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Some six years ago I hopped back in my truck after a few beeyard chores. The orange paint scraper in my back pocket ripped a hole in my fancy camouflage seat cover. Fortunately, I wasn’t injured, but I could have been.

That’s when I conceived of “The Perfect Pocket Hive Tool”. I found that all of the new hive tool designs in the supply catalogues were often ridiculous looking and I was tired of paint scrapers masquerading as hive tools (and ripping my jeans and upholstery). I sketched out a simple design and first called a honey processing equipment manufacturer that sold a hive tool as well. “Don’t waste your time” was the advice I got since “the only place to get it manufactured is China and they will quickly undercut you”.

One of my beekeeper friends had recently retired from doing international shipments and he convinced me that getting my tool manufactured and moved through U. S. Customs was not all that difficult. I talked to others, including customs brokers, and the advice was much the same. My idea wasn’t patentable and the Chinese manufacturers would ignore a patent anyway. I was told that trademarking the tool name and its unique shape would afford a little protection and at least make my tools distinguishable from the copycat knockoffs. The Perfect Pocket Hive ToolTM was born.

I called my usual beekeeping equipment supplier (it starts with a “D”) and offered the guy that runs the place my bright idea, lock, stock and barrel, since I just wanted to make my tool available to beekeepers (including me). Again there was no interest in convincing someone else to make it happen, but “if you can get it to us, we’ll buy them”.

Over a period of months it did happen. I got a “commitment” from a Chinese manufacturer (translated by Microsoft Outlook). The tool would be exclusively for me so long as I paid for the tooling. I sold a few here and there to friends and at beekeeper meetings, but most were going to the big “D”. It was advertised online and in the catalog as “Brought to us by TX beekeeper Jeff McMullan”.

I was out of commission for a pretty long time with two knee replacement surgeries and endless rehab. As I got to moving better, I was doing volunteer duty at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo honey bee exhibit when one of the other beekeepers showed me the “D” 2020 catalog. He wanted to show my tool to an exhibit visitor and found that the advertising just said “Perfect Pocket Hive Tool” (no TM) “Easily fits in your back pocket”. Hmmm.

I few days later I looked online and it still had the “Brought to us by TX beekeeper Jeff McMullan” except it was a knockoff. It had been a while since their last order (while I was down with my knees). Surely this could be rectified. I called the guy that runs the place and he said that I needed to meet the price he was getting from China. Of course the tools were being made using dies that I paid for so that wasn’t supposed to happen. And “D” was still advertising (for years) using my name. Immediately after my phone call my tool became “small hive tool” (and his price is still more than all the other knockoffs).
He wasn’t alone. The same guys that brought us adulterated honey and COVID-19 started selling knockoffs (without “The Perfect Pocket Hive ToolTM”).

It didn’t happen overnight, but the honey processing equipment guy was right from the get-go. I should have known since he no longer sells a hive tool and his lookalike Chinese knockoffs are in all the bee supply catalogs. The worst are the guys (starts with “M”) that sell it to all manner of “distributors” and advertise a “pocket hive tool” online and in their catalog.

If it doesn’t say The Perfect Pocket Hive ToolTM, it isn’t. I suggest that you don’t buy it, or anything else in the catalog...most of it is from China anyway.
 

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The company starting with "D" is still using your name if you click on the product and read the details.
 

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Mutts.
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Fascinating! Ordered one of these last September in one of my very first 'bee stuff' purchases. Yes, from "D"... (also placed an order the very same day with a rival)

Two interrelated reasons I am particular interested in this. Happened to be the only item missing from the order. Wrote to them and received a free replacement. My brother also happens to make and sell Kydex knife sheaths so I took the replacement (and a yellow 'economy' hive tool) to him to use as molding models.

My sheaths look great and I hope to market similar in the future. (My brother is pretty much maxed out) He did make me a couple of extras I had hoped to sell locally before this covid 19 mess started. However, I happend to notice that the replacement tool I received does not match the picture in their catalog. Nor does it match the picture you posted today.

Your picture and the one in "D"s catalog only have an end bevel. "D"s pictured tool is rather dull and lacks any identifying marks. The replacement I received is very shinny polished and has both an end bevel and a side bevel. Also has "D"s name etched on the face.

Wondering if I accidentally got a prototype or salesman's sample rather than a stock hive tool?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
"I see the one in the new M 2020 catalog listed as mini hive tool , where can I buy the original TM tool?"

I'm "just a beekeeper" and relied on D for doing mail order business (before they decided to use my name to sell knockoffs instead). My tool is available for pickup at places like R Weaver Apiaries in Navasota, Texas (they love 'em!). I have sold tools to beekeeper clubs for "fundraising" since they wanted to get tools for their members at a good price. If that is something that you would be interested in, let me know. I can stuff up to 50 (maybe 65) in a (really heavy) small USPS flat rate box. The club makes some money selling them for a $5 bill (without having to make change).

