How have your tastes evolved?

Feb 19, 1999
I was just thinking about how my tastes in folders has evolved over the years and wondered if any Forumites had gone through a similar process.
Back in the dark ages of the early 90s I got interested in "tactical" folders and was enthralled with the idea of a LEGAL one hand opener.

My first was a Spyderco Police model and within minutes of buying it, discovered the now well known fact that Spydie knives come from the factory SHARP!!!

After I'd had the Police for awhile though, I started to find a few minor "problems" with the design that I just didn't care for. The tip was too weak, the lock was positioned in exactly the WRONG place for my hand and if I took a solid grip with it, the blade unlocked.

About this time, Benchmade started selling the AFCK. I saw one at a gunshow and fell in love! Seemed like Chris Carrachi and Sal Glesser had taken the Police and fixed everything that was "wrong" with it. The AFCK maintained an almost identical grip shape as the Police, (I still love that grip) changed to a liner lock, and given the whole thing a much sturdier blade geometry. I ordered one from BM and it was my constant carry until about July of last year.

That's when I discovered the Emerson Commander. An even tougher blade geometry, with an excellent recurved edge and STRONG tip, still a linerlock, and even a similar though meatier grip than the AFCK and Police knives.
Toss in the Wave feature on top of that and I was hooked!

The thing is, I can lay all three knives out on the table side by side, and it almost looks like a "Design Evolution." Maybe this is just me, and my perceptions, as my tastes lead me towards similar lines even when I find advances or improvements, but I wonder if anyone else has gone through a similar "evolution?"

Tráceme no sin la razón, envoltura mi no sin honor
Usual Suspect
I think that our tastes in anything we involved with long enough, evolve. It is natural that we will find things that we think can be improved upon in the knives we own, then go looking for those improvements in our future purchases.

In my case I started tith a Gerber Paul knife(original model) then moved on to more tactical knives. The Spyderco Police was also my first choice in this kind of knife. I still like tactical knives, but now have also started to enjoy gentlemen's knives and fixed blades.

I have recently moved on to custom knives and find that I like the relationship that you build with the maker as much as I do the knives. Custom knives will make up the bulk of my purchases in the future. They cost more, and IMO are worth every penny. Others will of course disagree.

The knives I have coming are a Darrel Ralph Madd Maxx, A Joel Pirela designed knife being made by Allen Elishewitz, a Mike Snody Kwaiken with menuki and a Kit Carson M16 A1. I think that these show a definite evolving of taste on my part. The next knife that I will order will be a Des Horn ball release sidelock folder that will take me in a whole new direction.

So to answer your question, yes I do believe my tastes my tastes have evolved.

I know my taste has far exceeded my budget...


I don't think my taste in knives has evolved so much as becoming more focused. Last year I did make the move up to custom, but I knew that's what I was looking for when I first signed on to BFC. I collect Stag in traditional patterns, production or custom just as long as I like the knife and I have the money available.

"Will work 4 Knives!"
My PhotoPoint Site
I used to be interested in tactical knives. Then I turned 12. Ever since, I'm more interested in knives I'll actually find some use for.
What a habit to have !

Mine began with production slip joints.

It quickly progressed to mid-end production tactical folders. That lasted for approximately 6 - 8 months. With that "jones" satisified......I immediately turned into a high-end production tactical folder and auto junkie.

I finally ended up doing the custom fixed blade and folder thing. Especially if it has exotic scales and high polished metal!

Of course, I still get excited over a quality high-end production auto tactical folder !

[This message has been edited by GigOne (edited 03-14-2001).]
I know this is just semantics, but I think we become more educated, we dont evolve. As we learn more and more about knives and steels and fit and finish our expectations soar to new heights. When I was a kid I thought Pumas were the epitome of excellence (and they are very good knives).....but today I dont think I could find a production knife that would interest me. I do apprecitate the efforts of a few firms that keep their specs very high....but in the end, success equals volume equals money equals a drop in quality....I hold up the LCC as evidence!

