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Great Interview with Thomas Welk from KAI (Kershaw)

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by averageiowaguy, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. averageiowaguy


    Mar 22, 2011
    Hey everyone,
    I just heard an awesome interview with Thomas Welk, Director of Sales and Marketing with KAI. It was on the Gear Geeks Live Podcast, Episode 23. If you're interested in hearing it you can find it here.

    Mr. Welk was very open and forthcoming about different models of Kershaw and Zero Tolerance. They talked about the Cryo, the Skyline, the 0888 and tons more. They even got into different steels and why they are chosen and how difficult it can be to source powdered metals and then how difficult it is to find a proper heat treat.

    The real gem of the podcast starts at about 1:35:21 if you want to skip ahead. They asked whether Kershaw would ever make a left handed frame lock flipper. Mr. Welk's response was:

    "I had heard this fact, you know, fun facts with Thomas, I had heard this fact, whether it's true or not I'm unsure but in Japan and KAI is a Japan, a Japanese owned company, umm, that when the children are born and they're showing left handed tendencies, they correct them. So there are no left handed people in Japan. I don't know if that's true or not, completely, but it's a story that I've heard, I'm passing it along here [obscured] and so yeah to come up with a left-handed knife I think uhhh Mr. Igarashi might look at me kind of funny like 'uhh there are no left handed people."

    Neat stuff!
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
  2. Scurvy092


    Jan 31, 2012
    I am part way through the podcast but so far it's pretty excellent. Thomas is a great person to talk to. I had the privilege of speaking with him for a little while at Blade.

    I believe people used to correct left handedness in the USA up until not too long ago (mid last century?)...
  3. 9blades


    Dec 29, 2012
    I was already listening when this was posted haha!
  4. averageiowaguy


    Mar 22, 2011
    Yeah the USA public (and private) schools used to try to turn left handed people into right handed people. Then they figured out that it was better to leave the left handed people left handed. I'm not sure why. Maybe a few people got to thinking about other inborn traits and whether those should be 'corrected.' Iran 'corrects' certain inborn traits and doesn't have any people with those certain traits either. It would be interesting to look into the history of why they stopped trying to turn left handed people into right handed people in the US.
  5. Phoynix


    Dec 21, 2013
    Hasnt leftto right handed conversions been stopped in japan for like 27 years?
  6. Scurvy092


    Jan 31, 2012
    I believe it was done for religious purposes (something about the left hand doing the work of the devil) but that's probably a discussion for another forum haha.
  7. Smokinape


    Jan 21, 2011
    So he is aftaid to approch the topic? Why not just explain that left handed peope do infact exist...
  8. averageiowaguy


    Mar 22, 2011
    I didn't have time to type the whole 5 minute segment out, but Mr. Welk did say that Kershaw has lost money on left handed models before. It was a business decision it sounds like. I appreciated the info, because I'll stop watching for a left-handed frame lock flipper from Kershaw. The real icing on the cake was when Mr. Welk gave us the added insight into the culture of Japan and how it affects the KAI's decisions on whether or not to make a certain knife. That is why the interview is SO good. We got to hear little snippets of the culture of the company from the very top - no less than the Director of Sales and Marketing himself.
  9. twid


    Apr 7, 2009
    My dad grew up in the Philippines and was corrected for being left handed with a stick to the hand in school. Left hand was the dirty hand. I've heard back in the day and maybe even now in some countries that you wipe with the left, eat with the right. He never taught us that way so myself and half of my siblings are left handed.
  10. Scurvy092


    Jan 31, 2012
    I've heard that as well. I think that is why Iran does it.
  11. averageiowaguy


    Mar 22, 2011
  12. Scurvy092


    Jan 31, 2012
  13. averageiowaguy


    Mar 22, 2011
    Yeah I won't discuss it.

    We sometimes get pretty riled on the podcast. The best way I can describe the podcast is to say that the podcast is about knives, like Car Talk is about cars. The subject matter is discussed but it branches out occasionally. :)

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
  14. tokerblue


    May 1, 2010
    Chinese culture tries to correct left handers too. My father in law (born in China) corrects my 2 year old son whenever he eats with a fork or spoon in his left hand. My son shows right hand dominance in everything else except eating. :p
  15. Scurvy092


    Jan 31, 2012
    I'm not complaining, I love the podcast. I actually enjoy the survival/outdoor talk the most just because it's an area I know so little about.

    Happy New Year!
  16. Scurvy092


    Jan 31, 2012
    Well you should eat with your fork in your left hand if you are using a knife.

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