Your Traditional Knife of 2017

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by Jack Black, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    This year seems to have gone very fast for me, but here we are in December, and I think it’s time for my annual ‘Your Knife of the Year’ thread – the 2017 edition! ;) I’ve been posting this thread for a few years now, but for those who’ve not come across it before, here’s how it works.

    In 2017, if you’re lucky, you may have bought, found, or been given, an EXCEPTIONAL knife. Maybe it was a knife you didn’t think was going to be that special, but it has absolutely CHARMED you. Perhaps it was an inexpensive knife, which you picked up somewhere, slipped in your pocket, and then found you couldn’t stop carrying it. It must be a knife you have gotten since the start of the year. If you’ve come across a knife like that, perhaps you’d like to nominate it as YOUR knife of the year.

    Now, it could be that you’ve been perfectly happy carrying the knife you bought or were given many years ago, a knife which has served you so well, why would you want to change? If that’s the case, good luck to you my friend, but that knife doesn’t qualify.

    It could be that you’ve had lots of knives this year, and liked many of them, but none of them really stood out. Don’t worry, maybe something will come along next year, which will absolutely knock your socks off. You can tell us about that knife next year.

    Also, and we always get a couple of these, you may be one of those indecisive folks who just can’t make your mind up. Maybe you have two, or three, or four knives you really like, and can’t decide which you like the best. If that applies to you, feel free to start another thread, because if ONE of those knives doesn’t stand out, it doesn’t deserve to be nominated for this one. By all means mention a number of knives, but in the end, YOU MUST CHOOSE ONE. If you can’t…on yer bike! ;)

    It get worse, there’s no prize for this, and there’s no winner! :D We’re just talking knives, and telling each other which single knife has made all the difference to us this year. So let’s begin :) :thumbsup:

    I find myself thinking about this thread a fair bit over the course of a year, and this year more than most, because until recently, while I’d had lots of great knives this year, several of which are absolutely outstanding, nothing had really put a spell on me. There was a knife I thought might get produced this year, which I thought would make the cut, but then it got put off. I rotated my pocket carry, toting lots of knives I really like, but none of them really hit me right under the jaw. As the year progressed, I really thought that I would not have a knife I could nominate for this thread.

    AW SB Lambsfoot 7-0.JPG

    As most of you know, I love the Lambsfoot pattern. I’ve been using it most of my life, but the older I get, the more I appreciate it. I considered nominating the Lambsfoot knife above for my knife of 2016. I fell in love with the buffalo horn covers, it was well-made, and along with my ‘Abbeydale Jack’, I carried it an awful lot. In the end though, I realized that it was the Lambsfoot pattern I loved, rather than that particular knife, great as it was. My ‘Abbeydale Jack’ (below), an unmarked English Jack with stunning stag scales, was my knife of 2016.

    Anon Stag English Jack 8-6.JPG

    I’ve had some beautiful Lambsfoot knives this year, but none of them really brought anything new to the table for me, so it seemed I was going to have to come here empty-handed. But then, a couple of months back, a few things came together to produce a knife that I think really does fit the bill. Some of you can probably guess where I’m going ;)

    There’d been talk in the Guardians of the Lambsfoot thread, going back a fair ways, of getting Sheffield cutler, Arthur Wright & Son, to make a special knife. It was a project which interested me, but which I also found rather daunting, not least because of my experiences of working with Sheffield cutlers in the past. Unlike most other patterns, the Lambsfoot pattern never made it across the pond from Sheffield, so many folk on this forum have only come across them recently. There are various theories about why the Lambsfoot didn’t cross the Atlantic, but my latest is that, when, back in the 19th century, Sheffield cutlers contacted their US factors to ask if they wanted to order some Lambsfoot knives, the American factors, not being able to tell the difference between a Lambsfoot and a Sheepsfoot, told their cutlery suppliers, “Oh, we already got those.” :rolleyes: ;) :D

    I’ve been trying to get more folk here to try the Lambsfoot pattern for a few years now, and have been so pleased that many of those who’ve given it a chance have become as enamored with it as I have. So to thank the regulars who contribute to the Guardians thread, I thought it was worth taking a chance, and putting in some effort, to produce a not-for-profit (actually less than cost!) special edition Guardians Lambsfoot knife.


