SAK Classic


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sm
June 10, 2008, 12:59 AM
It is said the SAK Classic is the most popular knife made and large quantities are produced.
Why?

Allow me to back up for the younger folks.

When I was growing up, motor vehicles did not have seat belts, one rarely locked their door, and if they did they did so with a Skeleton Key they paid 5 cents at the "5 & 10" store.
These keys came in two configurations or shapes if you will, and your key fit your neighbors door, or most anyone else's.

Motor vehicles had the ignition switch on the dash, and most folks just left the ignition set to "on". Just get the vehicle, turn the switch to start.
Some left the key in the ignition, or set of keys in the ignition because they did not the keys for house, and it was not for the car, instead they knew where the keys were for the safety deposit box, or private mail box at the post office.

Just easier to leave the keys in the vehicle to keep up with them.

Another neat thing was Free advertising knives.
Oh boy oh boy!
For a kid this was great, and adults were worse as kids about these small knives given out free by Feed & Seed Companies like Purina.
Stores from Auto Parts, Paint, Hardware stores had them too.
Businesses from banks, insurance companies and whatever else one can think of , had a free knife with logo and advertising.

Small knives on a beaded key chain, with carbon steel blades that were sharp!
Some were really small, with one blade, others were a bit bigger with a pen blade and nail file, and some had a main blade, nail file and a pair of scissors.

Everyone had some, and not only carried them, they had them in vehicles, at the offices, and stashed all throughout the house, barn, sheds and on tractors and ....

Handiest darn things you ever did see.
Folks always had a thin sharp blade at least, and with nail file and scissors they were well equipped.

I do not remember seeing a SAK of any kind until sometime later in life, and I want to say it was after I graduated High School in 1973.
We had these advertising knives and we had our traditional pocket knives and fixed knives.

So for me, this SAK Classic is nothing more than a Free Advertising knife of yesteryear that costs $7 and up now.
Price of inflation I suppose, Free is $7 in today's economy...

Still for Free even if "free" starts at $7 one cannot afford to not have one.

A little bit of sharp steel is all one needs sometimes...

So there I am around 1975 best guess and I have this souvenir knife , free, from Vicksburg, Mississippi, with a rebel flag in my pocket.
Carbon steel pen blade, nail file, and scissors.

I am tossed my set of keys to a Shotgun Club and there is this red knife on it.
It had a Cross on it, that is all it had.
Mine at least had "Vicksburg, Miss" with a Rebel Flag, and being a Southern Boy, this was just up my alley along with other Southern knives.
The one from Texas had both a Rebel Flag and Lone Star flag...

This damn thing with my new set of keys didn't have anything on it but a Cross.
"What the hell is this?" - I asked.
"They call 'em Swiss Ar-mee knives", said the gal that tossed this to me.

"Oh, them blades made of stainless, so they ain't gonna take a patina either" - she added.
"Then what the hell good is it?" - I shot back, heading out to see if my keys opened the trap houses and other things.

I admit, I took if off my keys and tossed into a range bag.
Red plastic handles, and back then these did not have a toothpick or tweezers, but did have a screw in the scissors.
At least they got that part right...

My other small advertising knives, like the one from Vicksburg, had a wood handle.
Texas had stag bone looking one, most likely Delrin.
I mean I could accept the plastic advertising knives that looked white, yellow or something, but a smooth plastic red handle?
Come on now!

Still a little bit of sharp steel is all one needs, and as time passed and the Free Advertising knives went out of fashion, the SAK Classic gained some popularity with folks.
We still did not do other SAKs in my area, we had our Hen & Roosters, Case, Boker, Old Timers and the like.
WE set back our Advertising knives as collectibles of a time going by.
Danged old progress.


Back in the day, one was not dressed without a knife on person.
Boys, girls, ladies and gents - all carried a knife .
We kids took knives to school, and by golly that knife better be sharp, and pivots oiled if the teacher, any teacher, or Principal, even school nurse asked to see it.
We sharpened pencils and did all sorts of stuff in school with ours.

Adults used them at work, home, dealing with babies and kids.
One was not dressed without a knife.
Farmers, ranchers, shop keepers, bankers...

Today, we have restrictions.
A kid cannot take a knife to school.
Some adults cannot take a knife to work, and if they do , it has to be a small knife, under 3" closed, that does not lock.

