I have a sudden, new interest in traditional folders-question about brands/quality

Eric H

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Other than the one Case amber bone 3 blade sowbelly that I own, I have always been a tactical folder kind of guy.

Suddenly, I'm drawn to traditional slipjoints. (Don't even know why--must be a pic caught my eye in one of the sales posts or something.)

I'm trying to sort out the hierarchy of brands (not in a 'snooty' sort of way--just trying to get my bearings.)

Specifically, I see a lot of A.G. Russell folders - they look to be great quality, and I like some of the designs, but they are made in China? Don't get me wrong--I'm not knocking them just for that reason, but the prices seem to be USA made prices.

Is AG's quality on par with (for instance) Schatt & Morgan? Good steel? Nice fit & finish? (I like some of Case's patterns, but I can visually see a fit/finish difference even in online pics between Case and S&M or even AG).

Help please?
 
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Ahhh, great thread. I'll be watching closely because I just got my first few slipjoints since my childhood. I bought Case, Great Eastern Cutlery, and Shatt&Morgan. I see a lot of talk about Queen, and Canal Street being some good options as well for USA made.
 
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with slipjoints you pretty much get what you pay for. im not saying $40 buck or case knife is bad, but you have to be less picky and expect some blade rub and blade play etc. i'll say you would be safe with a queen, gec, schatt, moore maker or anything around that price range
 

Eric H

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with slipjoints you pretty much get what you pay for. im not saying $40 buck or case knife is bad, but you have to be less picky and expect some blade rub and blade play etc. i'll say you would be safe with a queen, gec, schatt, moore maker or anything around that price range

I understand, and agree, but again, the A.G. Russell thing is throwing me...
 

Railsplitter

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I think it's pretty safe to say that you can buy any A.G. Russell knife with complete confidence. No matter where it was made. A.G. has an outstanding reputation for quality as well as an outstanding warranty.

If you are not yet familiar with Great Eastern Cutlery, you owe it to yourself to take a look.
 

gruntmedik

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Great timing on this thread, as I too have been recently bitten by the bug. If any of our "regulars" have some suggestions, or things to look/look out for, that would be very helpful for those of us new to traditionals.
 
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Be careful you are about to step out on a slippery slope. I don't know if it has a bottom or not, but on the way down here are some things you will have to consider:

You need to pick a pattern that appeals to you. In my experience traditionals are lighter, slimmer and pocket friendly. I started out with stockmen and trapper patterns and various Gerber Silver Knight and Folding Sportsman models. I have moved into canoes, Barlows, Sodbusters, pen knives, whittlers, and various jack knife patterns from there.

If you hang around this forum much, you will get to see the artistry and skill of the custom makers that frequent this place and the guys that buy the knives.

As for production knives, Case is good, but I think GEC and Canal Street Cutlery are better knives at higher prices. Like anything else, you pays your money and you takes your choice. Rough Rider has a fair number of traditional patterns at a price point that will allow you try more patterns with a smaller cash outlay. Queen and Schatt & Morgan brands (made by Queen) are generally fine quality, you get a lot of knife for the money.

At the risk of getting my knuckles rapped, here is a comparison of some of my traditionals to a modern one-hand opener (mini Bone Collector) so you can see the size thing I was aluding to above:

knives090610.jpg


The traditionals are with me all of the time, the BC only when I go deer hunting.

Another photo that might be of some harm is this relative size of various Case patterns:

caseknives001.jpg


The BC is the only modern one-hander I bought since joining this forum.

See you on the way down.... :D

Ed J
 
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Rough rider makes good knives and you can get ten different styles to try for $100. Good used, old US knives if you look, too. Since you're just getting into it, I would buy some rough riders and check them out. See what you like and then move up.
 
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I agree completely with Railsplitter and LKJW (Dan). TLARbb, thank you for the great pics.

Any knife that AG Russell puts his name on appears to have been individually inspected and approved for shipment. They are excellent quality and usually great value. When they get rare and old, he gets understandably pricey.

I cannot imagine a better or more solid value than AGR's current Gunstock in Yellow Delrin or "Rucarta." Some BF Members claim to be able to open these monsters one-handed. I do not try.

I buy AGR, new and used. They are always excellent. I have only had one that needed a bar to release the lock, but I assume AGR will fix, if asked.

I have never had a bad GEC. I buy them new and used. They are sometimes stiff, but Christine @ GEC will make it right.

Case/TB Stamps are generally excellent fit and finish, but not always. They sell at a premium to the regular Case offerings and they are worth the premium.

RRs are amazing for the price, when you get a good one. I have only had one off-center blade, and it does not interfere with function. Roland once suggested the RR 1044. It is an amazing value. Many others on this Forum can suggest other specific RR Patterns from the dazzling array.

