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Back to basics

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by gdwtvb, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. gdwtvb


    Jan 14, 2006
    Good morning!

    I've been a knife enthusiast for the better part of forty years, and I find that the allure of the titanium ultra modern single bladed knives is not what it once was. I'd like to put a traditional knife into my rotation. I was thinking possibly a stockman. The problem I have is I'm a little spoiled by the newer steels offered by Spyderco and other popular makers. I have been toying with purchasing the Lionsteel bestman dual bladed knife, but I wish it were made in a totally traditional pattern. What are some knives I should be looking at? I am used to spending up to $300 for a knife I really like. A case Stockman with Ti Bolsters, jigged carbon fiber, and blades in Elmax or M390 would be a dream come true. Is there anything like that available?

  2. JustinR

    JustinR Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2008
    Case and Tony Bose produce an annual knife in CPM 154 and there has recently been a stockman.

    Buck has made a few stockmans in high end steel.

    Queen/Schatt and Morgan made them in D2, ats-34, and sandvik steels.
  3. JohnDF

    JohnDF Gold Member Gold Member

    May 14, 2018
    That combination isn't exactly "traditional" and may be pretty tough to find. I think what you really want is a modern-ized slip joint knife. Your best bet is to stick with the Lionsteel offerings or have a custom knife made to your specs. A well made custom Stockman with high end steel, carbon fiber, and titanium is going to run a lot of money though.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
  4. arrowhd

    arrowhd Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 19, 2011
    I'm wandering back into the traditional market myself. Not exactly what you're looking for but, the Lionsteel Shuffler is close I think. I just received one yesterday and it is exceptional.

    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
    gaj999, ghostrider and .577NE like this.
  5. Cutfinger

    Cutfinger Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Aug 3, 2017
    Back to basics?
  6. bax229

    bax229 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 7, 2016
    Sounds like you’re looking for something that doesn't really exist, unless going the custom route. The Benchmade Proper is a carbon fiber/S30V slip joint, if your looking for modern materials in a (somewhat) traditional design.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
    Boxer .45 and JohnDF like this.
  7. Lesknife

    Lesknife Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    Retooling the numerous traditional patterns to high end steel is probably the biggest drawback for production knife makers. The reason they’ve been using the lower end/ low cost steels is the ease of stamp blanking and machine ability in huge amounts whereas the high end steel requires different more costly and time consuming methods to produce the high quality output consumers and collectors expect. That’s also why the current high end offerings are very expensive in the range of $550-650 in limited numbers. The sheer number of patterns is staggering and many USA producers struggle to meet the demand even with low end steels in conjunction with competitive foreign makers flooding the market with very low cost knives. Even the foreign knives that are in high end steel are expensive.

    Maybe if and when the processes of producing high end steel in huge amounts at a low cost with quality fit and finish that consumers and collectors want then maybe we can have our cake and eat it too. Until then it will be limited numbers/ patterns and very expensive.
    gaj999 and WolfyW like this.
  8. Railsplitter

    Railsplitter Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 31, 2010
    Cold Steel Ranch Boss if you can find one.
    Ramrodmb and gaj999 like this.
  9. waynorth

    waynorth Dealer / Materials Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    Nov 19, 2005
    What cutfinger implied ^^^^^^!!
  10. Frailer

    Frailer Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 25, 2009
    How so?

    The reason I ask is that the steel from which a knife’s blade is made is probably the least important factor in my purchase decisions.

    I’m not saying your opinion is invalid; far from it. I’m just trying to understand it.
    mitch4ging likes this.
  11. JohnDF

    JohnDF Gold Member Gold Member

    May 14, 2018
    You'll have to excuse us, we can be protective of our traditional knife values here.
    When somebody says they want to throw a "traditional knife" in their pocket, we applaud them.
    But then there's talk about carbon fiber, high end steels, and titanium... Our heads start to spin, that's not very traditional.
    But there is room here for newcomers to test the "traditional" waters and we will try to guide you the best we can.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
  12. Crazy Canuck

    Crazy Canuck Singing along with the voices in my head Gold Member

    Nov 24, 2013
    To start with, I'd recommend picking up a quality, cheap version. Something like a Case medium stockman or Buck 301/303 (depending on size preference). Once it's in your hands, drop it in the pocket for at least a week, using it for all of your knife related needs to see if it connects with you. At the end of the week you'll know if a traditional is what you're needing in your knife life, and can experiment with materials/higher costs from there.
    GotSteel, Will Power, gaj999 and 4 others like this.
  13. Lesknife

