Blade Nail Nicks and Long Pulls – Old and New

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Blade Nail Nicks and Long Pulls – Old and New

Postby LongBlade » Mon Jun 13, 2016 1:54 pm

Though often not discussed in great detail, blade nail nicks and pulls are critical to using pocket knives… afterall other than an easy opener design (or a press button/switchblade) where one can grab the master blade to pull it from the frame, nail nicks and pulls are the only way to allow the blades to be opened for use. Perhaps this is abit of minutiae but without them most pocket knives would be useless… The recent thread in General Discussion started by Lansky asking the question of “what is a long pull” prompted some good responses and examples from other members (RalphAlsip, Rookie, Jerry) and in fact some interesting examples were shown. What is no doubt apparent is the variety of nicks and pulls created starting back long ago and even carried on today by modern makers. To start this thread I am linking the initial discussion found here to read (but if others feel inclined feel free to repost the examples in this follow-on thread): viewtopic.php?f=2&t=48857

There are still many different examples to be shown and many questions still be answered… How were nail nicks or pulls made yesterday and today (punches or presses?)?... Why did makers use a long pull or a nail nick? …. Why are some considered more desirable than others? What was the idea behind matchstriker pulls?... Why did some companies locate the pull in the middle and others towards the bottom or end of the blade – all due to leverage for pulling blades or aesthetics in some cases? An example was already shown by RalpAlsip of double pulls – a nail nick and a long pull on the same blade – Obviously there are many aspects to nail nicks and long pulls…..

The idea behind this follow-up thread to the initial discussion is to post examples of any nail nicks or long pulls from old to new, and do not hesitate to add any educational info that would benefit the discussion based on questions above, or of course feel free to ask any and all questions – don’t hesitate to post it even if you think it is trivial… I know when I started looking across knives the variety became quite apparent – no doubt in long pulls but even in nail nicks as to length etc… I’m guessing in many cases the type of pull be it a nail nick or long pull was not done because it was just the easiest way in the shop to create a “groove” to pull out the blade… I think in many cases there was some thought behind what type of pull was made and where it was located…

To start off this follow-up thread here is an example of a long pull through the tang on a Southington Cut Co whittler – yet another example that prompts another question – why did they put the long pull through the tang? As was said before long pulls are more desirable and from old posts on AAPK when one sees a long pull through the tang it always draws some attention and comment…

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Hope other members may find this of interest… thanks!!
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Re: Blade Nail Nicks and Long Pulls – Old and New

Postby Rookie » Mon Jun 13, 2016 2:33 pm

Here are a few I posted in the previous thread. 2 Cripple Creeks from the early 90's, which in my opinion really brought back to the mainstream the "match strike pull". Also, here is a new 2014 Tuna Valley that I think has a unique nail pull. It's not a crescent shape nail nick, and it's not really a long pull, something in between I guess.
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Re: Blade Nail Nicks and Long Pulls – Old and New

Postby Rookie » Mon Jun 13, 2016 2:38 pm

1 more neat old one. Wilbert Cutlery, made by Napanoch between 1908-1920. The main blade has the double nail pull.
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Re: Blade Nail Nicks and Long Pulls – Old and New

Postby LongBlade » Mon Jun 13, 2016 2:56 pm

Cool Rookie ::tu:: ... that Wilbert Elephant Toenail probably deserved a nail nick and a long pull for leverage as I am sure the spring was fairly stout - and what a beauty of a knife :) ..

Here are 3 matchstriker pulls from 3 different companies... note the "teeth" (not sure that is what you call them but certainly reminds me of teeth...) in the pulls are somewhat different...

Miller Bros Jack -

DSCN6443A.jpg


Maher & Grosh Carpenters Jack -

M&G Blades DSCN8327A.jpg


Camillus 72 - (I just think a long match striker pull looks good on a clip blade and no doubt yet a different design)

Blades Open DSCN4665A.jpg


Now back to the files and to the camera for a few others :D ...
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Re: Blade Nail Nicks and Long Pulls – Old and New

Postby djknife13 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:16 pm

Here are what I would consider to be one of the most clever pulls not to mention killing two birds with one stone. The Crouch works pretty well and the Wolf not so much. They could have struck it deeper. It probably would work as a match striker too. ___Dave
Wolf and Crouch 001.JPG

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Re: Blade Nail Nicks and Long Pulls – Old and New

Postby jerryd6818 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:46 pm

Lee, what a great old 72 1st Gen. ::clapping::
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Re: Blade Nail Nicks and Long Pulls – Old and New

Postby Mumbleypeg » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:28 pm

I'll contribute a few to the cause, from various makers. I consider these noteworthy due to either the style of the pull/nick itself, or its placement on the blade. Some that are toward the tip end of the blade are positioned accordingly to allow access to the nick (the fisherman's friend for example). On others such as the Stone and the North American single blade jacks, if not for the leverage afforded by the position near the tip, the springs are so strong they would be near impossible to open.

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Re: Blade Nail Nicks and Long Pulls – Old and New

Postby Rookie » Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:19 pm

I like seeing the variety. Unless you are a knife addict, no one else would notice the differences in the types of pulls available over the years.

