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Northwoods knives - Who makes them?

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by DavidZ, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. DavidZ

    DavidZ Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 30, 2004
    I am asking my fellow forumites - Who makes the Northwoods Knives? GEC? Queen? Bark River? Also, how are they? Any recommendations?
    Thanks, All.
  2. Blues

    Blues Lapsed SuperMod / Cattle Knife Rustler Staff Member Super Mod

    Oct 2, 1998
    Forum member/dealer okbohn (Derrick) is probably your best source of info currently as he owns the rights and can give you the history of the manufacturers (and applicable patterns/models) involved over the years.
  3. I have two Northwoods knives, a stag stockman and a stag Folding Hunter. Both by Queen, using Queen's D2 steel. Patterns are identical to the equivalent Queen models ('Cattle King' large stockman #49, and the #39 Folding Hunter). The Northwoods knives have their own, unique 'arrowhead' shield, and feature the Northwoods tang stamp. No blade etch, as otherwise seen on the Queen models.
  4. Noddy

    Noddy Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 13, 2006
    I have a bunch of these and they are all cracking good

    The carbon steel #11 pattern is probably my favourite, but it's a hard decision
  5. Modoc ED

    Modoc ED Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    According to pages 14 and 15 of GEC's 2010 Production Totals List, GEC made 98 pieces of their #54 Burnt Stag knives with no serial numbers for Northwoods.

    Maybe Derrick Bohn the current owner of the Northwoods and Scagel names will chime in here with more information.
  6. Noddy

    Noddy Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 13, 2006
    Be nice to see that stag #54 back in circulation

    EDIT - oops - was thinking of the the #73 for some reason
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  7. brownshoe

    brownshoe I support this site with my MIND

    Sep 6, 2002
    It depends upon when the knife was made and it also depends upon the knife. It has had two owners. The first owner had a mix of in-house and contract work depending upon the knife. Per the first owner in a Knife World article and on-line, just because it has D2 and resembles a Queen, doesn't mean Queen made it. They may have only made the parts, or some of the parts. They may have done partial or all of the assembly. The second owner, IIRC has the knives made by contractors.
  8. The 'Cattle King' #49 stockman I mentioned earlier, has a rather unique 'flaw' in the clip blade. There's a bit of a 'krink' in the last 1/2" or so of the blade, near the tip. It can be seen in certain light only. Also appears to be another slight bend/indent about an inch or so back from the first bend. Looks almost as if an impression was left by a tool (clamp or vise, maybe) when the blade was hot (post heat treat, perhaps).

    The sheepsfoot blade also has a unique krink, in that the bend is distinctly seen about 1/4" or so forward of the plunge line in the grind of the blade. Sheepsfoot blades on stockman knives usually are krinked, but the location of the bend is unique on this one.

    I bring this up, because the exact same bends/krinks can be seen on the main clip blade and the sheepfoot of the stag Northwoods stockman I mentioned in the same earlier post. I'm certain, for all intents and purposes, it's a Queen. Identical, right down to the flaws.
  9. CorpsmanUP!


    Jun 11, 2007
  10. Modoc ED

    Modoc ED Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Here's a Northwoods knife made by Queen under the flag of Dave Shirley. Great fit and finish and great knife.


    Can't speak to the current Northwoods knives being marketed under the flag of Derrick Bohn as I don't own any of them but for those of them being made by GEC, I'd say those knives are of good quality.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
  11. brownshoe

    brownshoe I support this site with my MIND

    Sep 6, 2002
    It might look like a Queen, walk like a Queen and talk like a Queen, but Dave Shirley has stated or been quoted, more than once, that his knives were not made by Queen. However, he would not specifically state what part of the production was done by Queen and what was done by his firm, other than it "depends upon the knife." The most I've read him state was that for some knives, some of the parts were made outside of his shop, for some knives most of the parts were made out of his shop and some knives were partially finished out of his shop. He was purposefully cagey on the subject.
  12. That doesn't surprise me. A lot of makers/manufacturers (of knives or any other 'collaborative' products) don't seem to want to take/give full credit either way. I used to work in the electronics industry (semiconductor manufacturing), and they'd often make products under another brand name, under contract for somebody willing to pay for it. Oftentimes, this would be exactly the same product as was already being produced (albeit with a different label on it), manufactured in the same factory by the same people. A lot of semiconductor companies specialize in this sort of work (they're called foundries). But, from a legal standpoint, it was under the ownership (& liability) of somebody else. Therefore, the company actually doing most of the work didn't want to say, or even imply, they're involved. Everybody's afraid of being blamed, if something goes wrong with the finished product, so they don't want to talk about it publicly.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
  13. Modoc ED

    Modoc ED Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    When I bought the knife pictured above, I posted about it and a BladeForums member who goes by the handle "BigDonDon" on the forum posted this in my thread:

    "These Railsplitter-Moose knives in this configuration were the brain-child of my youngest son and ardent knife collector, Sketch32. I approached Dave Shirley, at that time owner of Northwoods Knives. We had been buying his knives for some time and enjoyed the variety and good quality. Dave was a board member at Queen and agreed to a SFO to make these knives for me. Our original conversation was in 2008 but it wasnÂ’t until March 2009 that we actually had the knives in our hands. We originally ordered 100 knives in Stag, Ebony and Ivory. We eventually received 43 Stag, 25 Ebony, and 4 each of Elephant Ivory and Mastadon Ivory. The Ivory knives went to me and my knife collector relatives. Dave Shirley has subsequetly sold the Northwoods and Scagel names to Derrick Bohn."

    It happens that I bought the knife pictured from BigDonDon and in an e-mail about the purchase of this knife he confirmed that they were made by Queen. The knife carries the tang stamp:


    Note: I'm only talking about the knife pictured which was in a group of knives SFOed by BigDonDon.

    Who knows where all of Dave Shirley's made. Only he could speak to that.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
  14. HAKnPocket


    Mar 2, 2008
    I picked up an Indian River Jack a while back and while it had a few flaws it was pretty good. Ended up giving it to my dad as he has been wanting a single blade canoe and this was as close to one as I could find. He loves the dang thing. The 1095 takes a great edge. The flaws I speak of were tiny if you were curious. A little gap in the liners, the blade was a bit off center, and the arrowhead shield was set well but the gaps in the handle material around the shield were huge. BUT like I said the only thing I cared about was if my dad would like it and it was a hit with him. Brings it up every time I see him. Probably did help but figured I would post my experience.
  15. DavidZ

    DavidZ Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 30, 2004
    Thanks for all of your posts. I appreciate the information. I like a lot of there designs.
  16. okbohn


    May 26, 2006
    Sorry it took so long for me to chime in...just stumbled on the thread.

    Dave did, indeed, pass away a few months ago. He was a good man and a friend.

    Dave always insisted he did most of the handle work and sharpening of the Northwoods knives and farmed out the actual assembly to Queen and in later days, GEC. Near the end, I know most of the work was done by Queen. I even took delivery of some that I know were completely done by them.

    Since I have taken over, everything is being made by one of the two above manufacturers and then finished out with a convex grind through Bark River. We are really hoping to do good things with the brands.

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