Zac Wingard of Wingard Wearables – The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 371)
Zac Wingard of Wingard Wearables joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on Episode 371 of The Knife Junkie Podcast. Wingard Wearables creates EDC items out of weapons not thought of for everyday carry, like tomahawks, spears, war clubs and an implement called the “Quill.” Zac has always been passionate about historical edged weapons with a special love for tomahawks.
One thing that many current-day tomahawk makers get wrong (and that Wingard focuses on getting right) is weight. Unlike axes and hatchets, tomahawks are meant to be very light and nimble in the hand and easy to throw.
These tomahawks and other implements are not just weapons but also intended for utility use. The new Thumper is a wearable bludgeon designed around the Iroquois war club, made by Zac entirely in house.
Each Wingard Wearable is made in America by skilled blacksmiths and bladesmiths and numerous small businesses across three states.
Like the name implies, Wingard Wearable tomahawks, pikes and quills are intended to be worn close to the body and come with kydex sheaths for the sharp and pointy parts. Zac EDCs his Backripper Tomahawk, in-the-waistband, literally all the time.
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.Wingard Wearables creates EDC items out of weapons not thought of for everyday carry, like tomahawks, spears and war clubs. Zac Wingard is my guest this week on episode 371 of #theknifejunkie #podcast to talk about his newest… Click To Tweet
Wingard Wearables Zac Wingard - The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 371)
[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 Zac of Wingard Wearables.
Zac has pioneered the concept of the EDC tomahawk.
I'm not talking folding novelty tomahawks or hand axe approximations at tomahawks, but true wearable, concealable battle ready tomahawks.
[0:37] His fascination with weaponry and the history of the Northeastern Native American tribes and his appreciation for the tomahawk as a weapon and EDC tool, led to the wearable backripper, empress and stingray tomahawks, which I have arrayed in front of me,
as well as other picks and implements for utility and defense.
He's created a fascinating niche for himself in the knife world and has achieved something very modern using old world materials and techniques. We're going to see what he's got cooking next.
But first, be sure to like comment, subscribe, hit the notification bell and download this to your favorite podcast app so you can listen while you're on the go. And as always, if you're interested in helping support the show, you can do so on Patreon. The quickest way to do that is to head over to theknifejunkie.com slash patreon or simply zap the QR code.
That's theknifejunkie.com slash patreon. Visit the Knife Junkie at theknifejunkie.com to catch all of our podcast episodes, videos, photos, and more.
Zac, welcome to the Knife Junkie Podcast. It's great to have you back. Oh, thank you for having me back. It's always going to be wonderful.
[1:44] So, upfront, I was talking about how you do something very modern with old world materials and concepts.
And what I'm talking about is the modern part being the EDC part, being the wearable part, that you make these full-size tools and weapons to be wearable.
Tell me about how that came about and how the Backripper was first born.
Yeah, so back in 2007, I first attempted to carry a Tomahawk. This was a Vietnam-style Tomahawk.
It was made at the time by a company that's out of business, American Tomahawk Company. And the head was about that long. It was like almost nine inches from the front blade to the end of the spike.
The carry system was like the size of like an airplane pillow. you put behind your head, it was huge, bulky.
So I just, I knew like fundamentally, you know, a tomahawk maximum reach, maximum lethality, that's the only edge weapon you're gonna get where, you know, one strike impact to the head is not incapacitating somebody or hit them in the forearm, that sort of thing.
It's different than a knife.
[2:57] You know, it's got a lot more power behind it. So I tried carrying that tomahawk in 2007, And I even got this underarm carry system made and it was really uncomfortable.
I was fatter back then and I had to wear a wife beater to protect the skin from the shoulder harnesses like nylon webbing and stuff.
And you'd grab the tomahawk and pull it downward and it made this loud, the kydex made this loud noise.
But it was awesome. It felt awesome doing it psychologically even though this tomahawk was really big and kind of sluggish. You weighed about a pound.
And then one day, you know, as awesome as it felt drawing it, one day it didn't feel awesome. It felt funny. You know, I drew it out and I was like, huh.
[3:41] And I looked down and the beard of the tomahawk had raked through my love handle. And I noticed this like expanding red spot on my wife's beater. I was worried to protect my skin.
And I was like, huh, this EDC Tomahawk thing, what's out there really isn't ready for it.
[3:59] And so, years later, 2016, I moved up to an area where it was very difficult to carry handguns legally like states. I lived at a border where, you know, states didn't have reciprocity
with each other. And, you know, you look on the laws in the books, lots of laws prohibiting knives and handguns. Not really many laws at the time, only Texas prohibited tomahawk carry, and they
since lifted that band. So, you know, I wanted to figure it out again and I started modifying cold steel Tomahawks and that sort of thing, getting them lighter and more capable to match
the historic weights. You know, I reached out to Jack Vargo who wrote the book on spike Tomahawks and he mentored me and showed me how light and compact these things were and how they were actually made as opposed to, you know, how modern manufacturers make them. And so from those lessons,
you know, eventually we honed in on the back of a tomahawk. And, you know, I would have the handle roughed out at Hickory. I had the heads 3D printed out plastic and dialed in the form factors. I
discovered you had to have an angle on this because when you bend deeply at the waist, if you're like most American men with a beer gut, your beer gut will interfere if this was a straight 90 degree.
[5:25] So little things like that also, you know, having the curve of the spike conform to one side of the body so you could sit in a butt cup in car seat comfortably.
Little subtle things like that were discovered just in 3D printing a piece of plastic and tweaking it.
