The old man's knife.


PDA






Carl Levitian
March 10, 2014, 07:09 PM
Growing up in the 1950's was a lot different than today. There wasn't as many choices for a consumer as now, and in general, things were a lot more conservative. Like knives.

My memories of childhood was that every man who had pants on, had a pocket knife in pone of those pockets. There wasn't any one hand openers then, except for the eye-talian James Dean switchblades. My dad and uncles all called a knife a punks weapon, and if they needed a weapon, and a gun wasn't in the cards, then something to bash with was the ticket. Blackjack, stout walking stick, butt end of a pool stick, sawn off piece of shovel handle. We were living in some apartments in Washington D.C. at the time, and the neighborhood could have been better. It seemed that most of the men carried some kind of cudgel or basher if out at night.

But it was the belief of the day, that a man needed a pocket knife to deal with lives little emergencies. Dad was typical with his little Case jackknife. But no matter what the brand, all the pocketknives of the day seemed to run to small 3 inch or so closed two blade serpentine jacks. A two and something clip blade, and a one and something pen blade. Handles were jigged bone, wood, or some kind of plastic that was dyed and jigged to look like bone. Sort of.

Like most boys, I felt my dad was a hero. With his little two blade Case peanut, and his Prince Albert pocket tin that held some stuff, he could fix anything. Fishing, he'd gut and clean a rockfish out of the Chesapeake, or a nice fat perch out of the Potomac. Anything that needed cutting, dad would take out his little Case Case, open the blade and study the job for a moment, and then just make a cut. Sometimes two cuts, and then it was done.

I have to admit I was a knife nut, and in a way I still am. I tried all the new knives on the market, and in the 80's I even did the Pacific Cutlery Company balisong thing. I've had the one hand openers, and even owned a Spyderco. But for some reason they didn't take with me. I always gravitated back to what I grew up with, a two blade jack or my old Camilllus boy scout knife. I got so used to having a screw driver on my knife, that to this day, I find it difficult to carry anything but a SAK.

I know the zytel and micarta and G10 are great materials, but they just don't push any buttons in me. They seem to have non of the feel that some nice ebony, stag, or even jigged bone has.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7315/12238100284_bd567bee0d_c.jpg

If you enjoyed reading about "The old man's knife." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
utbrowningman
March 10, 2014, 07:23 PM
I carry a small Swiss knife like yours pictured above.

Noah
March 10, 2014, 11:25 PM
I always carry a modern Spyderco, and use it for almost all of my "cutting" tasks. I carried an SAK for a few years before I "discovered" modern one handed, locking folders, and I would hate to go back to 2 handed slipjoints for EDC tasks. So many of my cutting tasks involve an object in my off hand.

That said, I'm with you on the screwdrivers. I don't leave my room in the morning without a Leatherman or Swiss Army knife. Or a flashlight. Different tools for different jobs, all of which I would absolutely hate to go a day without. I really couldn't imagine being in a country where I couldn't carry at least a Swiss Army knife. A blade and a screw driver are such irreplaceable tools that I use day in and day out, it's almost painful to imagine not being able to carry such a fundamental set of tools.

Sol
March 10, 2014, 11:45 PM
When I think of "Old man knife" the image of the bone handled case knife is what pops in my head.

In fact I was fooling around with my grandfathers old blue colored bone handled case a few days ago.

hso
March 11, 2014, 12:21 AM
Very nice!

MutinousDoug
March 11, 2014, 12:51 AM
Dad practically went to his grave in 2009 carrying his pre 1942 Imperial Pilots knife. Sis still keeps it in one of her kitchen drawers and it won't see much abuse there if I can keep her from polishing the blades with steel wool.
I carried a Barlow all through grade school. I thought that was the brand, not the style; might have been a Case or not.
I wore the pocket out of a lot of Levis carrying a Case mini half trapper and carry one I bought in 1973 in rotation with a Swayback Jack I got a year or two ago. I did grind the tip off the trapper pen blade for a screw driver in the early 1970s and never did seem to think I needed a Leatherman after that since my job title included a tool bag.

Water-Man
March 11, 2014, 02:00 AM
I still carry an old Camillus G.I. utility knife from 1962.

1KPerDay
March 11, 2014, 01:14 PM
Nice. I feel the same way about old man knives. Around here the preference was for Schrade Old Timers.

I had a good experience being helped out during a motorcycle trip by a gentleman with one of those knives... if any are interested here's the writeup.

http://www.sport-touring.net/forums/index.php/topic,130.0.html#.Ux81s_ldV8E

Relevant excerpt for those not interested in reading the whole story:

Silently cursing the TSA for not allowing me to travel with a knife, a Leatherman, or my tire-repair kit, I tried to find something in the tool bag that would fit underneath the sliding nut and hold it up sufficiently to allow the threads of the screw to catch. No dice. I struggled with it for 5 minutes or so, then a passerby said, "Broke down?" I said no, explained the problem, and asked if he happened to have a knife. Before I was finished with my question he handed me his Old Timer, with the thin blade extended. The perfect tool! It took about 1 second to properly tighten the screw and I gratefully returned his knife.

