By James Reynolds (Freelance Outdoor Reporter)
HOOD – "WALKS THE SHARP EDGE"
How is it that a respected outdoor educator is now involved in research and development for the most versatile outdoor tool around? To answer this question we need to take a short look at the background of the man behind the tool. We received the following information from our U.S. Correspondent in Salt Lake City.
"I asked the gray bearded man behind the counter at a large knife and gun show if I could pick up the impressive looking knife on the table. "Yes" He said , "that knife you’re now holding was specially designed by Dr. Ron Hood. It is called the Anaconda #7". The knife seemed to mold to my hand like an old leather glove.
I held it and admired its unique lines. Several people moved in around me for a closer look, I took several slow downward strikes, (yes I was careful, but I wanted to feel the flow of movement.) It was like being the pilot of a sensitive aircraft, and the knife moved fluidly through its paces. Comfortable at each turn and twist. Beauty, balance and a solid strong look and design. Being a reporter, my investigative instinct took over. (I must admit that while asking questions, I maintained my grip on the anaconda), several of the other onlookers were getting anxious, wanting their turn too. Patience you guys….
My first question was "Who and What is the story behind the Anaconda?" The gray beard said that the man behind the design – the R & D, was Dr. Ron Hood. Being involved in outdoor special interest items and an old soldier, I acknowledged that I had heard of Dr. Hood, on TV and magazines and such. For the few of you who might not have heard of his background, I will give you the gray beard's rendition –
Dr. Ron is a 25-year plus veteran of teaching outdoor skills, wilderness survival and leader of various expeditions. He is a jovial cross between Jeremiah Johnson and John Muir, a physically powerful man with sharp eagle eyes. Much of his outdoor experience was gleaned compliments of Uncle Sam. He was a special warfare operator in Viet Nam and the Middle East. Lots of real hard-core field time. In the past few years Ron and his wife Karen (his partner and professional outdoors woman), have been teaching wilderness skills to a wide variety of folks as well as producing a highly successful series of educational videos known as the Woodsmaster Wilderness Skills Series. The videos are recognized as a fine teaching tool, accomplished with lightheartedness and intense attention to detail."
"Quite a background" I say to the gray beard, "but how did he develop the Anaconda?" Gray beard says "For the last 5 years Ron has taken a deep interest in developing a great knife for all outdoors people." Ron says "Many of our loyal students and followers depend upon my evaluation and recommendations for tools and equipment, and I want to insure that the responsibility of their trust is well founded. I always recommend the best I can find."
I then say to the gray beard, "How did he put it together?" Well about 9 months ago Ron met with a knife manufacturer who made quality tactical tools for professional military and law enforcement. They soon developed a close friendship due to a similarity in special ops background and their joint desire to produce the best possible tools at a realistic cost for their clients (tools with integrity). The new friend was Mike Fuller of TOPS – Tactical Operations Products. Mike worked hand in hand with Ron following Ron’s exacting requirements including a special differential heat treatment, a new pronounced angular style, palm tread grip, Linen Micarta handles, high-impact absorption and a tough finish.
After many months of development it is now just weeks from its public debut. The Anaconda #7 (7.5 inch blade, which also can do double duty as a combat/fighter) And the Anaconda #9 (9.5 inch blade). Two bold, fine knives built to last a lifetime and then some. Congratulations Dr. Ron and Mike Fuller on a job well done.
P.S. I came to find out the gray beard was Mike Fuller … I enjoyed the exchange. I also bought a couple of his blades.