So, if you follow this blog you probably know that I am a lawyer. Being a lawyer is, in one respect a lot like being a limo driver, because all business and money, at some point flows through a court, you can, just by being in court, run into some famous and/or wealthy people. Once I met Chris Cooper who was getting work done on his will and his estate. It was totally random. And he was very nice. I asked him about Seabiscuit and how it was possible to go from a role as interesting as the one he had in Adaptation to that in the horrible horse movie. His response was very clever and came without missing a beat--"Gotta pay the bills." Pay the bills indeed, Mr. Cooper.
So imagine my surprise when I sat down in the court behind a civil hearing and looked up to see a very, very wealthy and very, very well-known businessman sitting next to me. I was fiddling with my Steve Ku 40DD and he looked at it and gave me a nod, as if to say "What is that?" I twisted the top and the light came on and he smiled and gave me another look that said "Pretty cool."
Thinking nothing of it, I had my hearing and went about the rest of my day. On the way out of court this wealthy businessman saw me again and asked me about the light. I told him where I got it and he took me aside and showed me the small speck of a light he had in his suit breast pocket. His was a custom too, made by the machine shop and R&D guys that work for his company. I asked him if I could send him my traditional 10 question interview and he said sure. Amazingly nice guy. One condition though he wanted anonymity, so he will go by his initials BAW. Given his responses I think you'll agree with me that this is a small price to pay.
1. What are you EDCing right now?
BAW: Well, I showed you the light, it is pretty small and quite bright. I do carry a small Swiss Army Knife most of the time, but a few of the R&D guys and I were playing around and we, really 'they', came up with a different take on blade steel. We got a patent on it and it will probably hit the market in a few years, hopefully, two, but you never know with these things. Anyway, the blade steel is a self-sharpening steel--as you use it small pieces, way too small to see, break off renewing the edge for the life of the blade. There are a few animals in nature that do this and that was the basis for the idea. So the SAK has a blade made of this new steel.
2. What is one of your grail EDC items?
BAW: Oh geez, this is hard. See I really like mountain climbing, caving, and BASE jumping so some of the things I carry, especially when I am not in a suit are a little different from the norm. We are testing a high tensile strength cable based on spider silk technology. I really, really like it. The idea is to have something the size of a fishing line but strong enough to hold two people. We are just about there. That is my grail item, I guess. Well, that an a Hinderer XM-18. Even I am having a hard time getting one and my company just signed a big, multiyear deal with the US military to provide body armor.
3. One thing you carry you'd like to upgrade?
BAW: It is not something I carry, but really I want to upgrade my personal car. I mean there is really nothing available on the market that would suit my needs and wants. I would like a Land Rover that could hit 200mph, but then again who hasn't had that dream, right? Something that could really tumble over the terrain, even make small jumps. That would be ideal
4. Knife question: What do you prefer: a thumb hole, thumb stud, or flipper? Why?
BAW: Can I give you a cop out answer? I really like the ridge opening on the CRK Mnandi. The overall design of the ridge opener is so smooth and discrete. It is a pretty knife to begin with, but the little line on the blade just sends it over the top for me.
5. Flashlight question: Which do you prefer: clicky or twisty? Why?
They are both okay. One of the things we have been working on, and I should note that Surefire has licensed this technology for the Isis and Aegis lights, is a touch sensitive metal. We have one right now that you tap to turn on and once you you just roll your finger forward to increase brightness and do the reverse to decrease. A double tap will turn the light on in high mode. That is it. The technology has been around for a while, but the scalable brightness took a bit to perfect. Now it is nice and smooth.
6. How do you carry your stuff?
BAW: If I am in a suit or something, just a pocket. If I am not, I tend to belt carry stuff. I like the belt to look neat and clean so there aren't a whole lot of things in sheathes. The belts I prefer a rigging type belts and I have customized a few to have compartment for tools. It is really a good set up. It doesn't impede mobility at all. It is amazing what my freedom of movement is like with this belt on--I can run, jump, scale stuff, if need be. A lot of utility in this one belt.
7. First knife?
BAW: I ground my first knife. Ambitious kid, what can I say? My very first blade had a distinctive design to it. Basically, I set up a grinder and a friend of my Dad's, a guy I am still close to, helped me with the actual grinding. As you can imagine it was a mess. Totally and completely. Mess, mess, mess. And after that I got some more experience. Now I typically grind my own blades, including throwing knives, I really like those.
8. What EDC related sites do you visit? What YouTube sites do you visit?
BAW: Really, not many. I like USN. I also like Bernard's site. Lots of good ideas there.
9. Fun question: How do you think 3D Printing technology is going to alter tool design in the next ten to twenty years?
BAW: It is hard to say. Right now I know a lot of people are working on plastic 3D printers. I want to use MIM technology to make a metal based 3D printer, but there are some kinks that need to be worked out.
10. Anything you EDC that has sentimental value?
BAW: My parents died when I was young. It was quite a tragedy really. I have an arrowhead that I found on my parent's land when I was kid. My Dad saved it for me and gave it to me as a gift right before he died. I lost it after a while and a friend of my found it and gave it to me as a gift again. Ironically enough, she died a few years later. I still have the arrowhead and I am going to keep it in a safe place. I don't want to lose it and have someone have to give it to me as a gift again. Bad omen.