We chatted for a while and I learned he was from small-town Eastern Oregon, and had recently restored a basket-case Moto-Guzzi Eldorado with his son. Seems the coolest people ride motorcycles, and the even-cooler people ride Guzzis. The coolest people of all carry thin, well-worn Old Timer pocket knives. I've never met a man I didn't like who carried one. (Unfortunately, I have since learned that the Schrade company has gone bankrupt, so no more Old Timers will be made. :(

Yo Mama
March 11, 2014, 02:15 PM
I'm still relatively young, 33, and started with the flashy stuff. Don't get me wrong, I love my Spydercos and Benchmades, but man they can get expensive. So everyone started recommending I look into Traditionals.

Then a whole new world opened up for me! :)

My dad was never around, left when I was very young, and my Mother didn't allow any blades or guns in the house (in fact she freaked out when I was 20 and got my first shotgun). I will change this in my family with my kids. They see my knives, and how to use them. They are still really young, but I want them to remember Dad used them, and loved them, and that they keep them.

btw, Carl, I LOVE that Case.

Double_J
March 11, 2014, 11:20 PM
My father has my grandfather's knife. we got it for him as a birthday present many years ago, and my left thumb bears a scar from that blade. it is a simple 3 blade machinist knife made by case or old timer if I remember right. I will own that knife one day as it has my blood on it, and it will be carried to church and formal occasions. my etc is a Kershaw vapor and it gets used hard, I would never use that old knife for those tasks as it would be sacrilegious. thanks for bringing back some memories.

WestKentucky
March 11, 2014, 11:29 PM
My daily carry is a case tiny toothpick. My special carry is a pearl handled case Eisenhower

TimboKhan
March 12, 2014, 12:32 AM
I have lots of new knives, and I favor them for a lot of tasks.

But, you know, I work in a office environment. It's not that I am concerned about frightening my co-workers, it's just that for what I need a knife for at work doesn't really call for a bigger knife (I like the Kershaw Blur, I carry a Spyderco Manix fairly frequently, and I like the Spyderco Endura).

A smaller pocket knife is usually all I need. I recently posted that I carry two knife with my at work, a kershaw leek and a spyderco kiwi. The kiwi is spydercos take on a small slipjoint, and I am quite a fan of it. But, I also like my Case slipjoints, my Buck Canoe, and a SAK. Point is, I enjoy all the knife world has to offer, old or new.

That being said, if I had to have just one knife, it probably would not be a slipjoint. I know that they are useful, but a good one-handed knife with a solid locking mechanism is safer, useful for a broader range of tasks, and with modern materials, more likely to hold up in hard use. Luckily, I don't have to make that choice, so as I said, I enjoy them all.

Water-Man
March 12, 2014, 01:13 AM
^^Sure you're not a politician?^^

788Ham
March 12, 2014, 01:30 AM
I have a Buck Hunter, I got it the first day I went aboard ship in the Navy, I still have it, though I don't carry it everyday. I had a ships cook take it into the galley one morning, that afternoon I got it back, man, that thing was so sharp you could shave with it. Its still very, very sharp, but not needing it everyday, it stays that way. I currently carry a Victronox 2 blade knife, one small and one large blade, keep them razor sharp if/when needed.

Manny
March 12, 2014, 02:22 AM
I wore out the back pocket of a lot of jeans toting my old buck knife around for a lot of years after high school. I eventually discovered how much more convenient and comfortable it was to carry a knife with a pocket clip. Went through several relatively cheap ones and the clips bent and didn't maintain tension causing a lost knife here and there. Then one day a couple years back I happened upon a Benchmade 555 mini-griptillian and loved it for the sturdy clip that placed the knife deep into my pocket and held it securely and the the thumbhole on the blade that made one handed opening a breeze. Though I nearly choked at spending $85.00 for a knife, I now view it as one of the best investments I ever made. I've carried that knife virtually everyday since and love it to death, it's just about the most perfect edc knife I could ever imagine IMHO.

So though I admire the style of the "old man knives" I much prefer a couple of the newer developments such as pocket clips and thumbhole openers. Who knows, maybe someday I can find a mini-grip with stag handle scales and it'll pass for an "old man" knife.

