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Head vs Heart; My Thoughts on Collecting and Using. How do YOU "collect"?

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by L.H.S, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. veitsi_poika

    veitsi_poika Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Nov 25, 2016
    I should add that giving up some bad habits allowed me the time and funds to support my knife collecting hobby... I know it is trading one addiction for another, but I think it's a healthier addiction o_O My only advice to any people early in their collecting / accumulating is to be very aware that $30 x 200 knives = $6,000 and it can go by before you know it... so be smart and careful not to get yourself into financial trouble. I'm sure some other folks here would concur ;)
    colin.p, tmd_87, L.H.S and 3 others like this.
  2. Misplaced Hillbilly

    Misplaced Hillbilly Gold Member Gold Member

    May 16, 2018
    That sister of yours, she seems to be quite sharp herself:thumbsup:
  3. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    She's awesome.
  4. Prester John

    Prester John Gold Member Gold Member

    May 20, 2018
    These puns are getting out of hand, David. You better cut it out! ;)
  5. kamagong


    Jan 13, 2001
    Me too. Admittedly I prefer good-looking "tools," because why should art have a monopoly on beauty?

    But my fascination with knives, really blades of all sorts, has always been in the context of them being used as tools. Whether it's Jim Bowie fighting with his namesake blade, Rambo with his knife crafting traps to escape an ego-tripping sheriff, a butcher breaking down a side of beef, or a whittler crafting a whimsy -- one common thread ties them together -- these knives are all being used as tools. That's what appeals to me, a well-made knife and the skill to use it. I've never wanted to be a museum curator managing a collection.
  6. ISKRA


    Sep 19, 2016
    I use my knives. Only ever had one safe queen and I eventuelly gave it away to someone, who now uses it, which makes me happy. I get knives that I fancy and I already have too many, should probably try to sell some of them ... It's not like I have a huge hoard, it's probably less than 20, but I don't like having knives lying arround, when I only rotate between 3 or 4.
  7. jrawk


    Jul 14, 2014
    My traditional collection is mostly users, incuding the 'expensive' pieces in the batch (an ESNYX, a TA Davison, an Enigma, and a few other hgh end northwoods). But a few GEC 89s, a CSC stockman prototype, and a particular S&M Doctors Knife are never used because they are too perfect to blemish, regardless of value. I buy a lot of 2nd hand users with intent to tinker with and fix up or modify. I've plenty to keep me busy ;)
    Misplaced Hillbilly and Pinemoon like this.
  8. Pinemoon

    Pinemoon Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    Yeah, funds are probably the number one determining factor to how one collects.
  9. L.H.S

    L.H.S Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2013
    GREAT collection! I need to get more into the vintage knives. I see them a lot when I go to club meetings but I don't have many.

    Yes. I have gone too hard at certain points. Especially considering where I am in life. I think it's important to be mindful of how quickly it can add up and use a solid budget.
  10. jc57


    Nov 28, 2012
    Some great collections here. I just kind of ran out of time, desire, and spare money. I have a ton of knives, so I really can't justify adding more. But I can still enjoy the 100+ I already have.
  11. Prester John

    Prester John Gold Member Gold Member

    May 20, 2018
    Maybe I'll stop when I get to 100.
  12. 5K Qs

    5K Qs Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 20, 2014
    Knives or years, Vince? ;)

    - GT
  13. Prester John

    Prester John Gold Member Gold Member

    May 20, 2018
    Whichever comes first. :D
  14. blademan 13

    blademan 13 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 25, 2000
    If it would have been possible to triple-like this post, it would have been worthy. The Maxims are words to live by, thank you for expressing them so eloquently @MerryMadMonk

    I, like many here, am an accumulator. I focused on buying knives I liked. Some I used, some were kept pristine. I was quite content with this arrangement and the accumulation continued to grow. Towards the end of 2018, as the number of knives exceeded 300 (a small accumulation by many collectors), I had to stop and ask myself, “what are we doing here?”. It was simply too many knives for me. It was becoming burdensome to keep the pristine knives pristine and the users used. I had knives everywhere. It was time to cull the herd. My goal for 2019 was to decrease this number by 100. Some have been sold, some given away. Not a single knife was missed, no remorse. I am over half way to my goal and I will probably repeat the process again next year.

    My preference has clearly shifted from being a “collector” to a “user”. I will always have some nice pieces best left to display duties but I really love using my knives. Then again, I can really only use so many. I don’t yet know where my “happy spot” may be but I am pretty sure it will land south of the 100 mark. As @MadMerryMonk so aptly stated, you can’t take them with you. About the only thing I am sure of is that a well used knife passed to a future generation has far more real value than a shelf piece that was never used.
    Nsewell, L.H.S, Pinemoon and 4 others like this.
  15. MerryMadMonk

    MerryMadMonk Platinum Member Platinum Member

    May 22, 2011
    Thanks, Jamie. Great insight for us all. That "happy spot" can indeed be a moving target... I've tweaked my sight alignment/sight picture more than once along the way.


