Are you willing to trade off fit and finish to own a knife style/pattern you want?

Feb 3, 2001
If the Mods think this should be someplace else please move it.

There's a lot of talk about quality of American made traditional style knives, the old timers, Case, Camillus, and the Old Timers(Schrade) :D are apparently not up to par.

They like many American made products can't seem to match the quality of products made 30 and 40 years ago.

I have many examples of the cutlers art from the 20's through the early 50's produced by the above companies, these are production manufactured hand crafted examples of the finest American made products of their time.

Try to find the equivalent today and you would be hard pressed to locate many, on the other hand look across the Pacific and you'll see a flood of Asian
repros that supposedly parallel the excellence of the early American mass produced knives.

I was at a gun show yesterday and someone behind a table handed me a Canoe pattern with NS bolsters and Black Lip Scales, a nice looking piece to say the least, he volunteered the knife for inspection and proudly exclaimed, "Find anything wrong with this knife I dare you!"

"$20", he volunteered again,"Great deal".

As I rolled the knife around in my hand, open and closed blades he began to look about nervously at the crowd that started to gather at his table.

"Well" I said," This is a nice knife for $20 and that's about what it's worth, everyone standing behind me moved closer, "What's wrong with it?" he asked.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out a Camillus Equal End Pen with NS Tip Bolsters and Black Horn Scales and proceeded to point out the obvious differences, The back spring on his knife only sat flat when the knife was closed(The back spring was ground with the knife closed to make it look nice), on my knife it sat flat open or closed.

My rivets were finished smooth and flush, no gaps, his were raised, buffed to take off the edge, and were off center a little.

The Scales on his were nice but just didn't fit tight, voids were apparent and the quality of the Black Lip was a little better than what they discard as unacceptable.

Back spring tension on mine was consistent all the way through the arc, his got really hard and stiff at about 2 and 4 o'clock.

His blades rubbed the liners when open or closed, mine nestled closely together, he did point out one thing his had that mine didn't, stainless blades :eek:

As I put my 60 some year old knife back in my pocket, I said"ya got me there buddy, except my knife isn't stained it has a patina, old knives will eventually develop this."

While I walking away from his table I could still hear him trying to keep the crowd interested in his quality Chinese knives, but it was too late they all had seen and heard the differences and decided to buy elsewhere.
Dec 2, 2001
The fact that the differences have to be pointed out is the problem. Most people don't know or don't care about the finer points. It's just lost on them. In order to compete, American companies are letting those things slip. If more people would buy on quality instead of price, things would change, but we live in a Wal-Mart world.
Jul 12, 2003
I've used and carried a couple of Delicas with fit issues where the backspring and blade meet. But it bugged me. One I had a gun dealer order along with a firearm (felt like I had to take it). And another that I ordered online (too much of a pain to return). Been lucky pretty much since then with Spyderco products.

Due to large variances in quality, I wouldn't buy a slipjoint online. To easy to end up with weak backsprings :barf:, uneven backsprings (especially when open), and gaps along the backspring(s).
Dec 31, 2000
I wouldn't mind as much if the knives of differing qualities were priced accordingly. The $20 knife at the show seems like a $5 knife in my book. I've bought plenty of decent knives for $20; there's no reason to waste money on junk.

Best Wishes,


Gold Member
Oct 5, 2002
I have bought several OLD TIMERS for around $20 that were far from perfect but their 1095 blades are very good in my opinion and they make great using knives for the money. They are probley my favorite in fact.
What bothers me is spending money for a knife with a crappy blade steel. 420hc with a good heat treat is ok but some makers don't evan produce that.

Daniel Dorn

Gold Member
Apr 21, 1999
As to trading off F & F for a pattern, I don't think you have to do that. A. G. Russell sells high quality traditionals in almost every pattern. If you want quality, I agree that you'll have to pay for it. There are a few out there that still make a nice knife for a decent price, IMHO.

Apr 24, 2002
I made the trade off for a Case Mini Copperlock. I love the pattern, but the quality could be better....much better.

Jun 18, 2000
Ah yes, the curse of buying a quality knife.

Once you own a high quality knife, it's very difficult to overlook and not be bothered by a knife with obvious flaws.

So now I will not buy a knife if it has noticable fit-and-finish problems.

Good luck,
May 9, 2000
I wouldn't trade F & F for a pattern/style of knife. The only thing I would trade it for is price. If I am looking for a cheap beater, F & F are not going to be of much concern to me. As long as the knife works the way it is supposed to, that is all I expect out of a cheap knife. The degree of F & F that I expect goes up correspondingly with the price that I pay.