John 1:14
Love is Stronger than Death!
It sounds like mnblade is getting wiser sooner than I did when I was his age. My first knife was an old 2" penknife, followed by an "Elinox" SAK (of decent quality) in junior high. My first lockblade was one of the Gerber LSTs when they first came out. Around that time, my knife purchases included a USAF survival knife, and Gerbers I, II, and the Guardian. What did I need "boot knives" for? Nothing, just wanted them! (I also enjoyed "action films" back then. Now I avoid them. Most of them are just too untactical and/or unrealistic for my tastes. Of course, if I made an action film, the heroine would dispose of the crook/psycho/political tyrant in the first ten minutes of the movie. With some plot and character development, it would last perhaps half an hour. And she'd use a 12 gauge. Or a kukhuri. Or a naginata. With a really artsy, complex plot, she could use all three!)
I've carried a blade daily since junior high (oh, how times have changed). After high school, I supplanted my LST with a Buck Scoutlite (nice red handle and the innocent, all-American Boy Scout seal of approval right on the blade). Next came another Gerber, a Bolt Action. It was alot easier to thumb open (remember, no studs or holes back then, and I never bought a "Flickit").
This took me through the eighties (broke the tip off the Scoutlite prying on a fire system valve cover while doing security).
After joining the Army Reserve MP Corps in 89, I usually carried a newer SAK, which I lost one summer camp.
That's when I bought the Endura, and a BQ horizontal pouch to carry it in. Now one hand opening was easy!
Keep in mind I wasn't really a "knife person" yet, I simply appreciated a good folder. Didn't think much of self-defense with one.
About a year ago I got my large Ascent and figured out a saber grip worked best on it (I always held the Endura with blade flat horizontal, so this was a big switch for me going vertical). I also joined Hock Hockheim's SFC and began reading more about knife combatives. A few months ago I bought my Cold Steel Gunsite II (I'm a Gunsite "orange" grad: General Pistol in 82 and Rifle in 92, so this model won out over the standard Large Voyager).

Is everyone still awake?

Essentially, my taste has evolved from the utility types of folders to more of the tactical/utility types. Mainly, this is due to Ohio's lack of legal handgun CCW. (Of course, I only carry my knives as "tools." Just ask the folks who see me cutting bagels with them at the health club I go to.)

Most importantly, I've settled on tip up carry, like my Spyderco and my Cold Steel. The Benchmade is tip-down, and since two of the steel threaded inserts at the pommel end are missing (????), I've been meaning to send it back to be switched. Likewise, I prefer lockbacks. Some day I'll give another lock type a chance, but I change rather slowly. Under the stress of a violent incident, I want all my carry knives to be similar in function. As Massad Ayoob puts it, "commonality of training."

However, I'm thinking a deep finger choil or a prominant lower guard, along with a design to better accomodate what I've seen described as a "paintbrush grip" (halfway between saber and hammer grips, giving a little stronger purchase than the saber grip) would be more to my liking. (Think the Bear Claw or La Griffe without the hole.) I don't like the idea of a sweaty hand sliding forward on that Gunsite II blade! I really cherish my index and middle fingers!

Maybe I'm paranoid.

Or just long-winded.

The evolution will hopefully end with a pastel colored handle and some pathetically innocent blade etchings to ensure everyone from my fellow bagle cutters to the BATF black helicopter guys knows beyond doubt that its NOT a weapon.

"Martha Stewart Signature Edition Bagel Cutter" would be nice.


"Celebrate the diversity of inclusive, self-esteem nurturing, multicultural weapons arts." Karl Spaulding, The Safety Guy
Well, carried SAKs and small FBs aka letter openers as a pre-teen.

Left, the knife buying for knife fighting then came back. Graduated into balisongs, dreaming of the Spyderco Police, then bought Timberline and Beretta 50/50 edge folders as a teen.

Ran into the forums and bought my first Spyderco (not my last
) and went shopping for the perfect 4" folder and 3" neck knife for 2 years. Bought my first Busse (not my last either
) then a Benchmade then the Spyderco Military and Moran along with such toys as the Sharpmaker, Photon Microlight, Streamlight Scorpion, and JSP V-Gar belt.
Daily carry was now one FB and one folder or two folders.

I now have the knife I wanted from childhood, a plain G2 Spyderco Police.
Just started exploring hawkbills, and long FBs. Buying the Emerson LaGriffe this Monday and giving up my Delica for a BM CQC-7. Giving up my Native and looking at the Spyderco Dragonfly, CRKT Ryan, and Timberline Wortac. Definitely getting another La Griffe. Hoping to get even more knives and more cash.


