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Switchblade knives...

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by stitchawl, Sep 15, 2018.

  1. stitchawl


    Jul 26, 2008
    Italian switchblades, that is. Stiletto-style. After 60 years of collecting and futzing with knives, I've decided that I need to waste more money, and do so on the one style of knife obviously missing from my collections... the Italian stiletto switchblade.

    Problem... I can seem to find good quality ones. I see lots of companies selling the 'Frank Beltrame' brand made in Italy, but so far, the fit, finish, and blade steel have all be sorely lacking. Most have slab scales that don't even taper into the bolsters! Squared-off bulky things at best. Blade material reads; 'Stainless Steel.' Once in a while I stumble across on that reads 420 Stainless. Lock-ups leave a lot of blade wobble.

    Anyone have suggestions as to who sells higher quality switchblades?

  2. eKretz


    Aug 30, 2009
    I think Bill DeShivs, @Bill DeShivs who frequently posts in this forum might be a good place to look. As I recall, he makes some nice knives in that style.
  3. stitchawl


    Jul 26, 2008
    Thanks, yes, I'm familiar with Bill DeShivs' excellent work, but he doesn't make or sell in the style that I'm looking for.

  4. Railsplitter

    Railsplitter Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 31, 2010
    I see what you mean. I don't know anything about Italian Switchblades but I did some searching myself and even $750 handmade customs have slabs that don't taper into the bolster. Every one I looked at was the same way regardless of price.

    Leads me to believe they are made that way on purpose for the sake of tradition. shrug.gif
  5. stitchawl


    Jul 26, 2008
    I never realized either until I received a few inexpensive ones... $100 and under. I wonder about that, too. Having them so squared off doesn't make sense to me. As a pocket knife, it imprints against the pocket. I found a few really expensive collectables from the early 1900's that do taper into the bolster, but at this point, I'm not ready to invest $750 for a safe queen. I think I may just have to buy some mid-range knives and do a bit of Dremel-ing on them... at least until I go back to Italy again. I just ordered two more, and will see what my grinding can do to them. At least some of them are 440 steel, but I'd like to do better than that.

  6. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 6, 2000
    That's the way they are made.
    The button-side handle contains routed areas for the button and safety assemblies. If you start grinding, you'll likely run into them.
    Tradition? Yes, but practicality comes into play, too.
    The Italian stiletto design is classic, and it is an acquired taste. My suggestion is to learn to like them for what they are.
    Should you decide you want a modern knife that is made the way the 1950s stilettos were made, I suggest an AGA Campolin 10" model. ( the handles aren't tapered- nor should they be.
    Or, just get a Leverletto.
    eKretz and Railsplitter like this.
  7. stitchawl


    Jul 26, 2008
    Thanks, Bill, but I still prefer the tapered, rounded look, something along the lines of this 1950's Antonini 9" Picklock.
    It just rings my bell a lot more than the clunky, squared-off models. Knives like the modern ones being produced by Frank Beltrame just look (and feel) unfinished... as if they sacrificed the time to make quantity rather than quality. As many older models do seem to have tapered scales, there must be a way to make them, rather than just leaving squared-off edges and ends.

  8. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 6, 2000
    Those Antoninis were rescaled recently in Italy! While it appears the rear may be tapered, the front is not.
    What you want is a knife that looks like an Italian stiletto, with thinner scales (or bigger bolsters!)
    I agree the modern ?Italian knives are much clunkier than the 1950s knives.
    stitchawl likes this.

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