The Last of Their Kind


Platinum Member
Apr 3, 2000
Maringer Vorpal Haiku’s....the original Stainless Proto, #915 and wire-wrapped, and two of the very last knives Tom made.....Titanium-mounted pieces #927 and #930.....#931 was the last knife made.


Retired?? Or....? So enviable.

Yes....and no. :( :)

He and his family had been making coins since his hiatus from knifemaking...he made drawer pulls and knobs for years, nicest ever...and has been full time since his now permanent hiatus from knifemaking. I’m proud to boast that I sat down with that giant press and minted a number of coins 14-15 years ago. :cool:

This is from Tom...

“In 2006, after a 12 year hiatus, I began making knives again on a very limited basis, reviving a few of the smaller and more classic designs from the earlier period. Serial numbers continued from the point where I stopped in 1994. No orders are being taken at this time. Wire-wrapped blades utilize a take-down construction, and the signature, date, and serial number appear on the tang of the blade when the handle is removed. The "Bamboo Hunter" serial #911 is a glue-up style, and the signature appears on the blade along with the date. No serial number is inscribed since this was the only knife made in 2006.

Beginning in 2009 is a knife series called "Haiku". The Haiku series knives are characterized by the "toggle-tang" construction, which is a modification of the traditional Japanese tang construction system. One design constraint of the traditional Japanese tang is that the pommel is attached solely to the wooden handle and not to the blade or tang, and therefore the pommel must be very light. I developed the toggle-tang in the 1980s as a way to attach a larger heavier pommel to a sword while retaining the unique takedown features of the Japanese style construction. The toggle-tang style is perfectly suited to smaller knives as well, where its use allows for the use of a strong pommel screw combined with a relatively thin blade. It also obviates the need for a peg hole in the side of the handle, which can be restrictive from a design standpoint. The name "Haiku" for the series is inspired by the fact that when a knife is completely disassembled there are at least 17 discrete parts, the same as the number of syllables in the haiku poetic form.

Blades of the Maringer "new period" may be characterized by an almost brutal economy of form, an extreme of utility combined with an absolute spareness of extraneous mass. The knife design is pared down to its final form by removing any scrap of material that is not actually performing a needed function. The maker's signature appears only on the tang of the blade, visible only when the knife is disassembled, in order to preserve the purity of line and form, and as a bow of respect to the tradition of the Japanese style craftsmen who also did likewise. Technical boundaries are being pursued in the used of titanium as material for the furniture. The combination of strength and light weight can be used to create superlative overall balance and "feel", making a beautiful display piece also eminently useable in the field.”

Serial # Style Name Year Steel Handle
Bl. Length

New Production

#911 Swept point Bamboo Hunter 2006 D-2 Ebony
#912 Dagger SS
Lady's Dagger 2007 D-2 SS wire
#913 Sub-hilt SS
Dbl-edge SHF 2007 D-2 SS wire
#914 Subhilt SS
Single-edge SHF 2007 D-2 SS wire
#915 Subhilt SS
Haiku (prototype)
2009 D-2 SS wire
6 1/2"
#916 Fighter Ti
Haiku (dbl edge) 2009 D-2 Rubber
5 1/2"
#917 Subhilt SS
Haiku (sgl edge) 2009 D-2 SS wire
5 1/2"
Fighter Ti Haiku (sgl edge) 2009 D-2 Rubber 5 1/2"
#919 Fighter Ti Haiku (sgl edge) 2009 D-2 Rubber 5 1/2"
Subhilt Ti Haiku (dbl edge)
2009 D-2 Ti wire
7 1/2"
Subhilt Ti Haiku (dble edge)
2009 D-2 Ti wire 7 1/2"
Fighter Ti Haiku (dble edge) 2009 D-2 Rubber 6 1/2"
Fighter Ti Haiku (dble edge) 2009 D-2 Rubber
7 1/2"
Subhilt Ti Haiku (dble edge) 2009 D-2 Ti wire 9"
Subhilt Ti Haiku (dble edge) 2009 D-2 Ti wire 9"
Subhilt Ti Haiku (dble edge) 2009 D-2 Ti wire 9"
#927 Fighter Ti Haiku (dble edge) 2009 D-2 Rubber 6"
#928 Fighter Ti Haiku (dble edge) 2009 D-2 Rubber 7"
#929 Fighter Ti Haiku (dble edge) 2009 D-2 Rubber 7 1/2"
#930 Subhilt Ti Haiku (dble edge) 2009 D-2 Rubber 9"
#931 Dagger Ti
Haiku (dble edge) 2009 D-2 Rubber 11"
Most excellent. I remember the o-ring handles.

Do you have a picture of the "toggle-tang"? #916 Fighter Ti sounds interesting.

Thanks those are great knives and the history is greatly appreciated.

Dudley - Maringer's work is grand in my book. You're fortunate to have these. Thanks for sharing bud.:)
Recently had a Vorpal 1 - A come into the collection, #197 from 1983.
There are a couple of differences between it and my later one #400 from 1987.
Smooth hole tubes instead of flared, scallops in the ricasso, a taper in the grind from the centre to the spine, and a slight difference int he handle shape.
I'm wondering if this was how the earlier ones were and that they transitioned to the later shape, or if Tom ever allowed customer input to the design?
I would add pictures, but can't see how to do it direct from my computer.
Many thanks in advance for any information.
They evolved slightly over time....the ‘scallops’ were an addition from the very first ones....of which I’m fortunate to have 2 of the first 4 that were made, along with Bob Angell that designed the knife and made the leather shoulder rigs.

All of my Maringer Vorpal’s, no matter what model, have flared tubing attaching the handles...




Ive got a couple, like this one, without flared tubes or no pins at all.....VERY early. :cool:


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I would post the pictures to explain what I mean, but sadly photobucket is behaving like a b*tch, and I can't see any way of uploading direct from my computer.

My records show that your 1983-dated Vorpal was the 2nd made with a 10”’s the only one I’ve seen that has a full-length sharpened upper edge...nice. :cool:

Even though your knife is engraved 1983, the records show it was made in 1982.


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Many thanks for that information.
I had the old Shire Post listing archived somewhere, but it's got lost in the computer files somewhere.
If you know where it's still on the internet somewhere, I'd appreciate knowing where.
I have #197, #389, #400, #531, #694, #695 #734 and #809 and would love more information about them.