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The old fart's knife.

Discussion in 'Knives' started by jackknife, Jan 27, 2021.

  1. jackknife

    jackknife Loaded Pockets

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    I look back on it all, and I wonder what the heck happened?

    What was it all about?

    For most of my life, I was a knife nut. There, I said it and mean it. I’d read any knife publication I could get my hands on. Knife magazines, Knife annuals like Ken Warner’s knife books. I’d ‘accumulate all kinds of knives that I had no use for. I had a nice little collection of Randall’s, Jay Hendrickson’s, Ralph Bone, George Stone, Rudy Ruanna, and other customs and semi customs. Lots of folders from Case, Hen And Rooster, Buck, Boker, and anything that caught my eye. I even had a Pacific Cutlery Company Balisong that I played with in the 80’s. I had pen knives, stockman knives, trappers, Barlow’s, Douk-Douk’s, Opinels, Mercators, and SAK’s. I’d go to knife shows to see if there was anything I was overlooking, and absolutely couldn’t do without.

    I was the obsessive knife nut looking for the grail. The next shiny object. The next new knife rush.

    Then it all went away.

    Not at once, but in the course of a few years, it all mostly, about 98%, faded away as I got through middle age and started into the dreaded senior citizen years. I started looking harder at who I was, and where I was in life, and most of all, what I was doing. I stared to look at it all, and wondered “what the hell was I thinking?” I sold off the Randall’s and other custom stuff, and being Randall’s and such with a cult flowing, I made a nice sum of money off them. The high end and other stuff soon followed, and had a feeling of dread lurking that I would regret this action. That I would suffer some sort of ‘sellers regret.” It didn’t happen. In fact, I felt unexpectedly good. I felt a definite feeling of liberation. Weird.

    Then I did the big downsize. I set aside my old standby’s from before knife nut set int. My SAK’s, a few Opinels, a Buck fixed blade. Everything went but them. It took a year or two, but I felt like, well, it hard to describe. It was like comping out of a long period or temporary insanity and seeing the real world again. Or like coming off a really long drunk, and seeing the world while sober again. It felt great.

    Now, as a retired old fart living in Georgetown Texas, I find myself going about my day with a small SAK in my pocket, and a Leatherman squirt on my keyring, and I’m fine. No matter if going about a Harry Homeowner project, fishing on the San Gabriel river, doing a car trip to California to see family and fishing at Mammoth Lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains, or a three day trip to San Antonio to cruise the river walk and live it up a bit, I find I don’t need much knife in a life in suburban America. But I still feel a knife is a mandatory thing to have on you as you go about that urban/suburban life.

    Most of all, I haven’t missed any of the knives I sold off at all. I did the same thing with my gun accumulation, and I haven’t missed any of them. I kept a few revolvers for self and home defense, and my wife has her one and only S&W 317 that is on her bedside. I’m not sure how it relates to age, but it definitely does. When I was a young man, I had all kinds of “What if’s?” On my mind. Now as an “older” gentleman of leisure, I can look back on it all and see that it was actually kind of silly. I guess I at least am thankful that I collected items that were actually useful, and could be dropped in a pocket and used, unlike a stamp collection, or a beer can collection, or a toy car collection.

    Maybe age finally brings some reality to thinking. I know that the odds are that I will not be skinning a moose these days, or surviving in the Amazon jungle on the spur of the moment, or taking out enemy paratroopers while yelling “Wolverines!” I’m not 007, The Lone Ranger, or the Caped Crusader defending Gotham. I’m just a retired machine shop guy in a 21st century town in suburban Texas. Most days I don’t need anything more than a Victorinox Classc or my Leatherman squirt. Some days if my wife and I are on an outing, and food is involved, an Opinel or 84mm SAK works fine.

    I guess only now I understand the old farts I’d seen when I was a kid, and wondered why they carried a dinky little pen knife that fit in the coin/watch pocket of the jeans with room left over. They just reached a point in life that they realized they didn’t really need any more knife. Like my friend Howard. Howard is an old time Texan and life long oil rig worker. Rough as an old cob, but with a plain spoken attitude that is refreshing. His choice of pocket knife for decades has been the little Buck mini Buck. It fits in his watch pocket and does the job. When I asked him about it, he said if he was going hunting, he carries a ‘huntin’ knife and when he goes fishing, theres a ‘fishin’ knife in the tackle box. For around town, he doesn’t want to be bothered by a larger knife in his pocket. At 80 years of age, he seems to have got by with that attitude. Now, having turned 80 earlier this month, I reached that point. Now as a newly minted octogenarian, my knife of the day fits in the coin pocket, and is a keychain size knife. It just makes more room in the pocket for the RONCO pocket defibrillator in case of a vapor lock on me or another old fart close by. With the CCW of the day, that cuts out the right front pocket for other use anyways. Now a days, one of the more rigorous uses for my pocket knife of the day, other than opening boxes and cutting off the plastic tags from my wife’s purchases, is spearing an extra olive for the martini. Or slicing some lime for the vodka tonic.

