to the restaurant industry in Branson, Missouri, and later to even more success as a maintenance engineer for one of Branson's largest condominium resorts. Finally escaping to Indiana, James now makes his living telling true stories as a freelance writer.



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