Using Expensive Custom Knives

TAH

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Here's my dilemma: I own a S.R. Johnson hunter that has a 4" semi-skinner blade, soldered guard, stag handle, and thong hole. To add to a sure grip, it even has hand-filed checkering on top and bottom for positive thumb and finger placement. Overall and not surprisingly, the knife is extremely comfortable in the hand.

Obviously, Steve built and designed this knife with features and the intention of it being used. There's nothing fancy about it. No engraving, no inlay, no fragile handle material, etc. It's a solid, no nonsense hunting knife that's just asking to be put to work. BUT, no matter how hard I try, I can't bring myself to using it. It's just too beautiful.

So, my question is, does anyone actually use a very expensive custom knife for hunting or other outdoor activities? Am I being absolutely stupid for wanting to use this masterpiece as an all-round, field grade knife?

Thanks for your thoughts,

Tom
 

ErikD

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I carry and use all of my expensive custom knives. I buy knives to use them, so if I think I wouldn't use it, I won't buy it. My EDC is a Tom Mayo large TNT. :D
 
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Nope, not crazy. It's your knife to do with as you please, so if using it would enhance your enjoyment of your time in the field, then rock on. Just realize that you will be diminishing the knife's resale value in so doing, but again, it's entirely your call as to whether that matters to you or not.

I don't know how much a knife like yours runs, but I expect it would be in the neighbourhood where I would be reluctant to put it to its intended use. Were I a hunter, there is no doubt that I would be carrying a quality cutom knife along with me. But I would probably choose a very high quality, but comparatively inexpensive custom knife for the job. Something like this:

orig.jpg


Theory being that, should the worst happen and I somehow manage to lose the darned thing, the financial loss would not be crushing and the knife itself would not be irreplaceable (though my crystal ball says that waiting times for this particular maker's work will lengthen substantially. ;) )

Either way, enjoy your knife!

Roger
 

Danbo

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Use it. Me, being the sicko that I am, have used this awesome bowie from Russ Andrews. Russ made it specifically for my big, honkin hand and by golly, I took it out and scratched it up!
 
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Well Danbo, now that it's all scratched up, you won't be needing it anymore - I'd be happy to give it a new home for you. ;) :D

Roger
 

Danbo

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But, Roger. It's all scratched up and has several rust marks developing. :)
 
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It's your knife to do with as you please. I have some very nice custom bowies that will never be used. If I owned an S.R. Johnson knife, it is doubtful that it would see any use. There are custom knives I would use and others that I couldn't bring myself to cut or chop anything with. I understand how you feel completely.
 
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Danbo said:
But, Roger. It's all scratched up and has several rust marks developing. :)

Scratches I believe, but rust? Uh uh. YOU, "Mr. Knifecare" letting one of your knives rust? An Andrews no less? You must be yanking my chain. :confused: :p

Roger
 
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I say go for it, just remember that the worst scratches are the first. After that I promise you will smile every time you reach for it. I currently carry and use two custom hunters, one from Russ Andrews (who actually used the knife for a season) and the other from Nick Wheeler. The Andrews is a pure hunter, semi-skinner in profile with a 440V blade and green canvas Micarta handle. The Wheeler is more of a tac/utility of my own design in forged W-1 with a wicked hamon and it would be a crying shame not to use a knife built to my specs. While both were certainly beautiful pieces when new, I find them even more attractive now. They are probably the 2 knives in my collection I am most attached to and the last I'd ever part with. While I agree there is a great amount of pride in showing off a flawless gem, there is even more in using one. If you can afford to buy custom knives, you can certainly afford to use a few of them. Let us know what your decision is.
 
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Knives are tools,made to be used. Do the knife a favor and use the heck out of it .


collect collectables-use usables.



jimi
 

SharpByCoop

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This is divided as the election... :eek: ;) :p

It's easy to just say "Use it!" That's what the knife was designed for and the reasons you like it are some of the same that have propelled most of Mr. Johnson's work into the realm of collectors only. It's really well built, has good ergonomics, and affords pride in usage.

