Are we spoiled?

Joined
Oct 2, 2004
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This is not a flame at anyone, or any kind of inditement of anything, just the musings of an older knife knut.

I have read the posts about some who have never handled a slip joint, others who are overly worried about a carbon steel knife rustings. Other posts debating if a liner lock is as good as a frame lock, and the debate over the best steel.

Our grandfathers had none of that, the new frame locks, the one hand tacticle knives, super stainless steels, and in most cases they rarely had more than one knife. I can remember my grandfather had this really old stockman with the blades almost black they were such a dark grey, exept for a bright sharp edge, and he used that knife for EVERYTHING. If he went bird hunting his stockman dressed the quail, and if he got a deer, the knife did that too. On his birthday he would neatly slit open the gifts so cleanly the wrapping paper could be reused. The idea of replacing that old stockman was herasy to him. But then he only used one gun, his old shotgun he'd had since the invention of gunpowder.

Have we become in our knife worship a bunch of knife snobs?

It seems to me that we have become so jaded that if the knife does not have the latest wonder steel, or some new gimmick we turn our noses up at it.

I wonder if to some degree alot of "us" have become so used to the modern wonder knives that we don't really appretiate some humble but great little cutter like an Opinel or a carbon steel Schrade Old Timer thats soon to become a thing of the past.

The knives today all have the high tech materials that will look the same 50 years from now. I guess it's no longer permissable to have a knife that will age and gain some personality. I have an old barlow knife that has real wood handles and over the past 30 years the wood has darkend to a rich walnut hue from the handling, with a few dings here and there. My old Hen and Rooster stockman has stag handles that have turned a golden brown patina and the carbon blades are a medium charcoal grey. They have aged some, but so have I.

But my Gerber LST that somebody gave me ten years ago and has been carried on and off still has no character, and to me has no soul.

Like I said, this is just something I muse about, but sometimes I look at all the marvelous new knives in a knife shop near me and I get the same feeling as in a gun shop and I see all the new wonder autos that all look alike.

IMHO I think we have lost style. The new stuff all looks alike, all the same materials, shape of the tanto tacticle blades ect. I did not mind it when I was younger, I even tried some of the "modern" stuff. But after owning some of it and carrying it I ended up selling and giving away all of it. I found the Glock boring and kept my old K-38 masterpiece, and the Balisongs went and I kept my old stag stockman. There was something too sterile about the new stuff.

By now all the young guys will be thinking "another old fart" and I admit they will be right. I just feel a little sad sometimes that the world has become such a homaginized place. Once upon a time you could tell a Winchester from a Marlin from the other side of the room. You could tell a Case stockman from a Schrade trapper from a Queen barlow across that same room. Now I can't tell one tacticle knife from another unless I read the name on it.

Sorry for the long post, just an old man feeling a bit nostalgic.
 

ErikD

Gold Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2000
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1,868
I guess really part of it is just evolution, and the changing of society as a whole. Trappers, Stockamans, etc. probably came in handy for there designed purposes many years before I was ever born. Now that the world has changed greatly other designs might be more convinent for everyday use for many. I tend to think that the invention of the locking blade, cutlery grade stainless steel, etc. all came about because of some need. They have stayed around, and grown in popularity so much because they are generally more popular.

I guess my felling is that if you can improve on something, why not do it? What if man never made a knife out of steel because rocks, or brass were sufficient to process food needs, and camp needs?

I would agree that with all the synthetic handle materials and stainless blades out there that a knife bought and used today will look the same in 20, 30 or even 50 years. Is this necessarily a bad thing, well I guess that is really an opinion type of thing. To you it means that the knife has no soul, no charecter. To someone else it means that they got a good working knife that will last much longer, and be able to do much more.

Now I am only 21, but my most recent knife purchase was a Queen Canoe with stag scales. Something I am looking to get sometime in the near future is a folder with a carbon steel blade and natural scales. This will be a pretty big departure from my usual modern knives of stainless and synthetics or titanium.
 
Joined
Sep 30, 2004
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sometimes.... this happens before one grows very old.........
it's the same reason that 85-100-year-old houses still stand, sturdy and sound, despite some disrepair, while newer houses in cookie-cutter tract-home developments crumble after 30.
or perhaps a better metaphor is why some of us would rather drive an aging automobile that not only requires work on the part of the owner, but allows the owner to invest some of him/herself into the machine, over a new computerized car that requires "dealership assistance" and diagnostic computer checks. why, i would love to hold a distributor cap in my hand, as opposed to looking at a small, sealed plastic box with a plug sticking out and thinking "what the f*ck?"
peace.
 
