Of late, we've been discussing a bunch of custom, hard to find, hard to get, and expensive knives. I'm no stranger to searching out those "Holy Grail" knives....the proverbial "Neo of the knife world"...AKA..."The One". Since a knife is such a personal thing as far as what one guy thinks is better over another, it can get downright muddy. Different steels, hardnesses, blade shape, handle shape, handle material, balance...you could keep going on and on. Sometimes, it's worth looking at an uncomplicated, but pretty stout design. Lots of very simple fixed blades and simple folders out there, but one that has truly stood the test of time is the Buck 110 Folding Hunter. Sure...there are lots of better folders out there today. Better steel, better handles, better weight, strength, sharpness, etc. But....I challenge anybody to come up with a more iconic and classic American lock-back knife out there today that is still in use. Really...it's this one. A design that was first introduced to the American public in 1964 and is still carried by many a seasoned outdoorsman today. Hell, I was chatting with Nick Boyle earlier this evening about how Bo & Luke Duke rocked their 110's like bosses in their black leather belt sheaths back in the day. Sheriff Walt Longmire still carries his out on the plains and mountains of Absaroka County. Can't argue with that, right?
For many of us, the Buck 110 was the quintessential knife to have. That was definitely the case if you were among the squared-away Pennsyltucky Rednecks where I grew up, and you made damned sure you knew how to properly dress your game, gut a trout, or whittle a hot dog stick with it. Plus...they were just damned cool knives. Still are, as far as I'm concerned.
Well, the Buck 110 that I had since the mid-1970s was given away this past year to a good friend's grandson (my tracker buddy Mike Hull's grandkid). Every young, red-blooded American boy ought to have a good knife, as far as I'm concerned. Even though I had that 110 for so long, and it had been given to me by my older Paratrooper cousin in the 70s when I was a kid...I didn't think twice. So I am glad Mike's grandson has a good knife with a real history attached to it. I didn't tell Mike or his grandson about the part where me as a kid at our hunting cabin...my own grandfather had to fish it out of our outhouse after it slid off my belt and down the hole!! Yep...true story. I was beside myself with grief over losing that knife. The ol' Scotsman Grandpap Clarence rigged up a pole and big wire hook..and then snagged that knife & sheath just like a big rainbow or an extra energetic brookie! Anyway, we cleaned it up real good, and I carried that knife for a whole bunch more years before it ended up with Mike's grandson.
So, I ended up with a Bass Pro gift card from my Mom-In-Law and didn't know what I would use it on until I saw they had 110 models for about 49 bucks. Done and done. I knew I just had to have another one of these knives in my collection. If for nothing else than....'Merica, Hell yeah.
I'm happy to say that it appears that Buck hasn't really fallen down on their standards, from what I can tell. Fit & finish seem great, and it came hair-poppin' sharp right out of the box. I did upgrade a couple things by adding a Kwik Thumb Stud (8 bucks & change), which works really well...and an open top pancake sheath. Just liked the look of it and wanted to try it. If I don't like the sheath, I can always go back to Duke Brothers style and use the black leather one it came with.
To sum up....even though there are plenty of expensive and custom knives out there, there really ain't nothing wrong with a good, simple, American made, tough utility / hunting knife. Our dads, grandads, and great-grandads did fine with them...why should we be so high-falutin' over it? There are still plenty of USA made Bucks, Cases, and other brands that are indeed worth a look. Hell, with all the money we could save by buying less expensive knives...we could then put that against more high quality HPG stuff!
Anyway, here are some photos of my new (but old to me) Buck 110. It'll be good to hear from others on the Forum about their own less expensive, but good quality field blades...folders, fixed, etc.
Stay safe out there, and if you can't be safe...be deadly.
Undoubtedly a classic, distinctly American folder....Jed Eckert & the boys probably had these on hand to dispatch invading Russians and Cubans.
The KwikThumb Stud works really well for such a simple thing. The set screw holds firmly. It is available on Amazon for about $8 & change, in stainless and black, as well. I've pretty much gotten used to having one hand openers. Yes, a standard lock-back can be opened one handed, but this is way easier and probably safer.
Open top pancake sheath I bought off of eBay for about $20. Good leather, but I'll probably darken it some with Obenauf's or similar, and soften it a little, just to break it in and give it some richness.
My model 110 Folding Hunter was plenty sharp right out of the box. I never had much trouble keeping my old one sharp and I don't expect this one will be any different. I've got a Ken Onion Edition Work Sharp....that ought to do the trick.