Carl D. Pearson, Hoo Knives – The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 377)
Hoo Knives Carl D. Pearson joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on Episode 377 of The Knife Junkie Podcast. Hoo Knives produces cutting-edge British designed pocket knives and EDC gear and also is an authorized dealer of Civivi & WE Knife.
“I have had a passion and fascination for pocket knives from a young age and have always been interested in developing pocket knife designs ever since I started to routinely carry one myself,” noted Pearson.
Hoo Knives was founded in England in 2021 with the aim of releasing premium production knives of their own design at a fair price. Hoo Knives are designed specifically to be carried legally in the UK & Germany but are finding their way into pockets around the world.
Hoo Knivees just released the V2 a double detent, titanium flipper with M390 blade and features that allow for design changes for the jurisdiction it’s being carried in. Hoo is also an authorized dealer of WE and Civivi Knives.
Support the Knife Junkie channel with your next knife purchase. Find our affiliate links at theknifejunkie.com/knives.
Be sure to support The Knife Junkie and get in on the perks of being a Patron — including early access to the podcast and exclusive bonus content.Hoo Knives Carl D. Pearson joins me on episode 377 of #theknifejunkie #podcast to talk about the challenges of being a UK knife designer/maker and his newest knife the V2. Click To Tweet
Carl D. Pearson, Hoo Knives - The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 377
©2022, Bob Demarco
The Knife Junkie Podcast
[0:00] Welcome to the Knife Junkie Podcast, your weekly dose of knife news and information about knives and knife collecting.
Here's your host, Bob the Knife Junkie DeMarco. Welcome to the Knife Junkie Podcast. I'm Bob DeMarco.
On this edition of the show, I'm speaking with Carl Pearson of Woo Knives.
[0:24] Carl started Woo Knives with a very specific mission, to create folders that could be legally carried in England and Germany with designs and features that today's knife enthusiasts look for in EDC knives.
A seemingly daunting challenge indeed. After the very successful first run of folders with the V1 model, Woo Knives is back with their decidedly tactical feeling V2 model.
We're going to talk with Carl about the challenges of knife that knife lovers face in England and what it's like to start a modern pocket knife company there.
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Listening to the Knife Junkie podcast. Hi Carl, welcome to the show. Hello, thank you very much for having me on, I really appreciate it.
Oh, it's a pleasure, it's a pleasure. I was really happy to see recently on Instagram the release of the V2, the Woo Knives V2. Congratulations on that sir.
Tell us what the V2 is and what your design goals were with that.
[2:20] Of course thank you very much as well for those kind words. So essentially in the United Kingdom which includes Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
This big map up here actually, the knife laws are quite strict. I know some parts of the US are relatively similar but a bit more lenient than ourselves, such as New York and I know California
has rules in place on specific knives as well. So in the UK you can only really have a small pocket knife, the blade needs to be under three inches, the cutting edge, and it has to be non-locking
as well so that puts out things like the small sibenza unfortunately without a good reason you couldn't carry that in the United Kingdom. So the main logic behind this is it can be carried in the United Kingdom no matter where you are unless it's one of these protected.
Locations like a school etc for obvious reasons and it's a non-locking folding knife but it It can also be deployed just by flicking it as well.
And famously, Spyderco have the Spidey flick, don't they Will? You can actually do that on this as well because the thumb stud is on both sides.
[3:39] So where are you located? So I'm based in Scotland. I was actually born in England and I'm based in Scotland, but our laws around knives are
actually the Saxean because it's dealt with down in Westminster for the entire United Kingdom. So you said you used the example of a small sebenza you know the
the standard for luxury knife you said that that is you know not permitted without a good reason what's what's a good reason? So that would be for a court
a court to define and unfortunately because I'm not a judge or a jury that's been called in.
I couldn't make that assessment it would be down to the particular situation but for example.
[4:29] One might give a good reason as bushcraft now it would be up to the court to decide whether that would be an applicable reason or not they could very likely say well that's not a good enough reason to carry such a knife or it is, it really depends on that court and the scenario.
I don't think the goal of the law is for average joes that are carrying a pocket knife to be picked up and arrested but unfortunately it has had those consequences in some cases because.
[5:02] When the law is defined in such a way that not everybody maybe understands it or fully looks into it you know for example when my father was born 1945 he wouldn't have batted an
eyelid twice at carrying a locking knife in the United Kingdom for doing his work etc. but with the way things have came about in big cities such as London with a rise in knife claim etc. This is why we have such.
Harsh legislation. I don't want to be too critical of it because I'm not a lawyer or a legal expert, but I do think that the legislation doesn't give much wiggle room to play with, unfortunately.
[5:42] Yeah, and the other unfortunate thing is that the law doesn't account for the fact, well, thankfully, the law doesn't account for the fact that knives are essential tools that are spread across our lives, you know, kitchen knives.
[5:57] We use every day. As a matter of fact those are the knives that get used in knife crime the most. Kitchen knives. But you can't outlaw kitchen knives,
you know, what are you gonna do? So the people who suffer are the people who make cool pocket knives, you know, locking pocket knives. So it kind of
doesn't make sense to me because those aren't really the knives that crimes are being done with. 100% is the same in the United Kingdom. The majority of knife crime is committed by kitchen knives which are easily affordable. They're.
