The LaClair Champion: A proven throwing knife!
Back in the late 1970's, when I and many of my friends were active in the traditional muzzleloading movement, I found myself in need of good throwing knife. There were many different styles available even then, but none of them had the heft or uniqueness I wanted. In those days Judson Brennan lived close by, so I approached him about making me such an item. Jud, who has since gone on to become one of America's premier artisans, came up with a throwing knife that has had no peer through more than three decades. It was big, solid and deadly accurate. In fact, with that knife I was able to take first place at the Primitive Knife Throwing competition at the nationals in Friendship, Indiana in 1980. I also used it to win the State of Michigan knife throwing competitions in back-to-back years from 1981-82.
When I say that knife is big, I'm not kidding. It is 15" long, has a 10" blade that is 5/16" thick along the spine and weighs just a shade less than 2 pounds! Steel bolsters were brass-brazed to the blade, and moose-palm scales were held in place between them with three oversized brass rivets. This knife has been used to the point of abuse and has never let me down through all these years. Although I don't remember saying it then, I'm told that after my first throw with this knife I remarked, "Macho beats accuracy every time!" Well, that knife was both!
I can throw it just as accurately now as I did long ago, but it's the follow-up throws that are getting harder to complete these days. With that in mind, I asked my blacksmith if we might come up with something similar but a tad less hefty. We decided that the overall design of my original knife was well worth keeping, so we began to experiment with ways of reducing its weight without affecting its balance. What we've come up with is a thrower with the lines and feel of the original but without the unnecessary weight. Because of its history and lineage, C.L. Matteo and I have decided to call this knife "The LaClair Champion", and a proven thrower it certainly is!
Our new knife is made of ¼" thick 5160 carbon alloy spring steel, a nearly perfect choice for tools that need hardness but flexibility as well. The blade is forged, annealed, hardened and tempered to be virtually indestructible when used as a throwing knife. It won't hold an edge quite as well as some of our other knives, but it isn't designed for slicing and cutting. It's a thrower through and through. It is available in three styles. The first has thick leather scales on the handle and no steel bolsters. We offer a shorter version, 12" in length overall with a blade length of 7.5" . We'll also offer the knife with brazed-on steel bolsters and moose-palm scales like the original, and I will personally check each knife by throwing it several times before we ship it out. If it can't withstand the testing I'll give it, you don't want to own it!
Now, we can't guarantee that you'll take first place at the Nationals in Friendship with this knife, but if you don't, you can be sure it won't be the knife's fault. You'll be using a copy of a knife that has inspired awe and amazement in competitors for decades. And when yours cuts the X ring not only will you be smiling, but so will we, for your knife will be carrying on the tradition that mine started so many years ago!
LaClair Champion 15 inch with leather scales - $150.00
LaClair Little Champion 12 inch with leather scales - $125.00
Shoulder Carry harness ( for Big Champ only)............$20.00
The sheath for the Big Champ can be worn on the belt or because it has double loops on the back you can also carry it with a shoulder harness. Little Champ's sheath only has one belt loop.