The unsung: Whelen's Seed-ke-dee and DeWeese pattern knives

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by alukban, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. alukban

    alukban Guide

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    The unsung: Whelen's Seeds-ke-dee and DeWeese pattern knives

    This is a knife that should be out there more. That it was Whelen's personal knife to the end speaks volumes.

    It may be that it has been overlooked because Whelen's own description in OYOITW identifies it by number which doesn't really correspond to the unlabelled pic in the book. It is a Green River butcher knife modification so it must be the one on the far left in the pic. The others don't come close. Like Nessmuck's and Kephart's knives, it is a thin, light blade but in a bowie/butcher blade pattern with jigged scales that would be very grippy even when wet. If it were natural horn or bone material, the porous qaulities alone would make it grippy like oiled wood. This is the source of my inspiration for the jigged scales on my own commission of a Kephart patterned blade from ML Knives and I may get another one which is more like Whelen's pattern.

    Whelen is not alone in his imagination of this pattern. The Marbles knives' Dal DeWeese pattern knife is very similar in design and may be Whelen's orginal inspiration. DeWeese himself was another big game hunter and outdoors writer who valued extreme light weight so it is no surprise. Of note is the somewhat squared off back of the handles on both the Seeds-ke-dee and DeWeese. Like Whelen, I strongly suspect that DeWeese's personal knife was likely a hack of a Green River or Old Hickory also.

    If you are a bowie guy but like light weight and minimalist knives, you are not alone. The really great thing about these patterns is that they are easy to DIY :dblthumb:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Marbles DeWeese:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    PS. I do remember Skab's old post... LOL!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  2. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Supporter Supporter

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    thanks a whole bunch for this thread. that deweese sure is bushcrafty looking.
     
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  3. Lg&m

    Lg&m Scout

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    Yes it is bushcraft looking. American bushcraft. I might have missed it but what is the thickness? I would guess 1/8" or less. IMO 1/8" is great. Although my go to knife right now is 5/32". Wonder what the old timers would think of todays 1/4" + knives?
     
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  4. Kerri

    Kerri úlfheðnar Hobbyist Bushclass I

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  5. glen1100

    glen1100 Supporter Supporter

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    The Deweese is a really good knife, check out Iz's Model 2 Osage River
     
  6. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Hardwoodsman Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    The Daweese was a really small knife by today's belt knife standards. 4" blade with a 3 1/4" handle. Most knives today with a 4" blade have at least a 4" handle and more likely 4 1/4" or bigger in some cases.
    I don't know how thick the originals were but it would surprise me if it were thin. Most marble's belt knives I've seen from that era are 3/16" stock. I'm not saying it wasn't thinner but if I were guessing my guess would be 3/16" or close to it.

    Like Kerri said, Whelen officially endorsed the knife he posted a link too. I don't know how much input he had in the design but I'd bet quite a bit. It's a very old hickory, green river type plain design that he mentions in the book. Knifecrafter knives were extremely expensive for the time from what I understand so I'm guessing with it being that costly that Whelen would have wanted to have some input. That's just a guess though, there's not a lot of info that I can find about it.
    Great post.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Hardwoodsman Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Thanks, Glenn.

    I know you're a Marble's guy. Do you know how thick the original Daweese knives were? I know the re-pro's from the late 90's were 3/16" or so but I don't know about the originals.
     
  8. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Supporter Supporter

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    that whelen-named one sure is bk16 looking. 't'ain't nothin' new under the sun ...

    thanks to all for your pictures.
     
  9. OhCanada

    OhCanada Scout

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    I love these knives from the old American masters, I know some people make copies but it would be nice to get faithful copies of each of the famous knives from one maker.

    I certainly like the Seed-ke-dee over the DeWeese and it is different enough to say that they are two different knives.

    $20 eh? A Green River butcher still sells for $20 (but you have to make your own sheath), they keep their value like silver :9: It looks like the Seed-ke-dee has five pins and you can sometimes find 5 and 6 pin Green River knives in Backwoodsman magazine for sale.
     
