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What makes a whittling knife?

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Apr 14, 2006
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Of course, if you go over to Bernard's forum, he'll tell you that there is no such thing historically, as a "whittler," and it is just a term bandied about by knife collectors that has become the modern definition of knives that carry certain characteristics.

(posts 6 and 9)

http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/982331-Carpenter-s-Whittler?p=11179156#post11179156

Yep, and historically, there was no such thing as a cellular phone. Now there is, and there is a pattern known as a whittler. He'll just have to deal with the evolutuion of language to encompass new concepts.


I also consider whittling to be a leisure and casual, maybe more spontaneous activity than carving, which I consider planned work, generally with a specific purpose or end product in mind. Of course, we're dealing with semantics here.

Bottom line is that any serious carving will generally require a fixed blade knife, either in the style of the carver diplayed in pukkoman's post, the more common and sometimes cheaper style with round handle, or other styles. I totally agree on the point made by him and also agreed by popedandy. And I think anyone who has taken a blade to wood (or any other material than can be shaped with a blade) with the purpose of creating something out of it will agree as well. I'm not a good or even a frequent carver, but I have a blade like the one shown by pukkoman, and two sets of carving knives with the round handles for when I need to do anything planned or serious, where the expected result is important. I find I have better blade control with them. If I was more skilled I might be able to carve with a folder that felt comfortable; whittler or not.

I have quite a few whittlers, but I've only used four, maybe five, of them for any "whittling". The rest I rotate as general purpose carry knives, because I like the "pattern". And after following Nixelplix's link to Bernard Levin's forum, maybe I should not use the word "pattern" for the whittler, and substitute "style".

So, thanks to Two Dog Man for starting this thread, and to all who have posted their contributions and expanded my knowledge on a "style" I prefer among traditional folders.

Finally to Modoc Ed,
Please excuse my ignorance, but could you point out what is LV4 so I can access a copy, and check it out as you suggest?


Levine's Guide to Knives and Their Values, 4th Edition. Yeah, he wrote the book. Literally.
 

Modoc ED

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Levine's Guide to Knives and Their Values, 4th Edition. Yeah, he wrote the book. Literally.

Thanks for providing the name of the book to "rjdepedro" Jack.

I liked your comparison of Whittler and the cellular phone. Perhaps, as Levine says, Whittler never was a patter name; however, it has become such a common name that it has evolved into a pattern name - errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr I'm not sure that made much sense but it does to me - I wonder if I'm going down the senile road:rolleyes: or is that the road to senility?
 

din

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Thanks for providing the name of the book to "rjdepedro" Jack.

I liked your comparison of Whittler and the cellular phone. Perhaps, as Levine says, Whittler never was a patter name; however, it has become such a common name that it has evolved into a pattern name - errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr I'm not sure that made much sense but it does to me - I wonder if I'm going down the senile road:rolleyes: or is that the road to senility?

nah, makes perfect sense. you're good.
 
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Yablanowitz,

Thanks for the info, and for your great pictures as well. Also +1 to Modoc Ed's and Din's comments.

As they say "The presence of superior knowledge is not humbling, it's empowering."
 
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Here's Mr. Levine's answer to my question. Three blade whittler knives were once a subset of pen knives (in the knifemaking industry). All I know is I need more of them!

http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/982331-Carpenter-s-Whittler?p=11188332#post11188332

Thanks again, now for this new link.

I knew a smidgen about "whittlers", because they're my preferred traditional knife, as I mentioned before. But this thread, with all the excellent contributions has really opened up my knowledge, and pointed me at great resources (now including LV4!) through the comments and links.

I found very interesting how Levine explains (in your linked thread) that a "pattern" is a manufacturer or makers concept, as opossed to a construction type, or a label assigned by collectors. Great stuff!

If Two Dog Man considered himself uninitiated when he first posted this thread, I have to say I now consider myself going from clearly uninitiated to barely initiated, but happily learning because I now know some places to look for the knowledge I need.

Also, a big +1 on your last sentence. I want some more as well!
 
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Modoc ED

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"rjdepedro" -- Levine's Guide to Knives and Their Values, 4th Edition is long out of print and hard to find and when you do find a copy of it, it is quite expensive fetching up to as much as $600.00 or more. I've been at this a long time and have many of the old books about knives, knife collecting, etc.. Sometimes you get lucky and run across one for practically nothing but not often at all these days.

In order to save you a lot of money, find a copy of Blade's Guide to Knives & Their Values 7th Edition or higher. Some of our Blade Forums sponsored vendors have them or you can google the title to find one for a very fair price. This book is very much like LG4 and is in fact based on it. It'll make a great first stepping stone to a collection of books on knives.
 
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After reading the post above about Levine's 4th edition, I went to Amazon and found a copy used in paperback (i.e "also available from these sellers") for $14 and shipping. I clicked "purchase" immediately. It is true, a new one was in the many hundreds of dollars. FYI ... there as another used one for $20. Hope it's OK I posted that with regards to the forum rules. If not, someone tell me and I'll be happy to remove it. I don't THINK it's interfering / undermining any of the forum vendors ...
 
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Many thanks to Modoc Ed and Two Dog Man for the info about Levine's book, the possible workaround with Blades Guide in case I can't find a reasonably priced copy, and the effort to locate some copies of LV4. I'll probably give it a try on the forums as well.

You've started a great thread, Two Dog Man!
 
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So pleased to be part of it, truly. I had been looking at books on knife values, identification, and other guides and reading reviews and really hadn't found the one that appeared to be right for me. This thread proved to be invaluable as I discovered the definitive GO TO from the man who "wrote the book" on knife values. That is AWESOME. Hopefully, this community will assist in my learning so more, so much faster, and I certainly appreciate the welcoming atmosphere and patience from all of those who were once where I was with regard to knowledge of knives. What a great adventure, and great people.
 
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I thought it prudent to post that the Levine's Guide I purchased yesterday (which is still going to ship) turned out to be the first edition. For the record, the first edition (1985) and its next three revisions (1989, 1993, 1997) were penned by Mr. Levine, but the fifth edition (2001) was out of his control and revised poorly, in his opinion (and the opinion of many others.) So, LG4 is the most coveted, while LG3 runs a second.

I guess I'll begin with the original edition and work up form there. Was probably too good to be true to expect that I would find a the golden fleece for fourteen bucks.
 
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