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Different opinions on knife-collecting

Jan 25, 2001
Greetings everyone! Its been about 10 yrs since i started collecting knives. From the experiences i had throughout this period, majority of the collectors in my country belong to the passive category. Collectors from this category tends to select their purchases based on, generally, aesthetic appearance, craftmanship, brand, materials as well as personal taste. They very rarely use knives, rather, the knives are treated more as art pieces for keeping and admiring. There are only a handful of locals, the active category, who actually "buy and use" knives.These people may be those in the military, outdoorsmen, campers, etc.

Therefore, when i first log-on to BFC, i noticed that people here are really into using and testing their knives. This is great 'cos info shared on the performance of different knives really adds value to the selection process prior to purchasing the desired piece. Furthermore, my passion for knives has evolved further to include materials science/engineering, which i'm current pursuing as an undergraduate. BFC has also created a link where those who shares similar passion in this field can come "together" to interact and share their vast knowledge.

For all the opportunities generated here at BFC, i'm grateful to those responsible. Cheers!
In my collection, there is a definite definition of roles. A few of my knives are for use. But, the majority will never cut anything. They are art.

Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
I have a few modern knives that I use on a regular bases. The balance of my collection are preserved as antiques. Hopefully, between the 9,000+ of us there are enough knives in use to provide a real perspective.
Have we all forgotten our manners? Welcome to the forums, vector!
I won't buy a knife I won't use. It may be only for opening letters, cutting string, cutting fruit, etc, but it will get used if I buy it. While I appreciate "Art" knives, I have too many interests other than knives to devote any time or money to "non-users". I feel the same about guns as well. It would be nice to have a safe full of guns of every type, but I only buy the ones I need for now...


PS I should clarify by saying that I get a lot of enjoyment out of using fine tools as they were intended.

[This message has been edited by mtnbkr (edited 01-25-2001).]
Welcome to the forums.

My viewpoint matches mtnbkr's.
This year, I'm getting into customs, and have already ordered a few. Each one for a specific purpose-they're all going to get used. Each of them is beautiful, but the real joy will be in using them, I think.
I've seen some gorgeous "art" knives, too, but can't justify spending the money on something I won't use.
Maybe I just need more money
How does one "use" a painting? Or a sculpture? Or a poem?

I have any number of knives that I use for cutting stuff, but my true love is for art. The fact that the knife can be both a tool and a medium for expression is one of the things that draws me to it.
Tally thus far:
Folks primarily collecting knives - 3
Folks primarily using knives - 2

BTW, A belated welcome to the forums.

Welcome to the forums!

I have never bought a knife specifically for a collection and I use all of my knives. What happens is that I buy a knife for use and then later see one that I like better. (My SOG "Tigershark" got replaced by my CS "Trailmaster," my Spyderco "Police" got replaced by my CS "Voyager," etc..) That's how I ended up with a gym bag full of knives-a collection. After my brother's house was broken into (and his knives/guns stolen), I sold every knife that I don't actually use. That means I am down to about four knives-a bowie, a regular fixed blade utility, and two folders (one's a spare). I do not consider myself a collector. JRF.

[This message has been edited by jrf (edited 01-25-2001).]
Welcome Vector! I have several inexpensive knives I carry during the day at work and at home.My multi-tool collection kind of sits around since I use the same one all the time and my other knives do the same for the same reason.None of my pieces are so special that I wouldn't consider not using them if needed.Not being into fixed blades at this point,I tend to just be a compulsive collector of folders and multi-tools.

"Just me and my multi-tools."
I have no problem buying a fine, handmade knife, but I won't buy a knife I would be afraid to carry. There is an inescapable charm to carrying a fine piece of craftsmanship even if it just resides in my pocket for the day, or is used for some light task during the course of the day. That's just my philosophy. I'm sure there are many others.
I'm with mtnbkr and others. Although I can appreciate knife-as-art, I can't afford the real art pieces any more than I can afford original masterpieces on canvas. I go to art galeries to appreciate the latter, and to custom knife shows to appreciate the former.