[6:29] Without being too crude they're made to butcher meat in a lot of cases so you can imagine the kind of impact they would have in an attack on someone. Whereas you know and I'm not saying
that they're not dangerous in the wrong hands but you compare this to your standard kitchen devil there's no comparison in terms of you know size and malice and fear that that could
cause in somebody's mind but unfortunately in the United Kingdom we do have these laws so we kind of have to work within the parameters that have been set out. I would be all for personally campaigning to have less tough laws but I don't think there's an appetite.
The same way as there is in the United States. We don't have as much of a impact in politics per se as your kind of average state in the United States. So we're left with that issue.
[7:28] Yeah, we are lucky in the United States to have the likes of Doug Ritter and knife rights, an organization that has really been working state by state to eliminate laws that were
put in place just post slavery to stop the general public and African Americans from owning knives.
And that has affected, you know, and then these crazy laws that came from the fifties after James Dean had his switchblade knife fight in Rebel Without a Cause.
[8:00] So you have a real design challenge here. I want to talk about your past and your love of knives, but your real design challenge here is to take some of the features.
Of the knives that you love that you may not own or buy.
[8:18] But put them in the context, put them in the package that will be acceptable to law.
So what are those things? Tell me how you've gotten around the laws. So to have a flip knife in the United Kingdom, a knife that deploys with such ease like this,
is going to be tough if you're using a traditional slip joint mechanism. Something like I did.
Bring some with me, like your Spyderco UK PK, traditionally. Well, not traditionally, but a classic kind of a British everyday carry that many people do use, specifically designed for here of
course but that is of course a slip joint so you can't exactly flip that that out. This is a little bit different it works on ball bedding things and it's a double detent. If you give me two wee seconds.
[9:09] I actually deconstructed one just before coming on just to to show yourself in the audience how how they work. There is more in depth photos on our social media etc. But essentially what
happens is your ball bearings of course will go here and you can flip, sorry I'm making sure it's in, and it'll come out like this and the detent will catch the knife in these little holes and hold it and hold it in place and it can be pretty firm.
[9:44] So it's not like your traditional slip joint that has, you know, it's all designed into the back spring. Essentially, this is designed into the actual handle itself, the mechanism.
[9:59] And it looks like there's a little sort of, for lack of a better term, lock bar that applies pressure with the ball bearing into the little hole so that there's tension.
[10:10] So that when you hit that flipper there's enough tension built up with that spring in the detent hole.
That's cool and it flips... I never quite understood how... I don't have any double detent knives and I never quite understood... I'd love to change that! I'd love to change that for you Bob!
Let's definitely change that. Hold up the knife that you were flipping that had the nice lanyard on it and tell us about this.
This is the Hoo Knives V1. This was the first knife I ever designed and it took inspiration from quite a lot of knives just like you say that you couldn't necessarily own in the United Kingdom or I say.
Own. You can own them but you can't carry them for everyday use without a good reason. So for example I do have a Sabenza here but I couldn't take that outside without a good reason so it limits its
used to kind of house and work. Whereas this can be carried everywhere. It works on the same system as this, it's a double B tent. And the idea behind it was just to have quite.
A nice gentlemanly knife that wouldn't look very offensive, wouldn't maybe scare any people off who weren't really knife enthusiasts. And it's quite a, I don't know, it's quite
a sling. It's not super sling but it's got this kind of sleek feel to it I feel like anyway that any gentleman can kind of slip this in his pocket and know it's there to.
[11:36] Quickly slice open a box or something like that if needs be.
[11:40] That one, this is the third or fourth iteration of this knife. Even though I call it the V1, we've messed about with quite a lot of things on it just to kind of get them pitch perfect.
For example, this was one of the first V1s ever created and you'll notice that the pocket clip's different.
[12:00] This was a titanium pocket clip, sorry, but what we noticed about this was They're really loose and we actually had reports that one slipped out of somebody's pocket.
So when you're making a titanium, a lot of this was trial and error because this was my first design, but when you're making a titanium pocket clip it really needs to be something like the Subenza, really thick and stalky to kind of hold that rigidity.
Was this was too flimsy so we updated that to the stainless steel clip and there and the detent as well has also been messed about with this detent which is on the V2 is also
on the newest iteration of the V1 but the first V1 had a much weaker detent so for example I could, you know, really, it doesn't take much force at all to close that.
And the saving grace was you had your flipper tab there to stop it from closing on you.
But with this one, it takes much more pressure to apply to it.
[13:11] So a lot of it was trial and error with us, but we got there in the end. Oh, wait, wait. So which is the end? The one that you had that's harder to close?
Yeah, that's right. So essentially we want it to be as safe as possible, you know, when in hand. So we want it to be much more difficult to close on you.
We want those detents to have a nice firm grip on the blade because of course we can't have locking knives but we want to make it as safe as possible.
Yeah, sure. Despite that fact that a locking knife in the United States or abroad might be thinking well surely a locking folding knife would be the safest option. Why would the government or parliament legislate against that? And that's a question I can't answer.
[13:56] Yeah, that's... I don't understand that either. But another thing that you've reached by tweaking that detent and making it safer is that you've also reached locking knife levels of fidgetability with the closing.
