What is a "Gentleman's Knife" to you?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Dan of Bazz Clazz, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. Dan of Bazz Clazz

    Dan of Bazz Clazz

    May 10, 2017
    This may have been asked before, but my search didn't turn up anything so I'll pretend I'm the very first one to think of it and ask, "What is a Gentleman's Knife?" what makes a "Gentleman's knife" different from a EDC, a Flipper, or a lock back? Particularly to someone who knows and loves knives. There are plenty out there that want to qualify, and may to some, if only because they are ridiculously small, are little more than a fob for a keychain and completely useless as a knife except possibly opening a package - and only then, the tape better be thin and weak.

    From my point of view, a Gentleman's knife will have or omit the following characteristics.

    A gentleman's knife is:

    First and foremost a folder. Nothing would show hanging on a gentleman's belt except his pants. Ditto for neck knives. Only a tie goes around the neck. A fixed blade never makes the cut. Nor does a belt sheath for a folder. A pouch to hold and protect it in a pocket is an option. It is an EDC knife. For a Gentleman. For the rest of us, :) I classify it as Too nice or expensive for EDC, but what I carry when in a suit, on a date, or at a wedding or funeral. Ignoring for the time being, those that will argue the last 2 are the same thing. :cool:

    It is small and light. No bulges appear in his pockets from carrying a 5" tactical monster. 4" blade would be the absolute max, but only for a large man. Much more likely a 3" blade or less. Likewise, a gentleman's knife is a light duty knife. Batoning firewood is not in it's list of uses. So thinner blade stock. It MAY have a clip, but it is never carried on the clip as it would show. The Gentleman's knife is not for advertising.

    It normally has only a single blade. A second smaller blade or punch, only for cleaning under a dirty fingernail or as an emergency screwdriver if needed and it meets the other criteria. Swiss Army knives of more than 2 blades are definitely not gentleman's knives.

    Any knife categorized as "Tactical", "Military", "Zombie Apocalypse" etc. are definitely not gentleman's knives. Likewise for anything serrated, with a saw spine or a file along the sides of it. A lanyard is walking a fine line but in most cases, not a part of the mix.

    A Gentleman's knife has "Style". Classic lines, elegance, quality, all without being ostentatious. As Gen. Patton once said about his revolver grips. "They're Ivory! Only a New Orleans pimp has pearl handles". So the quality of the materials is huge in the makeup of the knife. Pearl, Abalone, Pine, Painted, Anodized, Knurled, Knitted or Knotted is out. Legal ivory, Ebony, Bone, Walnut, Ironwood, Spatted woods, Engraved ( by an artist, and not your nephew with a vibro-graver) are in. The resin based scales are the wildcard. Some micarta has an elegance to it. Most do not, and some scream no. Blades finished in mirror, satin, or bead blasted, or true Damascus qualify. Anodized, blackened, painted or camouflaged do not.

    A Gentleman's knife is definitely NOT a knife that threatens or intimidates. Its intended use is never self defense. So if any of the following adjectives - "Wicked" "Mean" "Psycho" "Tough" "Phat" "Bling" "Evil" "Damn" or "Oh hell yes" can be applied to it, you are not looking at a gentleman's knife.

    If it has a double edge, spear point, hawk beak or a trailing point that looks like your hand is holding an elf shoe, Not a gentleman's knife. A Tanto point, not a gentleman's knife - Unless you happen to be Japanese, preferably with a samurai heritage. Then you can go with it. lol Likewise other nationalities and cultures will definitely have alternate guidelines from what I am defining here for USA, western European heritages. So give the person the benefit of the doubt in such cases. A gentleman would.

    So all that being said, here are just a few of what I would classify as gentleman's knives. Some I have, others are on my wish list. But they all qualify IMO. For what ever that is worth. What's yours?