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
1,467
I have carried a BM AFCK for a long time. The knife has dings and scratches on the flats, and the coating has worn off. The tip has been reground repeatedly. The edge has been extensively reprofiled, and has been throughly resharpened after scraping carbon out of an M16. I have lovingly disaasembled and cleaned it, and adjusted the picot to perfection on numerous ocassions. It is older now, very slightly leaner, and not as pretty. It is absolutely reliable and eternally sharp.

If that ain't character, what is?
 
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Messages
37
I know and understand what you are saying, and agree with alot of it. We are a society that has the extra wealth to purchase things we want because we want them, not because we need them. Many older people either lived through, or grew up during the Depression and that had a huge effect on their spending habits and use of money from then on. Much of it stems from advertising and articles from gun and knife "gurus", i.e., this is the latest and greatest and you must have it to be one of the elite. I work with people that buy a new deer rifle, in a new caliber, every year. When I was younger, I fell for that kind of crap also. As you get older, I think you gain appreciation for what is important and what isn't, with "image" and "trendy" being the first to go.
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2004
Messages
1,542
You bet we're spoiled. I am and so is everybody i know. All those nifty utilities, machinery, computers, etc. They're no different than knives, knives are tools too and they evolved along with technology. My grandfather used to have a knife that looked like what you described - high carbon blade, dark but sharp as they got. Kandle was totally busted but grandfather never made a new one (he was a, what do you call those in english? carpenter that made wheels for chariots and alike, very proficient in woodworking) band insisted on using it as it was, all ugly and beat-up :D He was "old school" and we're totally different, used to advances of technology. Wait 'til you see our grandchildren posting in PhaserForums.com, how nutty their grandparents were, using steel tools and all :)
 

Danbo

Platinum Member
Joined
Nov 28, 1999
Messages
14,979
stevekt said:
What's a "stockman"? Does it come in G-10 and a tip up pocket clip?

:D :D

The original post got me to thinking(Yeah, I know, that can be dangerous) about carrying some different stuff now. I am guilty of the steel snobbery, but today I am carrying something old school. I brought my old(but still in near mint condition) Carl Schlieper Eye Brand Medium Stockman. This one is from the 70s, and has double eyes on the blade. Rounded bolsters, 3 near perfectly ground forged carbon steel blades(although, not yet blue from use) that walk and talk without rubbing against each other. Gorgeous brown jig bone handles with shield escutcheon plate. Now, all I have to do is cut up a bunch of apples and oranges! :)
 
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Apr 12, 2000
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I picked up a Queen large Stockman with their imitation bone/stag handels and D2 steel. I should try and carry it and use it more.
 
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Apr 3, 2004
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Heck, I've drifted away from the tactical stuff over the years. A Spyderco's nice as a beater knife, but there's something about an old carbon slipjoint that really says "I am knife, hear me cut!" to me.

Out of my daily rotation, more than half are carbon steel, and most of those are bone or woods. Newest design type? Trapper, 1920s. Barlows are centuries old, but still cut as well as they did in Obadiah's day.

Sometimes, when cleaning up one of mine, I like to really look at it. What scratches it has, picked up on what jobs, what dings out the spine, and what memories they each hold. It may be something so simple as that job downtown that took a week, it may be something so treasured as a long night sitting my OA Vigil.

Tacticals can never touch that.
 
Joined
May 9, 2000
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29,205
It's all good. Non-stainless or stainless, or for that matter Talonite/Stellite or Liquid Metal, stag/wood or Micarta/G-10, traditional or more modern style knives. There are knives out there for you no matter what your preference in materials, styles or designs might be.

My preference is for non-stainless carbon steel and natural handle materials. Custom knives is just about all I purchase these days, so I don't have any trouble finding knives made just the way I like them. The choice is more limited with production knives, but there is still quite a good selection to choose from.

There is nothing wrong with a little nostalgia. I prefer tube amps and turntables to transistor amps and SACD players. I also prefer cars from the fifties and sixties to what is available today. That doesn't mean that I don't appreciate the advances in technology that have gone into todays products. It's just that for me, technolgical advances don't necessarily equate to a better product.
 