You know what I mean?
And that's also part of the experience that you're missing if you're not allowed to have these knives or carry them.
Absolutely, yeah. So one of the inspirations you might have seen this knife, I believe it's called the EZC 2.0, it's by MDK.
That the V1 took a lot of inspiration from this because I received this.
[14:39] Must be about two or three years ago now and I just fell in love with it you know everything about it I loved how easy it was to open and how quickly I could just pull it out.
[14:49] The pocket and get something done with it and that's what I kind of wanted to factor into a UK legal which I just couldn't find on the market that there was some options but none that kind
of had that factor for me that really done it that made me want to go and pull the trigger on that knife you know so that's what I've tried to set out to achieve here. What
about materials did you have material certain materials in mind obviously you like the titanium but in terms of blade steel and stuff like that how does that
work? So when I initially looked into the manufacturing process I was worried that the cost of manufacturing would outweigh the kind of appetite for people wanting to
buy one of these knives of myself. But as I dive deeper into it I realized that we probably could have done a more, we could do a more premium knife with titanium and M390 and that's
what both the V1 and V2 actually have. It's funny you ask about the materials because Because there was a thought process and I did have different things going through my head when doing the V2.
Because the prototypes for the V2, they're marked with a P. But it's actually, I don't know if you can see that, it's S35VN.
[16:16] So we did mess about, or I did mess about with the steel but I just came back to M390 because it's just such a good all round steel and I've never had any complaints from any customers saying you know it's had this issue it's had that issue so
I put my faith for these in M390 and I think it's done very well. It's held up well and it's a great steel. It really, really is. There's so many out there that are on the market nowadays and there's new ones coming out quite often, but M390 in my opinion is just a great all-round steel.
[16:53] Yeah, it is and I think that it makes the most sense to put those kind of super, super performing steels on everyday carry knives that you're going to, you know, I have a pretty sizable
collection of knives that I carry once in a while because I rotate.
And a lot of them, it doesn't make sense to have this super high-end blade steel because I'm not using them enough.
But the slip joints that I always drop in my pocket, you know, for instance, I've been tearing jack wolf knives a lot recently and they're M390 and I use them a lot because.
They make more sense at work to pull out in the kitchen than this, you know, I don't want to freak anyone out. And so I find that M390, 20CV or the super steels are great for the kind of knife you're designing.
Well, I'll be honest with you, I'm not super, what do they call it, steel snobby. You know, I've got knives, everything from the very low low kind of Chinese unmarked steel right.
[17:58] Up to your higher end steel knives that I collect and sometimes the cheaper ones get just as much use. Just because they're lying there I just pull it out, I'm not worried
about oh am I gonna scratch the beautiful satin finish on the sebenza, is that gonna annoy me etc and I can just whip out but as I've started to use knives and especially
design them I've become a lot less worried about marking up my knives you know. I did attempt to clean some of these knives before I came on and I don't think my camera's quite
good enough to pick it on but it's got residue from everything on it because the reality is I use these knives on a daily basis you know all of them maybe not all of them but
whatever's lying closest to me at the time or whatever I find in my pocket so I'm not overly worried about the steel as long as it gets the job done and I find most steels
if they're kept well get the job done but it's always nice to have that added bonus something like M390 you don't need to worry about sharpening it every second of the day
know it's just a nice steel all round get the job done stick out use it every day for five months and then maybe it'll need a touch up if you're lucky yeah and and from a business perspective.
[19:25] I don't know. I've never I've never done this before in terms of making knives, but.
[19:32] I have glanced at steel prices now and again, and there is a difference, but it's not such a radical difference.
[19:42] That reflects in, that you will see reflected in the finished product.
Now I understand that it's more expensive to work those steels because they're harder and they take more expendable materials like sanding, like grinding belts and other things like that. So it's a more costly process and I get that.
But what I'm trying to say is, featuring a blade steel like M390 on your designs, more easily justifies you charging a price that someone who's not a giant knife company should be charging.
And I'm unsure of what your knives cost here in the States, but I'm guessing around 200 bucks or something like that.
[20:20] I think it's just below probably about, for the V1 I think it's in the 150 to 170 range.
It's all messed up now because the pounds hit an all time low, isn't it? I think for the V2 you're probably spot on there about the 190 to 200 range in dollars, yeah. And then we actually had to increase our prices but.
[20:43] It wasn't because purely the cost of steel. We more so found the cost of manufacturing and shipping has increased astronomically. I'll give you an example and I don't want
to talk too much about figures and bore people but our shipping costs were about 150 to 200 percent more than usual and the issue cited was the ongoing war in Ukraine. Now I don't
know how that would have an impact on it but then I checked the tracking and usually our shipments come through to Europe, Germany or the Netherlands and then to the United
Kingdom but this shipment went all the way to the United States and then to the United Kingdom. So it averted Europe entirely until it got to the UK as a flight path. So I'm
not entirely sure why exactly if that is to do with something going on over there or not but it certainly had an impact on the cost. So we increased our prices. When we first launched the V1 it was 105 GBP.
[21:52] And now it's 135. And that as well is because of tax in the UK as well. Once you hit a certain threshold you have to become VAT registered. Aye, you need to start charging people 20% tax.
