Why the interest in knives

Apr 18, 1999
Since joining the forum I have enjoyed the survey questions posted by other members. Therefore, I thought I'd post one of my own.
From time-to-time, I have wondered, and so has my wife, why I have such an interest in knives. Now that I know I am not alone in my interest, have come out of the closet somewhat, so to speak, I will attempt to articulate the reasons for my interest and ask those of you who have thought about it to do the same.

Here goes. I was initially drawn to knives as a boy, many years ago. At the time, I lived in a rough, inner city neighborhood, and thought a pocket knife made sense. It did. As an adult, I have not been completely successful in overcoming those early insecurities and I see little in the news to bolster my confidence society has changed for the better....no matter where one lives. Therefore, I am never without a sharp knife. So there is one reason for my interest. This reason makes sense to me.

On another level, however, even if I had no practical reason to possess a knife, I would. Many knives are beautiful to view and hold. I am facinated by the aesthetics, thoughtful designs, materials, workmanship, etc. They truly are a joy to behold.

There are two reasons for my interest. I am sure there are other, more cerebral reasons, but my psycho-therapist is unavailable at the moment. What think you?

[This message has been edited by Willie Boy (edited 27 April 1999).]
My interest also comes from when I was a little boy. I even considered joining Boy Scouts because I thought that meant you could carry a pocket knife around with you! :) My interest in knives probably comes from the fact that I view them as an amazingly versatile tool. I have many, and each excels at one thing in particular, but can do many secondary jobs as well. I like the looks, the feel, the design, the sheaths, etc. Despite some criticism I get from fiancee and friends, everyone I know always knows where to turn when they need this or that cut and they don't have a tool to do it with!
Chiro75, I don't get criticism because I do not reveal the fact I have a knife. If faced with the question, "Does anyone have a knife," to open this or that, I do not respond unless I have a Leatherman Micra handy. Of course, in an emergency I would help, otherwise, my unspoken response is "knife, what is a knife?"

Willie Boy
When I was very little my parents didn't want me to grow up violent in any way, so they wouldn't allow me to have any toy guns or other weapons. They tell me that when I was three or four I would chew my slice of bread into an "L" shape and pretend it was a gun. They say this is when they knew their plan had backfired.

I'm not by nature a violent person at all, but I have always had an interest in military hardware and military history. While I had a long-standing interest in the history of swords and other hand weapons, I had virtually no experience with knives until I went to college and suddenly found that I could do whatever I liked, including investigating the "forbidden fruit" of my youth.

This manifested itself in my walking into Pioneer Valley Knife and Tool and being sold my first "real" knife by Dave Nelson. He also sold me my second, and many more after that. I spent most of my free money at PVKaT, though, being a college student, this was not nearly enough money to justify how much I wasted the time of the employees and pawed all the merchandise. I also became friends with the "old crew" at PVKaT and I still see them regularly though they all work elsewhere now.

Since all my posts are too long, I'll sum this up. In an attempt to earn money for more knives, I began modifying Benchmade knives through PVKaT. This led into making my own knives, which I pursued avidly for a year off from college, and ended abruptly and in an unfinished state when I went back to school. I hope very much to return to this craft when my ed-u-ma-cation is through. PVKaT got new employees and closed its storefront, so I've been in knife limbo for about a year. It was with great joy that I discovered this forum and began rekindling the hobby that burns such a thorough hole in my pocket.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
I cant really pinpoint why I am fascinated with knives. but here are some of the reasons I can think of.
1knives are manly
2 very useful
3 I am a little paranoid
4 I think they are pretty(except pocket hobbit)
5 they scare people away, so I can get more privacy
My wife, God bless her soul, won't allow me to carry my pistol.

[This message has been edited by Professor (edited 25 April 1999).]
I remember being interested in bladed instruments as a 3-year-old toddler. I used to watch my dad's mower blades spin 'round and try to draw them. I dreamed of one day finding an Indian arrow head in the empty lot so I could have my own "blade". My parents taught me early to respect knives, so I never misused them until one time much later...cut myself and learned the lesson!
After acquiring a several decades-old Camillus scout knife at 13, I became hooked. I still have that old knife, the main blade so rusted and worn it's almost gone, and keep it in a drawer.
Plus I just like knives, and feel naked without some type of blade on me.
A knife is one of the simplest, most useful tools. It is also one of the simplest, most effective weapons. That says it for me.


Knife lover, Philosopher, Humanitarian, and All-around nice guy
(all right, so I'm just a knife lover)
I am a gadget Junkie extradorinaire, with a penchant for weapons and electronics, and a mentality that drives me towards the grey area of the law at every chance...Knives are just a natural extention of these driving forces...

because deep down under our manners and
social rules and nice clothes,
men are steel hunters\worriors and are
steel facinated with weapons.
i guess it is something primordial
all boys play with swords,and a lot start
collecting knives, and those who didn't
grow up still do -like us.
just a foot note did you know knife collecting is one of five most popular form
of collecting.that must mean something about
the true nature of humen males.
Not to plagiarize another member here, but:
"bigsharpyshinythingitis" says it all.