[This message has been edited by Smoke (edited 03-14-2001).]
I have always had a love affair with big single blade folders. This started back in the 70's when there was not much around except for some folding hunters. Moved up to the one-handers in the mid 80's. Found the pocket clip in the late 80's and its been that way ever since. Back in the early to mid 90's I had several big folders ( 5 to 5.5" ) custom made and carried them on a regular basis. For the past few years now I have gone to a smaller blade folder. Most of what I have and carry are between 3.5 and 4.0 inches. That was until MADD MAXX came along! I now am back to a 5 1/2 inch bladed folder and loving it!

Art Sigmon
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"
Php. 4:13

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword"
Heb. 4:12
Until January, the only knife I ever used that was longer than a SAK was the Camillus I was issued in Korea. I would have traded it for a SAK if I could have. Yes, my tastes ran very small. Well, my taste has definately changed since. In October, I had a guy pull a knife on me. I was by myself, because my partner was still in a store with the store's manager trying to fix a jammed lock on a bag. It was 2 in the morning outside of the closed store, and I was carrying two heavy bags of cash and checks. My first thought was that I wasn't in an incorporated city, so it would probably take 10's of minutes for the county police and/or much longer than that for an ambulance to arrive. I panicked and tried to run when I saw the knife. I dropped the bags, but the, not so bright, guy came at me to get my wallet. Almost 50 years ago, I was stabbed in Korea by two different chinese soldiers. Strange how I was more scared recently facing a single robber with a knife than I was after having my shoulder pinned to a wooden floor by a soldier. The robber could have ran off with several thousand in cash, but instead he push me down to get my wallet that only had $7 in it. I disarmed him (read, shattered the bones in his arm like glass) with my expanding baton. The knife he dropped was a CRKT Mirage. I kept it, and I was so impressed with the knife, that I bought 3 more knives since then. Why? Well, I didn't know a knife could be of such quality until I studied that one. Also, after the scare, I want to be the one with the bigger knife. Since then, I stopped taking my lunch with me to work to save money. I've bought a CRKT neck knife ($20), CRKT M16-14 ($50!), and a Sypderco card ($30). That's not much compared to what some of you guys spend, but I'm a security guard in my 70's and I'm not able to work much more than 40 hours per week. Saving just over $1 per day on lunch (bread, cheese, and sandwich meat adds-up in cost), I'm going to be able to buy a 6" folder in a few months. Why a 6"? I want the biggest and baddest that will fit in a sheath I already own (made to hide a flashlight) for my duty belt. I can't carry a gun, so a megafolder (term I learned here) it is. As soon as I save-up enough, it's going to be a Sifu, a Gunsite, or a Al Mar 2000 for me!

Yes, my tastes have changed. From SAK's to the biggest folder you can buy all because of one attack.
Zoom -- Great post! A great story. Very practical conclusions.

By the by, I suggest you consider fleshing out your tale a bit, and submitting it to Tactical Knives for the "It Happened to Me" column. Might make you enough to buy whatever you want! -- if they pay. (They must pay, surely they do, gotta)

I don't think my taste have evolved, but they have become more refined as I continue to learn.

When I actually purchased my first knife (vrs. knives I had been given by others) 25 years ago, I remember thinking that $20.00 was alot of money to spend on a fixed blade knife. The local sporting goods stores in my neighborhood (Brooklyn) didn't even carry knives of that caliber. All they had were army surplus knives (I really wish I would have bought more of these since they were the real thing back then), cheap Japanese imports (none of us took Japan seriously back in 1975), and a few Edgemark knives imported by the Gutmann Cutlery Co from Germany. Then again these general sporting goods stores only had about 600 square feet of floor space.

I was big on hunting back then, and I can still recall accompaning the old man to the largest sporting goods store in the area (Triangle Sporting Goods - on 5th avenue for the NYC guys out there). My dad would usually go there to purchase guns or ammo, but on this trip he had decided to buy a good hunting knife. He asked the clerk to give him the "best" knife they had, and they handed him a large Edgemerk Bowie. I still have that knife in my collection. Virtually every hunter you would run into used to carry a big bowie back then. But, this thing was on par with the stuff United Cutlery is pumping today.

