Friday, June 28, 2013

Some Of My Knives


I realize that most of you won't be at all interested in this, but a FEW of you will be. SO, this is for those few; I guess the rest of you will just have to wait until something better comes along.

For reference, the boards in my porch are about 5-1/4 inches wide. At the bottom on the left of the photo is Dad’s last Barlow. He died in ’84 and I started carrying it in my pocket most of the time until this past Christmas. It now sits on my desk as a letter opener. Above the Barlow is the knife that has replaced it in my pocket, a Swiss Army knife by Wenger that my wife got me for Christmas. I think I’ve already used every tool on it at least once by now, and some many times.

The next one up is a #6 Opinel that I bought at O’Hurley’s General Store in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, many years ago. I carried it for a while to peel apples, but it was a little small for me and made my hand cramp. I then called O’Hurley’s and ordered the #8 above it. It fit my hand well and worked great for peeling apples, but, like the #6, it would sometimes work slightly open in my pocket and cause me to prick a finger on the blade. I put a rubber band around it, which made it safe, but that was a bit of a bother, so I went back to Dad’s Barlow. I guess Opinel has since solved the problem. They are wonderful knives, sort of like a folding Mora would be.

The green-handled folder above the Opinels is an el-cheapo Chinese knife that I paid $4 for at Kmart many years ago. It was to replace a $4 Herters “knock-off” knife in a dangler sheath that I dearly loved which had been lost or stolen. There’s at least one company still making that style of knife, and I may get one someday (but probably not). I keep hoping that I’ll come across the old Herter’s knife in a box of junk in the basement or attic someday. Despite the price and the country of origin, the folder has dressed many deer in the past and has proven itself to be well worth the extravagant price that I paid for it.

Above the folder is a cherry handled knife that I made from an old worn-out butcher knife from my uncle’s smoke house. The severe drop point was an experiment that didn’t pan out; I’ve just never got around to regrinding the back. It makes a pretty good small kitchen chopper as it is.

Next is a dagger that I made from a file, the end of a broken shovel handle and a pipe collar. I made it during odd moments while working in the forge at the factory and didn’t have time to temper it properly. As a result, the tip was brittle, so I kept regrinding it and slapping it against the brick wall until the tip no longer broke off. I then slowly ground it to shape. It would have been about an inch longer otherwise.

The strange-looking knife above it is a skew knife. Leather-workers, wood-carvers and Indian-craft folks may be familiar with them. I made it from a piece of broken shovel blade at the factory.

At the lower right is a knife I refigured from a very old, wooden-handled butter knife. The handle is original, as is the blade, of course. Even butter knives had good steel in those days! It’s a little large for the purpose, but I’d intended to use it for a patch knife for my muzzleloader.

The red-handled Mora is a great little knife for whittling, dressing small game, or even deer. If the plastic sheath’s belt loops hadn’t sucked so badly, I would have carried it. I chose to take off the loop part and carry the knife in a bag or pack.

Next is an old hunting knife given to me by my maternal grandfather. I forget the brand. Above that is the yellow-handled pig-sticker that belonged to the same grandfather. Yellow paint was his “brand” for his tools. Sentimentality aside, I think I’ll clean the paint off someday and dose the slabs with boiled linseed oil.

Above that is an eight inch slicer by Old Hickory, unused as of yet, followed by a walnut-handled crooked-knife made from a broken scuffle-hoe at the factory. Then comes a recently purchased and yet unused seven inch butcher by Old Hickory.

The strange knife with the large, curved blade was purchased from DR Power Equipment a few years ago as an “Italian Farmer’s Knife.” Others might call it a fascine knife, hedge-laying knife or bill-hook. I find it handy both for cutting brush and in limited use as a replacement for a sickle. It SHOULD make one wicked self-defense tool, as well!

At the top is a Woodsman’s Pal that I purchased last year. I’m not real thrilled with it. I suspect that I will like it much better if I ever get the horribly blunt edge reground.

Missing from this photo is a six-inch sticking knife by Old Hickory and a six-inch skinning knife by the same. They’re around somewhere, but I couldn’t find them. Together, they have skinned and cut up a multitude of deer back in the day, and still look nearly like new. Also missing is a 14 inch homemade butcher or corn knife with a slightly curved two-inch wide blade. I found it in an abandoned outbuilding years ago and put a cherry handle on it. I thought about using it as a machete/short sword in a longhunter get-up.

Elsewhere, I have a “Congress” style four blade Boker penknife that was my paternal grandfathers, a walnut-slabbed single-blade penknife that belonged to HIS father and a solid-brass-slabbed single-bladed penknife that belonged to that same great-grandfather. Of course, I also have a Leatherman tool, a couple handle-less blades, and a few other knives that don’t currently come to mind. All-in-all, you’ll notice that I have no custom knives, though I love to look at them, and that my knives tend to be either a bit crude or inexpensive. I may not have everything I want in the way of knives, but truthfully, I have everything I need. © 2013


Brenda said...

Very interesting collection! My nephew makes hunting and sports knives in his shop and sells them online and at home.

Michael Silvius said...

I ran in to the same problem when I bought my first Opinel #8 30 odd yrs ago. So I popped the lock ring off and filed an 1/8th inch notch on the inner side of the ring, so that a slight turn could lock the blade in a closed position. Oddly my #10 has always had a tight pivot so it takes some effort to open it and never needed the modification. Years later Opinel made the same little notch on the lock ring and now all come from the factory like that.

Sixbears said...

Looks like a complete juggling kit to me.

Gorges Smythe said...

I'm sure his look nicer than mine, Brenda!

I've thought of doing the same, Michael, but I have others to use, so it doesn't matter I guess.

I'll leave that for someone else, Sixbears!

Ralph Goff said...

What, no Swiss Army Knife? I've got a few knives, probably more than I realize. Including one home made one from a file similar to the one you show. I've also got a sixties vintage Barlow with the New Holland name on it, given away as a dealer promotion. I kept that one unused in brand new condition.
First pocket knife I got as a kid, would'nt you know, I cut my finger with it.

Gorges Smythe said...

Better out your reading glasses on, Ralph! LOL! (Second from the bottom on the left.)

Ralph Goff said...

Well there you to, I totally missed it. Here is a link to the photo of my home made "file knife". Unfortunately I know nothing of the history or the builder of this unique knife.

Angela said...

Very nice collection you have there! I mostly have my kitchen knives but I have some very nice ones. I have a Letherman that I carry around with me but rarely use it. I'm not really sure what kind of knives my husband has but he does have a few but none like the ones you have.