Here is a Hen & Rooster pearl whittler with long pulls on every blade.
DSC01076.JPG

Nice Case XX Copperlock with big long pull.
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Check out the huge teeth on the striker pull on this Cripple Creek, 2nd edition Knife World commemorative
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No pull at all on the Ka-Bar fish knife.
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Shorter long pull than normal on this Case lockback.
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I thought this one was neat. This Remington pen knife has long pull on the main blade, but the nail nick on the secondary blade is so close to the edge you would think it could break when you pull on it. Sorry for blurry picture.
DSC02930.JPG
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Re: Blade Nail Nicks and Long Pulls – Old and New

Postby Rookie » Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:24 pm

Found another picture of the Remington, you can see how close this nail nick is to the edge.
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Re: Blade Nail Nicks and Long Pulls – Old and New

Postby LongBlade » Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:16 pm

Cool additions Rookie, Dave and Ken ::tu:: ::tu:: ... just in these number of knives the variety no doubt becomes apparent ::nod::

Dave - The Jess Crouch and Wolf knives are no doubt unique (great finds as well from what I understand) - guess the etch produces enough grip for opening the blade - wonder what made them think of that one ::hmm::

Hey Jerry - no doubt the Camillus 72 is special to me... and I don't really collect Camillus but it is no doubt one of my favorites, and show it every chance I can :lol: :) ...

Great additions Ken and thanks for sharing ::tu:: ... Who is the maker on that fish knife? Must have a nice strong spring compared to the few I own :) ... and your point on leverage is important and no doubt makes me think a quality knife with a nice strong spring!!

Rookie - All those knives are really nice in addition to those nicks/pulls but the KA-BAR easy open fish knife is a sweet design - that one is tripping my trigger ::nod:: and those Cripple Creeks no doubt have large teeth :D ...

Speaking of match striker pulls has anyone ever tried to light a match on one?? I imagine you would need one of those old time matches with the white tip ::shrug::

And while I am thinking about it and based on Rookie's addition of the Remington - a Thomaston Sleeveboard Pen - long deep nail nick and right up against the swedge...

Master Blade Open DSCN3709A.jpg


Cheers - keep 'em coming ::tu::
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Re: Blade Nail Nicks and Long Pulls – Old and New

Postby Rookie » Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:53 pm

Couple more, then I'll let others post.

This custom made Pat Crawford has saber grind on the blade, so there is a natural shape to pinch and pull the blade open, therefore no nail nick needed.
DSC02959.JPG

Look at this huge nick in this Empire pen knife.
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This Hukill Hunter Pittsburgh knife has a really loooooong nail nick.
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And this Barnett pliers knife has a nice striker long pull on the main blade. I like how this version, and also most scout patterns that have the leather punch, also have the unique pull design instead of a nail pull.
DSC04097.JPG

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Re: Blade Nail Nicks and Long Pulls – Old and New

Postby bighomer » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:30 pm

Them is some jim dandy knives.WOW ::tu:: ::tu:: ::tu:: It just goes to show there's a lot of different ways to get the job done.

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Re: Blade Nail Nicks and Long Pulls – Old and New

Postby Mumbleypeg » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:45 pm

LongBlade wrote:
Great additions Ken and thanks for sharing ::tu:: ... Who is the maker on that fish knife? Must have a nice strong spring compared to the few I own :)


The fish knife was made by Richartz in Solingen. The whale is their trademark. The knife is part of a Fred MacOverland set that came in a scabbard along with long-nosed pliers. (The pliers are marked "Japan".). The leather scabbard is stamped "Overland" over "Fisherman's Friend".

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Re: Blade Nail Nicks and Long Pulls – Old and New

Postby LongBlade » Tue Jun 14, 2016 2:00 am

Thanks Ken - that is one nice fishing knife and plier set ::tu::

Some more great examples Rookie ::tu:: Don't stop now :D... Lots of variety in your nicks/pulls across companies!! In fact this thread has shown a great deal of variety and as bighomer noted - everyone had their own way to get the job done...

My guess is each cutlery had their own nick or pull punches made but imagine in the more modern knives they were pressed rather than punched, and maybe there was more consistency across the size of the nick or pull of the blade because of that in more recent times... In the older knives I wonder if the cutler just grabbed the punch closest to him and that is the reason for big nicks on smaller blades in some examples... just guessing and I am sure that was not always the case...

A question for anybody who may know but are nicks and pulls put on the blade when they were cold?? and in more recent times (lets say knives made in the last 30 years or so) are nicks/pulls that are pressed rather than punched also done on cold steel? Just trying to understand when the nicks or pulls were placed on the blades during the knife making process...

Here's an old Winchester Swell-End Jack - Winchester always seem to put their nicks farther forward on the blade and most likely due to the reason Ken noted - more leverage... To me that is a classic Winchester look for their blades... I can almost pick a Winchester out of a line-up based on their nail nicks... and not sure I ever saw a Winchester knife with a long pull but I can be wrong ::hmm:: (Edit after post - after searching AAPK I did find just a few old Winchesters with a long pull including a cattle knife....)

DSCN9307.JPG


I am no doubt enjoying this thread :D ... an aspect of blades often pointed out on a knife but not really compared across companies like we are seeing here...
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Re: Blade Nail Nicks and Long Pulls – Old and New

Postby terryl308 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 2:43 pm

:D Not positive but I would think the nail nicks would have to be either stamped or milled on the blades before heat treating. You could mill a nick cold but a tamp would probably have to b e done on a hot piece of steel. Just guessing however, I stamp my logo's on my blades cold, taping the unheat treated blades on a anvil and using a 10lb hammer to stamp it. I put my numbers on the same way only using a lighter hammer and individual number stamps. Anyway that's how I do it. ::handshake:: Terry
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