SAK Classic now comes in all sorts of colors, and even aluminum and Sterling Silver.

It cuts.
A knife is supposed to cut, and I will admit, these knives come of the box ready to cut.
They quit doing screws in the scissors, and added a tooth pick and tweezer.
Being honest, I sorta prefer the green aluminum one I had, without tooth pick and tweezer.

These are handy, even in settings where one is restricted.

Stayglow , has become a real interesting safety tool.
One of the kids I know was collecting SAK Classic and got a Stayglow.

Now the backdoor in the kitchen has a deadbolt, and the key stays in the lock when folks are home, and removed when they leave.

Well with fire safety lessons and all, she wanted a reflective key fob, and got one to put on it.

Messing with her new StayGlow, she slipped it on that key ring, and flipped off the lights.
Mom was called in to look and "honey, what is that?"

Daughter explained that it was her new StayGlow SAK Classic, and if they had a emergency, and had to run out the back, they could see the key easy in the dark - and have a knife.

Pretty darn smart.
Her grandpa got her a gift certificate and she ordered some more and now there are StayGlow SAK Classics in all sorts of places, on key rings, and pull chains for attic lights to spare keys to in the glove boxes in vehicles.

She got her aunt and uncle one for their back door, her best friend at school, even the darn dawg wears on his collar out for a walk at night...pretty cute, and funny, still a safe idea.


No, the SAK is not free, unless someone gives you one, then again these do make a great gift for others.

They will fool one as to how much they can handle, just being handy.
Open crackers, a mustard pack, a kid's toy, a music CD, open boxes, cut a loose thread , even for sewing a new button on...

That glow on a set of keys when the smoke alarm goes off in the wee hours....


Steve

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TrapperReady
June 10, 2008, 03:15 PM
Another neat thing was Free advertising knives.


Steve - The knife that I remember my grandmother having all the time was an old, plastic-handled advertising knife that she picked up when she worked for the phone company... right around WWII. It was about 3" long and cylindrical, featuring a narrow carbon blade which came out the front. You pushed down on a small button and then manually slid the blade out. It would kinda/sorta lock... but it always paid to keep a little positive forward pressure on the button to make sure that it didn't start moving back.

That little knife was always within arms reach of her, serving to prune plants, clip coupons, trim threads, open mail, etc... It's the kind of thing that these days would have been considered disposable, but she lived through the Depression and learned to get by with what she had. That "disposable" knife lasted her about 40 years.

sm
June 10, 2008, 03:40 PM
TrapperReady,

Yep, I understand.

What prompted this thread, is the fact many folks expressed to me, in sharing, how they miss the old Advertising knives, and "had to" get a SAK Classic.

Some of these folks have been using those knives for decades!
Same as they have traditional pocket knives and fixed.

Get the knot out of a kid's shoe, adjust the fuel/air mix on a carb, cut an apple for a kid in Sunday School, punch pins on a shotgun to get the seeds out while hunting.

Fashion a cane pole, a safety pin and catch panfish, then make a fire , and clean the panfish to cook on the bank.
Get a office desk unstuck, cut nylons to make tomato stakes, ....

Just a dumb old Advertising knife that did so much, and some really miss them and *sigh* had to get a SAK Classic to fill that niche.

Folks had skills sets, and knew how to use a tool, such as these knives.
They did not run out and buy the new and fangled because marketing said they had to have...
They were too smart for that.


The more things change - the more they remain the same.

I really hope that adage always remains true...

Vonderek
June 10, 2008, 04:29 PM
My first knife I ever owned was a SAK that my older brother gave me for my birthday in 1972 when I was 11. It was the big one that had the tweezers and toothpick and I thought it was just about the neatest thing ever. Since big bro gave it to me that made it extra special...he was in the Naval Academy and I thought he was Superman.

I remember sitting in the back of the 1963 Lincoln with the windows down (AC was a luxury back then and even though we owned a Lincoln my dad eschewed such costly doodads like air conditioning) while we rolled mile after endless mile on the annual family vacation in the stifling summer heat. To while away the time, I carefully polished the main blade on the knife with the bottom of my shirt (while I was still wearing it). When satisfied with the blade's luster, I was surprised to see my shirttail cut to ribbons. And even more surprised to see my thumb and forefinger similarly tattered! I hadn't felt a thing! I learned that moment how not to polish a knife blade and also to respect the capabilities of a well-honed knife.

