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Busier than a cat covering
crap on a marble floor
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In the 80’s and early 90’s I used to go every year with friends to the Las Vegas S.O.F. Conventions, mainly for the huge gun show and the Firepower Display. I shot a GE Minigun, a Ma Deuce (mounted on a half track), and a FA American 180 w/275 round drum, all for the first time at the desert range’s rental bays.

Another annual ritual at the S.O.F. gun show was visiting Al Mar at his company booth. A good friend in Seattle would give me a bunch of cash to buy a dozen or more small Al Mar blems or seconds that seemed to only be available at this venue. My friend gave them out to his friends and family for Christmas gifts. Since Al’s booth was always the first place I went when the show doors opened he got to know and expect me to show up. Al would already have 20 or so assorted small knives ready for me to choose from. I would always buy the models that Al recommended. His “blems” would be anyone else’s top of the line. He was VERY particular about what went out with his name on it.

As usual at the ’92 show I went right to the big Al Mar booth to get Christmas knives. Al came right over and started to apologize that he had very few seconds to sell that year. He had cracked down on QC and the result was a big improvement. He only had 7 of the smaller folders to sell. I said that was fine and bought them all. After I paid for them Al reached into his pocket and brought out the knife in the picture below. He said I had been a good customer over the years and it was just a small gesture of thanks.

Al Mar Hawk (Model# 1002TW - TITANWOOD scales)

I then had one of my friends take this picture of Al and me.

(BTW, his grip was like a bench vise!)

Once back home I turned over the 7 knives I bought from AL to my friend plus the balance of his cash. I kept Al’s knife. I have had it now for over 25 years and carry it from time to time.

Sadly, Al died a few months after the ’92 S.O.F. show from an aneurysm. It was only after his passing that I learned he and I were both Industrial Design graduates of the same school; Art Center College of Design, now located in Pasadena, CA. Al had earned a Masters Degree… his masters thesis was building and launching a working 2-man submarine!
R.I.P. Al.

What is the story behind your best or favorite knife?

Old Arizona saying: "A rattlesnake in the living room ends all discussion about animal rights."
Posts: 2773 | Location: AZ | Registered: July 18, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
My common sense
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That is awesome.

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- Robert Heinlein
Posts: 844 | Location: Valley of the Sun, AZ | Registered: February 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Little ray
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I was a fan of Al Mar knives, and still have six or so of his knives. I have a couple of bigger brothers to your Hawk, but mine are the Falcon size - one has those same Dymondwood scales.

It was cool that you met and had that relationship with him.

The fish is mute, expressionless. The fish doesn't think because the fish knows everything.
Posts: 47039 | Location: Texas | Registered: February 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Great, there was some indication that Al's widow was somehow ripped off by the next Al Mar Knife co owner after Al passed away. I seem to recall she was going to be selling his designs under another name. Any idea what that was all about?
Posts: 1334 | Registered: August 01, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Busier than a cat covering
crap on a marble floor
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I had met Al's wife @ S.O.F. conventions before and after he died. She was such a nice person and after Al was gone I thought she would be OK. It was known that Al had a LOT of designs that were going to be produced in the future.

Several years later I found out through knife forums of her sad state of affairs. I feel so sorry for her.

I'm sure others can fill in what happened to AMK.

Old Arizona saying: "A rattlesnake in the living room ends all discussion about animal rights."
Posts: 2773 | Location: AZ | Registered: July 18, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Great story and a photo, too. I never owned any of their knives, I think I was more Gerber. I enjoyed reading about him in "Fighting Knives" magazine. A lot of what I own/owned were inspired by articles in that magazine. They loved Al Mar and he always got great writeups. I still pull out copies to reread or for reference.


"Nature scares me" a quote by my friend Bob after a rough day at sea.
Posts: 2532 | Location: Utah's Dixie | Registered: January 29, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Before his unfortunate passing, Al was a regular participant in our local "practical" rifle matches. His sudden death came as a complete shock to us all. Al was always very generous with donations to prize tables. I have several of his designs at home, including a couple of his SERE folders that the guys had engraved for as a thank-you for running that program for two years (91-92). Al's passing was a loss to us all. He was a really good guy.
Posts: 5572 | Location: Portland, OR | Registered: February 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bone 4 Tuna
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Wow! What a great story and honor to have known him.

My groomsmen's gifts were Al Mar SLBs

An unarmed man can only flee from evil and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it. - Col Jeff Cooper

NRA Life Member

Long Live the Super Thirty-Eight
Posts: 10750 | Location: Mid-Michigan | Registered: October 02, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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