    Since Arthur Wright & Son are the only Sheffield cutlery firm still making carbon-steel pocket knives, they were the obvious place to go. They also specialize in Lambsfoot knives, and since they are a traditional small Sheffield cutlery firm, I thought they were worth supporting. They were not phased by any of my special requests, and did an incredible job, to produce the sort of knife, which hasn’t been produced in Sheffield for a long time. They even put me the traditional ‘Real Lamb Foot’ etch on with their ancient pantograph machine (above). Thirty very special knives were the result of this project, and I think that everyone who has one treasures it. Dylan (@Padruig) also volunteered to make us all a super-special bespoke Guardians pocket slip :)

    AWSFO 22-1.JPG

    So, yes, I’m biased, absolutely, but the 2017 Guardians Lambsfoot is MY knife of 2017 :thumbsup:

    AWSFO 2-7.JPG

    AWSFO 3-3.JPG

    AWSFO 11-4.JPG
  2. MerryMadMonk

    MerryMadMonk Platinum Member Platinum Member

    May 22, 2011
    I feel like the pickings were slim this year as compared to others. That said, this one is my knife of the year...
  3. joeradza

    joeradza Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 6, 2014
    This has always been hard for me Jack. So many knives, inexpensive, too expensive, rough, elegant, useful, worthless and what was I thinking? I never could come up with one. This year it was easy.

    First up is a knife that I picked up on the exchange from Glenn in one of his sales to honor Bob. This canoe has turned out to an attractive and useful pattern, and a reminder of Bob and all the good things we should stand for.

    The second knife and the obvious "Knife of 2017" is my John Lloyd stag in his 'Jess Horn' pattern. If a picture is worth a 1,000 words then here it is.
  4. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    It might have been this one. My excitement about it has grown since I bought it because it was only $15. But I've had it only about a week, and I don't get much chance to carry a FB.
    I expected this to be the one and only be-all and end-all: one curved edge and one straight edge on one spring, all you need and nothing you don't.
    I expect the Churchill will grow on me, but it had the handicap of arriving about the same time as my knife of 2017: Old Toffee-wings, my bespoke lambsfoot. I'm bewitched by the idea that I have one of thirty in existence, as well as being taken with the knife itself. (I have a one-of-3000 Case humpback stockman, which makes me want to sing the Shania Twain song about being unimpressed.)
    Years ago someone covering the Winter Olympics made up a Scandinavian word meaning "numbing sameness", which he said perfectly expressed the spirit of the winter games.
    You might get another 28 Guardian Lambsfoots for knife of 2017.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  5. navihawk


    Feb 21, 2006
    For last year and most of this year I carried a GEC Abilene stockman. I love the knife and still do, but I decided to carry a Case 63032. Plain Jane Case stock in plain old amber bone. Back in the eighties and early nineties I carried a 63032 so I was familiar with the pattern. So the new Case would find its way into my pocket more and more, so it ended up being my vote for knife of the year. It’s the only one I carry now. I’ve never been one to rotate a bunch of knives through daily rotation. Santa is bringing me a Sowbelly in cv and bone stag so we’ll see if that one will win in 18. joeradza that Queen canoe is nice. I had one of those and they are really put together.
  6. TrapperMike


    Nov 23, 2016
    This one is easy for me. I have been on the porch a couple years now mainly just looking and admiring all the fantastic knives and stories. I finally came around to the realization that my tacticool knives really weren't practical cutting tools and I have come full circle back to my roots to traditional pocket knives. Knives that my grandpa used hard growing up on the farm. Knives that went to Europe in his pocket to fight for freedom in WW2. He used a simple little pocket knife for all kinds of tasks all his life and everytime I use my knife it gives me fond memories of growing up on the farm. My kids proudly gave me a little brown Case Peanut for Christmas last year and it has never left my side. I use it with pride and it handles anything I throw its way. But that was 2016. This year I picked up a couple of stockmans and a new sak. Nothing much as our oilfield economy has been slow and life has been paycheck to paycheck for a couple years. Then I posted in a thread about Grail knives how some day I wanted to own a GEC and @Cutfinger sent me a #14. I was just blown away by his generosity. What a kind gesture.
    It has been a great knife and I love it. I enjoy being here on the porch. Everyone here is kind and always helpful to new comers. Thanks to everyone here.
  7. joeradza

    joeradza Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 6, 2014
    Thanks Steve.
    navihawk likes this.
  8. kamagong

    kamagong Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 13, 2001
    This was a surprisingly easy choice given that I have owned this knife for only a couple of days. Understandable though as it is one I have long sought, made even more special by its status as a birthday present from my wife and daughter.