Well, like the dumb kid I was, I left that knife in a hotel room during that vacation and felt terrible. My prized possession was lost. Later that summer big bro got himself killed. Shortly thereafter my dad and my brother's best friend each got me similar SAKs to make up for the loss of my brother's gift to me. I've received others as gifts over the past 35 years and every time I see one, I always think of my brother.

mp510
June 10, 2008, 04:58 PM
I rarely use my SAK classic, but generally I know its always their- it carries everywhere with me. Actually, the scissors are very nice and precise. They are especially awsome for cutting nails. The knife blade, well, its better than nothing.

I am tempted to by an Alox model, the cellidor scale on mine is loose. Of course, krazy glue could fix it just as easily.

Skofnung
June 10, 2008, 06:14 PM
When I go to antique shops, I'm always on the lookout for old Ad-knives. There's a piece of Americana that we likely won't see again! Mores the pity.

As to the SAK Classic, I like them.

My in-laws had just purchased a second home and they did not have any kitchen cutlery yet the weekend we went to visit. We used my Mora Clipper that I keep in my manpurse to prepare the meal, but when it came time to eat, it became apparent that we had a problem.

We were eating steak, and there were 6 people present with no steakknives.

I produced all the knives I had on my person and in my luggage. Turned out that I had exactly enough. One of the knives was a SAK Classic that rides on my keychain. I kept this one for me and let the others use the larger blades.

When we started to dig in, my FIL looked over at me and asked if I was sure that I didn't want to share the Endura that he was using. He didn't think the Classic was up to the challenge of a thick steak.

I said no thanks and with virtually no resistance cut a big chunk of steak off and ate it.

I'll never forget the look on his face. It was sort of like this: :eek:

After dinner, he asked me if I could sharpen his like that. I did, and I make it a practice to touch it up for him every time we have a family get-together.

TrapperReady
June 10, 2008, 06:24 PM
We were eating steak, and there were 6 people present with no steakknives.


Last year, I was at a large sporting clays event which featured a Saturday evening steak dinner. The steaks were grilled outdoors, served outdoors and eaten outdoors. Unfortunately, that meant paper plates and plastic utensils.

The steaks were good and fairly thick, so as I sat down I pulled out my Benchmade Mini-Grip and went to work. As I looked around, every single person I saw had the white plastic fork and their own folder.

In a time when it seems like a lot of people no longer carry pocket knives, I felt kind of proud/happy/content.

pbhome71
June 10, 2008, 06:39 PM
My mom has a SAK in her purse all the time. The one she has it has been with her since Nursing school.

It is a very basic ones. One big blade, and one small blade.

-Pat

sm
June 10, 2008, 06:47 PM
Skofnung,

You will appreciate this.

My ex FIL, is a MD, he was also a shooting partner.

So he and his wife, me and mine went on up to trout fish early.
Scope it out, as the next day a drug company was having about 15 doctors total up to fish for trout.

We catch our limit of trout, no problem.
The wives were at the cabin doing whatever gals do in a cabin and here we come with 10 trout.

We used SAK Classics.
Drug Rep gave them to us with the logo and ads for some products.

"You boys cannot clean and fix trout with itty bitty knives!" wives said.
"Yes we can" we replied.

The bet was on, and if we not only cleaned, also prepped a meal, using only SAKs, the gals would have to foot the bill for a steak dinner later on.

We won the bet.


Next day all other doctors showed, drug rep lady, real sweet gal.
Her uncle was a Feed & Store fella and she had all these Advertising knives.
She had brought some, as Doc and I said we wanted some.

Oh, these get together get heated between Docs, and I was allowed to participate.

SAK versus Purina Ad knife.
We sorta had "teams" and Drug Rep was on Team Purina...same team as Doc as I ( she knew us real well).

We outfished Team SAK, and then proceeded to clean trout and meal prep with Purina.

Our wives...the ones that lost a bet...sorta smug now...upped the ante'
"Well I think there should be a steak dinner in the bet!"

Yes Team Purina won that steak dinner - Doc and I did not let our wives off the hook for the dinner they owed us however.

"You boys don't play fair" - wives said.

Dave Markowitz
June 10, 2008, 07:47 PM
I've found the SAK Classic SD a good knife to use to get my wife -- who did not grow up carrying a pocketknife -- to carry a knife. She wasn't anti-knife, just did not grow up in a culture where people normally carry a pocketknife (East Coast suburban Jewish gal). Now she has the Classic SD and a Photon Microlight in her purse. She regularly uses the knife, or more specifically, the scissors.

