K&M Matchcases

A bit about our match cases

 What has become a widely acclaimed and original design of an outdoorsman's survival tool actually started out like most new products, i.e., born out of frustration with existing versions that have remained little changed for well over a century.  In order to understand the motivation for the K&M design and manufacturing process one must first understand the problems in the 1800's versions that K&M's designer wished to overcome.

It seems that anyone who has ever owned either an original Marble's or Boy Scout matchcase (both highly collectable today) or modern copies of either (mostly junk) relates to the difficult to nearly impossible process of opening the case with cold and/or wet fingers or when a piece of sand or grit becomes lodged in the threads.  Because of the thin-ness of the case wall, the shallow knurl (diamond pattern impressed into the case wall) on all older cases serves more for decoration than any practical function.

Many of those old cases found at outdoor and survivalist shows exhibit signs of being clamped and opened with devices ranging from vices and pliers to teeth and we can only guess what else.  (PS - they also leak!)  Based on personal experience with all of the above, the K&M matchcase was designed on purpose to open and close and to seal without threads from the first prototype right up to the present models.  From day one simplicity and reliability have been the name of the game.

One of the most commented about features of a K&M case is the robust knurl on both the case and the plug.  The K&M's knurling pattern from the first prototype to today's version make it necessary to machine them from solid bar stock, since any effort to impress a heavy knurl pattern into thin-walled tubing would result in instant destruction of the tube.  The heavy knurl of a K&M matchcase does require a slightly thicker case wall resulting in a slightly heavier matchcase, but K&M cases that have been carried for years as working tools still retain a substantial knurl pattern.

Ultimate lightness folks, the kind who cut the handles off their toothbrushes, should consider an aluminum version, which weighs 1/3 as much as a comparable-size brass model.

As of this date (6/20/12) a slight design change has enabled K&M to both lighten and shorten their  matchcases by 1/8".  The newest cases are now bored with a flat bottom rather than a tapered bottom (see photos) typical of a drill bit, thereby allowing more stock removal and 1/8" shortening of the case without compromising any desirable features of the original design.

We think it's the best ever.

Machining cases from solid bar stock takes longer and also results in about an 85% removal of stock, but since the scrap is recyclable all is not lost.

Boring solid bar stock rather than forming from thin-wall tubing eliminates the need for a special plug to permanently seal one end of the tube while completely eliminating the possibility of failure or leakage.

"Simple" and "foolproof" are two of the most commonly seen terms describing a K&M matchcase, both highly desirable characteristics of any tool specifically designed for survival.  Sturdy construction, extra "O" rings and string, plus a protective compass cover, pretty well ensure it will outlast its original owner.  By the way, the words "heirloom quality" have also been heard right from the beginning in 1991.

(PS - they DON'T leak!)