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Carter Cutlery October ’07 Newsletter

 Save as much as $90 on a gift to a special friend or family member… Save even more if you choose… Check out this month’s “exchange in abundance” offer. 

My goodness, where did summer go? I hope that you all have plenty of fall activities that you look forward to. For many of you, fall means large game hunting, and that means that right about now you are getting those hunting knives out and checking to see if they are up for the cutting tasks ahead of them. From the flurry of Carter Sharpening DVD sales recently, I’m sure that several of you are well prepared for anything that comes your (blade’s) way.

 I’m writing this newsletter in the Atlanta Airport, while waiting to board my plane back to Portland, Oregon. I just spent a very memorable four days with world famous hunter and writer W. Hovey Smith, author of Crossbow Hunting and Practical Bowfishing as well as over 200 published articles, at his home in south-eastern Georgia.  I learned about black powder muzzle loading firearms, and hunting whitetail deer with them. We prepped and test-fired the full spectrum of black powder arms including modern in-line rifles, Hawkin’s rifles (circa 1840’s), a percussion cap single shot .50 caliber pistol and a replica of a 400 year old Japanese matchlock.  Despite all being muzzle-loading arms, each varied significantly from each other. The modern in-line rifles use pyrodex pellets, modern bullets and modern shotgun primers. The Hawkin’s rifle and pistol used 85 grains of FFFG black powder, a felt wad and cast lead conical bullets and primed with a percussion cap. The Japanese matchlock was the most exciting of all with a heavier–than-get-out smoothbore barrel, 85 grains of FFFG powder, a patched round lead ball and primed with super fine FFFFG gunpowder in a flash pan. Getting the match cord lit and in the right position so that it would ignite the powder in the pan rather than just snuff out, or not have a spark land in the open flash pan when you didn’t want to fire the gun was a special challenge. I was concerned about the recoil due to the lack of a shoulder stock. I imagined a broken check bone and a bloody nose when I positioned my trigger finger to light her off, but was pleasantly surprised that recoil was quite manageable due to the weight of the extra long barrel. Having lived for ten years on the 120 year old historic battlefield Tabaruzaka in Ueki City, Japan, where the last Samurai rebellion was fought (Topic of Tom Cruise movie “The Last Samurai”), I felt a connection to the Japanese samurai soldiers of past who used these matchlocks to fight the modern equipped government troops. 

I proved to be a better target shooter of these firearms than a hunter. Despite sighting fourteen deer in three days, I’m returning home empty-handed.  I hunted using the Hawkins rifle which was the most accurate of the lot. This rifle has a unique feature called a “set trigger” which allows the option of presetting the trigger so that only a few ounces of pressure are necessary to fire the rifle. My host, Hovey Smith continually warned me that a common mistake when hunting with such a sensitive trigger is to get so excited that one prematurely shoots the gun before one intends to.  On the last day of hunting, a nice size buck came trotting by my tree stand. I was ready for him and cocked the hammer and set the trigger as he approached. I stood to swing on him, take aim and carefully make the killing shot, but instead, stood, took a shooting grip and “BANG”.  The bullet went safely into the ground thirty feet in front of the deer.  The buck sauntered away in no great hurry, almost sensing that there was not going to be a second shot forthcoming from the single shot rifle.  Man, I was furious at myself for being so self confident with an unfamiliar gun.  As one old friend used to say “One needn’t kill to have hunted”. That may be true, but bagging one of those deer will be the goal of my next such hunting trip. I had a great holiday for the first time in two and a half years, and am now ‘psyched’ to get back to the very important task of completing the winter batch of knives which will be for sale beginning in December.

The Bladesmithing classes continue to be a resounding success, the most recent was a one day “ 100, Introduction To Japanese Bladesmithing” class (Oct. 6th). The class was full with six participants, some who traveled as far south as San Diego, or drove for more than 5 hours to attend.

The demonstrations and lectures of the day went smooth as silk, and the knife we made was auctioned off at close to twice the retail price. The winner got the unique privilege of having his initials stamped into the blade, making it a truly one-of-a-kind piece. Read the comments and testimonials below, as well as see a slide show and video on our WEB site at

The next school, starting next Monday October 22nd to 26th, is a “500, Original Intensive course covering 100, 101, 201 and 301for an exclusive limited group who missed out on last July’s class. Look forward to a report on that class in the next newsletter.