That being said, I do buy knives that I know will be only rarely used, but they are, nevertheless, knives that were not intended to be art per se. Their aesthetic appeal comes from their form/function/engineering, etc. and I will take them out from time to time and use them.
Vector, welcome to the Forums.

Most of the knives that I buy will never be used by me. I buy them because there is something that appeals to me in an aesthetic way. It has nothing to do with the price, my most expensive knife is a custom made folder, and I carry and use it every day. Art Washburn who made the knife for me knew it was going to be a user, and the sheath that Gary Graley made for it assures me there is no way for me to lose it. There are times I wish that my knives would get used more, but that's not my lifestyle.

"Will work 4 Knives!"
My PhotoPoint Site

[This message has been edited by PhilL (edited 01-25-2001).]
I love to use my knives. To what they are designed of course. So, a damascus Elishewitz for example goes with a suit and cuts things that one cuts when he wears one (letters, food, etc.). Dirty work, camping, rafting also have their dedicated knives (some being expensive customs too).

Sometimes I am tempted to leave a new knife in a box such that it doesn't deppreciate in value, but eventually I want to have it with me and once I have it with me I want to do stuff with it.

Collect what you like.And if you want to carry one of your favorites buy another for the collection.IMHO


have a"knife"day
Welcome. I am of the group that uses all the knives that they own. That may change as I get more and more into custom knives, but I doubt it. I am thinking about purchasing a des Horn damascus folder and may find that this one is just to nice to use. We will see.

[This message has been edited by Keith Montgomery (edited 01-25-2001).]
The only problem I have is that I like them all if they are made well.

When I first started collecting I purchased users. After a few years, I branched into one of a kind art knives that could be used (ie well made by artists that take their knife making seriously).

I do not have any qualms about carrying any knife I own (some of them are going to be very much babied - carried by themsleves in a pocket chamois pouch etc.) The exceptions are the daggers and a mosaic damascus bowie by John Fitch. I just do not have the occasion to use those damascus daggers that often

The bowie could take whatever I could reasonably throw at it since that is Johns first consideration, but I just can not bring myself to using it.

" The real art of living is too keep alive the longing in human beings to become greater versions of themselves." Laurens Van der Post.
In memory of James Mattis
Welcome to BF. Nice to meet a fellow knife knut from across the border. There's lots of information here - more than I can read in one session and many of the BF members are experienced knowledgable knife people.

My own collection is mostly production folding knives (much easier to carry) although I am going towards custom pieces now. I have two customs and one more on order. All of my knives were purchased with the assumption that they were going to be used, if only for light tasks.

Andrew Limsk
I fall into both groups.

I've got users (and their getting more & more expensive) and I've got collector's pieces.

I usually know before I even buy a knife as to whether or not I will use it or put it away for my collection.

I see nothing wrong with doing both with knives.

My reasons for keeping pristine collector's pieces is two fold:
1.I have plans for displays and I want my knives to look great (without damage/wear) so that I, and others, can enjoy and admire their beauty.
2. I want to pass along a nice collection to my children (or grandchildren).
*Note-#2 really motivates me when I'm buying a knife. I know this will sound strange (especially since I have no kids yet) to some but I love the idea of being able to pass down something of myself that they can remember me by. Besides, it gives them a chance to make the same decision, that we are discussing here today, with these knives all over again.

I relate knife collecting to coin collecting or any other type of collecting interest. What's the difference?

Just because knives are tools primarily, does not mean that they can't also be collected, displayed, and admired as the works of art that they are.

--The Raptor--
Please add my name to the "collect only" count. I do have one beat up Opinel I use occationally, but the other 80 or so are for looking at only. Some are handmade, some are first productions, and many are no longer made, but the majority are ordinary factory names like Gerber and Buck.

In order to preserve their value, I keep them in unused condition. And I'm not merely talking about financial value, I'm talking about "looking at" value! The just plain look better when they haven't been used.

Welcome to the group.
-Bob W