    Lesknife Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    I’ll agree with you that we do have some very good traditional knives still in production and they are made with the traditional materials; wood,bone, horn, antler, brass, nickel silver with some exotics thrown in and traditional steel choices of carbon steels and 420 series stainless and equivalents. It’s a different market than it was in the hay day for USA knife makers but I’m glad some were able to stay solvent and still produce quality knives that are affordable. The high end steels are tempting and I might have to grab one but the traditional steels are still very viable and with excellent heat treatment and the right geometry I believe they’re better than ever.
    jkwithawave and JohnDF like this.
  14. Mayonardo

    Mayonardo Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 28, 2010
    Although I was a Spyderco addict for many years and have thousands of posts on the Spyderco forum, I now no longer own a Spyderco knife. I am totally transitioned to traditional pocket knives, Great Eastern Cutlery in specific and have found and believe that blade steel is a very minor factor in my appreciation and use of knives.

    I mean, who actually needs something like Rex 45 or S110V for one’s daily use? Almost no one. Although there are some exceptions obviously, it’s more of a status and collector thing than an actual need thing.

    I don’t agree that you should just buy an inexpensive stockman and throw it in your pocket and use it for a while in order to judge the quality of traditional knives, especially after your Spyderco experience. In fact I think I would recommend that you purchase a great eastern cutlery #82 Stockman. They can be had with various scale covers ranging from micarta, bone and stag. Some of them are still available on dealers shelves. This will give you a much better look at high-quality traditional knives than a knife from any other production maker. Compared to Spyderco they are very reasonably priced and there’s no need to go cheap when you are evaluating changing your entire life appreciation activities.
    willc, jkwithawave, gaj999 and 4 others like this.
  15. solphilos

    solphilos Basic Member Basic Member

    Oct 17, 2009
    This is good advice here.
    You can certainly get what you want in those materials for the right amount of $$$, but it couldn't hurt to start with a pattern that appeals to you in more basic materials, just to see if the style suits you.
    On the other hand, if just want a traditional knife in modern materials just because, well, there's nothing wrong with that!
  16. Crazy Canuck

    Crazy Canuck Singing along with the voices in my head Gold Member

    Nov 24, 2013
    I agree with you there. My recommendation wasn't to judge quality, but more to test usage case before a bigger purchase. He mentioned he was looking at a stockman, but what if after using one for a bit, he finds he'd prefer a jack, or a single blade, different blade profiles, etc. Or if, that at the end of the day he'd like to stick with moderns after all.

    My recommendation was more to see if the pattern fits with what he's looking for, and then step up (if necessary) to a higher level of quality.

    My preferences have changed over the years, and there've been a few purchases I would not make again. We sometimes think we need to hop out of the gate right to the "best" instead of seeing if what we think we want is actually what we really want.
  17. solphilos

    solphilos Basic Member Basic Member

    Oct 17, 2009
    Yep. There's certainly nothing wrong with those preferences and your not alone. Plenty of us, myself included, actually enjoy modern touches to these classic knives, but they are certainly not the norm and price pushes them out of reach much of the time.

    I also am not the biggest fan of screw construction, but as far as modern materials are concerned Lionsteel is a great way to get titanium, carbon fiber and a super steel in a traditional knife. They are an awesome value for what you pay, and that is an understatement.
    blademan 13, Railsplitter and JohnDF like this.
  18. JohnDF

    JohnDF Gold Member Gold Member

    May 14, 2018
    I agree with your GEC recommendation.
    And if it doesn't work for him then it's easy to get his money back out of it.
  19. Mayonardo

    Mayonardo Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 28, 2010
    Good points. Having been immersed in the world of Spyderco for so long, to me it makes a better comparison to start with a Great Eastern Cutlery knife, especially since they are actually less expensive than most Spydercos.

    A good stepping g stone to traditional patterns and feel while using more modern materials and construction would be lionSteel for sure. I’m attracted to their Best Man as well.
  20. kamagong

    kamagong Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 13, 2001
    Status? Thanks for the chuckle. I've never cared one whit what the blade steel is in another person's knife. I'm certain that holds true for most folks.

    As to need, that doesn't factor much in a forum for enthusiasts. I want a better steel. That's more than enough justification. Need? If it was about need, I'd own one or two knives and call it a day.
    Pomsbz, gaj999, JustinR and 1 other person like this.

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