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Carter Cutlery News

June 29, 2009

Info Column

Big changes ahead for Carter Cutlery website...

See below for the full story.

Do you have questions about steels, knifemaking, or just cutlery in general? Send us an email and Murray will be happy to answer them for you.

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Product Update Alerts

Want to know when new products are added to our online store? Just click on this email link:

Blade Show Update

I am fresh back from the Blade Show in Atlanta, GA, followed by a side trip to Pryor, OK, before returning home to Oregon. What a great show it was! This year was markedly different from past years insomuch as I didn't spend a great deal of time preparing especially for the show. I had instead, devoted my shop time before the show completing several custom knife orders in an effort to better serve my existing customer base. I was totally relaxed heading to the Big Show. Honestly, with the changing times, I didn't know what to expect at the show, but I was pleasantly surprised by the brisk sales.

Carter Neck Knives and Whitecranes are Hot Items

In the past, during the first few hours of the Blade Show, my customers would rifle through my kitchen knives and buy most of what I had. During the remainder of the show, the last few pieces of culinary cutlery would sell. This year, the trend varied significantly. Customers made a bee-line straight for my neck knives and to my Whitecrane knives.

These knives accounted for more than 75% of this years sales. I had a large percentage of repeat customers, but a few new customers who told me they specifically sought my knives at the show. Almost every person who had requested a VIP pass from me showed up. I felt great about the whole experience.

Machete Shaving Demo

The shaving demo went great with nary a hitch, nor a drop of blood. The room was completely packed full of spectators, with an audience spilling over into the hallway. As I began shaving, two men walking past the demo were heard saying "That guy has got b...lls" and his mate said, "Or maybe he's crazy!" This got the whole room laughing, and the air of humor continued for the rest of the 35-minute demo.

Shaving with a machete 1

Several of the front row spectators couldn't resist with the wise-guy jokes and I enjoyed flowing right along. We were all in stitches for most of the time, which made for a truly unique experience as I stood there laughing and shaving my throat with a 24-inch machete! I think the humor took the edge off of everybody's tension.

I got a wonderful round of applause when I shaved the last couple of whiskers and several attendees then came forward to purchase my sharpening DVDs. I suspect I'll get invited to do that performance again. If you haven't already, take a look at the YouTube version of "Shaving with a Machete."

Shaving with a machete 2

- YouTube Knife Auction -
Knife bidding starting at just $1

I was so busy with tending the table and preparing for the shaving demo that I didn't have time to organize a proper auction for the famous YouTube kitchen knife. The knife is currently for sale and I'll accept offers on it until the end of June. The highest bidder will get it, complete with a signed certificate of authenticity. The opening bid is ONE DOLLAR!!! Have fun bidding!

YouTube knife
Click on image to view YouTube video

Bladesmithing School Update

We have just two seats left available for the following summer classes:

  • Aug. 7~8, 2009 Class 101, Forging and Completion of a Personal Neck Knife -- Room for one more student
  • Sept 1~6, 2009 Class 500, Original Intensive 6 Day Class, Including 100, 101, 201 and 301 -- Room for one more student

Anyone interested in attending a summer class should call me right away.

Soon to Change to AWeber Mailing List

In an effort to better service you, we are soon switching to THE most secure Internet Newsletter Mailing System. It is completely PERMISSION BASED and therefore has the best anti-spam rating in the industry. Here is what they have to say for themselves:

Who Is AWeber?

Founded in 1998, we create email marketing software to help small businesses automate email follow up and email newsletter delivery.

Our growing team shares a wealth of experience and knowledge about permission-based email marketing with the over 61,000 current customers we work with daily.

This switch will greatly allow us to better serve you by streamlining our newsletters, allowing us to monitor campaign results, automating our Seven Free Knife Sharpening Tip Requests and allowing us to send hard mail as well as email newsletters. We will notify you when we make the switch, which will require you to voluntarily accept their terms and conditions. Your cooperation with this switch will greatly allow Carter Cutlery to better serve you.

Carter Cutlery in the Press

Murray will be partnering with Troy Von Kutzleben in a fundraiser for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. Murray will be shaving Troy's head with a Koshinata machete.

Here's Troy's story that will be published in the National Alopecia Areata Foundation Newsletter in the fall.

I was diagnosed with alopecia areata a couple of years ago, or at least that’s when it became evident. It is not of great concern to me, as I am a 38-year-old dad and don't mind having to shave my head. Luckily, bald is beautiful these days. I thought my story might be of some significance and could provide some insight into the disease.