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Keith Montgomery said:
It's all good. Non-stainless or stainless, or for that matter Talonite/Stellite or Liquid Metal, stag/wood or Micarta/G-10, traditional or more modern style knives. There are knives out there for you no matter what your preference in materials, styles or designs might be.

My preference is for non-stainless carbon steel and natural handle materials. Custom knives is just about all I purchase these days, so I don't have any trouble finding knives made just the way I like them. The choice is more limited with production knives, but there is still quite a good selection to choose from.

There is nothing wrong with a little nostalgia. I prefer tube amps and turntables to transistor amps and SACD players. I also prefer cars from the fifties and sixties to what is available today. That doesn't mean that I don't appreciate the advances in technology that have gone into todays products. It's just that for me, technolgical advances don't necessarily equate to a better product.
This is the same place I fall into. Just because I like the new stuff doesn't mean I don't appreciate the old stuff and vice versa. It shouldn't be one or the other. The very idea that you're sitting at home on a computer "conversing" with knife knuts worldwide over the Internet instead of sitting with your buddies talkin' knives is a demonstration of that very idea. I'd be missing out on a whole world of stuff out there if it weren't for the Internet--and that includes the old stuff, not just the new, "tactical" stuff. And I'm sure that just because you're on the net chatting it up with us doesn't mean that you won't get together with the boys and do the same thing.

I really do understand what you're trying to say but what works for some people does not always work for everyone else and just because people "got by" using one thing doesn't mean that it can't be improved upon or changed. Everything was "advanced technology" at one time or another--I think that things just aren't always appreciated until they get old.
 
Joined
May 28, 1999
Messages
2,606
I tend to look at it a bit differently. Now, sure you might say we're spoiled, with our plasma tv's, knife steel of the week etc, since our grandfathers didn't have such things etc. But dig this, those guys had lightbulbs, and kerosene lanterns that worked for hours on end, they had high quality high carbon steel blades. Were they spoiled because they weren't using sharp rocks and a branch that was lit on fire?? It's all a matter of perspective, yeah I do think we're a bit spoiled, but nothing too bad. After Hurricane Charley whacked us I found that as long as we kept the bugs out I really didn't mind not having air conditioning, tv, stove, etc for the two weeks the power was out. Do I appreciate them more now that I got them back? You betcha :p Same way I appreciate having a one handed folder on me after I had to borrow some guy's rusted old slipjoint cuz I forgot mine at home.

P.S.: In case anyone wondered, I really do prefer carbon steel to stainless, except in a slipjoint, those always rust on me, a good protectant slows it down a bit, but after a day in my pocket there's still pitting or rust.
 
Joined
Sep 14, 2002
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I agree, we seem to have lost our appreciation for some of the simplier things in life. Lately I find myself going back to SAK's and a Boker trapper that I have but I can't seem to be able to get completely away from some of the new gagets.
 
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Mar 26, 2004
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Next someone is going to start whining and saying that Springfield Armory Muskets have a lot more soul than modern stuff. Thanks, I'll take an XM8.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2002
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I put a Queen D2 Canoe on the tab when I ordered the spyderco Manix recently. I'm carrying it everywhere now. I do not own a more ascetically pleasing knife. I like timeless/long lasting things.
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2004
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1,892
I think the biggest change is that we used to be knife users, and now we are knife consumers. Consumption relies on the perceived need for a new thing, and a large proportion of the knife market feeds off of this premise.

Good stuff is good forever, but only some stuff has the style to last. A Chris Reeve Project I will always be a huge chunk of black A2, and it was this long before the tactical era. A Fallkniven NL2 is beautiful, and will always look fast and elegant.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2003
Messages
49
I think I will have to agree with the idea of natural evolution. There is nothing wrong with slipjoints and old style knives, but the fact is that there are more specific and advanced materials available now. I see it as analagous to the typewriter. It will still get you by, but man Microsoft Word just makes things so much easier. Also, I know there are a lot of forumites that love both. I remember some posts that people say every once in a while they grab an old Marbles, a brass compass and head out for a trail hike. So I say that as long as you are willing to accept that times change, then there is nothing wrong with enjoying the simple, yet elegant lines of a slipjoint. By the way I plan on buying a Buck Cadet as soon as my Swamp Rat arrives, haha. And as a random note, some people may want to temper their posts and be slightly more respectful, especially if they hail from the school that I assume they do.... :footinmou but that is just my $.02

Jonathan
 
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