A similar SAK is the Rambler. It's basically a Classic with the addition of a bottle opener with a Phillips head screwdriver on the tip. I have one and carry it when I'm not packing a larger SAK because I'm carrying something like my Barlow.

LAK
June 13, 2008, 09:42 AM
I have a Victorinox Soldier - a real classic itself IMO. A little beauty.

I've had a couple of Victorinox Champs but switched to the larger bladed and locking Hunters with the longer saw (and those saws cut!), and a Swiss Tool.

Bought my wife a few SAKs as well; think one was the Classic.

SAG0282
June 13, 2008, 12:01 PM
I love SAKs...have a ton of them, including my most recent EDC, a sapphire Cybertool 34. I picked up a couple of Classics at Walmart for $6...one for my brother and I, both of which found their way to our keychains. The scisssors are extremely handy and if I'm carrying my metal-handled Soldier or Farmer, I still have the tweezers.

CZ.22
June 13, 2008, 02:46 PM
It's hard to beat a Classic.
The flat screwdriver tip can be used to pry open a bottle.

Rey B
June 13, 2008, 04:03 PM
Flying in to Japan many years ago from Diego Garcia, I had mailed home my other knives before I left the ship. I get to the military customs and they asked if I had any weapons or other things to declare. I realized that my SAK was still in my pocket so being honest I said just this knife. The guy looked at it and said "That's not a knife, it's a Swiss!" I went on my way and carried it the rest of the way back to the states and on to my next duty station. Someone decided they needed it more than I did and I had to buy another.:mad:

22-rimfire
June 13, 2008, 06:54 PM
I carried a basic SAK since about 1980. I lost one in South America and spent a day looking for a replacement. Price was not an issue. Carried it on many many planes; never gave it a thought nor did the airlines then. I prefer a fairly basic SAK with a blade, twizzers, toothpick, can opener and bottle opener, phillips screwdriver. The Adventurer is my favorite these days.

They are great knives for the price and quite handy. Everyone needs a SAK or two or three. Every SAK I own gets used contrary to many other knives.

Brian Dale
June 14, 2008, 12:04 AM
Got up from my desk, took one step and pulled the Climber out of my man purse (thanks, Skofnung!). I got it in the early eighties when I still was one (hey my knees wobble from old abuse, so therefore I'm still a climber, right? I'm a has-been rather than a wannabe).

Advertising knives: I gave away the last one I had. I had to. I'm sure to get more, hanging around auctions, garage sales and antique stores the way I do.

My cousin was up here for a couple of days and we went out shooting behind the barn. He's an experienced deer, turkey and other-wildlife hunter and an all-around good guy. We had a SAA-style Colt Scout in .22LR and a Python along with the rifles we were shooting. He enjoyed both of them thoroughly. Both were Colt's revolvers, remember. You'll see shortly why this matters.

At some point my cousin mentioned that he had never fired a handgun before. :what: Now, he lives in a city with a large population of the "guns are scawwwwy" crowd but he's far from being that way himself. He'd just never got around to shooting pistols, I guess.

Well, the chance was too good to pass up. After we'd finished shooting, I went inside and got the reproduction advertising knife from my dresser that read, "Real Cowboys shoot Colt" on one side, with a "Colt's Pt. F.A. Mfg. Co." design on the other. The look on his face when I gave it to him was priceless. He thought that it would be hilarious to carry as an everyday pocket knife where he lives.

Carl Levitian
June 14, 2008, 03:36 PM
The little classic is an awesome knife. Small enough to go most anywhere, yet enough to do 99% of what you have to do, cutting wise. In truth, knives are just like cars, guns, and alot of other things; people grossly overestimate what they need. Like a lone 5' 4" inch female commuting to work in a 4000 pound SUV, or the neophite deer hunter using a .338 magnum.

I have a classic on my keyring, and even though I have another larger knife on my person, the classic is what is used most of the time. How much blade do you need to open mail, UPS boxes, cut a string, really?

Victorinox makes 35 million knives a year. Of that, 9 million are classic's. Thats alot of little knives no matter how you count it.

Classics and peanuts are great knives, capable of much more than most people think. Like a good .22. Just plain handy.

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