Well, not any old, cheap barlow knife. This is the first knife I ever owned. My father gave this to me when I was 8 or 9, sometime around 1976 or 1977 I guess.
The other day I dug it out of storage to look at it and renew the edges on the blades. I gave the blades and backsprings a coat of Hoppe's Gun Oil so they don't rust, and enjoyed the feel of an old fashioned knife in my hands.
It's an Imperial, with relatively soft carbon steel blades. The construction is pretty cheap. The bolsters are stampings and the scales are faux woodgrain plastic. They're loose and the whole thing rattles a bit if you shake it. AAMOF, it feels like if you put too much lateral pressure on one of the blades the whole thing will delaminate.
I don't care.
To me this is no mere knife. Receiving this barlow from Dad was a sign that he viewed me as being responsible enough to be trusted with a potentially dangerous tool. With it, I learned to whittle and play mumbleypeg. That's something too many kids don't get in today's coddled, padded, wimpified society.
Now, I'm a father to two little girls, and I look forward to the time in a few years when I can sit down with them and give them each their own pocketknife. At 5 and 3 y/o, they already know what one is and not to touch any of mine they happen to see out. Under supervision, I let them cut loose threads off clothes with the scissors on a SAK. Once I feel that they have enough hand/eye coordination, I'll let them start learning how to use a sharp blade. Maybe I'll get them barlow knives.
I'm going to put the Imperial barlow away now. I'll take it out again sometimes and let the memories come back.
Nope, not just an old, cheap barlow knife.