So that the cost goes up. Wow, 20%! Geez! Yeah, it's a bite-sized chunk.
[22:13] Yeah, my gosh! So with materials, discussion of materials, thinking of that double detent system, Is this something that you can embed or fix to micarta and to carbon fiber and all different?
Okay, so you're not married to buy materials to titanium? No, not at all. I'm not married but to any materials I'm always looking to kind of.
Have a look and see what's popular, what I feel would be really nice and work well on a knife.
Micarta is certainly something I've looked into before, carbon fiber as well. All of these knives, the V2 and the V1, they could both be made in a large variety of materials.
You could do a budget one with a cheaper steel and say G10 or... You could even do it and I wouldn't want to go down to this level but in super cheap materials
materials like plastic, unnamed, kinda like getting dollar station knives. The thing that ads the kind of eh...
[23:24] Overall feel and impact to the knife though is the materials so I would never want to cheapen it to to such an extent where it's something that I wouldn't really want to pick up you know.
Sure sure sure. I do have you know knives that are 20, 30 dollars you know there's the the Luna which I absolutely love it's in D2 and a G10 and you could do the sack same thing with with a hoe knife and those
materials but I feel like having you know it adds a certain element of class having it in titanium or one of these more I'm not gonna say sought after but
more premium materials and certainly when I look at a knife I am zoomed in from a design aspect of what materials are using what the blade shape is and what's.
[24:16] Unique about this knife compared to other knives and that can be something as simple as maybe it's got a lovely pivot collar, you know, that another knife doesn't have and it really catches my eye or it's a unique color, etc. So I'm always looking at different materials and thinking what could I do next really.
[24:36] So where does this all come from for you? Have you always been a collector or have you always had this interest in knives?
Yeah so I'm a collector at heart, not just in Knives. I love things like watches as well. I love Pokemon stuff, so I'm a bit of a geek.
But when it comes to Knives, yeah, I've collected Knives.
[25:00] I would say all my life but that wouldn't be true probably since you know early.
[25:06] 12, 13 when you start to get into that boyish kind of way and you're picking up things and fiddling with them and seeing what you can do with them, getting into your dad's drawers and picking out his knives or whatever. That's where the kind of love came from.
[25:23] For Christmas last year, I bought my dad a nice slip joint and my hands are a bit sweaty so I I can't open it but... Is that the G-Tunnel? No, it's a Taylor's Eyewitness. This is actually
a really budget friendly knife as well. This was £30 so what's that? $40 to $45 something like that. But they do extremely high end knives as well and these are kind of traditional
knives designed and made in the UK. One of the few manufacturers that I find left actually in the UK. So as I kind of reminisce on the past, I bought my father one of those knives exactly the same, so we're twins with him.
Oh, that's cool. Because I used to always take his knives and I don't know if he got many of them back.
[26:14] So it's interesting, you say that about, because Sheffield, England is known for its blades and knife manufacturers, one of the all-time capitals of knife making. So you have noticed,
I guess, every country. We talk about that here in the States all the time, manufacturing going overseas and such. But you, so what's the climate there in terms of if you wanted to have a who knife made in England by an OEM there?
Without being, you know...
[26:50] Where there's a will there's a way but it would take major investment. I would need millions of pounds to start up a factory and hire workers that were skilled in manufacturing of that kind
of product because sadly they simply don't exist anymore. We have very few knife manufacturers in the United Kingdom. The ones that do exist, let me say their quality is amazing but they're more
smaller custom makers and I don't say that in a condescending way but I'm just, you know,
they're not massive companies like Spyderco etc like you have in the United States. It's much more kind of family-run businesses and stuff like that now and it's really sad to see and I'm not going to pretend like I'm 50, 60 years old and seen the peak of how.
[27:42] Big the industry was in Sheffield at the time but I certainly know from the history books that it was world renowned and still is to this day. If people are still talking about the knives you make and there's very little people there making knives anymore, you must have been doing something right for it to last this long.
Yeah, yeah. And then it's just the almighty pound or dollar in the last 50 years making decisions and sending it all overseas. And the thing about that that has been occurring
to me lately is that you might gain something in terms of manufacturing.
Really high-end nice manufacturing can be done overseas for a lot less than it can be done here.
[28:28] You lose what you gain is that you know great product for a better price But you lose of course jobs in your own country, but you also lose like them.
[28:39] The cultural memory that led up to the prestige and the heritage of all.
[28:47] Yeah, and the knowledge too that led up to you know Whatever the apex of American knife making or whatever the apex of Sheffield knife making was you lose all that you send it over there and all that stuff gets sacrificed on the altar of efficiency, which, you know,
I don't know, it's not always good.
Well, I'll be honest with you, if I could have the who knives manufactured in the United Kingdom, you know, if I had a million pounds I'd pay for it myself, but unfortunately it's
just not cost effective as a business because one, there isn't the facilities to do so and For example, I did actually reach out to one gentleman I know who's a custom maker back.
At the beginning of all of this and I asked, you know, what would the logistics be like and he said, so you want me, one person to manufacture 300 pocket knives out and then he wouldn't be able to do his own custom orders, he would be taken off the field for a year,
two years, goodness knows how long that would take to manufacture such a large amount.