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  10. glen1100

    glen1100 Supporter Supporter

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    I can't remember. I have owned a few of the originals and I don't think they were any thicker than the Woodcraft. What I do remember about the Daweese is it was always on my belt. It was one of those knives that did everything well
    I think photo in the book the OP is pointing at is a Marbles Camp Carver
     
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  11. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Hardwoodsman Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    If they were no thicker than a Woodcraft of that era then I'm guessing they were between 5/32" and 3/16". My 1920's woodcraft is exactly 3/16" thick.
    Didn't the camp carver have two humps on the back of the blade? I can't remember for sure. But I do think (by looking at the way the maker's mark looks, three lines horizontal on the ricasso.) that you're right, it doesn't look like a green river too me either. I'm thinking they got the pick wrong maybe.

    p.s. I'm pretty sure the knife on the far right is a Scagel!! Might be wrong but it has all the classic Scagel trademarks to it.

    p.s.s. The second one looks like a Marble's campcraft or a knock off.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  12. Desert Drifter

    Desert Drifter Scout

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    I've had a couple of original DeWeese knives to look at. If my memory hasn't failed me I thought they were shy of 1/8" maybe 3/32"

    Dall Deweese was from Canyon City Colorado. He was known to hunt Alaska. What I was told is that the Dall sheep was named in his honor.

    This is a Deweese pattern knife I forged from 1095 that I neck carry. I findy it a handy knife to have. Original Marble's DeWeese knives bring very high dollars and surprised that someone doesn't make them. Thats why I had to make my own.

    DeWeeseneckr002.jpg

    'drif
     
  13. alukban

    alukban Guide

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    If you look at the grinds on the other knives in the pic from Whelen's book, you can see that only the one on the far left could have been made from the very thin Green River butcher knives with full tang. It even exactly corresponds with the knife from the Knifecrafters' advert of the "Whelen Wilderness Hunter's Knife". That illustration similarly shows the lack of clean grind lines like that on the other knives depicted which indicates to me that it was also a thin blade.

    It's a great pattern that would be great as a neck knife or always on ye knife. It lends itself to home crafting with minimal tools by the very root nature if its probable design genesis - that it was a home mod jobbie formed as a subtractive process from existing thin stock which was thus extremely amenable to hand file work.

    I'll be making one from an Old Hick' and putting on hand jigged black paper micarta scales like what is on my ML Knives kephart pattern blade :)

    [​IMG]

    The great allure of this pattern to me is that they beg to be made by thy own hand. If ye be a knifemaker by trade already, yours will be so much more the awesome and i sincerely hope you grace us all with pics :dblthumb:
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  14. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Hardwoodsman Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Desert,
    Thanks for the good info, man. It would really surprise me if they were less than 1/8", most all of the old Marble's I've seen are at least 1/8" thick. Very cool.
     
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  15. glen1100

    glen1100 Supporter Supporter

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    The Camp Carver is a rare knife I have only seen photos of it. I think the model with the folding handle had the two humps.
     
  16. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Hardwoodsman Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Alukban,
    I agree, that knife is probably thin. But lack of clean grind lines in my experience doesn't mean it's thin, it just means they washed out the the grind lines either intentionally (like Scagel did) or accidentally. I've done that last part more than once. Unfortunately.
     
  17. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Hardwoodsman Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Yeah, I've never seen one in person. Never even seen one for sale.
    I got to looking and one of my Marble's books said they have an 8" blade. So that one in the picture could be a ground down carver for sure. Not saying it is but it looks possible.
     
  18. Faiaoga

    Faiaoga Guide

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    :14: Thanks for the useful information. I remember that my father (who grew up on a Wisconsin farm before World War II) really liked Townsend Whelen and steered me to the books Whelen wrote. Whelen also designed a great, simple tarp tent named after him. I remember reading Whelen when I was a boy. The book showed the two bladed trapper folding knife pictured in the thread; the book also had plans for a wooden packframe that I built as a project. Thanks for the useful information.
    Faiaoga
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  19. alukban

    alukban Guide

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    I found this online today.

    [​IMG]

    It looks like they were a available in wood or bone handles, same price. There are a couple of real deal "1 of 1500" Marbles Deweese pattern re-issues on ebay. In looking it up, they are apparently cut from the exact same blank pattern. Really neat :)
     
  20. glen1100

    glen1100 Supporter Supporter

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    The Marbles Deweese pattern re-issues were made for the Fred Trost, hunting and fishing show Practical Sportsman , although they were numbered 1- 1500 only 1400 or so were produced.
    1-1000 had the Dall Deweese original 1902-1907 pattern and the Fred Trost logo on the blade, 1000-1400 "or so" just had the Deweese original pattern on the blade.
    I have #1144
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
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  21. alukban

    alukban Guide

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    Thanks glen1100 :)

    Did the re-issues all have wood handles or were some of them horn?

    Got pics of that specimen of yours?
     
