SOG Specialty Knives, and Boker Solingen

DSC_0236_zpsw1gwr3zr (1) sog-logo

In the early 1980s a young Spencer Frazer discovered and was inspired by a display of original Vietnam War era MACV-CISO Studies and Observation Group (SOG) Special Forces combat bowies. They were designed by Conrad Ben Baker and made in Japan,  contracted with Yogi Shokai and Japan Sword. They used SK3 carbon steel and because the knives were subcontracted out to several makers, the fit and finish, even the guards varied. The bluing ended up being black, blue, purple or even plum. The knives bore no markings to avoid being traced; “sterile” in covert operations parlance.

OrigSOG01 Original MACV-CISO SOG knife

Determined to bring a reproduction of this SOG knife to market, Spencer Frazer contacted Bo Randall of Orlando Florida. Unfortunately, even back then there was a years-long waiting line, but Bo Randall referred him to someone who could help. That person was A.G. Russell who had contacts with Kencrest Corp, the top exporter of Seki knives. They in turn brought in Ichiro Hattori to make the first  knives for SOG Specialty Knives of Santa Monica Ca. The S1 was based on the commemorative version of the originals rather than the bland unmarked issued ones. It used a blued SK5 carbon steel blade, stainless steel guard and pommel and stacked leather handle. The left side of the blade bore the SOG company logo, while the right side bore the 5th Special Forces crest near the ricasso and additional wording on the blade. The knife was brought to the market in 1986 and marketed in ads in “Soldier of Fortune” magazine.

s1b SOG S1

s1crest s1left side

Shortly afterwards, SOG introduced the S2 “Trident” Bowie, which commemorated the U.S. Navy Seals. This knife had a polished Aus8 blade, black Micarta handles and the U.S. Navy Seals crest on the right side of the blade. While the most commonly seen S2s have a solid black micarta handle, the earliest ones had stacked micarta handles.

s2b

 

The first S2 sheaths shipped with a nylon one marked Santa Monica, and later Edm Wa. Later models came with the leather sheath.

S2a SOG S2

s2b U.S. Navy Seals crest

A rarely seen model was the SOG SS1, which was identical to the S1 in all respects except that it had no Special Forces Crest or the “Vietnam, Fifth Special Forces Group” on the right side of the blade.

KLC09589 SS1

KLC09589_1 SS1

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In 1989 SOG marketed a limited edition commemorative S1 which had the words “SOG SPECIALITIES” as the blade logo. It was serial numbered to 1500, and the number appeared on the left side ricasso. The origin “Japan” appears on the back of the pommel. Based on a Certificate of Authenticity signed by Spencer Frazer, knife no.0002 went to Arnold Schwarzenegger, No.0007 to Robert K. Brown of “Soldier of Fortune” magazine, No.0010 to Al Mar, and two sterile versions were given  to Sylvester Stallone during the filming of Rambo; First Blood, Part III. Of notable interest is that Spencer Frazer discloses that this knife, which was made by Ichiro Hattori, was made in one of the same factories that made the original MACV-CISO knives.

S1B_zpseva9yxed

Special SOG logo.

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Certificate of Authenticity.

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Country of origin on pommel.

A similar commemorative of the S2 Trident was also made with this logo.

S2comm

The SOG S1 has become a classic among knife collectors and has appeared in movies and television.

SOGBowie

 

SONY DSC
Terminator 2 – Judgement Day 1991

SOG Specialty Knives produced the S1 and S2 over the period of 1986-2005 that Hattori made these knives. There were a couple of limited edition commemoratives made by Hattori between 2006-2008.

TigerS1aTigerS1b

Seki production of these two models ended in 2005 and SOG shifted to Taiwan production thereafter. Amongst the SOG collectors the original Seki made models still remain the most sought after.

rsz_scan0002_zpsowtizhek 1991 AG Russell Catalog

The same knives made for SOG were later made under the Hattori brand and designated TV2 and TV3.

reghl_zpsmtt0ivxl Hattori TV-1(SK5), TV-2, TV-3(Aus8)

The earlier TV-3 designation was used for the unusual plum blued brass guard and pommel model.

