Tan-Kri and Starlight
These two throwing knives were designed by the professional knife thrower John Bailey, and are manufactured by the company Böker from Solingen, Germany. Knifethrowing.info made a tour of the facilities there with John. Each knife is shipped with a short but accurate leaflet that describes John`s knife throwing technique.
The Tan-Kri is quite a big throwing knife with its length of 32.6cm and a weight of 390g, making it suitable for long distance throws. The two wooden parts of the handle can be detached by sliding a button. The resulting solid peace of 4034-steel is 4mm thick and weights 330g. The mechanism is precise but not without play, the handle parts can move about half a millimeter. Tip and blade are razor sharp, as the Tan-Kri is intended as a utility knife that can also be used for camping and hunting. This is not an ideal solution, as both John Bailey and Böker had to admit, because it is nearly not possible to repair dents that a thrown knife with a sharp thus thin blade can easily catch. (Not to speak from the injury potential such a tool has.) To make at least the tip more resistent, it has been cut our like a tanto knife. The blade has been shaped like a Kukri, slightly bend and front heavy. Thus the Name: Tanto and Kukri became Tan-Kri.
Despite these issues, the Tan-Kri is a very good knife for the ambitious thrower which sticks especially well with John`s knife throwing technique.
The Mini Bo-Kri throwing knife is the little cousin of the Tan-Kri.
The Starlight is also a heavy knife with 318g, but somewhat shorter with a length of only 28cm. It has been developed by John Bailey specifically as a training knife and was originally supposed to be called the Starlight Teacher. Because of the shape of the blade and the very sharp edges, the knife can only be thrown from the handle.
This knife, too, has something special: the oval notch in the blade. You can put a little light stick there to make for a spectacular show in the dark, or fit in the spring-loaded cap firing mechanism included. The caps used are the same as in kids` carnival weapons, they are not dangerous. The mechanism will trigger if the knife hits the target straight.
The grip is somewhat angularly and could even be called spiky. Because of this, the sharp blade and the hefty price, the Starlight can not be recommended for beginners. But it is an interesting knife for artists who want to beef up their act.
Allthough they were really good knives, both did not sell well because of their high price tag (about 135 Euros for the TanKri, 110 Euros for the Starlight). That is why Böker stopped manufacturing them in 2004 and switched to the cheaper version, the Mini Bo-Kri.