[29:52] And then the price tag that would come with it because it's manufactured in the UK, handmade by one gentleman, you're talking anywhere from £400 to £600. So quite a big premium
put on that. And I'm not taken away from anybody's work here, but the reality is not a lot of people, including myself, have £600, £700 to spend on a pocket knife every week.
[30:22] That's the dilemma I hear from American designers, people who are in your shoes all the time. You know, there's nothing I'd like more than to have something produced in the United States.
[30:34] And actually, there is Divo Knives, who is an American company, and they're, it's two designers, one of whom is LeftyEDC on YouTube. And they just had one of a version of one of their knives manufactured by an OEM in the States and I'm very excited. I don't,
haven't seen it yet. I mean, I've seen pictures of it, haven't held it yet. But that's an exciting thing. But it's not something that they can do and maintain their business straight across the board.
It's a special proof of concept kind of thing, but who knows, maybe it grows from there.
Yeah, absolutely. A lot of custom knife makers in the United States, just kind of similar to what what you were saying, they'll make their custom pieces but then they'll have their production
models which are sold on their websites etc. as well at a much cheaper price so that anybody who wants to own one can save up for a month or two and pull a trigger on one which I think
is great. It is a dilemma that we're always fighting with. People are upset that things aren't manufactured in the UK but then at the same time, and of course it doesn't stand
for everybody but they maybe wouldn't want to pay the price if it was, if they knew the cost. If I told one of my customers or if I polled my customers and I said to them.
[31:59] Would you pay for this if it was £600, £700 but it was made in the United Kingdom? I'm sure many would say yes simply for that because it is made in the UK and they want to support
a UK business but I think the vast majority would say it's probably a bit out of my budget including, you know, for all the stuff I've got to pay for.
I've got my rent, I've got kids, et cetera. So it's a lot of money to be laying down, unless the cost of manufacturing could be brought down, it would just be unrealistic, sadly.
[32:30] Yeah, and if you're paying that kind of money, you're gonna get accustomed anyway, you know? Yes, exactly.
So from this picture, the top left picture of the V2, it looks from the picture as if they're hollow ground blades, are they?
So the blade, it's a very unique kind of shape. I'll let you have a closer look at it here.
[32:54] I don't know what you would want to call this but I've genuinely not seen any knife with this kind of strange shape but it came to me in a vision. I'm only kidding, it's just what hit the pad when I
was drawing. But I think it's quite, it's a very unique shape but it's also very pretty to look at but it'll get the job done as well. Whereas the V1s are very kind of standard, you know,
draw a knife on a bit of paper kind of shape. So it's unique and it's a little bit different and quirky. And some people have said it looks quite tactical, which I don't know if it's great for the UK market. I don't know what your take on that is.
Oh, I actually said that in my intro. I think it does look tactical. Apologies, I didn't hear.
But when I say tactical, I don't necessarily mean like it looks like something a soldier is going to carry into combat. It just has some of the lines of a tactical knife.
Yeah, the aspects of it. Yeah, the blade that grinds the closest thing, and I don't think it really...
[34:03] But the closest thing, I would say it looks... It reminds me somewhat of Rick Hinderer Knives' Spanto.
Yes, that's a good way of putting it. putting it and it's funny because I have one of their slippies just sitting up there. I don't want to grab it because I'll run away. But that's one of the knives that I regularly use.
[34:24] So I'm sorry if you can hear banging. That is my one year old son deciding to hit off my door. That's cool. I remember reaching out to you to come on the show right, right before he was born.
It was bad timing. But congratulations.
You've got a future who knives carrier in your ear running around now. Maybe we'll get them designed, start them young.
Yes, oh yeah, yeah, I have a bunch of illustrations that my daughters have drawn of knives over the years.
And my younger daughter, she always has blood on them. She's got a little darkness, she's cute as can be, but she's got a little darkness in there.
[35:05] So, who knives? What is the, where does the name come from? You've got a really cool logo. Tell me about that.
[35:13] So the logo is based on the Sutton Hoo helmet, which was said to be the helmet of a king. Now how true that is, we don't know, but kings back in these times, when this helmet was
constructed maybe aren't what we think of nowadays with crowns on their heads. They often went into battle themselves, especially like Viking kings etc.
So there's actually a movie about it I believe called The Dig as well in case anybody's really interested in the historical kind of backdrop of it but that's where the helmet comes from and because we're a British company I wanted something kind of iconically British that.
Doesn't maybe get the recognition that it deserves.
So we went with the Sutton Hoo helmet in that regard and interestingly enough they also, it wasn't quite a knife but they pulled out a sword in the same burial site as well.
So is that somewhat local to you where that was unearthed? No but it's actually not local at all to us, it's out at Ipswich area, Sutton Hoo, so kind
of like, there-ish on the map, but on my finger. Maybe down a little bit, but I think it's around there and it's not local to me because I'm a way up here.
Right, right, but it's iconically... But I was born here.
[36:42] Oh, okay. It's iconically British because it's one of the...
[36:47] You know, I don't want to get too political but a lot of people maybe will say when they go into the British Museum, is there anything that's actually British here because a lot of
this stuff's pulled from different parts of the world and what was once the empire and it's now the Commonwealth etc. But this you could say it genuinely is, you know, it was pulled out of.
