DU STAR
 
 

From Tactical Knives

 
 

ARTICLE FROM: Tactical Knives, July 2006

MODEL 1 ARAD BATTLE BLADE

By: HOWARD LINETT.

 "Bring them back to me, broken and in pieces." Meir Aziz's parting comment was a genuine request. He had just given me two of his first production-run knives. I was going to evaluate them, doing things to Meir's knives that could only be characterized as "extreme abuse". What I thought was going to be fun, actually turned out to be more work than I'd bargained for.

I am a knife fan, not an expert. I began collecting battle blades over 20 years ago. My focus is on knives I would want to carry in combat generally and, specifically, in my role as a sniper. For the last 38 years I have lived, back and forth, between USA and Israel. In all that time I had never attended an Israeli Knife Collectors Association exhibition and sale until this past September. Almost intimate, the less than two dozen exhibitor tables comfortably fit in the yard of a member's Tel Aviv home. Before heading back to Jerusalem, our sniper unit contingent made a fast, last pasts around the yard in case several latecomers had brought anything interesting. One had.

A half dozen lonesome, long and slender white boxes marked "KNIVES-Made in Israel" stopped me dead in my tracks. I opened one and discovered a heavy, black fixed-blade combat knife. I quickly introduced myself to the two individuals standing behind the table. One was Alex Shamgar, the knife's designer. He is a well-known and respected senior member with the knife collectors' community.

I established instant rapport  with Alex when he learned I was "the English speaker" who had helped our mutual friend Eddy Bradachansky with the mound paperwork Eddy had to fill out to sell his "Shabaria" and "Credit Card" designs to Spyderco. Shortly afterwards, Eddy was murdered.

Alex introduced me to Hani Aziz, Meir's daughter. Hani telephoned her father and arrange for me to visit the family's shop early the next week.  Her father is widely acknowledged as one of Israel's top tool and die makers and manufacturer of precision metal parts. It turned out that she is her father's mechanical art designer and computer operator. Meir's business truly is an old fashioned family affair.

The Model 1 ARAD is available in both flat gray and black coated combat blade finishes. Both have been proven in the extremely harsh battle condition of Israel

 

From Concept to Creation

My visit to Meir's shop was highly educational. As we moved from work station to work station, I asked Meir why he had selected D2 steel. My research had taught me that D2 was the steel to use if one was not using stainless (stain-retarding, no steel is stainproof) steel, but offhand, I knew of no maker of quality knives who used something other than some formulation of stainless. Meir answered, "Simple, it is of superior strength".

Norm Singer, friend and fellow knife enthusiast, joined me on my visit to DU**STAR. He watched Meir occasionally drop one of his knives from shoulder height straight down onto the hard, poured concrete shop floor and later use the same to chop a black of D2 steel. The floor chipped and the block of steel was cut, but the knife was unaffected.

I spoke to Meir about possibly reproducing the "blade strength" and "blade flexibility" tests I had seen in advertisements. Neither he nor I knew where the testing could be done in Israel, but Norm felt up to the task. Meir handed him the "demo" knife and said, "The shop is yours to use." What happened next I call the unplanned, pre-testing "Brute Force Test".

Next, Norm found a big vice on one of the shop's larger workbenches. He put about an inch of the knife, tip down, into it and tightened hard. One of Meir's helpful workers handed Norm a 2-3 kilo short-handled sledge. Using a two handed baseball batter's grip, Norm swung tentatively, as if trying for a bunt. There was reverberating "B-i-n-g!" The bench shuttered and Norm's hands stung. Strike one! Norm swung again, this time trying to drop the ball behind the centerfielder. I thought the legs were going to buckle as the heavy bench literally jumped 12 inches backwards. Strike two! Ah, this was getting out of hand. I did not want Meir's shop destroyed. Meir's employee stepped up to the vice. I thought he was going to remove the knife. Wrong. He tightened the vice. Before I could yell "time out", Norm swung, trying for a grand-slam homerun. SMACK-BANG, the bench catapulted into the air and the knife broke, flush with the vice. Strike three! Meir's face was the pictorial dictionary's definition of incredulity. Shocked, he muttered something about "insane Americans" and that the "knife was an early test model with Rc-60 hardness to brittle; production knives are made to Rc-56-57."

 

 

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