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Oar Carvers, A Queen Cutlery Special Factory Order Series

Dan Lago, February 2015

Like many knife collectors I mess around with carving wood, but real carvers often swim in a different stream than collectors. I was not aware of this group of special factory orders from Queen until Mr. J.J Smith pointed them out in his responses to a review of the 41L pattern here on Iknifecollector in the Queen collector group. A conversation with Mr. Bob Stadtlander and visit to his website is the source for this brief review and an 0bvious place to go if you want to acquire one.

Mr. Stadtlander's woodcarving site is: http://www.stadtlandercarvings.com/

and will take you directly to his store:


The following knives are offered in the OAR Series:

Single Blade Locking Oar Carver. A one-blade folder built off the 41L pattern. .The blade is 1 5/16th long and of D2 steel. Overall 3 3/4” long. With half stop. Currently available in a number of handle materials, including, American Black Walnut, Smooth Black Cherry Delrin, Crown Red acrylic, Aged Honey Amber Stage Bone, Curly Zebra Wood, and Abalone.

Oar Version I. A two-blade folder built off the Queen #64 pattern with both blades 1 3/4” long, made of D2 steel. Overall: 3 5/8th “ long Currently available in American Black Walnut and Aged Honey Amber Carved Stag Bone Previously available in jigged Black Cherry Delrin. (Non-locking)

Oar Version II. A two-blade folder built off the Queen #64 canoe pattern, with one detail blade at 1 3/16th long and the other at 1 3/4” long . Currently available in Aged Honey Amber Carved Stag Bone. Previously available in Curly Zebra. (Non-locking)

Oar Chip Carver. (Locking) A one blade knife built off the Queen #6L pattern, with one blade 1” long, available in a standard width or narrower blade. Overall 3 3/4”long. With half stop. Currently available in Curly Zebra or Aged Honey Amber stag bone. Previously produced with the standard blade width in Cocobolo.

These knives were designed and first ordered from Queen Cutlery by Mr. Ross Oar of West Falls, N Y for his business of supplying woodcarvers. (Who wouldn't like to have his name on the shield?) He subsequently sold his business to Mr. Stadtlander who continues to procure and sell them, also adding sharpening service and more variety in handle materials.

The combination of black cherry delrin handles with D2 steel in the two linerlock patterns suggests this line started about 2002 or shortly afterward. The availability of handle materials up to the present time, including the new American Black Walnut, suggests the durability of this special purpose line. Woodcarvers have many choices but have kept buying these pocket knives – suggesting to me the mobile carver, the whittler who likes to sit on his porch - not in a dusty shop.

The Crown Red handle version of a 41L Oar carver is a nice example of SFO decisions. This material was cataloged only in 1997-8, before D2 steel was offered. However when the Black Cherry Delrin was no longer available, Bob Stadtlander was happy to accept the Crown Red acrylic offered to him by Queen as another low-cost, smooth handle option. It was never offered in 41L so that is the one I hustled out to get (see photo 1, below). Caution: it is sharp as the devil and does have a small thumb nick ). More important, on mine the extra sharp blade has a little bit of the wicked point sticking above the handle when closed (See photo 2). Be careful with this little blade and if you plan to carry it, you might consider a leather pocket sheath.

Bob Stadtlander was generous in sharing that he obtains these knives in “lots of around a 100 knives.” That is way more than I was thinking of. So while very desirable, I would no longer say “rare.” You can just go buy one. That one very seldom sees them for sale used (occasionally, the version I or II in my experience) suggests that a lot of carvers use and hang onto them “last a lifetime” as his website says. The fact that you can get them in Abalone also says some carvers really like “pretty” and is completely consistent with the classy, gentleman's versions of the 41L.

Photo3 shows a cocobolo version of the chip carver in #6L, with the wider blade, that I picked up a few years ago.

It is a lot of fun to realize that there has been a relatively long and vigorous history of these special purpose knives. Proves the common adage, “ You can't say Queen has never done That.” Always something new to learn. Thanks to both J.J. Smith and Bob Stadtlander for informing us.

Photo 1. Oar Single Blade Carver, with Queen box, showing #41L, Crown Red

Photo 2. Oar Single Locking Blade Carver blade Exposure

Photo 3. Oar Chip Carver in Cocobolo, on Queen #6L Pattern (Probably after 2004)

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Replies to This Discussion

Great write up, Dan.

Nice to see the continuation of the line, via Stadtlander.

Some of the discussions, on carving forums, say the same things about the exposed piont on the pre sharpened ones.  Seems that carvers either like them or don't, but I like to be able to carry my tools in my pocket.  Getting them in lots of 100, at a time, indicates that more feel the same.

Great info, I have seen these on the Stadtlander website, but most in the community of traditional pocket knife collectors and users have probably not seen these knives.  So good to get the word out.

If I recall correctly, there was a first version made on the Queen #11 Utility Knife or "slim trapper" frame, with a short wharncliffe-style chip carving blade in D2.  I do not know whether Ross Oar commissioned these as well or whether it was someone else. I have not seen one of these for sale in years.

Steve, Thanks very much for identifying a version in #11.  D2 steel also suggests that would have been made at about the same 2002 or later date.  I have never seen one, but maybe someday.

LOL, now I am on the hunt to see one!

Dan Lago said:

Steve, Thanks very much for identifying a version in #11.  D2 steel also suggests that would have been made at about the same 2002 or later date.  I have never seen one, but maybe someday.

Yeah Dan, definitely post 2002 as that year was the intro of D2 by Queen.  Seems like I saw the 11 version all over the place for a short period, several different handles but then they disappeared.


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