And then eventually we got these blacksmith hand forged out of tool steel and attached to a Pennsylvania hickory handle with hickory wedges.
And we've been, when we launched in 2018.
That was our primary product. And because this is, you know, we do such a long thorough design process, we only come out with maybe one to two new designs or new products a year. So 2018 was
the backripper. 2019 was the Empress, which also featured that, you know, offset spike to curve to your waistline. And then this was the most complicated tom-off to get launched.
The Stingray came out in late 2020 and you'll notice that spike is clearly straight but it actually carries under your arm quite easily. Our carry systems
are adaptable for clipping onto you know think flat stock paracord loop between the shoulders that sort of thing. So those are the three tom-offs we came out with. And it just takes, you know, years to iterate on these designs and test them. That's.
[6:54] How it got started. You're talking about this downward angle of the backripper head and I always assumed and we've talked about this. This is our third time talking about this formally. And I.
[7:08] Didn't realize that this was for the beer gut leaning down because that angle actually is very efficient on a chop. It follows the arc of your arm. So it really digs in sort of like the axe
version of a recurve on a knife. Yeah and it also, if you choke up like this in the hand,
you can use it as a box cutter type thing. You can even put a second hand on this. But if you're cutting through like think a half inch thick compressed fiberboard, like those take forever,
with a box cutter. You can like get both hands on and kind of pre-score on that projecting corner.
And one of the other things we discovered, and I won't claim I was clever enough to design it for for something that was can't do.
[7:56] To accommodate the American beer guff. But when this buries into, you know, fabric and flesh, one of the things that's a common problem with axe style pom-poms, especially if they're very,
bearded, is they get hung up. So when you do a chop and then you try to cycle back, if you were to,
you know, do it like a choo-choo train, you know, do it sort of a circle type motion, you chop in, you bury, go like this, it's going to get hung up. But if you chop in, you use that as a ramp,
you just do that when you extract the back ripper. So when it's buried in, you use that downward cant as sort of a ramp out and it really just pops clean out, no extraction problems. But you know,
it does, it's all about technique. You know, you got to master the techniques. Sure. But yeah,
so that's the back ripper. Part of that technique is actually carrying it and getting used to carrying it. I find the Empress for me easier to carry. This is my bedside tomahawk by the way.
[8:57] I have a number of bedside implements for the tomahawk angle.
[9:02] Because also I figure if someone's on top of me choking me in my sleep, I can grab this and use this very well without having to swing it. Oh yeah. There's a lot of nasty ways to do that.
But what I really want to do is congratulate you on your latest project here. You've been working on something that you've been talking about for a while and now it has finally hit the ground.
And I'm really excited. As a matter of fact, right before we started rolling, I got an automated email saying mine had shipped and I'm very excited about this.
And so tell us what your latest product and release is.
Well, you know, Tomahawks are what we watched our business with. But before the Tomahawk, there was traditional war clubs. And so earlier this year, one of our customers, Ernest Gendron, he's a
Native American artist who makes traditional war clubs. Like this is a war club he has made.
[10:03] And he makes ball headed war clubs too. And he owned a back ripper. He said, Zach, I think you You ought to come out with an everyday carry war club. And by the way, here's a prototype I made.
We get like good idea fairy type stuff all the time for people and they're usually terrible ideas on polite I'm like, oh, thank you. We'll think about it, you know, but I've been wanting to see a war club,
For a long time. I even did one more earliest YouTube videos was about war clubs where I said as awesome as they are.
[10:35] They aren't practical for care. And I was so glad that earnest proved me wrong Because these just feel it. I don't know whether it's like the weight,
balance or something, but you just, maybe it's in our DNA or something, but you feel powerful holding it. It feels like really good. And there's just, it's hard to describe
until you hold it in your hand, holding like a traditional ball-headed war club. And Ernest sent us a prototype where he had basically flattened it. And when you look at a lot of
historic bald-headed war clothes. They aren't spherical. They're spheroid. They're kind of,
they aren't pure circles. So, if you can see here, this is kind of got some flats on the side.
[11:21] And, you know, the thickness here is shorter than the thickness here. They're kind of round, you know, but they aren't perfectly circular because these are all handmade from natural materials.
And so, you know, he basically sent a prototype to us of this flag and then we said, yeah, like this works. So let's figure out how to go from your prototype to a prototype that we can
manufacture like on a batch scale. And that's what led to this. This is the Thumper Wear Club.
See, we had a naming contest, I'm not sure what to call it, but Wear Club, get a War Club, but with a stripy, because you can wear it.
That was really clever who came up with that one.
Yeah, basically these are made from Pennsylvania hickory. They're nested in a board like this and CNC'd to near-net shape. But then when you have like, you know, CNC'd wood, there's
like rough machining marks. Some parts are like way too rough. Some parts are way too smooth, you know, and a war club should have, you know, a textured grip. And so I, you know,
scrape and rasp these so you got that texture. And then I soak them in bald linseed oil.
[12:36] Take them out, torch them slowly because you don't want to heat up the wood too quickly but it's charred. That's kind of called like a Shosu-Gi-Ban type finish, like a Japanese style wood finishing,
waterproofing wood. And then we set this steel 41-43-8's pin, it's a dowel pin, it's a steel rod,
deeply into the ball section and that steel rod is also ground so that it comes to, let me find that, a sharp right angle. It's like when you actually get, you know,
round stock like pins and stuff, they usually have like little fillets and chambers on the corners. You know, their purpose is like load bearing, not impact.