"A great insight into how a master craftsman approaches his art.  I have a greater appreciation of what an artist goes though to excel at his craft."       -Paul Begovich, Theatrical Technical Director

"I have been interested in Japanese and Western World history and edged weapons.  Over the years I have accumulated a patchwork of knowledge and interesting facts. In Murray's one day

course 'Introduction to Japanese Bladesmithing' he managed to take my scattered knowledge and forge it into a cohesive block, lifting a vale of fog that had existed.  He basically added mortar to the blocks of knowledge I had, and added more blocks.  He expanded my universe and intensified my interest in what I was already interested in."
                     -Bruce Fried, Vietnam Veteran, retired

"The most advanced and easily appreciated material on knives I have ever seen.  Excellent instruction, good pacing and great Q&A."
                     -Hohn Rapinchak, Coffee Importer

I want to express my appreciation to all who have responded to my special offers, so far.  It is truly exciting to send out a newsletter with an amazing offer to my valued customers and friends, and have the phone literally ring off the hook for the next few days. For example, my free bladesmithing course offer sold out in two hours and more than 20% of my customers ordered my sharpening DVD’s at the incredible one time only low price of $45.  So what can I offer you this month… let me think… 

 This month’s amazing offer…
Save as much as $90 on one knife!!
Save much more on a cash gift certificate!!

 …OK, I’ve got it… an incredible exchange in abundance for you, my most valued customers.  Buy a gift certificate, for a friend or family member, for a standard kitchen knife order (SFGZ, SFGZ-RH or HG series) or a standard neck knife order and receive a 25% discount. For example, buy a $360 blue super steel neck knife for only $270, and you save $90.  You can also buy a cash gift certificate and receive the same 25% discount, so a $500 certificate will save you $125.  Certificates are available in denominations of your choice, the larger the certificate the more you save.  Basically, I’m able to forward you this incredible savings by selling my knives at dealer’s prices.  I can no longer sell to dealers because I just can’t keep up with the growing demand for my knives. With this offer, I’m not losing anything, but I am able to offer you great savings.   What a great Christmas present this will make for the person who has everything BUT a Carter knife!   These unique certificates will be written and signed by me, with any personal message you desire, and will have no expiry date.  What a great offer!   This is so good I better put a deadline on it.  Offer ends 10 pm PST, Oct. 31st.  Please, no calls after 10pm; sleeping children.

 New Model Knife News

I have been consulting with my good friend and Chinese martial arts expert Serge Augier of Paris, France and, on the design of the ultimate city defensive/fighting knife (it goes without saying, for the righteous use of defense only).  The design parameters of this knife was it had to be long enough to be effective against an aggressor (or wild animal) and yet be light and short enough for daily carry.  Overall strength, ease of maintenance and sharpness were also very important. Accessibility under stress while fully concealable presented an interesting challenge.  Well, I believe we have a knife that meets all of those criteria, exceptionally so.  I’m calling it the “Whitecrane” after Serge’s school.  I’ll have a limited number (6-8 knives) available for sale around Christmas.  I’ll get a picture up on our website soon. If you want to secure one of the few I will have, call me ASAP (503-816-6556). Check out what these guys said about the prototypes.

 “For over 25 years I’ve used hand forged knives by Dan D., Moran, Randall and Ruana.  Of Murray Carter’s Forged Tactical Utility ‘Whitecrane Model’ I can honestly say the following:  this is the best balanced knife I’ve used in years; big enough to be effective, small enough to be useful.  It combines the best features of stainless and high carbon steels.  It easily sharpens to a ‘wicked’ edge.  This knife is my new ‘go to’ knife for extended time in the field.”           -Tom Kiger, Environmental Engineer

  Figure Deserving Public Recognition

 In this section of each newsletter, I would like to take the opportunity to publicly thank or recognize a person for their outstanding contribution to Carter Cutlery.  Perhaps of interest is the Japanese written character for person (spoken as “hito”) showing one person leaning on another (imagine an up-side-down small case ‘y’). The implication of this is that no man is able to succeed entirely on his own.