DSC_0387_zpsclagsxzm Seki Hamono Kaikan (関刃物会館)Display

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During this period, Hattori also made similar knives for Boker of Germany, two MACV-CISO commemoratives, identical but the first had a signature of Conrad Ben Baker etched on the left side of the blade, and the other had no signature. Both of these are unique as their grind line ends closer to the ricasso, rather than the second spine peak. This is characteristic of the actual standard issue MACV-CISO SOG knife used in combat. All other Hattori SOG knives follow the grind line of the MACV-CISO SOG Commemorative editions.

BokerCom1

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CISO/MACV Boker Ad from 2002

boker3 Boker Commemorative SOG

boker2 Right side of blade

Boker4 Left side of blade

BokerSOG

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Another Boker offering was the the Son Tay Raid commemorative and the unusual blade shaped “Force Recon” model. All of these models were made for the European market so are not encountered often in the U.S.

sontay

Son Tay Raider Boker Ad 2005

sontay1 Boker Son Tay Raider Commemorative

Force Recon

Force Recon Boker Ad 2003.

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s-l16800

boker_usmc_enlBoker Force Recon

In 2006 a limited edition Damascus S1 was offered by SOG. It is very rare as only 50 were made, all serial numbered, with a Certificate of Authority signed by Spencer Frazer and came in a wooden presentation box. The blade was a VG10 core with a Nickel Stainless (410j) Damascus in 49 layers.

sog-s1-bowie-damascus-presentation-box-certificate-derek_T Damascus VG10 L/E

s1d%202Damascus S1

sog-s1-bowie-damascus-seki-japan-engraving-derek_T Made in Seki

The same knife as the Hattori HD7, a VG10 core but with a 97 layer Nickel Stainless Damascus is still available only by custom order.

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HD

HD3

HD2

Another Limited Edition 1000 knife run offered by SOG was a commemorative made during 2006-2008 . It was a standard S1, blued SK5 blade, serial numbered on the guard. It came in a presentation box with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by Spencer Frazer as well as a Plaque.

s1c serialized engr S/N on guard

s1c%20everything%20inside

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s1c mainL/E Commemorative

This commemorative edition is likely the last S1 made by Hattori for SOG Specialty Knives, as they had started to switch manufacture from Seki Japan to Taiwan. It would also be the last SOG knife that used bluing on the blade, and the only Hattori made S1 with the newer “bullet cutting” SOG logo.

Sogs2 SOG S2 Trident Seki 1986-2005 Aus8

HattoriTV2 Hattori TV-3 (current) Aus8

TV1 Hattori TV-1 SK5

TV-2 Hattori TV-2 Aus8

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1998 Hattori Year of Knife Limited Edition of 99.

Thanks to SOGknivescollectors.com, Boker Germany and Lutz Krempf, Germany. Special thanks to the SOG subforum members on Bladeforum.

SOG-Knives-Logo

https://www.sogknives.com/

boker-solingen_10859905

https://www.boker.de/us/

 

11 thoughts on “SOG Specialty Knives, and Boker Solingen”

  1. Awesome site.. flows nice… hopefully this we be a 1 stop shop for vintage sog info.. I got tons of pics.. let me know if u need them!!

  2. Hi i have a i’m not shure a limited edition first run sog s1 s/n 1300 of 1500 produced pieces. on your side it’s written that on the left seise of the blade is the special sog logo ” SOG SPECIALITIES” but my model has the normal old sog speciality knives inc. logo. But i have a wooden box and on the box and knife are the same serial numbers. I bought it without a certificate any help if it’s just until s/n 299 with the SOG specialities logo or is it a fake or cheap model?
    Thank You for your help.

    1. Hi Simon. There are several variations which arise occasionally that I haven’t been able to document, and your example may be one. I would appreciate it if you could send some photos of your knife to kurobune1852ATgmailDOTcom. Thanks.

    1. Hi Mike,
      The Al Mar SOG knives, as well as all other AM models were made by G.Sakai.
      The only Al Mar knife that Hattori made were the Fang daggers.
      Ken

  3. Have you ever seen an S1 knife with “SOG” and the tomahawk on one side and “SEKI-JAPAN” & the SF crest on the other? The knife is numbered on the guard with a certificate that says 1000 are made.

    1. SOG Knives never had a logo that used a “Tomahawk”. I suspect that by “Tomahawk” you mean the SOG logo that is actually a bullet being cut by a knife blade. What you describe would be a 2006-2008 limited edition. Although I have only seen the series that also had a “20” representing the 20th anniversary of SOG knives on the right side (where the Seki-Japan and SF crest appears). it is highly possible that there was a
      series without the “20”.

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