But for this, Ernest knows way more about war clubs than I ever did.
And he showed now as prototype that the point of the studs or projecting spikes that you see on some of these war clubs is to just bite into a target and fully transmit impact momentum.
So even though this is a blunt impact weapon, it does have an edge around, it's a 90 degree edge, but still an edge around the impact stud. And then, yeah, it's just been great collaborating with them on it.
[13:56] You know, these are weighing around, on average, about 11 and a half ounces. So that's lighter than the backripper, right? No, that's lighter than the Empress, but heavier than the backripper.
It's heavier than the Empress and the backripper. It's about a half ounce lighter than the Stingray.
But some of them, you know, it's wood-based. of these weigh over 13 ounces, some of them weigh just under 10. Traditionally, one of these guys, this is like a 20-inch long war club that weighs about 20 ounces.
And I mean, they were using these against people using war clubs or muskets as blocking blows and stuff.
There was even, before the age of gunpowder reached, there were people wearing wooden armor in the Eastern Woodlands.
So you actually needed a lot of momentum to crash through and they would often have a big like antler tying or something like that to power through. but a lot of the workouts actually were.
[14:58] Like this. They were thin, like really thin and this would be called like a gun stock or saber style war club. And this particular one is made by Woodland War Clubs on Facebook and it weighs
about 11 ounces and some of them got even lighter than that. So, the problem with this design is it's not, it actually is not easy. I don't think there's a way to do it because it's just, it,
it flares out so much. But you know, I really didn't envision this being,
DCable either until Ernest came up with like sort of a flattened ball headed war club.
And it is three dimensional, like it isn't just a board that gets thicker here and then it tapers down.
So, you have more mass shifted forward. And with the addition of the steel rod, You add 1.5 ounces to the impact zone. So it's actually multiple purposes If it both bites into the target to transmit momentum and it adds momentum.
[15:59] And that stud goes so far back into it that.
[16:04] Your load is taken up and transmitted further back to the handle So one of the things we did is, you know when he came up to us with a concept they had a steel rod in it.
I roughed out a version of a hickory that didn't have a steel rod.
And I was hitting various things with it.
And when the wood directly takes up the impact, I noticed it would frequently skip off targets, like because it's round, right?
And it would sometimes, because of the direct impact, there would be like checking.
Like you would get in the ball section, little bits of sort of crack propagation.
Never enough to break it but it was like hmm that's kind of unsightly and so when we added the steel pin which is what Ernest wanted originally you know and we lengthened it that took the brunt of of the impact and transmitted the load further back.
And so that just.
[17:00] It's like one simple piece, you know, a steel rod. It's doing all these things in the design. It's pretty amazing.
So you did a really good job, you know, coming up with that concept.
I always presumed that the spike on the ball or whatever that was coming out of the ball, I was always thinking of it for its power to puncture and wound in that way.
But really what it is, it's like the knurling on the face of a warhammer from the medieval time. So it wouldn't skip off the helmet, it would dig into the helmet and transfer all that power.
Exactly. And so that's why I kind of was dismissive because I thought I was thinking the exact same way. Like I would see war clubs that would have like hand forged spikes coming out a couple inches or antler ties. I was like, you know, a spike wound isn't that great, right?
It's tiny little puncture. Well, I really didn't understand at the time is there are so many examples of a store for clubs They had this little nubbin of iron coming out now. I was like, well, what's the point of that?
That's barely penetrating like a half-inch Well, it's because when he hits one in the head is just biting in and their brain is getting shaken up and they drop Now a lot of them didn't have.
[18:15] Spikes on like this design and these do skip off more,
But they're heavier too. So, you know, even if you don't get full momentum transfer It's pretty bad news and a lot of the designs did have this on them too where you have.
[18:32] You know if you do skip off or miss you can then swing around catch it and then drive That chisel tip point into the opponent's torso And so Ernest had that feature in this as well, which we included,
So, you know, you can't two-handed strike that sort of thing.
So yeah, we're going to see how these go. Watch first batch and they're moving. How do you find it carries?
It carries well. Now it is bulkier. If you have this big disc here, this is about two and five eighths. It's a lot more mass above your belt line than our Tomahawks. So you do need a covering
garment on. So think like a jacket or an over shirt. But it is not as bulky as say a handgun.
Like a handgun grip is huge compared to this in volume and how far it projects.
And when this is slid in the pants, you can manipulate it. You can have this facing forward or backward But it's quite comfortable, but it is 18 inches long. So, you know if you are Say you're under five foot eight in height.
[19:44] Then the tip of it is going to be running closer to your knee joint when it's worn along your body So we do you know if these wear club concepts, you know of the thumper cells while we do intend to investigate other designs that are different, different materials and also different sizes.
So we definitely want to come out with like a 15 inch or that sort of thing.
Um, you know, just explore the design space because I mean, you see what we've done with Tomahawks, uh, in diversity of design and war clubs are the same way,
but it's kind of a crazy idea, right? Uh, I didn't think it was possible, uh, to make it technically until,
The prototype was in hand and now, you know, it's sort of the question of like, okay, how much of a market appetite is there for a wearable war card?
I think there must be because batons, telescoping batons and SAPs are a thing. And this has a lot more capability, right? It's got a lot more momentum. You have some hooking capability too.
And you've got the pommel, two-handed blocks. Those are very difficult to do with a baton, especially those aluminum telescoping batons. And those just aren't possible at all with a sap.
[21:02] So something you were just sort of hinting at was different sizes, well, different designs, different materials.