    "Dad/Granddad kept these knives in his gun vault." vs "Dad/Granddad used these knives to clean fish and small game and do various tasks around the old homeplace. I remember the time when.............."
    Nsewell, Prester John and L.H.S like this.
  16. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I'm similar. I have tried to be much more restrictive as to what I buy and the yearly numbers. I take it one year at a time and I don't concern myself about the past. I certainly have a tendency toward getting every Trad Forum knife.... but I have restricted my purchases even with them to essentially patterns that I like rather than "just getting the forum knife".

    I don't consider myself a knife collector. I don't want to be a knife collector but I am certainly a knife accumulator. My stages were similar to yours as long as I don't use the word "collector" or "collection". At first I bought and carried knives because I needed a knife and used them frequently as a kid. They were important to me. I generally had ONE knife I used at that time and had little need for any fixed blade. I still have the fixed blade bias in that I just don't use them much outside the kitchen, but I love them.

    The second stage of the knife disease happened after I began working (career type jobs) and I bought knives as the urge hit me. I was cheap and didn't spend money frivolously. I liked knives a lot and only purchased knives that I might use or thought I would use. The numbers were small... probably 5-6 knives total in the stable.

    The third stage happened after the Rambo First Blood movie. I was drawn to the survival knife concept and at that time a survival knife was a robust fighting knife along the lines of the Randall Model 1 or 14/15 with some urges for the mass produced movie knives. (I resisted those.) I did the Randall type knives as some of my early fixed blades and they didn't get used. I liked the classic look of Randall's and still do.

    This is also the time I discovered Victorinox Swiss Army knives (1980's). Thought they were gadget knives for kids and city folks.... I learned to love them over time. Still do! I bought occasional traditional knives at gun shows; generally jack knives (two blade folders).

    At this point, I really didn't care how many knives I owned whether I used them or not. I just liked them. I bought the occasional handmade knife, folders, and so forth. But I really only used a couple knives on a regular basis. The Schrade 250T was my work knife since around 1976. It was used hard and I never caught the Buck bug.

    Enter Blade Forums in 2005..... A much wider world opened up to me at this point. My buying has been pretty consistent from year to year. Caught the GEC bug in 2008/2009 because of the definite tilt here in the Trad Forum toward them.

    Today, I am cutting back like JC57 (even with GEC's). I have acknowledged and accepted my urge to acquire knives but I resist that urge more now. I just like them and always have since I was a kid! I may eventually sell some. That has not been important to me. I still don't collect knives. But I have a fairly sizable accumulation and most are unused.
  17. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    One buying requirement NOW is that I won't buy a knife that I have no intention of using. This helps temper the buying urges for me. A possible exception are selected traditional forum knives, but it has to be a pattern or design that appeals to me and whether I use it or not just depends.... I still have not used the 2018 knife.

    I am much more apt to buy a traditional knife or one that is similar to a traditional knife today than in the past. I generally prefer simple designs and function.

    OP, I didn't say it, but I enjoyed your dissertation on your hobby and the title is telling and applies to me now very well.... head vs heart. There is always a conflict between the two; rational needs or wants versus emotional wants.
    Prester John and L.H.S like this.
  18. TLARbb

    TLARbb Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 24, 2010
    In my case, I initially thought I'd like to collect knives, but soon found out that I liked to use and carry them too much and thus I have turned more into an accumulator than a collector. My accumulation has shrunken some in the last 3 years as I have found that I wanted to use my money on some things besides knives. So, I'm (slowly) moving toward a small group of favorite users rather than a "collection" or an "accumulation". I've not been in this forum very much in the last year as I find it dangerous to my wallet. That "What are you totin" thread has been a bad influence on me over the years, but I can't stay out of it; it's a terrible addiction...

    Prester John likes this.
  19. Lansky1


    Apr 12, 2016
    I have somewhere around 100 post 1970 Case knives - I have bought many more than that and only keep those with good snap and no wobble, full blades and nice sides - those with lazy snap that I can’t work in or otherwise fix go back on eBay, usually the next day. I’m also an admitted bottom feeder - I spend way too much time hunting deals & almost never pay full retail. I guess I’m very particular - my Case’s are basically an all star team of exceptionally functioning American cutlery. And you might have guessed I use every knife I own ... def not a collector for the sake of collecting.
    Pinemoon and Prester John like this.
  20. Corso


    Aug 16, 2007
    I feel like a complete novice seeing some of these collections

    I can fit my whole collection in a single hand

    They are all users if i get a knife and don't use it I tend to give it away
    Prester John and JohnDF like this.

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