A funny story: One beekeeper bought ten to just leave one on each of his inner covers...he was at the front of the line and the others got mad at him when they ran out. Fortunately I had a few more out in the truck.
 

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I just have to admit that I love my paint scraper hive tool. I admit to never having used anything else though.

I am amazed at the company's that have moved their production to china and set up plants that run for a couple of year to have the same plants start selling on the side. Those companies sorta deserve their fate. Its not like they could not see it happen to others. China might have copied anyway but then again, had not the original set up the production, they may not have gotten around to it.
Cheers
gww.
 

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I hate buying china crap and im sure alot of us do but we sure have been forced in to it , to bad its so expensive to manufacture things in the USA and we cant compete with china , wonder what this tool would have cost if made here just for curiosity
 

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A funny story: One beekeeper bought ten to just leave one on each of his inner covers...he was at the front of the line and the others got mad at him when they ran out. Fortunately I had a few more out in the truck.
Like this idea! However, I would leave the cheapest full sized tool I could find in the hive lid and keep the pocket sized one in my pocket.

Just ordered one of your authentic originals from R Weaver. $11.74 including shipping and tax.

If anyone has bought one of the knock offs from "D", please look at it for me. Need to know if it is sharpened on just the end, or the end and one side.
 

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Mutts.
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William ,in the picture from r weaver it looks like only one edge is beveled is that correct
Yes, and think I have it figured out. "D" is still using the old picture from when they sold the original Jeff McMullan version. Can not read the lettering, but it is in exactly the same place as in the picture Jeff posted. Now believe it is unlikely I have anything other than a stock 'knock off'.
 

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Jeff, why did you put the fulcrum on the same side as the J hook? I don't see how that fulcrum can work given that it would be pressing down on the same frame you're trying to pry up with the hook. Normally J hook hive tools have the hook and fulcrum on opposite sides.
 

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Welcome to having stuff made in China.

This happens to everybody, every time, someone has stuff made in China.

Chinese have built their economy this way, and must wonder why the world keeps coming back for more of the same old.
 

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My suggestion, have stuff made in India.

OK it's not the most ethical country in the world either, but they have been dealing with English speaking countries for centuries and have a better understanding of our values.

In India, you just might get your stuff knocked off. In China, you are guaranteed to have it knocked off.

And worst of all, a lot of Chinese knock offs use your tooling to make the exact same looking product, but they save a few cents using inferior materials, so your knocked off product breaks soon after going into use, and gets you a bad reputation.
 

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China sucks
 

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Mutts.
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SL Tx have been meaning to update. Received my authentic original from R Weaver a few weeks back. Very impressed! Thicker metal than "D"s version .108 thousandths verses .098. Ground finish all over including the sides. "D"s is shinny polished on the face front and back but has rough cut sides. Do not have access to a hardness tester but willing to bet yours is better metal.

"D"s is obviously based on your design, however disagree it was made with the same dies since several details and dimensions are different. Does not rule out others selling an exact clone, or that "D" did not in the past just that they are not currently.

Also bought a second one from "D" confirming I did not receive a prototype by accident. They have changed their description since September from "Perfect Pocket Hive Tool M01978" to "Small Hive Tool 6" M01978" Yet are still using an old picture of yours as of today.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Jeff, why did you put the fulcrum on the same side as the J hook? I don't see how that fulcrum can work given that it would be pressing down on the same frame you're trying to pry up with the hook. Normally J hook hive tools have the hook and fulcrum on opposite sides.
I was a little confused by this question at first since I didn't think I had a "fulcrum". Actually the hooked end could have gone in either direction and I opted for the most compact shape for your pocket since a fulcrum wasn't necessary. The "fulcrum" is actually just a stop for the hooked end that fits just right between frames (unlike some other hooked end tools). The "hooked end" also allows you to comfortably force the tool between stuck boxes with the palm of your hand. I also chose not to sharpen both sides of the "flag" so there were half as many sharp edges to cut your back pocket or upholstery (and it wouldn't serve any purpose anyway). The coolest feature is that when the flag end is between frames at 90 degrees, a frame can drop right in (I often wonder how many beekeepers figured that out without a hint). Sometimes I get asked about the hole...technically it is a nail puller (because almost all hive tools have one) but its real purpose is to let you hang the tool on a nail or tie a bright colored cloth to it to help you find it in the grass.
 

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I purchased 7 of them in [email protected] listed as 6 1/8" (15.56 cm) Mini Hive Tool - SKU: HD-573,
I just checked my bucket and none have the etching. For what it is worth, we love the tool and have convinced others to purchase it as well. In the future, we will be sure to buy the real McCoy.
 
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