  22. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Hardwoodsman Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    I've only seen them with cocobolo handles, the reissues I mean.

    Glenn,
    Was that near the end of the Marble's run? Reason I ask is that I've seen more than a several of those cocbolo new Daweese models with some really mishapen and badly finished scales. I thought about getting one when a guy was selling them for $60.00 on ebay a few years ago but they looked almost like knock offs they were finished so poorly. The handles, I mean. The blades looked great.
    Made me wonder if somebody got ahold of some blanks and tried to handle them themselves.
     
  23. alukban

    alukban Guide

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    Here ya go Iz - found this.

    It says Marbles made a not too great SS version and that the Fred Trost ones were the real deal.

    http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/marbleae-tm-s-marbles-dall-deweese-le-077-hunting

     
  24. glen1100

    glen1100 Supporter Supporter

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    The knives were produced for as a fundraiser for the TV show. Mike Stewart did them in 1999. They are very good blades 52-100, very ugly cocobolo handles. I bought mine to re handle just never got around to it.
     
  25. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Hardwoodsman Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Great info, guys! Thanks.
     
  26. alukban

    alukban Guide

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    That's a lovely one glen1100. I like your non-embalzoned blade better than the branded ones. I bet somebody would relieve you of that burdensome blade if you put it up for sale... :3:
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  27. alukban

    alukban Guide

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  28. Skab

    Skab Staff Staff Member Administrator Super Moderator Vendor Lifetime Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Yeah...yeah, I see you remebered me missing out on one. But, at least I got to hold it first! And snap a crappy cell phone picture.

    [​IMG]


    I want one something fierce, and yes they are on the small side.
     
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  29. alukban

    alukban Guide

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    It actually makes me cringe when I remember that... that thousand dollar mistake :3:

    That was an AWESOME example you had in your paws :dblthumb:

    Sheeeeesh - I just shuddered again!

    Surely one of the knifemakers on this forum can step up to the plate...
     
  30. S.Gossman

    S.Gossman Guide Vendor Supporter

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    I always liked that pattern. Felt it was a great design for a hunting knife. I make a model called the WTK (wilderness trail knife) that is similar to that.
    Scott
     
  31. alukban

    alukban Guide

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    I'll be slapping one together this weekend...

    [​IMG]
     
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  32. glen1100

    glen1100 Supporter Supporter

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    Are you going to make the handle longer?
     
  33. alukban

    alukban Guide

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    I printed the illustration from the Marbles catalog as a template so that the blade is 4" from tip to the handle. This made the handle only 3" long and I'm fine with that. My hands are only medium sized.

    The blade blank is a Russel Green River 6" butcher knife blank. I already have the black paper micarta, 1/8" brass rod and a carving burr/ball for the drill. I plan on making the handle total thickness a bit less than what are on the originals because I want it to be trim as a neck knife. I'll be using hand files, sand paper and a POS Ryobi 6" bench grinder. I will patina it and I'm sure it will end up looking really rough but it will be made from my own hands :)
     
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  34. glen1100

    glen1100 Supporter Supporter

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    Cool, I look forward to seeing it
     
  35. Stainz

    Stainz Scout

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    I got two of the Dall DeWeese Marble's 1999 remakes, both sn <0100, with the Fred Trost signatures, as well as one of the stag handled bird/fish knives for <$150 shipped a few years back via the evil-bay seller. My keeper DeWeese is shown below, the user has already cut through it's loose drop sheath (repairable). Mike Stewart did a decent job on the knives... too bad about the sheaths. I really think they were made as 'collectible' knives! The user has some dimensional change obvious on the handle - some loose area around two pins. A little good old high VOC lacquer thinner dripped there followed by some thick CA glue or epoxy on a toothpick as a fillet, resand, refinish, etc. I've used a bunch of cocobolo - they are really made of cocobolo. My handles seem a bit blocky, but nicely fitted & finished. Neat size - and delivered sharp . My user still is! The tang is 0.125" thick.

    [​IMG]

    Stainz
     
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  36. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Hardwoodsman Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Good stuff, guys.
     
  37. alukban

    alukban Guide

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    ground to the lines, will glue and pin scales this PM

    should be done before dark :)

    [​IMG]
     
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  38. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Supporter Supporter

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    way cool ... ^
     
  39. Lg&m

    Lg&m Scout

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    Yes cool, Think I might give it a try with a thrft store blade.
     
  40. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Hardwoodsman Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Looking good, bro!
     
