Benchmade founder Les DeAsis has passed away on february 21st following a stroke suffered a week before.
In an early morning announcement on Instagram, company founder Mick Strider states that after 25 years, Strider Knives is closing it's doors.
According to our friends over at Knifenews.com (full story HERE) the famous firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson has purchased Taylor Brands LLC for $85 million. For those who don't know, Taylor has long produced knives and multitools with the Smith & Wesson name on them, and I have often commented on the quality (more accurately, the lack therof) of Taylor knives, whether they are marked S&W, Schrade, Uncle Henry or Imperial.
For years I had labored under the impression that the folks at S&W were blissfully unaware of the crap that Taylor was producing with their name on it- I am a big fan of Smith & Wesson firearms, and that name has become (in my mind at least) synonomous with quality revolvers. I had assumed that someone at Taylor had arranged for a dump truck full of cash to arrive on a bi-monthly schedule at the house of S&W's licensing manager, and that as a result, he or she just didn't ask any questions. It seems that isn't the case, and that S&W is fully aware of the crap that Taylor is producing, and that is very disapointing to me.
The worst part is that S&W doesn't appear to even want to fix it- they seem content to merely take advantage of the distribution network that Taylor has, so that they can make their own in house accessories more available. As if having their name on crappy knives wasn't damaging enough to the brand, now Smith & Wesson will be selling their actual merchandise on the shelves right next to crud, strengthening the connection.
This is one of those times when I really hope I am wrong. As I said, I have lots of respect for S&W, and I hate to see them take a bad decision (like giving a license to Taylor in the first place) and make it worse.