The *only* reason I would take pause is simply because it IS 'collectible'. Steve Johnson's reknown is legendary. That said it's worth more now than you purchased it for, and will be more so in the future. That is, if it is still minty. A user will lose 50% of the value on the first cut and scratch. Even moreso depending on the scars later on.

But, any savvy collector considers their collection as a partial investment, with having *some* ability to regain funds upon resale.

Without collectors purchasing and maintaining knives in mint condition then the knife world would be relegated to a bunch of unadorned users, and makers woudl be uninspired to push design limits and styles in artistic ways. I make no apologies for the safe queens I own and photograph.

I vote with Phil Doss: Buy a user and keep that wonderful knife as a good representative example for the retained value of a custom knife. That's a rare bird.

If you aren't a 'collector' and you think custom knives are meant to be used, then go for it. That's a lot of money for a very good tool.

Coop
 

Planterz

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If I were a knife maker (I hope to be someday), I'd be paradoxically flattered if someone decided to never use a knife I made for fear of messing it up, and insulted that the knife wasn't serving its simple purpose, which is to cut things. On the flip side, I'd be flattered if the knife became an every-day user, but insulted if it wasn't "taken care of".

Personally, I'd probably reccomend using the knife, since that's what I do with my knives, and if I were a maker, that's how I'd intend my knives to be used by the buyers.

I guess the best answer is to get two knives. One for working, one for babying. :D
 

ErikD

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It is kind of ironic, without some people out there actually buying and using the knives I would think that the value of the unused ones would drop. Generally the whole thing with collectibles is that supply is lower than demand. Usually that comes about because most people buy the knife (or whatever else) to use, which in the process slowly damges it.

I think that really it is up to you ultimately. If you wouldn't enjoy using it because you would be worrying about every little scratch, and worried about losing it all the time then don't use it. To me the joy of owning any knife is using it and seeing how well it performs, and that I paid that extra money for a reason. I make no apologies for using any knife I own, whether it be an expensive custom or a $20 knife. I don't feel that there is anything wrong with owning a knife just as a collectors piece either, just not my thing.
 

Win Heger

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Phillip is right. Buy yourself a high quality knife from one of the many quality makers here and on other Forums. Since you like the Johnson you should be able to get a knife very close in design, for a reasonable price. Geno Dennnig would be a great example.

Win
 

TAH

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Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and advice. More than likely, my conscience will prevail and my SRJ will remain unused. Damn conscience! Always gettin' in the way of fun. :rolleyes:

I remember reading an article where Bo Randall said that he didn't want his knives to be locked in a safe, but to be used for their intended purpose and fully appreciated for their design and high quality materials. I just wonder where some of the top knifemakers stand on this issue. Do they just care about making a buck or do they wish their knives were being used and appreciated in the field?

Clearly, there are many custom knives, with all their embellishments, that are not meant to be used, but there are also many high end "field grade" knives that sadly never see the light of day.
 

brownshoe

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You should decide if you'll ever sell it. If the answer is no, use the knife, you'll love it more in the end. If the answer is yes, don't use the knife, but decide the price point at which you'll let it go. This way you'll never be stuck with a hot knife that's now cold.

I think this is a little over the top:

"Without collectors purchasing and maintaining knives in mint condition then the knife world would be relegated to a bunch of unadorned users, and makers woudl be uninspired to push design limits and styles in artistic ways."

There are a lot of "adorned" knives that can easily be users. There are a lot of makers who take pride in making safe queens that can cut, and some of them swell up even more when they know the safe queen is being used. A nice calf skin lined pouch can protect just about any knife from serious damage.
 

SharpByCoop

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We DO tend to exaggerate to make our points. Guilty as charged. ;)

Coop
 
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I have commissioned 3 makers for knives I specifically intended to use - Nick Wheeler, Terry Primos, and Howard Clark. For the moment, the only one I have is the Primos, and it's very nice indeed.

I have toyed with commissioning JW Smith for a pair of tactical knives that I would then carry, but haven't done it yet.

I am not planning on using any of my other customs ... for now.
 
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expensive is a relative term


I would NOT use a SR Johnson or a Ron Lake or a Bob Loveless knife under any circumstance.


I would use one of my folders, or something comparable, and do all the time.
 
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