    Behold Blondie!


    Admittedly not the most practical of knives, she nevertheless earns her keep by putting a girlish (maniacal maybe) smile of glee on my face every time I pick her up.
  9. eisman

    eisman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 9, 2009
    This old Schrade is my knife of 2017. Not only a good find, but a good user as well. I bought it blind, it was in a "box of pocket knives" at an auction, and I was a thousand miles away from the sale. It was one of two push button knives in the box, and worth more than I paid for the lot. A little cleaning, some time with a stone, and it traveled to the mountains of New Mexico with me for a start. It's bigger than I usually carry, but the more I play with it the more I'm amazed at just how smart the design is. And, by extension, just how shortsighted lawmakers can be. There are times when being able to open a pocket knife without using both hands, without having to look down at it, and without fumbling around can be important. This 100 year old design allows all of that in a profile no different than most knives that don't. Beautiful.

  10. Railsplitter

    Railsplitter Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 31, 2010
    This topic is always a challenge. I usually don't post here because it's so difficult to decide. This year however, it was much easier for me and I'm glad I can finally contribute.

    This GEC #53 Cuban Stockman with Elk covers was a grail knife for me for several years. I finally found a member who had one and who was gracious enough to part with it and help me get the knife that had alluded me for years. GEC's production totals indicate that there were only 29 of these made. This one happens to be serial number 29 so it will always be easy to remember how many were made.

  11. tomsch

    tomsch Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 31, 2004
    This very simple and classic/historic knife just checks all the right boxes for the year. The way it is growing character makes it almost like it's alive :)
  12. Peregrin

    Peregrin Traditional Forum Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    Nice posts! Good thread, Jack @Jack Black !
    It'll come as no surprise that my knife of 2017 is the Lloyd I picked up off the exchange in January of this year. I'm a lover of Sambar stag covers and the covers on this knife are fitted so well and are so attractive to me I can't help CE & CF it. The 4" closed length, which normally would keep me from carrying a knife, is somehow insignificant because of it's slimness and light weight. The shadow pattern with the small pivot pin really sets this one off to me. A great slicer and all around super EDC. I'd say it's with me a minimum of 90% of the time.

    On top of that is huge respect I have for Mr. Lloyd as a maker and a human being. He's shown his generosity to the members of this forum. His contribution of Sambar stag for the 2014 trad forum knife and that years alternate Eric's Jack was above and beyond. I don't recall the number of forum knives (looked it up, 350) made but I do know there were 100 Eric's Jacks.

    It gives me great pleasure and satisfaction to own, carry and use this knife.
    I know I've gone on and on, but Jack gave me another opening! Thanks!
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  13. Jsega51

    Jsega51 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2015
    100%, unequivocally, undeniably, and undisputedly, my knife of 2017 is my Bret Dowell Sowbelly Trapper in ATS-34 and jigged micarta, with special additions of having the main clip transformed to more of a muskrat style profile, and hammered pins. I waited 2 years to get finally have this knife made and if I had to do it again, I’d be fine waiting 5. It was worth it 10x over.

    I received this knife right at the end of March and it’s been carried almost exclusively since then. If I ever lost it, I’d drive the 19 hours to Oklahoma with 3x what I paid for it in $100 bills and beg Bret to make me another. That’s how much I love carrying and using this knife.