[37:10] British soil and excavated and put in the British Museum and on display. They've touched it up beautifully and it's the representation of what they feel like it would have been back.
[37:23] In the day when the waiter did wait it. So wow that's yeah so a British company and you're using this very iconic British imagery as a company you do other things besides design and release knives
you also you sell Civivi and wee knives and when I saw that I was like that's interesting because I understand why you would but I don't understand how you can I guess you said you can buy them you just can't walk around with them.
Exactly so Civivi, I personally use quite a lot of Civivi knives around the house and at work because one reasonable excuse and touchwood I'm never at court but if I am my reasonable excuse would be you know I was working so I had to have a pocket knife when I was doing such and such.
[38:13] And I often use Civivi's locking knives when I'm in the shop working etc getting stuff done because I do want you know a really safe lock up for some tasks that I can rely on and I think
things like the Elementum are a lovely really sleek design easy to pull out the pocket doesn't weigh much at all and it's a great knife so I wanted to offer that to our customers as well so So I applied to be a Civivi and WE Knives retailer in the United Kingdom and they graciously.
Approved and we stocked up on some of their products that I...
I haven't used all of the products that we stock but some of them are requests from people and some of them just look absolutely fantastic as well.
But I don't have many Civivi or WE knives in the line up at the moment. I do have a mini banter which is nice.
I really like the fidget factor on that knife. But sadly again, even though it's such a small blade, I couldn't carry it outside without a reason,
which maybe baffles some people, but the blade has to be that kind of small length.
[39:25] Yeah, yeah, I get that. I mean, like you mentioned, that is the case in cities like Chicago and New York, And a lot of it is very vaguely written law too.
So it's kind of up to how much the police officer dislikes you. So can you sell things like this made, this is the Praxis by Civivi.
And it made my list of great gift knives.
And it's one of the oldest Civivi models, but it's got a 3.75 inch locking blade. Can you bring it, it's something large like that in, even though.
[40:03] It's presumed it's not going to be carried? Yes, but here's where I add a million asterisks. If it's on the banned weapons list, no.
And the banned weapons list is extensive.
So things like butterfly knives, witch blades, gravity knives...
[40:22] Locking flipper knives... Knuckle dusters with a knife attached, these kind of... Some of them are preposterous, like you'd think.
What sort of person is going to have these in their house unless they are for display or just for you know having fun with. The laws in the UK are just sad, they make me sad to be honest with.
[40:44] You but there's no appetite to change them. The last time they changed was 2019 and they got stricter so that's the kind of appetite that is here. And again it's the media gives knives
such a bad name on top of politicians that think if they make a pocket knife illegal it's going to somehow stop some lunatic, local supermarket and picking up a machete and going
out and doing whatever nasty things. A lot of it comes down to in my opinion politicians are so out of touch with the general public in the United Kingdom that, and maybe it's the same
in the United States, that the laws reflect their kind of fears rather than the general public's. I've never had anybody run away screaming when I've pulled a little pocket
knife out to cut a box or whatever. I've never had anybody scream at me on the street that I'm breaking the law or et cetera but that is kind of the way that the politicians act
et cetera. It's maybe not in the... They maybe think they're out to do the right thing but it doesn't really always pan out that way.
[42:05] Yeah, no, no, no. They don't. They're not doing it because they think they're doing the right thing. Almost in every case, even in the best case, they're doing it because it's good for them in their career, at least in the United States where there are no term limits.
They're just doing what they think people want to see. Oh, I'm being effective.
[42:23] So I'm going to outlaw. So I live in a state of Virginia where this, thanks to knife rights, is finally legal. the governor, you know.
[42:36] Before the current governor got himself in some trouble and he was looking like a politically incorrect buffoon. And so he turned the focus on automatic knives that they wanted to have legalized.
He's like, no, we're not going to do that. And it cost a whole bunch of jobs in a depressed part of Virginia that wanted to set up a knife company that was going to make these kinds of things. And and he said no because he himself had gotten himself in hot water. So in my opinion, at.
[43:07] Least in the United States, I can't speak for the United Kingdom, but I mean, yeah, it's kind of the same job everywhere though. You know, politician is trying to get reelected.
Oh yeah, of course, yeah. And it's often the way our 99% of politicians are like that nowadays where they're looking out for their own self interests and what, you know, if they're not
going to be elected next what big job are they going to land at some fancy farm next to screw us over in another way. But, you know, it's the sad reality, the political
landscape in the West is in a sorry state of affairs. But I suppose that's a story for another day. But it is interesting that, you know, one man, the governor, can have so much.
Power over legislation and I'm really glad that got cleared up fees and you can own something like that. Sitting over here I'm very jealous because I love to own automatic knives and.
That was actually what the latest bill legislation brought into the United Kingdom.
[44:11] You used to be able to own but not... this is how silly the law is. You used to be able to own but not buy automatic blades and switchblades but now they've outlawed them completely and
they expected everybody to surrender them by a certain deadline day. So if you have one now, even in your own home, then you're breaking the law. It's crazy, it's crazy.
And this is, it's not stopping crime, it's not taking away, it's not taking bad guys off the streets. What it's doing is it's impacting small businesses and it's impacting collectors.
