The White Shadow Dojo is a Martial Arts school run by Gwynne and David in western New York. This blog features information on our book "The Rhythm of One", our class offerings, a calendar of events, an edged weapons forum, articles on knife design, and a community space for the research and dissemination of Martial Arts. "Sometimes irreverant, often opinionated, always brutally honest."

Friday, September 14, 2018

mew blog location

You can follow my blog now at a new location. Go to: my blog is under the column heading on the far right of the home page.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Fairbairns Not for Everyone

In the past 40 plus years I have amassed what may be one of the most diverse and largest collection of Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knives anywhere. At an early age I fell in love with the clean lines and no-nonsense functionality. Notice I did not say utility. The F-S knife is very much a one trick pony. It is a knife specifically designed to kill enemy sentries or soldiers in hand to hand combat.

It was not beloved by all military men during World War 2. Many soldiers complained that it had small metal handles, cold to the touch, slippery when wet, and the round shape made orienting the knife in one's hand in the dark difficult. Some troops wrapped the handles with cordage, leather thongs, or even tape to build up the diameter. These modification also improved the gripping and gave a warmer feel to the handles. They were less concerned about the precise balance than Fairbairn was.

Some of the more adventurous had the handles replaced with various materials. These included stag antler, varieties of wood, kitchen cutlery handles, wooden file handles, leather washers, washers of Plexiglas and metal among other options. Many times the knives so modified provided a better solution than the original handles. On some occasions the owners also replaced the guards but this was not as common a modification. A fighting knife is the most personal weapon a man ever carries and personalization of the knife was often just to reflect his tastes.

The better ones were converted by machinists and people having access to lathes and drill presses. The less successful ones were field modified, sometimes categorized as "Theater-made." Once I had satisfied my appetite for collecting standard models I branched out in search of what are known as "variants." Now variants, unlike theater made knives, are different designs but production made. Some are more common like the ubiquitous wood-handled, while others are more scarce like the hexagonal alloy gripped knives, or the "Polish" smooth handled knives.

Once you begin collecting these there are greater chances of buying a fake or a treasure. The difficulty is knowing which is which. Hopefully once my book is in print you will have a guide to assist you in determining which you have before you. The real enjoyment comes from finding a knife unlike any you have seen before. One tip I would offer is to try to buy knives that have their original sheaths. Usually a person making fake knives does not go to the effort to make a sheath for it.

The next blog will be about alternative knives that were popular with the troops.

We're Back!

Well after almost a year I have decided to resurrect this blog. Hopefully someone will come and read it. After the elections ended I decided to separate the caustic effects of politics from everything else that was good going on in my life. My website has had a tremendous number of visitors. Thank you one and all. I am back to focusing on the things I love most fighting knives.

Many faithful visitors to my website have asked about my book on Fairbairn Sykes Fighting knives. I am still working on it so please don't give up. In the 3 years since I started writing it I have been blessed to find some very rare knives and also documentation that will blow the lid off many sacred cows and those pushing BS about the knives and people involved. I have been contacted by people like William Cassidy, a Yeaton family member, and the daughter of the man who financed the Castle Knife co. Leroy Thompson has written the foreword for my book and also provided valuable knives, information, and photos. So things are progressing and the additional information has been partly to blame for the hold up in finishing the book. Another wonderful friend in California has donated literally thousands of dollars of knives to my collection including more than a dozen clandestine knives! My thanks are not enough Kevin!

I left my old job at Dresser-Rand after 37 years with no retirement package and just walked out the door. I have not needed to buy antacids by the case anymore. I am now teaching part time at a small college and with the help of my daughter established my own company, Gas Engine Testing and Training (GETT LLC) We have purchased land in Idaho and hope to eventually move out there, get out of the prison state of New York, and build a new life. So much has been going on but I wanted to pick this blog back up as a channel of communications.

I will try to post a new article once a week, more often as time allows or important knives arrive. So I am going to close this re-introductory post and write the next one on knives. Enjoy and welcome back.