    9C6AE18A-6F90-4FE0-AEF3-D1ADA65E9781.jpeg A07CEAED-8F2F-4F71-98E7-E9846D47524D.jpeg
    veitsi_poika, ArchVV, Ocarr and 24 others like this.
  14. Pomsbz


    Jul 31, 2015
    For me it's the Victorinox Pruner. I've carried this the vast majority of the year, 10 months of EDC at least. It's my first Victorinox (other than a Rambler on my keychain) and I was delighted to learn just how well made the knife was, how good the grind is and that for all the steel is soft, the blade profile means that it keeps cutting long after it's lost that hair popping edge. I love the blade combo, the scales mean that it's super grippy even when soapy wet, I never have to worry about rust, it's dirt cheap and it's so thin that its a pleasure to carry. Honestly, if I were to never buy another pocket knife, if I had to sell everything else other than the Pruner, I'm not sure I'd care all that much. This despite having also bought a Roundhead this year with its super steel, titanium and cool factor.

    veitsi_poika, JITDC, zolthar and 6 others like this.
  15. 66sprint6


    Jan 21, 2016
    WOW!!! Tough one! Ive come across many many wonderful traditionals this year so my runner up pile is full of wonderful knives. From the "Two-Faced" 77 Barlow with two different handle scales, the RR knives I got cheap and use in the garage without issue, the 60's Case thats been in my watch pocket since the day I received it to the newest comers, Lambsfoot and Stag lockback.


    All are great knives and have a spot in the rotation but I will have to say that my "Knife of 2017" is...

    My TL-29 single blade mod in jigged bone.

    Started life as a brand new, unused TL-29 and is what you see now. I much prefer a clip point to a spear or pen but this knife Once the new wears off a recent purchase and I go back to rotating, this knife seems to be my go-to. The jigging looks and feels amazing in the hand so it acts as a worry stone of sorts and I find myself looking and fiddling with it as much as I use it to cut. The patina is 100% from use, not forced and is the best I have seen on any of my knives.


    Even the back spring has a nice, even patina which makes the brass liners pop. Despite some minor mistakes (cracks around the pins) I made while modding it, I still love it!

    2017 was wonderful...looking forward to what 2018 holds!

  16. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    Thanks for the wonderful contributions folks, fantastic to see so many different patterns too :) My internet connection is slow this evening, so hope I got everyone :thumbsup:

    Yes, that's what I found too. That's a great choice though, and a great pic - 4 out of 5 of the pics I take like that are out of focus! :eek: :D :thumbsup:

    Fantastic choice Alan :thumbsup:

    'Toffee Wings' is a great name for a knife Jer! :) :thumbsup:

    Fantastic :) My own first GEC was a gift (from @Campbellclansman) :) :thumbsup:

    That is a knife which speaks in capitals Christian! :) :thumbsup:

    Congratulations my friend, beautiful indeed :) :thumbsup:

    A very nice find :) Congratulations :thumbsup:

    Excellent choice :) :thumbsup:
  17. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    My post was too big! :eek:

    No surprise there Gary, absolutely superb :) :thumbsup:

    Very striking Jake :thumbsup:

    Great stuff :)

    Nice choice Matt :) :thumbsup:
  18. Henry Beige

    Henry Beige Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    The picture pretty much tells the story of this knife. I liked the first one so much I up and bought two more. The original, at the bottom, has been in my pocket pretty much without interruption since April.

    Some pretty interesting knives have turned up in my mailbox this year, but none has grabbed my attention like the Okapi Biltong, the only knife ever named after a piece of beef jerky. I like the size, the weight, and the snap of the sheepsfoot blade.

    The blade itself took some work to make it useful. I would have ordered it in special grade like the next two but it was out of stock at Baryonyx when I wanted to order the first one. Now it cuts pretty well and is easy to keep sharp. To call the production values “rustic” would be generous. The handle took a bit of sanding and a small application of Sno-seal to smooth mismatched edges.

  19. black mamba

    black mamba Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 21, 2009
    I have mostly been a stockman guy for the last 4-5 years or so, with two-blade jacks coming in a distant second. But for some reason, this year was the year of the single blade for me, as I snagged quite a few really good ones. There are several contenders, but it really came down to two: a Queen and a GEC made Bulldog USA.

    Runner Up: Queen #3L Mountain Man lockback trapper in curly zebrawood


    And the Winner: Bulldog USA #73 Montana Trail Lock linerlock trapper in ram's horn


    I've been looking for one of these for years, and they either were outrageous money, or the horn was funky. This one came at a reasonable price, new in the box, and I immediately put it to work. As you can see, it already has a decent patina growing, and will only get better with more use.
  20. The Fort

    The Fort Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 11, 2012
    Great looking knife, Rick! Always liked the 53 Cubans, just haven't found the right one yet. That's a beauty!
    Sabercat and Railsplitter like this.

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