That want to have something cool to use and EDC lovers as well. So for any good it does, the bad outweighs it, I would say big time.
Yeah. I would say the raw exercise of power never results in anything good and that's That's all that this seems like.
[45:13] But like you said, that's a story for another rant. So I want to know about the future of Woo Knives.
Where do you want the company to go? What kind of other products, what other kind of knives are you looking to make in United Kingdom?
[45:31] Can you make, can you have fixed blade knives like for camping and that kind of thing? Is that another avenue? So again, absolutely, you can't own fixed blades but they're classed in the same legislation as locking knives.
In the UK, a judge once determined that a blade, a folding knife once locked is classed as a fixed blade.
So that's why locking blades are banned because once they're deployed under British law they're classified as a fixed blade. It's not going anywhere, let's be realistic so you can see
the logic in it but unfortunately it impacts us in such a negative light. So I could go into these realms of even having a locking knife or a fixed blade but the reality is I want to stick to.
UK legal so that's non-locking sub three inch blades whether it's slip joints or double detents and that's because that's where that's why who nice was founded you know to try and
fill this gap in the market and to have these kind of different designs of knives that you can flip open that you can't do with other UK legals etc. and fill that void and we've achieved that somewhat and erm...
[46:53] Hopefully, we can keep going down that route. I would never rule out doing something like a locking knife, etc. But from a business standpoint, it doesn't make much sense. 90% of our customers are British.
So they're going to want something that they can carry and use on a daily basis.
Yeah. When I asked you the fixed blade question, I wasn't taking into consideration that you don't have the same hunting culture that we have.
So I mean, there's a huge market for hunting knives, fixed blade knives that are completely unthreatening, so to speak. They're not combat knives, they're not fighting knives, they're little hunting knives.
But yeah, that's probably not even, there's probably very, very, very little demand for that.
So yeah, I just wanna agree with you that I think that you have filled the niche you were looking to fill because I can't think of anyone else.
There is some companies out there, you know, I'm not going to discredit everybody. Spyderco has been great, they've developed some UK legal designs.
I was looking down because they've done a smaller version of this called The Urban, which has proved very popular as well in the UK.
[48:07] But in terms of like double-detent folders with high-end materials, what I'd like to suggest is a reasonable cost, it's not OTT pricing you know, I want to make it in the
realm so that if you can afford, you know you can save to get it if you can't afford to get it straight away because that's what I do with a lot of my pocket knives etc. I
sit aside a little bit of money and get it so it's not a crazy price. Like some of the kind of other knives out there which are justifiably high priced if they're manufactured in the the likes of the states etc because the manufacturing is not cheap.
[48:48] Right, right. Yeah, so when I said I can't think of anyone, I know that there are people making double detent. There are big companies, but it's for us by us. You're there making.
It, designing it for your countrymen and for your needs, but kind of bringing it right up to the level. Like, because it's fidgety, like the kind of knife you can't own. It has
the same sort of blade geometry, it has the same sort of ergonomics and look and you can flip it and you can pop it out with your with your thumb so you're giving it you're taking
it right up to the line. I think that that's really cool because you know yeah yeah because that means people like you over there can have that knife too and experience all the.
[49:37] You know the fun stuff.
And that is where all of this came from, Bob, to be honest with you. It's the fact that, you know, I remember I got asked a couple of questions off Knife News once and they
said, well, you know, what made you want to design this knife? And the honest answer is it was a knife for me. I designed it for myself, you know, and no matter how selfish that may.
Sound or be, that's exactly why I done it. I designed it because it's a knife that I wanted to have to carry, you know, for hopefully the rest of my life and it be legal so long
as the laws don't change in the UK etc. And then when I had the design I thought.
[50:23] You know I could really do something with this here, this is actually you know, I didn't expect it to become a reality as quick as it did to be honest with you but I just went along with it and I'm so glad that there was so much interest from people in the United Kingdom and around the world.
I've been so grateful for the messages we get of people carrying them and we do have Americans that carry them as well. Nowhere near as many British and Germans but we do have quite a lot of
American users as well which is fantastic. You know, taking the double detents and UK legals internationally is always going to put a smile on my face but my aim is always
going to be my own market so it's always going to be the UK. That's the reality of it and just so happens that German knife laws are super similar. Not exactly the same, but very similar in the sense of the sub 3 inches and non-locking, etc.
[51:27] You know, funny thing is, or the irony is, when I was a kid in the 80s and 90s, I had a chance to go to Europe a couple of times, and that's where we got switchblades. It's.
Like going to Germany, getting a switchblade. And I think my sister brought one back to me in the 80s from the UK. So it's just funny that kind of our laws were real strict on that and it sort of changed.
It's changed. It is interesting now that how the tables turn. Yeah a little bit. Hopefully everyone just kind of gets a little bit of common sense.
But I really like that you're, that you specialize in your country and your specific knife laws. yeah the rest of the world actually really does have strict knife laws it's pretty much the universal.
[52:18] Yeah absolutely you know I was even speaking to one of our manufacturers or we only have one manufacturer, one of the gentlemen that works with the manufacturer and I asked him you know they're manufactured in China by the way full disclosure and I said to him.
Is it even legal for you to carry half of the stuff that you make and it's not, it's not, you know, they're making these knives for for Western countries and in a lot of cases it's.