It all started in March of 2006. My wife was out of town and I was hanging out with my buddies. We were headed to a (motorcycle) track day over the weekend. While having a couple of beers, I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if I shaved my head. I had a full head of hair, but had progressively worn it shorter and shorter. I had considered shaving it previously, but thought my wife would surely disapprove. See what a couple of beers can do to your judgment. I thought, "Boy would she be surprised!" That's what marriage is all about. So I shaved my head on Friday night. My buddies and I went out on Saturday night and I got a few compliments and I thought, "Hey this is pretty cool."

On Sunday we went to the track day as planned…. note to self... pulling a motorcycle helmet off of a shaved head is like pulling Velcro apart… must find alternative solution for future outings. On the track session after lunch, I crashed. I was going about 70 mph and didn’t make a corner. I ran off of the track into the emergency pea gravel, a.k.a. kitty litter. The bike and me got separated. From all accounts, it was pretty spectacular.

I don't remember much about the ensuing hours after the accident. I did manage to call my wife from the emergency room gurney to tell her that I had had an accident AND that I probably ruptured my spleen AND they were going to have to operate to remove it AND she may want to come see me as I will be in the hospital for at least a couple of days or weeks. I told her not to worry and that I would be fine and then gave the phone to my brother to give her more details. That's all I really remember about the events prior to the surgery.

So when my wife showed up at the hospital several hours later (I was in Birmingham, AL and we lived in Atlanta, GA) she saw me in all my glory: IV tubes, NG tube, ET tube... and a shaved head. She thought surely I must have brain damage. After asking around with the nurses and them not knowing anything about it, she began to think…. "I bet he did it himself!" Sometimes it takes a 5-month pregnant woman a little time to put two and two together. Finally, the nurses admitted that I came in that way. I was going to be in trouble when those tubes came out!

When I awoke from the anesthesia my wife was kind enough to not give me a hard time. I had ruptured my spleen and they had removed it. I also fractured three ribs, my left clavicle and left scapula. With the morphine drip, all I could think was, "Cool, more scars.”

Since my clavicle was broken, I was not able to continue shaving my head. I was an amateur at this point, so one-handed shaving was out of the question. At first everything appeared to be fine. Then, after a couple of months little patches of baldness began to form in various places on my scalp: They were irregular in shape and size, but no bigger than a dime. I thought to myself… this doesn't look very cool. I went to the dermatologist and was diagnosed with alopecia areata. So then I decided that I am going to shave my head again. Surprisingly, my wife agreed to help. So, since then I have been on the "bald is beautiful" track.

If I let my hair grow out for a couple of days, the spots are apparent. Some are the size of a quarter, others as small as a pencil eraser. Some spots do have a few hairs growing in the center. When I do shave, the bald spots appear more pink (and tender) than the rest of my scalp. What can I say; I’m a sensitive guy.

The treatments I received from my dermatologist have been steroid injections, topical steroid foam, and topical steroid cream. The cream and foam don't really seem to do much. And the shots (two or three in each spot) are too cumbersome to deal with on a regular basis, although they do seem more effective than the topical solutions. Since I don't really care about having hair, it's not worth the treatment. And, I don't think my kids would recognize me if I had hair.

I am not really sure what brought this about. The two most obvious possible causes are my splenectomy, since it's an immune organ and/or a drug reaction. I was given antibiotics and various vaccinations in the hospital. I was given IV morphine for pain. I regularly took oral hydrocodone for pain as well. I did note that the hydrocodone caused a reaction in my skin complexion. Now that I am no longer taking it, my complexion has cleared up. But I still have my "spots', as my daughter likes to call them.

I thought my story might be helpful in identifying possible causes for other people. If there is anything that I can do to help further research in the subject, I would be willing to participate. As I said, it's not a big deal for a 38-year-old guy. But I can imagine that it could be devastating for a 13-year-old girl. So let me know what I can do to help.

Regards, Troy

P.S. Another great thing about being bald is that we ride our motorcycle sidecar rigs in the local Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation Ride for Kids every year, toting sick or recovering patients in our sidecars. It's a very special event. I think me being bald helps the kids in chemotherapy to feel more normal. We always joke together about our matching haircuts. There's a reason for everything.

Until our next email news,

Stay Sharp and may God richly bless you!

Carter Cutlery

P.O.Box 307
Vernonia, OR 97064
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phone 503-429-0447

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