    Looking back on it all, my perfect pocket knife has changed so many times. The changes in life between 50 and 60 made one pocketknife better. The further changes between 60 and 70 were greater, while going through the 70’s, things really changed. You come to the realization that you will never be doing now what you did 10 or 15 years ago. But also, you realize that you don’t really want to do those things. By old age, hopefully you’ve done your bushwhacking/backpacking/big game hunting/rough travel. Its nice to sit on the veranda of the Yellowstone Lodge with a nice cocktail in hand watching Old Faithful erupt. Or riding the tourist train around Yosemite with a guide telling you all the high points and then dinner at a nice lodge with linen table cloths. My heavy duty knives have all long since been retired and the kids and grandkids have them now. These days the little Leatherman squirt combined with a small Opinel or Victorinox SAK seem to all fill my need the coin pocket knife.

    Horror upon horrors, I’ve become the old guy with the little pen knife!
     
  2. Tony Sal

    Tony Sal EDC Junkie!!!

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    Good to "read " you Jack as always.
    Can I run for your Old Fart Vice President?
    I'm the Christy Convert and Classic Carrier. And I agree. Got my Benchmade ready!! And... back in the drawer it goes as I choose my brass Christy or Classic or Executive.
    I'm thinking of forming Knives Annomous since I have the collection but only need one or two depending.
    Kinda stopped now.
    Hi folks I'm Tony, I bought a 34OT knowing it was probably from China and for no reason but Internet blogs and low sales redistance! Lol
     
    #2 Tony Sal, Jan 27, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2021
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  3. Jjb5730

    Jjb5730 Loaded Pockets

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    I just went through the same stage as the younger you. Now I have a cabinet full of expensive steel that rarely sees the light of day. I have an old faithful Esee 4 I carry around when I'm at the camp, but literally all other times it is just a basic flipper in the right pocket to fight off Amazon boxes and kids toys. Loved reading your perspective.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
     
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  4. Tony Sal

    Tony Sal EDC Junkie!!!

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    I do have toys, broken ones, old (I mean old when I was a kid and I'm 66), military (mine and dad's) that are in a special draw for family when I go.
    The SAK draw i have that takes 2 big guys to lift is a bit nuts I admit lol
     
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  5. medic68

    medic68 Loaded Pockets

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    At 70, I've scaled back my "needs" dramatically. The entire collection that takes two men and a boy to lift will get split between my three sons (wasn't that a tv program?) and they can start their journey to rationality. Cheers :smile_coffee:
     
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  6. Tony Sal

    Tony Sal EDC Junkie!!!

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    Medic? 1968? Should I guess!
    USCG E6 RETIRED
     
  7. twoisone
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    • In Omnia Paratus

    twoisone EDC Junkie!!!

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    Great read. I’m in my sixties and starting to feel the same. One knife with you and 40 in the safe doesn’t do a :censored: thing. I’m ready to come to my senses
     
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  8. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    Same here. Sold the lot. Except for a few vics, opinels and mora's. Daily carry is a vic with scissors and the "lowly" Mora Companion for work. Works just fine.

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn SM-G973F met Tapatalk
     
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  9. jackknife

    jackknife Loaded Pockets

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    Heck, give it all to them now, why wait. I can't begin to describe how much fun it was and still is to give the stuff to your loved ones while you're still alive to see them enjoy and use it all. My kids, grandkids, nephews, niece, old friends, all got my stuff while I was still able to witness the pleasure they get from it.
     
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  10. Willy

    Willy Loaded Pockets

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    We should probably start and "old farts" club. I have long since sold off most of the accumulation. Mostly small stuff left.
    Daily I carry one of these:
    [​IMG]
    This is, pretty much, the entire lot (the Case Pen Knife is roughly 45 yrs old):
    [​IMG]
    Except for my true "working" knife (roughly 45 yrs old also).
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. jackknife

    jackknife Loaded Pockets

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    Willy, you're probably right about the old farts club!

    Your line up is a lot like mine; the small SAK's and Christy knife. The only difference is you need a couple of the small Opinels like the number 4 and and the smallest locking one, the number 6.
     
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  12. medic68

    medic68 Loaded Pockets

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    Great Suggestion!
    As soon as my oldest boy is back stateside I think I'll give him and my two grandsons "first" pick. After five deployments he's earned it. Then the two that are still home will get a shot at the brass ring. :smile_coffee:
     
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  13. medic68

    medic68 Loaded Pockets

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    Rhodesia 1968-1974
     
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  14. Willy

    Willy Loaded Pockets

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    Dang.
    Trying to downsize, not upsize!!
    Maybe I'll check those out anyway.
     
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  15. jackknife

    jackknife Loaded Pockets

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    The number 4 Opinel is about the closed length of the Victorinox executive.
     
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  16. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    A modified no. 8. Great knives. [​IMG]

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn SM-G973F met Tapatalk
     
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  17. Tony Sal

    Tony Sal EDC Junkie!!!

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    Youze guys should check out The Little Knives thread!
     
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  18. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    I know it...

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn SM-G973F met Tapatalk
     
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  19. medic68

    medic68 Loaded Pockets

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    #TonySal,
    Were you ever stationed at Cape D? I have a son in law who was there some three years or so.
     
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  20. Tony Sal

    Tony Sal EDC Junkie!!!

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    No... highest respect for the Motor Lifeboat Surfmen!
    "The book says you have to go out, it doesn't say anything about coming back."
     
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