Not legal to carry in China, which is really interesting to say the least but you're right especially in Europe we have you know
We're world renowned for being quite strict on what some would classify as weapons, like guns, fire, any kind of firearm, and knives, you know, truncheons, whatever kind of thing
you want to call them. But the difference with a knife is if I called this a weapon and sold it,
it would be illegal, but it's a tool. So it's classified as legal. Our laws are very strange in that sense as well where you're not allowed to sell anything for the purpose of using.
As a weapon. But certainly as anything could be if it was used in a negative way could be used in that manner.
[53:43] Yeah, the weapon is in here as they like to say. 100%.
If you had the opportunity to collaborate or have any knife company in the world make one of your designs, who would it be?
[53:59] That's such a tough question because there's so many great knife companies out there but I'll be honest with you, I'm going to come back to the kind of soft spot in me, it would
be MBK. I just think they make such clean designs, such beautiful efficient knives and.
I would love to get my hands with one of Ray's custom pieces and I really don't want to insulting by butchering his last name not pronouncing it right but yeah it would definitely
probably be MBK I just think their knives are just world class and for the price range as well it's actually really similar to our believe it or not for the V1 is priced quite
similar to some of their knives and they also done a double B tent knife as well. Is it.
The EWC? I think it's the EWC. I think so too.
[55:00] I could be wrong, but I'm terrible at remembering names, but that's a fantastic knife as well. The difference is I think it's a front flipper rather than a traditional flipper.
[55:14] So I'd love to work with them in some sense of the light. So what available products do you have for people right now?
[55:24] It's really, really frustrating, but because we are such a small company, I can't physically afford to do tons of production runs. You know for example when I first started 2Knives I put
my entire life savings into it. I sold basically everything I had in terms of financial value like games consoles and stuff. My entire knife collection apart from one or two pieces that
had sentimental value was sold and the couple of pieces stuck with me. So the only thing we have at the moment is the V2 and we've got it in two different colorways or variants.
We have the blackout which I believe we only have five or six left of, not many at all. And then the stonewashed and satin which we have plenty of stock of, over a hundred. I.
[56:18] Would love to get to the point where I'm able to stock my V1, the V2 and all the different color ways as well because you know we've done a sand washed finish on the V2 with a
satin blade, we've done a stone washed finish with a satin blade, we've done a stone washed finished with a stonewash blade. We've done a blackout V1 as well.
And with the V2 we've just got the two different designs at the moment, the blackout and the satin and stone wash. So ideally we want to be able to stock all of these different varieties at the same time.
[56:58] Yeah, but I'm impressed for your size that you have the V2 on hand. That's pretty great. I know a lot of people tend to do things in drops and if you're not paying attention at that moment you miss out and that's always a bummer. So it's cool that you have these V2s available.
Well, I try to get as much stock as possible to be honest with you, but from a financial standpoint it can be quite hard when you're looking at so much coming out of the company account, et cetera, and you're thinking, goodness, I've got 2,000 worth of bills next month.
[57:37] That I've got to pay, et cetera. So that's why we've got limited stock. But we will build it up. We will build up our Civivi stock again as well. I'm just about to place another Civivi
order in the next few days actually because I've seen that they've got some new knives that I think will be really nice. The wee banter with wood handles now. I thought that I think it's a mini banter actually. So we'll get some of them in as well.
I get why people do these drops like build hype up around the product etc. and if that works for you by all means don't let me be the one to try and
stop anybody from having a successful business. But like you say I like to try and have a knife on hand in case somebody wants to buy one or they've been saving for it for a while, not everybody's got the capital right at that second to pull.
[58:31] The trigger etc. So we try to keep the knife well stocked. This is our first run of the V2 and we got 250 of these made and each are numbered 1 to 250 for the first production
run. So if you get a wee box, this is the box that comes in and they'll come with their number there and the numbers also on the blade of the knife as well just to kind of signify that this is the first production run.
[59:04] And then future production runs they don't all come with that like for example we only had 50 blackouts made so we put M390 on the blade instead of a unique number just to signify that it wasn't a full production run.
So things like that it was a bit quirky but some collectors actually really like it you know we've had a few gentlemen messages and ask if they can buy our prototypes just as a collector's piece.
[59:36] As a kind of drawer queen. The reality is I don't like to sell them because I don't feel like it's the finished product. When one of our knives hit your doorstep in a package, I want you to open it and be like, this is brilliant. I don't want you to open it and think, oh, they'll miss but...
I wonder what they changed. Yeah, yeah. So it is what it is.
But it's always really nice to if someone wants to buy a prototype, if they like the knife that much, then I'm honored to be asked such a thing, to be honest with you.
Well, Karl, I want to thank you for coming on the Knife Junkie Podcast. I think it's really cool.
How you are stepping up and making knives for you and your countrymen and people who suffer under these oppressive knife laws.
I really think it's cool because you're giving people something that's an opportunity to have a knife similar to ones that they can't have. And in doing so, you're making something unique and beautiful all on their own. So, congratulations, sir. I look forward to seeing how Woo Knives grows.
[1:00:49] I really appreciate you having me on the show, it's been a blessing, thank you very much. Ah, quite a pleasure sir, take care.
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