Like most my posts of late, I will say right off that I’m an old fart. I feel this makes it clear right off that my outlook may indeed be slanted, and even prejudiced in view. Yeah, the old “back when when I was young bull hockey. “ Looking at todays modern knife market from that standpoint of someone who grew up when James Dean was still alive, cars had tail fins, and ‘Ike’ was in the White House, is a sometimes shocking thing. Kind of like driving a car for almost 20 years, then getting a new one and being shocked at all the devises and gizmos on the cat that seem like things out of sci-fi show. Self braking and radar? Lane drift alarms? Cruise control that keeps a preset distance? Hell, I didn’t even have cruise control on my old Tacoma that had been carrying around since 2001. Growing up in those post WW2 years was a whole different era in both technology and attitude. Life was indeed simpler in all ways. If there was a grey area, it was very very narrow. There was no anti knife phobia, and there wasn’t even any anti gun bull crap around. Every singe man that had his pants on, had a pocket knife in one of those pockets. Maybe not much of a knife by todays knife nut standards, but it was a sharp cutting tool that was used daily. Used. Because there were no easy open pull tabs, and everything was tied up in that white twine and heavy brown paper. Sometimes the brown paper packages were wrapped up in that wide brown tape that was put wet and dried like steel bands. You were not getting into that package without the help off a sharp cutting tool. The knives in those days were of a very narrow type. A simple small slip joint, usually between 2 3/4 to 3 1/2 closed length, most often about 3 inches. It may have one blade, but most often was one main blade about 2 inches and a small 1 1/2 inch pen blade tucked in there on the side. These small slip joint pocket knives were so ubiquitous to life that they were sold in every five and dime store, hardware store, train station shop. Even most of the women folk had one their purse to sharpen a pencil out open a package. The ball point pen thing hadn’t quite happened yet, so most folks carried a pencil. It didn’t leak, go dry, and the writing didn’t run fit got rained on. Most the men I grew up around back then were WW2 veterans. My Uncle Charlie got his feet wet on a beach in France and walked most the way to Berlin. He had an old Camillus TL-29 that he carried from his army days, and wouldn’t think of carrying anything else. I brought him hoe a new Camillus TL-29 from our supply room while I was wth the army engineers, and you’d have thought I’d given him a treasure. Only then would he retire his almost worn out TL-29. My Uncle Charlie was so typical of those men from that era. The ones called ‘The Greatest Generation.” They worked their way through a Great Depression, Fought through a world war, and then with no fanfare went home and went about the business of life doing job, and raising a family. They were truck drivers, welders, machinists, carpenters, brick layers, mechanics, electricians, and other blue collar workers. They all carried a similar pocket knife. The humble little slip joint of modest size. Growing up around these men, the small slip joint was my own life long pocket knife. Up until the 1980’s, and I tried a fe w of the ‘new’ knives coming out with thumb studs and pocket clips. Just too alien for me. A scout knife, a stockman, a Barlow was pretty much my speed. I started with SAK’s in 1969, and they have been a mainstay in my pocket knife rotation ever since. That was 51 years ago. If my pocket knife was not up to the job, I used another knife that was around back then, the sheath knife. I refuse to call it a fixed blade because it was never broken and had to be fixed. The sheath knife, belt knife, huntin’ knife, was always around. When I was a kid, (God, I hate myself for saying that!) the men who carried the small slip joints all had a larger sheath knife around, and if they thought they may are dong a job that thier little pocket knife was not enough knife for, they just put the sheath knife on their belt. It wasn’t all that unusual in the 1950’s to see a small sheath knife on the belt. The Little Finn knives made by Case, KaBar, Camillus, Western, PAL, Imperial and others were small, compact, but rugged. And I guess in this overly long winded post, that brings me to my point. The modern do-it-all lock blade that can deanimate enemy sentries or pry open a Russian tank hatch. Why? Theres been a great deal of development in blade locks, and a great deal of hype on how strong they are. Why? If you need that strong a knife, why would you not just go with a sheath knife, a belt knife? A knife that is one piece of steel all the way through the handle to the end of the tang. Aside from the hype of the manufactures of these knives of course, a great deal of the modern knife market makes no sense. Its like they built a more complicated mouse trap, with more moving parts, a greater chance of failure, and a higher price tag of course. Jeff Randall of EESE knives once said in an interview that 99% of the knife market is BS. I agree with him. A great deal has been made of the “hard use”knife.” I can’t think of harder use than staying alive in the harsh winter of the Rocky Mountains in the mountain men era, or building a settlement in the Cumberland gap country as America spread westward past the Blue Ridge mountains. Or invading and retaking a continent from Nazi rule, with fighting form village to town, house to house, and sometimes room to room. Or taking back a jungle covered country like Burma from the Japanese. The old Green River knives, Hudson Bay knives, Bowie knives, Kabars and Camillus MK2’s didn’t fold. When it comes to the so called hard use, why bother with something that is already hinged in the middle and ‘broken’? This whole post came about because this morning our daughter called and told us John, my son-in-law, had got his stitches out. He had cut himself quite badly while we were out there visiting for the new year, with one of his large lock blade one hand opening knives. He was working out back on the landscape and the blade of his folder collapsed and cut his index finger and middle finger to the bone. His shocked reaction while driving him to the local ER was, “I don’t understand it, the blade was locked open! It’s never failed before!” I told him theres a first time for everything. In the past, John has been a bit critical in a friendly way, about my ‘old fashioned pocket knives’ not having a lock on the blade. This is the third time I’ve known of this taking place. The kid where I used to work, amputated his right index finger with his Buck knife, and when told he was being unsafe, he replied “It’s a Buck knife, it’l take it.” Well it didn’t. The kid that was at the hand surgeon when I got my left thumb operated on for a joint problem was there trying to get some use back to this right fingers where some nerves had go severed when his locking blade tacticool knife had folded when it wasn’t supposed to. All these young men had an almost Jihadist fanatics faith in the locks that held the blades open. They all had unpleasant ER visits. Guys, the modern knife market is not doing you any favors. If you need a knife that won’t fold on you, use a sheath knife that isn’t already broken. Something that is just one piece of steel from pointy tip to the end of the handle. No joint, no break in the structure of the whole thing. At most if you act stupid, you’ll just break the blade off. Any knife that folds is already broken. Any lock, just like any man made item can fail, and will in time if pushed hard. Maybe its time for the un-folding pocket knife to come about.