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Thread: Mt Ida Arkansas knives

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Mt Ida Arkansas knives


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    A small discussion arose a few threads ago about Mt. Ida Arkansas knives. While I haven't found out anything further online, I have discover the following over the weekend from two display cases I found in Hot Springs.

    1. They are still being made, and made in the US.
    2. There are currently at least 6 different models of folder available, mostly traditional stockman and lock back styles.
    3. They are available in stainless AND High Carbon steel.
    4. While the blade base is stamped ARKANSAS Mt Ida, some models now have "The Real McCoy" etched on the blade.
    5. I think that at least one model may have real bone handles

    The little girl behind the counter didn't know anything about them and as I was hearding a group of Cub Scouts at the time, I didn't really get a chance to study them furthar. I'll post here when I do.

  2. #2
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    SMKW used to sell inexpensive slipjoints with the "Real McCoy" etch...often packaged with Arkansas sharpening stones....the knives appeared to have been made by Colonial, although I don't know what the tang stamps were.

  3. #3
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    Are they similar to the "McGrew" knives? I have one one of those, stamped "McGrew, Ark." Seems they were common at Arkansas flea markets and perpetual garage sales about ten years ago. Very low quality, appeared to be snapped together, and had a speedbump-sized burr on the blade.

    -Bob

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob W
    Are they similar to the "McGrew" knives? I have one one of those, stamped "McGrew, Ark." Seems they were common at Arkansas flea markets and perpetual garage sales about ten years ago. Very low quality, appeared to be snapped together, and had a speedbump-sized burr on the blade.

    -Bob
    I'm not familiar with the McGrew Knives (though I know several McGrews). I didn't get a chance to hold one, but through the glass, the only thing that I spotted that was less than "modern manufacturing perfection" was the "bone" handle of one of the more expensive models. This is what is leading me to belive that it might be real bone: it didn't have the slight gloss/sheen that plastics have.

  5. #5
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    I recall seeing the Mt Ida knives when I lived in Arkansas a few years ago, but never bought one. I figured it was the same deal as "McGrew," someome buying snap-together kits and stamping the blade. I spent quite a bit of time in Mt Ida, and I feel confident in saying that there aren't any manufacturing plants there. I suspect it's some guy's garage (not necessarily a bad thing).

    There was another common flea-market brand, "Whitetail Cutlery." These appear more home-made than the McGrews.

    Sorry I don't have a "Mt Ida" here to look at.
    -Bob

  6. #6
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    Bob,
    I have five of the Mcgrew knives. all are very good quality. Three are barlows with engraved bolsters and "faux" ivroy handles. Two are whittlers. one has black pickbone scales, the other yellow delrin. I bought these in Arkansas over ten years ago (I use to live there for about ten years). The whittlers came from Hot Springs, the barlows came from Eureka springs when I went there to see the passion play many years ago.

    I do have two of the "real McCoy" Mt Ida stockmans in delrin and carbon steel. The bolsters are cheap cast. It does have liners between all three blades, very unusual for a modern production SJ. The blades on these hold, and take a good edge.

    The "whitetal" cutlery, ive seen allot of those, stamped "pakistan".
    Last edited by rev_jch; 11-16-2004 at 01:36 PM.

  7. #7

    Mt. Ida Arkansas knives

    I have a "Real McCoy" stockman. Came in a cedar box with an Arkansas stone. Has tight blades, great spring action and the blades are carbon steel. I called McCoy knives and the gentleman told me all of their knives since back in the spring are stainless. Last month, I was in Arkansas, and saw several McCoy displays. The stockman models were labeled High Carbon, but were of a different style than the one I have. I also have a McGrew whittler which I picked up in Eureka Springs. The store had two just alike except for overall quality. The one I picked up seemed to have much stronger backsprings. I have not used it, as I got it to go in my carving box and I already had a couple of good whittling knives in there. There were also some other models of McGrew, but the quality was not as good on them. The McCoy is one of my favorite pocketknives at this time. Only time will tell how it will hold up. But from my limited experience with the knife, it is a winner. Don't know if the quality is consistent from knife to knife or from model to model. It wasn't on the McGrews. Vaquero

  8. #8
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    How old are the McGrews you have? Mine closely resemble camillus knives, they probably were made by them. Mine are about 10 years old. the Black jigged bone whittler I have is a beautiful work of art!! The quality is outstanding on this one, the yellow handled whittler is also good.

    The only Mcgrews I have seen that the quality was questionable, was some of the barlows. I remember when I picked mine out I had to really "pick" through to find some I was happy with. It was much like trying to pick through a bunch of case knives, but a "little" worse.

  9. #9

    Mt. Ida Arkansas knives

    I just purchased my McGrew last month. They were in a five and dime store and evidently had been there for quite some time, as some of them were showing lots of corrosion. Like you, I suspected they were made by Camillus, but not sure. Handle appears to be brown bone, but is probably some type of plastic. Not sure. The one I picked from the two whittlers seems to be a pretty good knife, but I haven't sharpened it or used it. The poor blade action on the stockmans were what kept me from purchasing one of them. I was told a few months back by a carving supplies dealer that McGrew was no longer in business, but the lady at the five and dime said he still came by and checked on their stock. Vaquero

  10. #10
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    The McGrews' save the barlows I had seen were pretty good quality. With them being made by a different source, or sources, who know? The quality could definitely differ.

  11. #11
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    I remember McGrew advertising in BLADE magazine in the 90's. The only two patterns that I ever saw were the three-blade swell center "whittler" - it was conventional construction not split backspring - and a one-blade "peanut".....both looked like Camillus made them and indeed the patterns were standard in the Camillus line.

    Until these forum posts, I had not seen anything about McGrew in many years.

    I think they called the whittler pattern the "Hillbilly Classic".

  12. #12
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    They did at one time make a whittler called the "hillbilly classic", I believe it came in a couple different handle colors. From living in Arkansas for many years I was quite familar with McGrew knives. Im sure some of the ones were contract from camillus. Not many outside of Arkansas have ever seen one.

  13. #13

    Smile

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    Last edited by Blues; 06-24-2010 at 08:42 PM.

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