I can still remember having a good laugh from the first time I saw the Cold Steel Tanto ad in SOF back in 81-82. What kind of preppy would drop a $100 on a knife?!?

Well times have changed. I now demand more from my knives, and expect the knife to carry an edge, to have a safe sheath, and to stay in one piece after moderately heavy use. The paradigm has shifted and I have crossed that $100 threshold a long time ago.

[This message has been edited by not2sharp (edited 03-15-2001).]
Since becoming a member here at bladeforums my knife tastes have definately changed. I have gone from buying small cheap POS knives to small much nicer and expensive knives.

A Pat on the Back is only a few inches from a Kick in the Butt.
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Elvislives:
I know my taste has far exceeded my budget...



Truer words were never spoke.

I must say I tend toward FB more now than ever. I still enjoy a good folder but will always choose a FB over a folder.

When I started out a couple of years ago, I too was caught up in the tactical craze--G-10 handled Benchmades and Spydercos were my lust. Microtech grabbed my attention soon enough, and I fell in love. The price levels jumped again when I got my first Sebenza--now I was interested in customs. Currently I even find myself admiring the older style multi-bladed knives like those by Richard Rodgers. Who knows what will come next.

"I'm out there Jerry, and I'm lovin' every minute of it!"--Kramer
No laughing please!

I started of with a little Gerber LST, which I thought was the best knife I had ever seen. Then a few short months later I found the EZ-OUT and carred one of those for quite a while, things continued with SAK's and other bits and bobs, whenI found a shop about three and a half years ago in Bangor and bought an Spyderco 98 Endura fully serrated and a Gerber EZ-OUT in ATS-34. For a far while I carried the Spyderco knife and that started the Fully serrated interest I had at the time. Well about two years later I discoverd the AFCK in M2 (up to this point I had changed to Combo edges). I had upto this point bought more Gerber, more Spyderco and a Browning knife. At the same time I became a Leatherman freek as well as getting a Ka Bar US army knife (my first good fixed blade). At this point I made the mistake of getting a Buck folder in 420HC and a M9 Phrobris III knife. I still like the look of this blade but the steel sucks...

Well I found the rec.knives site and a little later this one.

Now I like plain edges, CRK's,Microtech,MOD and other great makes!

My level of spending on blade goes up evertime I get a new toy

My preference now is plain edge, tool steel and good quality. I hesitate to get any knife if the steel is less than 154CM/ATS-34. I have gone as low as 6m-8a but I am always left disapointed with those steels. 8a is just about enough for me, but the 440a/6M down are not using steels IMHO. The CRKT Kasper is ok as it is a defence folder and not a user.

My favourite steels are as follows.

1. M2
2. D2
3.CPM 440V
5.154CM (cos its new!
Well ok a re-release!
7. Gin-1
10. 1095


"To strive to seek to find and not to yield"
Ranger motto

A few useful details on UK laws and some nice reviews!
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It is interesting to look back on our own evolution into this process. 7 years ago I carried a small SAK along with my keys. When back packing I had a nice light 4" fixed Gerber, and that was about it. Around that time I got interested in throwing knives and thanks to a few well placed phone calls, one to Steven Dick of Tactical Knives, I quickly began to distinguish between the junk and what makes for a good thrower. Some months following that call I found myself at a custom knife show in San Jose CA to meet with Randy Lee a maker of knives and the original maker of the Bob Karp style throwing knife. I bought some beautiful throwers at that show, but I also came away with my first one-handed pocket clip knife, a Spyderco Delica. Yes I loved the custom knives I saw and learned a lot at that show, but how much could a newbie afford anway....

Well, seven years have gone bye. The collection of throwing knives has grown a lot, and so did the collection of middle and higher end factory knives some of which are still great and used, and others of which were rather disappointing.

So it was about 3 years ago that I began to venture into customs (or at least small-factory knives) like those from Livesay, Reeve, Aki, and Dozier. So far none have disappointed me, and the beat just keeps on going... At this time I have 5 Livesay's (three of them neck knives), an Aki, two Reeve's, and one Dozier with another on the way... I think that's enough... For this season anyway