L39 the Traveling knife story

Sharp Things

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Back in 2013 I took an old knife that had been laying around in my shop in Wisconsin and I had an idea for what to do with it. I knew this deserved better than its dusty life in the corner of my shop where it laid, rusty and without a sheath. I knew this knife was destined for greater things.

The knife I talking about is an old Western Brand L39 made in Colorado. The vintage ad for these knifes speaks to big game adventures.





But sadly, this knife that ought to be experiencing grand adventure was sitting, rusted and damaged and neglected in my shop in Wisconsin. Devoid of a proper leather sheath.



The plan I had for L39 was to ensure it saw the sort of adventures it was designed for but Not in its current condition and without a sheath to carry it. The first step was to restore L39 to its former glory.



Then I had to make a proper sheath to protect L39 and the adventurers that would strap the knife to their hip as they travel the world.

I got some thick tooling leather and made a wooden blade form to shape the leather.







 
OP
Sharp Things

Sharp Things

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Back in 2013, I was not able to take L39 all over the globe on big game hunting adventures so I offered L39 to other adventurers on a hunting forum on the web. This was to be traveling knife program.

This is the letter that traveled with L39

"Thank you for volunteering to be a part of this traveling knife program. I hope you get as much enjoyment out of it as I have in setting it up. The plan is to have this knife travel the world in search of adventure that I cannot provide. The plan is to send L39 on as many adventures as possible. When you have returned from your adventure, please send it to the next person before they embark on their hunt.

There will not always be time to return the knife to me to send to the next hunter so you will need to coordinate with the others to make sure L39 does not miss the boat or plane or truck. This knife is not meant to sit idle."

I also included a shipping container to get L39 from hunter to hunter.



4 years when by and I lost track of L39 as I had not seen the knife since it left my shop in 2013 So where had L39 been over the last 4+ years? I was able to track down one of the adventurers that carried L39 and he knew the last hunter to carry it. I asked him to arrange the return of L39 for a couple reasons, First off, I figured L39 was in need of some TLC and I was curious of the adventures the knife had been on. When I first shipped L39 I included a form that I wanted the users to fill out so as to keep a running tab on the travels of the knife. The form asked the hunters to list the locations they took the knife, the species they hunted and the dates. It should be noted that I never met any of these hunters face to face or even spoken any of them on the phone. The knife was handled with care by total strangers but fellow hunters.

I was surprised to have L39 returned to me with this list considering the travels and years.



L39 left Wisconsin and has been to

Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Maine
Michigan
Newfoundland Canada
South Africa
South Dakota
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Some of these destinations were duplicated by a variety of hunters.

Some of the species hunted while carrying L39 were
Whitetail Deer
Sitka Blacktail deer
Elk
Moose
Grizzly bear
Caribou
Snow Geese
Sturgeon
Monkey
Impala
Baboon
Wildebeest
Warthog
Kudu
Zebra
Gemsbuck
Waterbuck

Here is a sample of some of the pictures of the adventures of L39







 
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Sharp Things

Sharp Things

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Stabbed into the side of an African tree at sunset.



I'm pleased with the many people and places and species L39 has seen and pursued. L39 has seen some great adventures. This traveling knife programs is doing exactly what I had hoped it would when I started it in 2013 but there was one destination and a couple species I did not see on the list and this leads me to the final reason I wanted L39 returned to me. I wanted to take the knife on some of my adventures.

First off, I took L39 on a Michigan UP Russian boar hunt with my bow. It was a very enjoyable time and L39 got to see some cold weather.







 
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Sharp Things

Sharp Things

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Right after that I took L39 to a few of the Hawaiian Islands while bowhunting Polynesian boar and Vancouver Bull up on Moan Loa.







Shortly after that I took the knife with me when I went bowhunting Water Buffalo and Eurasian boar.

Another amazing adventure for L39. Water Buffalo and Eurasian boar.







Im not sure where L39 will go next (or with who the knife will travel) but it have a lot of adventures left in it.
 

Nick Muche

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Alaska
It all makes sense now! How are you doing RC?

I'd love to take L39 on some more adventures, glad he's back with it's owner. He was great luck for me while hunting.
 
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Sharp Things

Sharp Things

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If it was going any better I would have to sit on my hands to keep from throwing them over my head and screaming YEAH!!!!!!

L39 is in need of a new Sheath. somebody ran the tip through the end and its a bit dangerous right now. I need to find time to make a new one but Im working on a new Iron Will broadhead sharpener, arrow rest and other products.
 

mtnwrunner

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If it was going any better I would have to sit on my hands to keep from throwing them over my head and screaming YEAH!!!!!!

L39 is in need of a new Sheath. somebody ran the tip through the end and its a bit dangerous right now. I need to find time to make a new one but Im working on a new Iron Will broadhead sharpener, arrow rest and other products.
Great story. My dad died in 2001 and one of the items he gave me was his trusty L39. As a kid, I'll always remember him carrying it and using it.......LOTS of memories. If you like, I can build a leather sheath for it as I have a small leather shop and I'd love to do it. I just made these for a local knife maker.

Randy
 
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MarlinMark

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Aug 25, 2014
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Very cool story. In the fall of 2019 I should be on a mule deer hunt in Oregon. Let me know if I can put another state on the list.

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d3ntalbliss

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CO
This has to be one of the funnest, coolest posts I have seen. What would be really cool is if carriers und users of L39 would write the hunt story. Compile those and you've got a book that I would enjoy reading!!
 

Mark

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May 2, 2013
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Northern NV
Pretty amazing testament of the hunting community. And thanks for allowing others to carry the knife. Really cool idea.

The state of Nevada is sadly missing from the L39 adventure list. Once the L39 is ready to resume its travels, I would be happy to take it on a tour of my home state.
 

SconnyHunter1487

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Oct 18, 2018
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Texas
I’ve got a 2019 Texas Mule Deer hunt in the works as well as a 2019 South Africa trip. I’d love to help put a few more miles on that blade as well. Let me know if it starts it’s travels again.


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