    Chris Reeve

    Boker Magnum



    Boker Magnum


    Arno Bernard

    Al Mar


    BlackKnight86, El Bandit0 and Pomsbz like this.
  2. adamlau


    Oct 13, 2002
    The term gentleman's knife typically marks threads in which I avoid active participation due to a general lack of interest in product refinement through the use of natural/exotic materials. But I clicked into this post for some reason :confused: . But simple designs and clean lines? Yeah, I'm down with that.
  3. SW-EDC

    SW-EDC Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 4, 2015
    I always hear the term "gentleman's folder" so when I think of these, I always think of sub 2" blades for some reason and not blacked out (blade and handle).
    The Benchmade Impel always comes to mind.
  4. spykez


    Feb 13, 2017

    I frankly don't understand how folders can compare to this. ;)

    (Not mine, mind you, just some random picture I found, one day I hope to find a nice pair, though)
  5. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    A gentleman's folder is slim, lightweight, and fairly traditional ( some modern locking mechanisms may qualify )
    A gentleman doesn't flick his knife open because speed isn't needed in such a situation, and because it draws unneeded attention. It's ok if the knife gets seen or noticed though, because the knife may be beautiful and worth showing off.
    It doesn't necessarily have to be fancy or elegant, as a Vic 2 layer sak is always a bit classy because a gentleman is always prepared.
  6. jc57

    jc57 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 28, 2012
    It is a term that probably was used originally as a marketing term in the 1800s and on, to sell more expensive knives to the wealthier set (as opposed to a working man's knife). It would be applied to those who had servants to take care of most chores, so it would be for simpler tasks like opening envelopes, trimming threads, cleaning one's nails. Later on, the distinction would apply to the white collar managerial classes vs the blue-collar factory workers. They might have slimmer and more delicate blades and more expensive or fancier workmanship.

    These days, it seems to more differentiate a knife from the categories of utilitarian or tactical, but still made of more expensive materials. My Case Peanut is probably not a Gentleman's knife in the stock bone handles and 420HC stainless, but if it were mammoth-ivory handled with damascus blades and cost $200, it would be. Same with my Vic Alox - but get the Sterling Silver version of the same knife, now you are in Gentlemen's knife category.
    Dan of Bazz Clazz likes this.
  7. Bigbobg

    Bigbobg Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 1, 2011
    A gentlemans knife is a small folding knife that doesn't scare sheeple.
    TN Jack, Nico Owlman and fjblair like this.
  8. SW-EDC

    SW-EDC Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 4, 2015
    Here ya go :)

    Lapedog, mmmotorcycle and GB940Rookie like this.
  9. SpySmasher

    SpySmasher Lead Guitar

    Sep 1, 2016
    For me, a gentleman's knife is a knife I don't feel silly pulling out of my suit pocket and using in mixed company. That is (obviously) a very subjective and somewhat broad definition. My latest "gentleman's knife" is my Liong Mah GSD Tuxedo. That might be too big or nontraditional for some gents but not for me. It also helps that I can open it easily with either the flipper or the thumb. Snapping a knife open is usually (imho) a ticket to non-gentlemanliness.
  10. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    Anything elegant.
    PocketKnifeJimmy and The Zieg like this.
  11. deltaboy


    Jul 6, 2014
    Old Timer 340 or better yet the Uncle Henry version!.
    Dan of Bazz Clazz likes this.
  12. evilgreg

    evilgreg Why so serious? Gold Member

    Dec 25, 2012
    I have to wear business attire a fair bit and this is by far and away my favorite suit knife:

  13. SW-EDC

    SW-EDC Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 4, 2015
    That is really nice ;)
  14. BilboBaggins

    BilboBaggins Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 14, 2016
    This is likely the only knife in my collection that qualifies.

  15. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    I think that with it being a stockman the 34OT is a little too much of a cattle ranchers knife, but I guess it depends on who's at the formal function.
    Now the 33OT middleman jack may be a bit more suited to formal occasions if at all.

    I love the 34OT though as it was my first good knife.
  16. GB940Rookie


    Apr 19, 2016
    My gentleman's folders
    morisboeuf and marcus52AR like this.
  17. SW-EDC

    SW-EDC Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 4, 2015
    My nephew's wedding is next month and this is what I'll be sporting.

    B Griffin, Lapedog and GB940Rookie like this.
  18. deltaboy


    Jul 6, 2014
    My Case Serpentine Jack is my dress knife .
  19. Rip Gut 916

    Rip Gut 916

    Apr 16, 2017
    "Gentleman's Knife" is just a code word for "Candy Ass Knife".
  20. deltaboy


    Jul 6, 2014
    I saved 2 Weddings with my 34OT because folks tied those rings in knots on those wedding pillows.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
    thefamcnaj likes this.

Share This Page