I want to talk about that in a second. But you were basically alluding to the fact that the Empress and the backripper come in in this size which is Z.
[21:20] 16 inches I think and then they come in the shorter Molly compatible size so that you have a little bit.
[21:27] Slip that in a Molly rig That Molly rig one has similar to the thumper kind of a chisel Pommel that you can use that that's helpful for slipping it under the loops of a Molly system No doubt, but also could be nice. Oh.
[21:43] Yeah, but hey, yeah if you hit the forehead it's hot be bad But I mean this is actually penetrating like if you take a hard piece of hickory
chisel edge and slam that into you know skin and meat I mean it's a whole the size of your thumb so it's a it is quite a bit more potent due to the size and,
really get that leverage in there but we are gonna make more compact ones hopefully you know if these if this becomes a successful feasible product,
You know, we hope to come out with more because this just is wild what you could do I mean, this is just a steel rod. Imagine if those tungsten heavy alloy,
Imagine if it wasn't a rod at all, you know, if you had metal elsewhere along the design, you know for.
[22:30] Even more momentum. Yeah, so yeah, I just think that it's such a diverse wide open design space But you got to start somewhere and usually if you come up with a new product, no one's done before
for, you know, keep it simpler, you know? And so this being, you know, just all hit one piece of hickory and then, you know, a secure deeply inserted steel rod, that's about as simple of a wear club concept as one could have. And we're gonna see how it goes.
You know, just looking at you holding that up, I showed my mother this, the Empress, this is before I got the other ones and she thought it was so beautiful. She thought it was a, you know, just a beautiful thing to look at a work of art. And she thought it looked like a goat and I was like, yeah, it's pretty nasty goat. But you holding that up,
it's also a very, it's just a very beautiful sculptural kind of piece. Of course, it's got a function. You, you know, just in following you on Instagram and watching you go through
the process of your research and development, especially heavy on the stingray, because there are a lot of issues in making something throwable like that.
But but when it comes to the thumper, you've done a lot of finish work like you do on all the handles and halves and such.
[23:48] How much is working on these pieces yourself? Because you like a conductor or a producer, have people forge your heads over here and cast them over here and you bring it together and you do the halves and stuff.
How much is working with the materials? How important is that for you?
Absolutely critical. Even with our Tomahawks, it doesn't matter if the head is cast or can forge. It doesn't matter if the handle is CNC veneer net shape.
Like I have to do all the fine flush fitting, finishing, texturing and assembly because that's quality control. Right.
I'm not bringing a new design out for the world or collaborate in this case with someone else who brought a design to us.
[24:36] You know, we do collaborate with others like, you know, we guess you could call it outsourcing with small American businesses to address things that we can't do in our
own little workshop, streamline and make these more efficient. But it's absolutely critical going hands on. And I mean, I spend my weekends, my hours after my day job, just laboring on them.
[25:04] And it is a lot of work, but it is so satisfying when you finish them. My wife was scolding me because as we were packing them, each war club I picked up and I was just like.
[25:16] I told Mads, she's like, just put it in the box. It's just like, it'll be interesting to see what your mom says about this because I have yet to meet a woman who's like, oh, war clubs. Like they have very low wife appreciation.
[25:30] I don't know what it is. Women think ball headed war clubs are ugly. I think they're beautiful. I think it's just, it's in our DNA.
I think most men have something in our ancestral DNA where our ancestors hadn't used something like that. Yeah.
Everywhere had wooden war clubs somewhere in their lanes. There are all kinds of diverse designs all over the world. But if you are alive today, there are probably multiple streams of DNA contributing
to you. It doesn't matter if your ancestors are from Australia, Polynesian islands, any country in Asia, Europe. There's all kinds of archaeological evidence that wooden war clubs, I mean, were back
and caveman days all the way through the late 1800s. They were used somewhere in the world.
[26:22] People's lives were depending on them. If you're alive today, it's thanks to a war club. No doubt. It is. It is.
There's no doubt because that added to the successful breeding. Oh yeah. So my parents went to South Africa when I was in high school or middle school, and they brought back a Zulu war club. And now that I'm thinking about it,
I don't know where it ended up. Hopefully my brother has it, or hopefully my parents have it, because it was so cool and it was in our TV room for years. And it was a big heavy ball,
all one integrated piece on a shaft and it was heavy. And it was like, you know, if I was home alone and I heard something, I'd grab that war club. Oh yeah, absolutely. Tuck it, you know,
by the bedside or whatever in your car or in your pants. Or in this case, in your pants. Hold up the the old school one that you were holding up before without the spike please.
So now you were talking about this being a part of our genetics. It looks like a femur with a ball joint.
I mean, you know, this was probably born of that, you know? that, you know? This is totally unscientific, unhistorical.
[27:31] It looks like a ball joint. Yeah, and what's interesting is the way these were traditionally made, you would have to go through the forest and harvest a sapling that was usually growing on a creek side.
So creek sides, especially in the northeast, very steep banks.
Like you had lots of rivers and stuff. You had to get around on canoes. And the trees that grew on those banks, you had the root system, the root borough, and the trunk would grow offset, because it's on an incline, right?
[28:04] And so what they would do is harvest those saplings, air dry it, and then finish it. So that's what defined the offset for the root girl.
And the other way to do it is to find a branch off of a tree trunk and cut it. This is how this one was made. This is from Eastern hot corn bean, which is what we would call around here ironwood.
