Knife Collecting

Knife collecting is hot! Is it for you, and what do you look for to build a valuable collection.

Are you the type of person that remembers that special pocket knife your Dad gave you? You were 12 and had just completed the hunter safety course at the fire hall. Life was good! Do you still have the knife in your dresser drawer? Do you take it out to just feel the feel of it from time to time? If you do, you are not alone. That's how many knife collectors got their start, collecting something they love and respect.

But how do you know what kind of knives to collect? Approaches you could take with knives could be: factory knives, handmade knives, pocket knives(folders), fixed-blade knives, old knives, art knives, swords from certain historical periods, knives by only one maker and ad infinitum.

If you choose to collect custom knives made by one particular maker, it is a good idea to develop a working relationship with him (or her)! You can have custom knives made for you, personally. You will appreciate the

attention to detail that a good knifemaker will give your knives, and he will appreciate your return business.

There are a few things that remain constant in collecting knives though.

1. Buy what YOU like. Don't worry about resale. Knives can rise and fall in value just like any other item and you may have it around a long time.

2. Look for quality. How will you know a quality knife? Check out these things on the knife in question:

Folding Knives:

Check out the knife. Is it finished inside and out?(called "fit and finish")

Wobble - Is it sturdy? In some knives you can expect a small amount of play, but you need to learn what kinds of mechanisms it might have.

Does it open and close smoothly?

Does the blade stay shut under normal usage?

Check the blade grinds.

Check for sharp edges and the finish of the screw slots.

Is the blade clean. Is it oil free?

Fixed Blade Knife

Does the guard fit to the handle?

Is the knife balanced?

Inspect the steel for flaws. A hand rubbed finish should be a continuous set of lines, not fuzzy brush marks.

Materials - Do they go together well?

Blade to Handle Ratio - Is the blade proportional to the handle?

Blade heat-treat: This is an area that a maker's reputation comes into play. You will learn more about this as you learn more about the various makers. Heat treatment is what gives the blade its strength.ยน

Where Does A Person Find Knives To Collect?

Check out your local flea markets and yard sales. Often people have old knives stuck in a box full of, well, more old knives. Most of them are the kitchen variety, but many people aren't aware of the value of knives.

Estate sales and auctions are a good source - just get there early so you can root through things. The greatest place to buy knives is at a knife show, or a gun show. Buy a copy of Blade Magazine and check out the section titled "Show Calendar." They have a good listing of knife shows listed by date, with the location and contact information listed also.

At these shows you meet the makers, collectors, purveyors, factory reps, book vendors and anyone else you can imagine that is connected to the knife world. Your local gun shows often have "knife tables" set up. If you go to an out of state knife show, be sure to check the laws of the states you may be passing through. You could inadvertently break the law by transporting the "collectibles."

Beware, like any other hobby, knife collecting can become addictive! Check out a few of the knife-collector's mailing lists and Web sites on the Internet if you don't believe me!

1.Custom Knifemaking,

Darrel Ralph, Evaluation Guidelines,TKCL Web page

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