  41. alukban

    alukban Guide

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    Sorry for the delay ;)

    The Loctite Instant Epoxy I used initially was a fail. It does not stick to the micarta I had. Also, I couldn't screw through the tang for the brass pins using the drill bits I had on hand. Oh well, I'll do without and maybe put them in aome other time... like when the Gorilla glue I used eventually fails.

    This Deweese pattern feels like a scalpel in hand. I imagine it would be great for meat processing. The short handle sits in the palm so that the blade begs for the pointy finger along the spine or the thumb along the flat :dblthumb:

    [​IMG]
     
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  42. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Hardwoodsman Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Nicely done, man. Great job on jigging the scales too.
     
  43. alukban

    alukban Guide

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    Thank you :dblthumb:

    It sure is a handy little thing. It's hard to put down right now. I'm gonna have to make me a sheath now :D
     
  44. OhCanada

    OhCanada Scout

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    The design is not too far off from Green River Fishing/hunter knife (website calls it a fishing knife due to the cross-checked handle but most retailers market it as the Hunter. I wonder if GR got the idea from the DeWeese?

    The GR has a longer blade at 5" but same clip point, the handle is 4" and more rounded in profile. No jimpping and you can see in the DeWeese Marbles rolled false edge like on the Woodcraft.

    http://woodtrekker.blogspot.ca/2011/11/russell-green-river-hunter-knife-review.html
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
  45. alukban

    alukban Guide

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    Vinegar patina overnight and beveled the scales more toward the front.

    [​IMG]

    Thinner and curvier slabs.
    [​IMG]

    Thin blade compared to the 1/8" kephart on the right.
    [​IMG]

    (Some lovely Adahy spoonage in the background :) )
     
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  46. Lg&m

    Lg&m Scout

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    You did a fine job. Looking forward to the sheath. The more I see the more I want to make one.
     
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  47. alukban

    alukban Guide

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    Well, I don't have any proper leather at all so it may be a while. I plan on doing a rear center seam with a wooden insert - supposedly like the originals. I may just make a quicky kydex for it now just so it stores safely when in transport.

    In the meantime, enjoy more pics...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The patina produced some gorgeous blues when the sunlight hits the blade :dblthumb:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  48. alukban

    alukban Guide

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    Made the jigging denser and sharper this morning while having coffee - more organic looking now and looks more correct. It was sorta bugging be last night.

    I made the high spots on the scales shiny by sanding with 1200 grit and then by rubbing candle wax on the micarta.

    [​IMG]

    I did do a kydex sheath last night. It is one piece construction with no fasteners, double folded at the blade edge side so it is very safe in that it will have to cut through 2 layers of kydex to get through. This one is for upside down neck carry (can pull out knife with one hand this way). It is retained by a strong indent at the finger cut out. You can see the divot in this pic.

    "back side"
    [​IMG]

    The sheath itself is tiny also because of the double folded construction and it extends maybe only 1/8" past the blade tip - very minimal and thus lightweight and compact just like the knife.

    "front side" (I'm a righty.)
    [​IMG]

    I have it hanging on a latigo leather strap with a slit eye in one end as the "fusible link". The width of the leather strap keeps it in place in the too-small-eye and yet it is easily adjustable. Carrying it across the chest like a bandoleer but then sitting in a front vest pocket is great for winter access and it is extremely comfortable, never flopping around, hidden but accessible and not a choking hazard.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Ok. I think I'm done.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  49. Stainz

    Stainz Scout

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    My 'user' Marbles 1999 DeWeese redo originally fit into it's neat but thin sheath with but an inch of handle showing. Now it can be pushed to within a quarter inch or so proud of the sheath, the extra length obviously sticking thru the bottom of the sheath. Until it severed the singly sewn threads, it was a neat front pocket carry, where it's nearly 4" blade isn't a problem. I thought I might unstitch it, remove the hanging loop, and double stitch it - perhaps putting a copper rivet in the bottom, too. It would be a definite in-the-pocket or bag carry then. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

    It's odd how we keep searching for something better - when what we already have is so near ideal. Kudo's to alukban for his displayed work - nice going. And, thank you for inspiring me to retrieve some nice knives from the back regions of my case!

    Stainz

    PS Were the original 1902 versions convex ground like Mike Stewart/Marbles 1999 remakes? M.S. does a great job convex grinding - from his Marbles days to today's Bark Rivers.
     
  50. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Hardwoodsman Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Yeah, they were. At least the cross section illustrations show them as convex in the old catalogs.
     

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