Extremely hard wood but this was made from a branch coming off of a trunk right so they were grown in together and so one of the challenges with the
thumper was making sure that like the grain run out you know didn't run out severely in the ball section right you want that grain alignment right so you
want the grain to run along the handle which it does for strength just like any Tomahawk or axe handle but then when the grain transitions into this impact section, you want that
to stay straight along with the vault and there's just variability in wood. So, there can be a little bit of grain run out here and that's again where that steel stud offsetting the load transferring
in closer to the handle can help you. So, you know, these, you know, I test them two-handed,
powered up blows slamming into a piece of hardwood.
And they're holding up great. And they were made for hitting.
[29:32] People, right? They are not gonna hold up if you're slamming this against the material that has no give like a concrete block or a steel bar, you know, that's not what they're made for. But against material where this can bite in and transfer that impact momentum, it's good. A kneecap, for instance.
Yes, that would definitely, that would be bad news. So on the Empress and also on the Backripper, you use this cool kind of epoxy, I don't know, it's like a black gummy material, as part of.
[30:05] To accentuate the cross-wetting you have in the top. Is that what's holding the metal peg in the the slot there? Yeah, so it is tight fitted and then we have a black resin that we put in around
the stud and deeply inset it. And so it's about two and three-eighths of steel inside,
with a tight fit to the wood plus that strong resin. And so, you know, this isn't going to bury deeply into any material anyway. You know, it's projecting about a half-inch, but you've got,
way more engagement of the rod.
Strongly bonded to the War Club for extraction. So the reason we use the resin actually with the stingrays and the impresses isn't for adhesion at all.
It's to fill in that gap and prevent any gap between the bottom of the cheeks and the handle for moisture and stuff to get through. Like the wedges are what hold the head from.
These act as sort of a gap filler.
[31:10] But for the War Clubs, you know, it's not just a gap filler. It is is helping secure the stud.
And traditionally when they had like antler tines or pieces of iron, pine pitch and other natural glues would be used.
And really if you guys get interested in buying a traditional war club made in a traditional manner, the wood checks like crazy, especially on a roof roll.
Like there are all sorts of cracks and stuff in this. And makers fill this with resin and it holds up.
[31:46] So people like kind of underestimate the strength of wood. Like they think, oh, if there's a crack running through the wood, that means it's gonna break. And it's like, no, wood is an amazing material.
You can backfill wood with adhesive and cure it clamped under pressure and it'll be even stronger than it was before.
So anyway, sorry to ramble. you're talking that that's what this is about. So you're talking about right now we're talking about a root burl and a and a spherical or approximating spherical thing. But but we also.
[32:21] Have war clubs all over the place in the Philippines, in Fiji, in South America that are more paddle shaped, where you're getting hit with a very slender portion of that. It's kind of like,
the saber style war club. Yeah, and those are made from boards, basically. They would have to make a board off of a tree trunk. And, you know, this one around 11 ounces is similar. Ours are averaging
around 11 and a half ounces. It is very similar. And so these are actually a more prolific and popular style of war club than the ball headed sections. Like, you don't really see the ball headed style war clubs much beyond the northeast woodlands and then as some of those tribes got,
pushed out and entered tribal warfare into the plains they continued with that but these saber style war clubs were everywhere all over the united states or what eventually became the united states so the southeast the northeast on the plains gunstock saber style was the most prolific,
Were they really actually made from gun stocks?
No. Okay. That's just something that collectors call it. And there's different theories on like, the real angular ones, like, oh, they designed them to look like gun stocks. And I don't know about that. I mean, there's...
[33:47] Way before guns came to the new world, like when, you know, the early, you know, Spanish interactions, like with the Natives from the Spanish, or with armed with crossbows and stuff,
they had this style of war cloth, right? It looked basically, they described them like a wooden cutlass or a wooden falchion. And so, you know, maybe different angular versions were made that kind of looked like a gun. And collectors these days call those gunstock style war cloths,
but I'm not sure there's strong evidence to say that they design them from gunstocks.
Got you. Got you. I always when I was a kid when I first learned of those, I made the assumption that they were salvaged gunstocks that were turned into like fancy clubs.
Now on those you'll frequently see a sort of double edged dagger like blade.
[34:38] That seems to be a lot more about the cutting, the puncturing, the slashing. Yeah, definitely. And that's what's just so amazing to me. It's just like in one continent,
North America, the diversity of war club designs by itself is just amazing. Like I could spend,
the rest of my life once a year coming out with a different design iteration just off of that.
[35:01] And never run out of designs. But you look across the world, there's just there's so many.
You're talking about those Polynesian war clubs. Some of those are incredible. They had like throwing war clubs like missile clubs, you know, I've seen those in like museums and stuff and.
[35:17] You know, just all kinds of different interpretations of how to make natural material in your environment useful to you to protect your family and your property,
that sort of thing. Yeah, yeah. Cold Steel did a version of that throwing missile. It was about a,
you know, 14 inch bullet shaped thing that you just throw in.
The torpedo. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It might stick or it might just knock you out. You know, it's like it's just a big bar.
[35:45] Oh, what was I going to mention? Oh, oh, you're talking about things from your environment that you would add to your war club. And we're talking about the Polynesian style,
with the tiger shark teeth all along the all along the flat. Yeah, we have some guys, RMJ, RMJ Tactical, you know, they make tomahawks and stuff.
[36:08] They do, I don't think it's a regular thing, but at Blade Show I saw they had a couple big, beautifully made war clubs, the flat kind. I think Aztec or something, I'm not sure, but they have...
Yeah, JB Knife and Tool did something like that too.