It has been my experience that, Case, Queen and Canal Street have unacceptable, random QC issues, and their registered dealers do not stand behind the goods. You are on your own with the manufacturer. I also find this unacceptable.

I have personally decided that I will only buy Case (non TB Stamped), Queen and Canal Street knives on the BF Exchange from reputable members. The quality, honor, and reliability of BF Forum members is truly astonishing. I have never had a problem with anything bought through the BF Exchange. I have often been amazed at the quality and reliability of BF transactions and BF Sellers.

Mike H.
 
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If your just starting out in the traditional world and want to try out a particular pattern rough riders are an excellent way to test out the pattern for not a whole lot of money.
 

Eric H

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Thanks for all the input.

I think it was a pic of a Schatt & Morgan cotton sampler that has me drooling over the traditionals. I really like the AG Sowbelly and Gunstock too (thanks to the long thread going on right now!) But I think they're just too big for what I'm after right now.

What are the opinions on S&M? I realize they are highly regarded, but how are the springs? (The lack of 'snap' is probably the only thing I don't like about my case/TB Sowbelly).

The other pattern I really like is the saddlehorn, but I've only seen them by Case--does anyone else make a similar pattern with the exaggerated horn on the end?

Thanks!
 

black mamba

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The other pattern I really like is the saddlehorn, but I've only seen them by Case--does anyone else make a similar pattern with the exaggerated horn on the end?

I found this little import (about $12) hafted in ram's horn with stainless blades from Ocoee River.
IMG_0071-1.jpg


Same size as the Case TB model @ 3-1/2" closed, it's a well made little knife with half-stops and good walk & talk.
 

Railsplitter

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What are the opinions on S&M? I realize they are highly regarded, but how are the springs? (The lack of 'snap' is probably the only thing I don't like about my case/TB Sowbelly

I have owned 5 S&M knives and all of them have had good snap on all of the blades.

3 of my Schatts are Railsplitters and the Clip blades on those are a little tighter than the Sheepsfoot and Spey blades.

I like good snap too and I have had excellent results from S&M in that regard.
 

Eric H

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I have owned 5 S&M knives and all of them have had good snap on all of the blades.

3 of my Schatts are Railsplitters and the Clip blades on those are a little tighter than the Sheepsfoot and Spey blades.

I like good snap too and I have had excellent results from S&M in that regard.

Thanks! I guess I'll have to pull the trigger...
 
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Hi Erik, yes he's a great guy to order from but you should edit it out as vendors aren't discussed here. Send me an email for a little more info.
 

Eric H

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537
Hi Erik, yes he's a great guy to order from but you should edit it out as vendors aren't discussed here. Send me an email for a little more info.

Sorry! (I edited it out.) Email on the way...
 

300Bucks

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Since I am reading on this thread and some new folks are asking questions I will try to do the right thing with my knowledge.
All the knives mentioned here are all great knives, I have been to A.G.Russells, about an hour away, any that strike your fancy would be good. I collect old Buck slipjoints so here is my fair and honest evaluation for your knowledge.

Buck knives are likely thought of as a tough every day carry sort of production knife. But, sometimes one with fancy scales and high polish will be offered. The 420HC steel is considered to be decent quality and there heat treatment was designed by the best, knives usually come sharp as a tack, Bucks lifetime warranty sets the bar for everyone else to equal. You hear several stories of fathers and grandfathers carrying a Buck stockman for many years. They offer 'SPA" treatments for old knives that will make them gleam. You won't see much premium steel or art deco scales. Most slipjoints are made all stainless with a spring for each blade. The symbol after the model number on a blade is a date code. The old black delrin sawcut scale was the standard but new slipjoints come in other scale types. The large Model 110 lockback got the Buck line going. Thats the run down, you can find out the same info on other brands by going to their websites and doing searches here on the forum.

As always unless you live in the sticks, going to a knife 'rich' store and handling many of these brands would be the best way to begin. Nothing equals feeling the spirit of the knife in hand.

My current 'attraction' is the yellow valox scaled stockman. I guess I have always had an attraction to blondes.....(MMs fault) 300Bucks

301Group.jpg
 
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gruntmedik

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Mar 12, 2009
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Thank y'all so much for the info. I can tell this isn't going to end well for my wallet.
 
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Mar 23, 2008
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with slipjoints you pretty much get what you pay for.
is case bose tribal spear worth $250? is there a knife maker who would make a custom folder for that money?
also, i would be interested to know your opinion on al mar eagle (the classic line). would you pay $140ish for a production aus8 blade?
 
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