Whoever said you can't buy happiness, doesn't know where to shop.
I don't think I can explain it. To be honest I don't even know.
All I know is, when a certain knife catches my eye, I gotta have it.
Sometimes(alot of times) price is a big factor, like with the Sebenza, so I have to wait. I waited 2 years to get one of those. Now I am glad I waited(got the new model with BG42 way better than ATS-34)
Is there an end to this madness?

God bless!

Romans 10:9-10

"Military" Fans Unite!!
When I was a youth, in Boy Scouts, I developed a reputation among my friends and adult leaders for always having a sharp knife. I enjoyed the respect I got from my friends, as well as the sense of security in being prepared. "Be prepared" is the Scout motto.

Whenever I see news reports or "Emergency 911" episodes where people get run over by trains because their shoelaces get caught in the track, or they get strangled when their necktie gets caught in a machine, I shake my head and wonder why there are people in the world who don't carry a knife at all times.

When people ask why I like knives, I always say, "You mean, you don't?"

David Rock

You know it's funny, but I think the same exact thing. There are so many times when possession of a blade of any type would have sved someone "much" grief. In fact, I always point that out to my wife and she just shakes her head and says "whatever". I will convert her yet. One day that mini AFCK will go in her purse.

God bless!

Romans 10:9-10

"Military" Fans Unite!!
In my case, it isn't just knives. I became conscious of all sorts of tools when I was just a little kid. I've thought about this same question before and could note that I also have at least a dozen hammers ranging from 6 oz tack hammers to an 8 lb sledge. I have at least 10 drills (not bits, drills, both electrical and hand-powered) and more planes than I have ever counted, metal-bodied, wood-bodied, etc. I have no idea how many chisels I have. I really have no idea how many screwdrivers I have -- I have screwdrivers cached everywhere, in my office, in the cars, all over the place at home. Why not knives?

Although there are some minor classes of tools, like pliers or screwdrivers, the major classes, IMHO, are the blunt (striking or pressing), the lever, and the sharp. Knives are the essense of the sharp class.

Knives are portable. You can actually carry a knife all the time and it never gets in the way. I don't carry a hammer all the time because it just doesn't give me enough utility to be worth the weight. A knife is more than worth its weight or the pocket space it takes up. You can get pretty or ugly versions of just about any tool, but the tool I carry all the time is a knife, so why shouldn't I prefer to carry a nice one?

(If you think I haven't prepared a version of this as a speech for the wife, you haven't been paying attention.

Paul Neubauer
David, Your response reminds me of an experience I had years ago. At that time, one of my hobbies was SCUBA diving on ship wrecks in the Great Lakes. One Saturday afternoon my diving buddy and I were exploring a particularly hazardous wreck. We were in fairly deep water, about 120 feet as I recall. It was an overcast day so there was very little available light at that depth. Like a boy scout, I always tried to be prepared. There was a motto divers had: Plan your dive and Dive your plan. I always did my best to anticipate problems and be be prepared to handle them safely.

Because wreck diving is a hazardous activity, I always wore two knives. I carried a large 7 inch knife on my right calf and a small 4 inch blade inverted on my left equipment harness shoulder strap.

My buddy and I had developed a dive plan which did not include decompression stops. We did, however, allow a time cushion in case the unexpected occurred. As we approached the end of our dive, we signaled each other to begin our ascent up the decompression line. When I attempted to swim, I found my legs had become intangled in nearly invisable mono-filament line, apparently from a fisherman who had been fishing over the wreck. Well, I signaled my buddy with my underwater light and tapped on my tank to get his attention. He returned and together, we were able to free my legs.

This happened on a Saturday. On Monday morning, I read in the newspaper, a 20 year old boy, diving the same wreck at the same depth had become tangled in mono-filament line and drowned. The newspaper account said neither the deceased nor his buddy had a knife.


Willie Boy
Primal desires, eh?

I wonder if that's why the Spyderhole is so popular!

For me the reasons are

the 'Practical', a knife multiplies your physical abilities in in the face of many tasks;

the 'Aesthetic', in that many knives have a sublime elegance which often also gives practical advantages;

and the 'Romantic', in that so much historic and cultural significance is locked in such a simple design principle.

I also find it interesting that such a simple, primitive design should still be valid (unsurpassed?) today, and that it still benefits so much from modern technology.

I should add that I don't agree that knives are 'Manly'. In design many have an elegant, feminine quality to them, and in usage it is often the case (historically at least) that women use them just as often as men and develop skill in their use of an equally high order.