Rare One on Ebay 12/01/12

A rare old Lum is currently on Ebay. The seller indicates that this was the 13th knife made by Bob. A couple of indicators to support that claim.

1) Maker's mark is the Chinese character for Lum hand etched.

2) The sheath is identically marked.

3) The sheath work is consistent with Bob's style.

4) Handle hardware is consistent with a knife from that period.

5) Mirror polish would be the standard finish for the period.

6) Taper tang with liner.

Good luck to the seller and the new owner.


Ebay: Northwest Safari Envoy

Ebay Item #130788718550. Just ended with asking price of $899. Serial #007.

The Envoy is the smaller brother to the Temple Guard.


Shi Lin Dao

Just found a gem of a video about the Shi-Lin Dao that Bob based his Chinese Folder design on. The video is in a mixture of Taiwanese and Mandarin Chinese with Japanese subtitles, but it shows the store where the Shi-Lin Dao is made, in the small cutlery shop based in Taipei Taiwan. The design is over 100 years old, and can be found in many sizes.

And a second video on the history of the store:

Unfortunately, the store is currently closed, pending reorganization:


Linton Cutlery Folder on Ebay

I've gotten a few emails asking about the "Linton Cutlery Patszland" folder that shows up on Ebay. Item #160839541445, as of 7/07/12.

The common question is did Bob design the knife? The answer is NO!!!

A brief history: Linton is a Taiwanese knife making company that one year, in the early 2000's, decided to show up at the NYCKS with several of their new models, asking show attendees to vote for their favorite design. Unfortunately, many of their models were too similar to popular designs being offered by custom knife makers, that their offerings were not well received. This specific model generated accusations of "design copy" of Bob's Chinese Folder. Bob was in attendance at the show, and was able to look at the design first hand. He said the design was not infringing on his Chinese Folder design, as it was closer to the original Chinese Shi-Lin folder design. But he did express a little concerned that the handle was very similar to the way he does the Chinese Folder Handles.


Satin Finish

Just a quick note on Bob's signature Satin finish.

Somewhere in my vast boxes of stuff is a letter he wrote to me, describing his satin finish process. If I ever find it, I'll be happy to scan it and post it. In it, he also explained that the reason he went with a satin finish was for the combination of beauty and durability over mirror polished.

He disliked mirror polishing, not only for the amount of work involved, but for the fact that mirror polishing is not a good polish for a working knife. Bob always felt he made working knives, and would enjoy seeing one of his knives being used. As such, while the majority of his knives are satin finished, his earlier work could be found with mirror polished blades. More common with knives bearing his LUM stamp. As it was expected for makers to finish knives that way during that time. There are a few examples of mirror polished blades made later in his career, but they would usually be found on a presentation level piece.


Pink Large Lum

A little belated, but just so it's included. Spyderco released a Sprint Run of the Large Chinese Folder with Pink scales. :)


New Letter Opener

It's been a pretty excellent couple of weeks for my Lum collection. A couple of weeks ago, I scored one of Bob's Catalog from 1981 (Pre-Eugene OR!!!! more info in my Lum Blog). Which helped to fill in some info about his early work. This weekend, thanks to a collector from Florida, I scored an old Lum fixed blade (LUM stamp, so it makes it pre-1985), that will now be my preferred letter opener. Once I make a nice stand for it. 

Handle is well aged ivory micarta, SS bolsters with a black spacer, and tapered tang.

The blade profile is very similar to his Stalker model (especially in the Folding Stalker model). But the handle is not what wound up on the final Stalker model. Best that I can guess is that this would be something that Bob would classify as a Boot Knife or Dirk. And in his unique naming scheme, it would probably be called a Deluxe Stalker Non-Folder Boot Knife (please don't quote me on that, it's an inside joke on how Bob prefers to name something a "Non-Folder" as compared to "Fixed Blade").

Not the most unique of Bob's work. But I really get a kick when I can score his older stuff. Enjoy.



Came across this little beauty in one of the knife forums (photos copyright to the original photographer):

It's a custom "Pimped" Large Chinese Folder with 400 year old oak scales, buffalo horn bolsters, and a anodized blue titanium liner. The work was done by a firm called Which, from a glance at the their website, does very nice work. A very creative alternative to own an unique Lum.


Sometimes Ebay Pays Off

I generally do not like Ebay, as it's not a very knife friendly place. However, once in a while, you find a diamond among the thousands of offerings. In this case, Item #261008813736, a Bob Lum Catalog dated from 1980, when he was still living in Santa Barbara CA., before he moved to Eugene OR. And even more valuable, a price list. This is the period where Bob's lack of record keeping had left a big gap in his knowledge base. The information contained within the catalog has really helped in filling in some of those gaps.

A couple of interesting notes to share:

1) The knife featured on the cover of the catalog was the Chinese Non-Folder, a  Small Utility fixed blade that can be seen here (top picture, second from bottom):

Mine is not the one on the cover of the catalog in that mine has a small choil to mark the end of the edge, and for easier resharpening. But it would have cost me a mere $135 if I had bought one back then.

This just confirms that Bob has been making the Chinese Knife design from the very start of his career, and while it's still based on the Shi-Lin Knife, the current versions we know is the end product of many years of evolution.

2) Bob had a model of the Tanto in the catalog, but did not call it a Tanto. His name for it was the Samurai Knife. No price was given unfortunately. But it did lack Bob's signature Hamagiri tip.

3) Bob prefer steel of choice in 1980 was 154CM. And all his fixed blades came with Tapered Tangs.

4) Bob's signature Lum chop is very prominently displayed on the cover. Which means Bob probably had the logo in mind at this time, but it just took him a few years to move away from the LUM stamp to the etched Chop Logo.

Price for the item $7.00.
Shipping, $1.50.
Value of information contained: priceless.


Spyderco Sprint Run Lum Tanto FB

Spyderco will be releasing a Sprint Run of the Lum Tanto Fixed Blade this year. New will be Maroon handles and a small "Spydie" hole in the blade near the tang.


Lums For 2012

A belated Happy New Year, and Gong Xi Fa Cai to everyone.

Going into 2012, I'm happy to see Spyderco continuing to offer two versions of the Chinese Folders as part of their Ethnic Series. The C65CF, Medium Chinese Folder in Glass Fiber, and the C143G, the Large Chinese Folder in Black G10.

Benchmade is also continuing to offer the two Dejavoo models. 741 and 746.

And missing from the reporting front was the special run of the Spyderco Medium Chinese Folder with Pink Amalite handles. Perfect for the ladies.