C.J. Buck explains why the company relocated from southern California to Idaho as he conducts a tour of the new factory, and, in Part II, Hovey continues his interviews with knife makers at the 2011 Atlanta Blade Show and Cutlery Fair.
After a precipitous fall in sales as an indirect result of the terrorist attacks on 9-11, Buck Knives faced the choice of becoming a marketing company selling foreign-made knives or relocating and redesigning its manufacturing methods in order to continue to make knives, according to C.J. Buck, the fourth-generation manager of the company. Rethinking the business and manufacturing model resulted in a smaller factory, located in an area that was more business friendly that was also able to implement Japanese techniques for Lean Manufacture and Just In Time delivery.
Although the factory has a smaller footprint, Buck was able to continue its large number of catalogued knives, reduce delivery time, profitably make smaller batches and respond more rapidly to consumer demand. Additional advantages were that Idaho offered more opportunities for field testing products, as when a moose was skinned and processed inside the factory.
Continuing his walk-around the Atlanta Blade Show, Hovey talks to an importer of knives made by several makers in Sheffield, England; Puma Knives about a falconer’s knife, boar spear and other knives; Case Knives’ representatives about their new products, Canal Street Cutlery who has a new chestnut-handled lock-back folding knife, Cutco about their kitchen and hunting knives; and concludes with companies that provide materials for knife handles and make Dan’s Arkansas Whetstones.
The cooking section returns in this show with a discussion of goose-fat “butter” and a recipe for making a stew from shank meat supplied by Chris Lalik of Puma Knives. Ads include strap-on Bear Jaws so you can fish like a bear and Synthetic Industrial Non-Nutritives, Inc. (SIN, Inc.) who gives you the butter, salt and sugar tastes that you crave in a non-nutritive product that may be dyed to any color, molded to any shape, does not need refrigeration and has a long shelf life.
Supplemental information, including photos and contact information, may be found on the blog, “Hovey’s Outdoor Adventures Radio Show Blog” and on a YouTube video, “A Visit to Buck Knives New Factory at Post Falls, Idaho.”