50 year old Okapi

Bob W

Basic Member
Dec 31, 2000
In case anyone was curious about the "warehouse find" Okapi Knives being offered from Smoky Mountain Knife Works, here is a quick critique. These knives sold for for $6.99 and are advertised as being 50 years old. While I wouldn't want to make any inference about the quality of Okapi knives being made now, I think this says something about their history.

I have two of the Square Bolster Workman, two of the Embossed, and one of the Square Bolster Utility. Overall, they are in good condition and the packing oil-dirt cleaned off easily. Every one of the knives has a lot of side-to-side movement in the blades. The blades themselves are not finely finished; they are jagged and have burrs.

The handles appear to be well-attached and durable. The Embossed has a different stamped handle on the back than than the front. The colored handle on the Square Bolster Utility is a thin, hard coating; the one I received is green.

One of knives has a loose action, particularly noticable when halfway open. Two of the knives have a tight-enough action, but aren't very smooth. And two of the knives have very secure and smooth actions.

Overall, I think they were still worth $6.99 as I am interested in collecting knives made by different companies. And they do look good as a set, and I wish I could have gotten the other two models. The rough nature of the blades and the inconsistency in the feel of the action indicates that these were likely very inexpensive knives, made to be used and abused, and not cried over when lost. That makes me wonder if these are the only Okapi knives from that time period still in unused condition...