They did too, yeah. Oh man, I love their stuff too. Yeah, not wearable, but you wouldn't want to, like, if you're a burglar and someone found you in their house and they had that, that would be bad news.
Yeah. Yeah, those things are pretty intimidating.
So you, Windguard Wearables is also responsible for making, you also have the dick pick, you have the quill, and other implements of chaos or utility, we should say, because they are,
And then you just came out with the smaller dick pick.
That's pretty. Yeah, the micro dick pick. Yeah. I'll show that one, but yeah.
But yeah, and we're kind of next year. We are we plan to come out with the dick pic magnet Okay, that that is gonna be like based on.
[37:17] Replicating the lethality of a full-up sized and the people dagger But you know with the dick pics, you know, you got the hammer face the pry bar. There are some.
[37:29] Times you need more momentum more leverage on the prize. So go bigger. It's gonna help you So I'm excited about next year, because the dick pick magnum will come out.
Our dick picks right now are about six and five eighths, micro dick picks are like four and five eighths inches. So we're targeting north of 11 inches on the dick pick magnum.
[37:49] I need to, yeah, I need to get the, I want the smaller one. I've slept on that, which is rare uh... for me to sleep on a wing guard wearable because uh...
I love them. But but the spear now this is something you don't we don't hear about as much. Are you still making the spear and tell me a little bit about that?
Okay, so the micro pike micro that was our current I should have brought one of those out here.
[38:17] We made 20 of those. So that was like basically a hand forged curved leaf blade spear about two inches long on almost 15 inches of steel that was curved to fit conform to your waistline.
[38:32] My wife would knit in a loom the leather that went over it. It took her two hours per grip to knit these things. And we eventually, it was not a fast seller because our brand really wasn't established
And it's also just a weird looking thing. Like it doesn't look like a War Club or a Tomahawk or.
[38:57] You know our dick pics look like an ice pick or a size that sort of thing that it has nothing out there like And so I do think We are gonna bring that back. We've temporarily discontinued it. I won't rethink the micro pike.
[39:13] Get some more utility Capability in there and bring him back with a nor brands grown since then and I think that'll be more successful on watching So a micropike gin too. That's what we'll call them. We'll be waiting for it because I like.
[39:30] One thing that I've always been drawn to about your work is how you take.
[39:36] Well, I mentioned it up front you modernize the concept of the carry of something like this But it's not in all of these modern materials because it's still assembled in these old world materials and old world ways.
And there's something about that. It reminds me a little bit of Winkler knives. I was talking to Daniel Winkler on this show,
and kind of marveling about how Navy SEALs who have access to the most high tech gear out there, period, gravitate towards these revolutionary era inspired,
knife designs in wood, you know, and leather.
I love that.
Yeah, and I think definitely for them, you know.
[40:20] It's one of those things like talking with soldiers and soldiers and even special forces and software have purchased our products before and we will occasionally have interactions with
them. But it's like when you are in a job like that, even though it's rare to get in a hand-to-hand combat tangle, that is something you do fear. Turning the corner and someone's there where they
shouldn't be and you're wrapped up and you know your guys are jammed in a doorway, they aren't able to access you to help you. So that is like the worst case scenario is basically trying to
control your weapon with one hand while defeating an opponent who could be stabbing you or gouging you or who knows what. And I do think that's why, you know, there's a need for that. It's sort of
like being prepared for the worst case scenario increases your confidence going into any scenario.
And so that's why I do think there is that sort of appeal. And that's part of our rationale behind the Dickpick Magnum is, you know, as great as Tom Hawks are for close quarters combat.
When you're talking about near peer, like think in the future, let's say we're fighting an opponent that's wearing helmet and plate carrier.
[41:38] They're kind of invulnerable to a tomahawk, you know, maybe cuts to the neck and that sort of thing. Even hits to the face, unless it's a concussion, isn't going to do anything.
[41:50] Because the body armor is that good. Even though Kevlar can be pierced and things like that, you know, the vitals are covered with a ceramic plate, you know. So we do see value in making like,
bigger versions of this tool that can actually be inspired by those medieval daggers that bypassed armor and could reach the vitals very deeply. And so we're really looking forward to that.
We're tiptoeing into products that soldiers could find useful. That was never what we were initially about. We were about civilian context, but you get more demand signals and you adapt to,
it like Mali compatible versions of our Tomahawks. But yeah, that's always like a big honor to me when I hear from a soldier that's purchased something or they give me feedback of their
experiences they had before with other styles of knives that let them down. And it's like, okay,
you know, it's good to provide products that do something new capability-wise. It's not about building something cool, although cool is always good, it's got to sell, right? It's about addressing
a gap in the market and providing some new capability. You've talked in the past in our conversations about the difference between desanguination or exanguination, what's the word.
[43:15] And then just sort of raw impact. You know the difference between cutting someone or or stabbing someone with a blade or hitting them with a tomahawk.
[43:28] So, yeah, I was going to say, what are the differentiations and how do these different weapons cover these cases?
All right, so you've got a K-bar knife. That's the classic, right?
You know, you can slash with it, you can thrust with it.
But given the width of the blade, this is a big blade to EDC, by the way. This would be a very difficult, uncomfortable way.
I know that because I used to try to carry these things.
[43:53] Things. But with a knife, you know, you can achieve a biomechanical incapacitation if you cut and sever nerves and big muscle groups in someone's upper extremities or lower extremities. And that
would be a less lethal way to incapacitate them, right? Or you can sever an artery or do damage and thrusting into the vital organs so that, you know, their blood pressure drops to the point that they lose consciousness, so exsanguination, is very difficult for a knife like this to.
