As part of writing the next Western novel in my Ames Archives series, I'm devoting a lot of attention to knives and their use in the Old West. There were plenty of cheap ones, but also a surprising number of higher-quality, custom-made fighting blades. I won't spoil the book by revealing too much, but it will cover the subject in some depth.
As part of it, I've been talking with Sven, the knifemaker who made a custom Damascus steel knife for Miss D. a couple of years ago. He's going to help me make a very authentic replica of a pretty serious military knife from the middle of the 19th century, and possibly be involved in other ways as well. We both agreed, during a telephone discussion last night, that many of the replicas out there are absolutely horrible, using cheap steel that's so brittle it's often dangerous to the person holding it, and that can't take or hold an edge.
To illustrate that, here's what happened when TV channel Shop At Home demonstrated a cheap-and-nasty set of samurai swords a few years ago.
Ouch! That's why you don't buy cheap crap with an edge to it!
What Sven makes (and will make as a tie-in to the next Ames novel) is far from cheap, and anything but crappy. That's why I like working with him.