For his continued patronage, positive feedback and necessary critiques of my knives and sharpening DVD’s, support spanning more than 10 years, his warm and friendly visits to my display table at shows when he himself is busier than me, I would like to recognize

Steven Dick, Editor–in-chief Tactical Knives Magazine.

A special hand forged knife and certificate signed by me will be presented to Mr. Dick as a token of my appreciation.  Steve Dick’s most recent feedback of my latest DVD can be seen in the Jan 2008 issue of Tactical Knives magazine.  

 As promised, a self introduction from Tim;
Carter Cutlery’s new Administrative assistant

Hello Carter Cutlery Fans,

My name is Tim and I would like to take a moment to introduce myself and to thank Murray for his kind words in last month's newsletter. I will be working with Murray in Vernonia to help free up more of his time to focus on knife making.  In the last newsletter Murray mentioned a few things about me that I would like to expand on so you all have a better idea of who you may be talking to when you call Carter Cutlery.
It is true that I have a broad based career path that started in the medical field and has led to geotechnical and structural engineering.  I'm currently a state licensed building inspector working for a private engineering company in Palm Beach County Florida.  It's true that I did a hitch in the Air Force, I hope you ground pounders out there don't hold it against me!  I grew up in the New Orleans area and although my wife considers me a gourmet chef, I have not been to culinary arts school.  I do however, enjoy cooking and use Murray's kitchen knives every day.  As far as knife experience goes I am an avid knife collector and attend several knife shows a year.  I am also an Honorary Knife Makers Guild Member.  As a lifelong outdoorsman I've used countless knives over the past thirty years for every conceivable hunting and fishing need.

In 2001 I met Murray at the Blade Show in Atlanta.  I bought a kitchen knife from him on Saturday and spent several hours in the hotel room that night studying that knife.  On Sunday I went back to his table to buy a small hunting knife from him but did not have enough cash left to close the deal.  I asked him to hold the knife for me while I went to the A.T.M. machine.  By the time I made it to the A.T.M. machine it was out of cash as well.  I went back to Murray's table and explained what happened and figured I would have to pass on the knife.  He looked me straight in the eye, handed me the knife and said, "Just send me a check in Japan."  At that point I knew I would be a lifelong Carter Cutlery customer.  It wasn't long before most of my family were using Murray's kitchen cutlery.  My brother in Alaska swears by Carter knives for skinning Musk Ox.

In August I was standing in my garage reading my mail when I came across Murray's newsletter.  When I read the part about the bladesmithing course my heart skipped a beat.  When I got to the part about the administrative assistant to help with the company I was awe struck.  I had to go over it several times to be sure of what I was reading!  I knew right there in my garage that I had to call.  My wife stepped out to see what I was up to.  I put on my best poker face, handed her the newsletter, and started to take off my work boots.  After a few moments I glanced up at her to gauge her reaction, she looked down at me and said, "You should probably call him."  I checked my pulse, walked to my back patio and called Murray.

That phone call led to several others and I ended up sending Murray a resume and copies of my professional business license and other personal info.  I think he was a little skeptical about my intention to possibly leave my current career and move three thousand miles to help him expand his business in Vernonia.  After my wife and I spent several days with Murray and his lovely family I think I was able to convince him of a couple of things.  I would not have responded to an offer like this from any other knife maker but him.  I'm convinced that I am the kind of person he needs on board to make sure his clients receive customer service that is on par with the quality of work he produces.  I know Murray wants customer service and customer satisfaction to be of the highest order. It is my sincerest intent to see that these ideals are met.  I hope you all find my attitude professional and my manner discreet.  I welcome comment on any issue in an effort to constantly improve on my ability to meet your needs.  I'm very excited to be joining Carter Cutlery and I'm looking forward to working with you all.

Stay Sharp!

 Well, that wraps up another newsletter. Email me or call me if you have any comments or questions. Also, let me know if there are other topics you’d like to see covered in this monthly newsletter.

 God Bless and Stay Sharp Ladies and Gentlemen,


Murray Carter
ABS Master Bladesmith
P.O.Box 307
Vernonia, OR   97064
phone 503-429-0447
cell   503-816-6556







Be sure to email me with any questions at

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Carter Cutlery, PO Box 307, Vernonia, OR 97064
503-429-0447 -
©Copyright: 2007 Carter Cutlery

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