[44:24] Target the central nervous system. It can happen. There was a disgusting incident out in Philly, some more recently, where a guy kidnapped a teenager who's taken him home
to commit a crime. And the teenager opened his Boy Scout knife and stuck it in the guy's spine and paralyzed him, right? So knives can occasionally do it, but they aren't designed for it, right? They aren't good at splitting through bone. And so, that's where things like,
spikes, if they're long enough, can reach, you know, go through the face to the back of the brain,
you need a really big spike to do that. That's what those medieval daggers were able to do.
You know, when you bypassed armor, you shoved a dagger through a knight's eye-split in his helmet, you know, you had a really long spike to be able to do that.
The knives that are common now, like field knives, big single bellied knives, aren't terribly good at standing and certainly have difficulty getting to the central nervous system.
But if you have something like a tomahawk or a warclaw.
[45:33] Because of the momentum, you have all that lever on that reach, that impact, maximum impact. Even if it doesn't penetrate in very far, like this work hole.
[45:45] Or even our stingray tomahawk, the chopping blade isn't projecting very far, it is going to bite in and transmit momentum. It has got damage to bring in and knock somebody out.
Or you could just turn it around and be sure of it. Do it that way.
Yeah. So that's where if you can shut off the computer, someone's out instantly.
And they may survive. In fact, there's lots of historic accounts where people got tomahawked like in the forehead region and they made it.
And that's because if you look at the brain, the front two thirds of it are not the structures of the brain that are vital for your life to continue.
You actually got to reach into the back.
[46:30] So I look at tomahawks like if I'm incapacitating some of the tomahawk versus a knife, knives in many ways are more lethal because you have to stab somebody so many times to get the exsanguination to happen that they have almost no chance for survival yet they're taking so long to pass out, right?
You know, it could be seven seconds or more with the most lethal stab you could do into the heart.
Horrible videos of stuff like that where it just takes so long for someone to pass out when they're actively resisting. And so, in some ways, I do see Tom Boxer being, I'll say less lethal,
but clearly if you hit someone in the head, I mean, you only do that in the most dire circumstances.
But that's where I see the difference. I do think there's a place for biomechanical incapacitation like the combat consultant for Spider-Code. So, it's Janich, you've interviewed him.
And he's a big fan of trying to get folders to be capable of that. And it is a lot less murdery than you see with like Libre fighting where they're stabbing someone like a half dozen times in their neck and their eye and chest. And it's like, yes, that will incapacitate that person.
Boy, that is going to be bad looking to law enforcement when they respond.
[47:56] Versus, you know, one blow and it's over.
[48:01] Yeah, so that's kind of what we hope to bring to that table. But I do think biomechanical is something we're going to visit.
[48:08] I mentioned, I think last time, I think you had asked us, like, are these wing guard wearables going to come out with a knife?
Yeah, the answer is yes.
And it's hopefully going to be this year. We're collaborating with...
[48:22] Tate Buzzard at the Norman Tactical. Oh, yeah. He's on Instagram. So, yeah, exactly. So, we're working with him. We got a unique design that my wife is like, don't show it because we've,
learned our lesson. You don't show prototypes until it's ready for production on. But it is going to be a big knife. So, I think K-Bar knife size only feasible to be worn, right? Comfortably.
So that's where we're going. And I do think biomechanical will be part of that. But that knife is going to be interesting.
We're targeting sort of a kitchen camp knife capability, like a big blade with purpose, not just to make a big blade, but actually be able to like grab it into hands, use as a draw knife or a scraper, that sort of thing.
[49:10] So, yeah, the future is really exciting. It's it's an abundance of designs that are just infinite.
And so, we just takes time to pursue them.
The, the, um, uh, first of all, I like the Norman Tactical a lot. I've been following him on Instagram for quite a long time. And there's one, one knife in particular that I'm, that I'm always happy to see on his feed. Can't remember what it's called.
Is it like the dirt? Hummingbird or something? Oh yeah, the little pick-all guy. Yes, yes, yes.
I love that little knife. But also just that there is a lot of potential.
[49:50] Especially when you look at blades of, and I know you're not married to the Eastern Woodlands, you know, period and all of that,
but there are a lot of great historical knives to look back upon when coming up with this.
So like you said, like you could just keep going with designs and take cues from different great historical knives.
Of course, I'm thinking of Bowies. I love Bowies and that's a huge Bowie phase right now. I can't stop talking about them. But all sorts of great, great influences you can bring in.
Oh yeah. I just, it's so, it's kind of like you just never have enough time.
Yeah. That's the one thing. It's just like, you know, we're actually hoping to get it.
[50:40] Three or four designs launched this year. You know, like we want the knife out this year.
We wanted, we're working on our first all metal tomahawk. So not full tang, but historically there were all metal tomahawks.
Basically hand forged like a fireman poker.
Okay. Like no handle scales on it. And you know, we have a real exciting design for that.
But it's just like everything good takes so long. And especially when you have to outsource aspects of the design.
And this isn't the crap on anybody we work with, but there are always things that get lost in translation or different scheduling priorities. And it's like that's just the nature of the beast when you're having to outsource.
Like our workshop is tiny.
If we weren't outsourcing, none of these things would be reality. And we'd be charging a fortune for what few items we could make.
But yeah, all metal Tomahawk next year, hopefully.
Big, big Magnum and a big knife. That's awesome. So we're targeting 2023.
Well, one thing I want to touch on before we dip out of here is that you mentioned materials, or we were talking about materials and you mentioned the possibility of working in different materials.
What were you meaning?
[52:09] Like you talking about for the War Club? Yeah, yeah, you were talking in general. Well, anything in general, cause I know you work with Volpe's, a great company that makes trainers for all your stuff and they just do cool stuff in general.
But this is what I'm wondering, because those are all high impact plastics.
And it seems like you could, you know, you might be able to design something within that realm.
Yeah, that could be possible. And I mean, clearly we collaborate with Volpe's to make our trainers. The show brought some trainers out.
He's actually making his own WarCops, not just training WarCops, but I would definitely recommend folks check them out.
They don't have metal embedded in them like that yet. But, I mean, that's something to think about.
The only problem I've had with the high density polyethylene is like there's something about wood that although wood is not as durable as high density polyethylene, it does have lower density.
So you get better center of mass forward because and always less. And there is better texture.
You know, one of the ways he addresses that is by...
[53:31] Doing various like scalloped sands and sanding in the surface or perforations so like for instance on our Tomahawk handles you got more grip on and the most recent war clothes I've seen them.
[53:45] Using it so like it's like wrapped in jute, you know like So that will definitely work so yeah, I gotta think about that because because clearly those things are like unbreakable.
He's got videos of like his sword trainers where just people have done everything they can to break those things.
[54:06] But it is sort of like a baseline material feels like grouping a bar of soap.
Yeah. Not wet soap, but like even a dry bar of soap, you're holding onto it and it's like, hmm, you know.
But you can clearly address that. Like you had a flare out where you did wraps. that's definitely very feasible for action.
So I really am a huge fan of that. And if you guys, if your listeners are interested in war clubs in general, he's got a lot more diverse designs. He's got like gunstock style war clubs and everything of various sizes. So it's really cool.
I know he's a, he seems to be a Filipino martial artist and has a lot of cool influence there with his work.
And his is all hand, like he grips the pieces by hand. It's just standing behind a belt grinder, you know? So yeah, it's awesome. It is, I would consider that like hand ground, right?
Cause that's literally what he's doing. Yeah.
Okay. So back to Wingard wearables as we wrap, tell people the best way to A, keep up with you, but B, what is the availability of the Empress, the back ripper, the stingray, the dick picks, the quills?
How can people find them and what are their availabilities? Thumper, of course.
[55:25] I think almost everything's in stock. The best way to follow what we're doing is Instagram. We post just about every day, sometimes multiple times a day. YouTube also follows there if you
like long form videos. We do a lot of YouTube shorts, but we're trying to get back into doing the long form videos. I think one of our videos is me and Ernest talking about war clubs in general,
That's like an hour long video,
So YouTube is is good too, but we're at wing guard wearables calm,
there's links to our site through YouTube or Instagram and,
Everything is pretty much in stock. We've got you know, probably half dozen dick pics over a dozen micro dick pics We've got You know over a dozen thumpers left. I'm only working on a new batch.
[56:17] After Thanksgiving. But definitely get a thumper for Thanksgiving. Black Friday is going to be a nightmare. It's like you and that person fighting over that last flat screen TV.
Right, right. You know, where there's the last stick of butter at the grocery store. And you can't use this at the grocery store. That's a little, that's overkill.
Yeah, you can do the, not the ball side, but this side, you know, a little love tap. Just a suggestion. Well, but it's also apropos of the holiday itself when, you know, European colonists like ourselves,
or I'm not that I'm a colonist, but Europeans like ourselves got together with our tribal,
you know, brothers and there were war clubs present. So yeah.
Yeah, there were some war clubs got pretty wet too from water stuff. But yeah, no, it is seasonal.
And, you know, if you have a frustrating time with your Thanksgiving family, you can walk outside and hit a pumpkin or something to let your frustrations out.
Well, I do want to say in all seriousness, it's exciting because you've expanded capacity over the last year and a half. And it's exciting to see that your products are available all the time because that can be, you know, in the beginning... It didn't used to be.
Yeah. In the beginning, it's cool because it's exclusive and it's exciting when you have a drop. But really people want to know that they can show up and get something when they want it and that's an exciting development.
[57:46] Yeah, we don't like artificial scarcity like hey, we only made tenets. It's like now if it's a good design make it as much as you can.
[57:56] Thank you very much for you know, invite me on and again Jim back there just like wonderful My pleasure Zac. So as always have a good one and and and I will let you know as soon as I get my
thumper and I'll be blabbing all about it. Yeah you guys remember be edgy and get a blunt impact weapon sometimes. Blunt is the way to go.
Alrighty sir, take care.
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[58:46] Visit the Knife Junkie at theknifejunkie.com to catch all of our podcast episodes, videos, photos and more.
Before we started talking, I was telling Zach, this is my bedside tomahawk and it's been that for quite some time.
This is the Empress. It's a spawn tune. It is so cool. talk about it much. But like I mentioned before, go over to winguardwearables.com because stuff is now available and it's cool. You can just go there and get it. You don't have to wait for a drop. These are handmade in America and...
They're really, really cool and exciting. All right. So be sure to join us next week for another exciting interview. And I want to bid you all a wonderful, wonderful week. Until next time.
[59:30] For Jim Working His Magic, behind the switcher, I'm Bob DeMarco saying, don't take dull for an answer. Thanks for listening to the Knife Junkie podcast. If you enjoyed the show, please rate and review at ReviewThePodcast.com. For show notes for today's episode, additional resources and to listen to past episodes, visit our website, TheKnifeJunkie.com.
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