Brian Williams
March 12, 2014, 07:29 AM
Lately i have been carrying any one of these Case slim line trappers with the Case pen knife.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=196049&stc=1&d=1394620142
Yes I know the Amber bone is not a slim line but a regular trapper that I had Muskratman strip out the spey blade

Deltaboy
March 12, 2014, 01:05 PM
Cool stories and I carry a Barlow or Stockman 90% of the time in my front pocket. I got several lock backs that ride on my belt or clipped in my back pocket. I carry a scout knife to work most days cause the screw driver gets used the most.

TimboKhan
March 13, 2014, 12:09 AM
Water-man, as it happens I do work for the government! I prefer bipartisan knife usage, but if forced I know which party I am in, lol.

saltydog452
March 13, 2014, 03:13 PM
Mine has been the, now discontinued, SAK 'Electricians' knife.

Used to be, it was common to get splinters/chips in my hands. The SAK has an Awl blade that I pointed needle sharp to deal with the splinters before they festered.

The cap lifter works better on bottled beverages than a claw hammer or tail gate.

The Spiderco 'Co-Pilot' is a neat money clip that also offers a surprise.

salty

skoro
March 14, 2014, 12:21 PM
Carl -

That Damascus peanut sure is a purty little thing.

huntsman
March 14, 2014, 12:48 PM
I carry a KA-BAR peanut in my #5 pocket, along with the extra mag.

oldude309
March 15, 2014, 01:16 PM
Have carried an Old Timer of one style or another since 1973. I work with three men and I am the only one that has a knife on my person everyday and the only one that still wears a wristwatch. How times have changed. Jim

Dirty Bob
March 17, 2014, 12:38 AM
Great post as always, Carl. If I see your name as the OP of a thread, I have to read it.

I'm a huge fan of the Svord Peasant Knife (http://www.amazon.com/Svord-3-Peasant-Knife-Black/dp/B004HVZ3N2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395027177&sr=8-1&keywords=svord+peasant+knife) line. They're excellent knives: light, simple, safe to use, easy to completely clean and lubricate, made of good steel in a free country, have very practical (thin) blades that cut like the beloved Opinels, and can be opened/closed with one hand. Although the link goes to a synthetic handled model, the wood handled ones are very nice, also.

All my best,
Dirty Bob

22-rimfire
March 17, 2014, 12:50 AM
Started with slip joints as a kid. Migrated slowly to modern designs in the early 2000's. This is about when I really started noticing the moderns. Always carried a SAK and generally carry something else to try out. Lately it is the Cold Steel Tuff Lite which I purchased as a result of a "sub-3" thread here and I like it. It is an amazing little knife.

I like just about everything, but lately my money has been going to traditionals. I think that I have bought 6 or 8 since the 1st of the year. Yes, I often carry a traditional slip joint in addition to the SAK depending on my mood. I carry these things, but the SAK does all or most of the cutting I generally need done. I'm not afraid to hurt it because I alway keep spares should I loose one or damage it badly. Just started carrying a multi-tool on my belt. Been using it a lot for non-cutting tasks.

I notice myself settling into a comfortable niche whether it be knives, firearms, clothing, or shoes. About all I wear are white socks these days. To think I used to make fun of people that wore white socks,

Deltaboy
April 9, 2014, 11:11 PM
Great story Carl.

conw
April 11, 2014, 12:26 AM
Thanks for the post. You should start a blog. Very enjoyable reading.

35Remfan
April 11, 2014, 12:06 PM
Carried a SAK for over 20 years. Just can't leave home without a knife and screw driver. Easy to keep sharp and always handy. I have tried clip knives but haven't fallen in love with them.

Great post by the way

bannockburn
April 11, 2014, 07:05 PM
Carl Levitian

Great post! Year ago my father use to carry a pen knife of some kind or another, typically some inexpensive promotional model which featured a companies name or product line on the scales. When I was growing up my first knife was an Imperial Kamp King Boy Scout model and later when I started working in the "real world", I almost always had a Case Stockman of a Kabar Barlow in my pocket.

Nowadays my EDK might be anything from an old SAK Pioneer or a vintage Schrade LB5, to a slightly newer Benchmade Mini-Griptilian.

Carl Levitian
April 12, 2014, 10:39 AM
[quote-Carried a SAK for over 20 years. Just can't leave home without a knife and screw driver. Easy to keep sharp and always handy. I have tried clip knives but haven't fallen in love with them.

Great post by the way]


I know what ya mean Remfan. A screw driver is just soooo handy! For those times when I am not carrying a SAK, I always have my old P-38 and Sear's 4-way keychain screw driver in my wallet. They both work very well at their intended task, and I've fixed many a loose screw or small repair with them. I keep them in the zipper part of my wallet and they go right through security.
https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5475/9686968485_d34e68d1f2_c.jpg

The Bushmaster
April 12, 2014, 11:49 AM
I'm with Water-man on this. I have carried a TL-29 electricians knife in a belt sheeth ever sense I joined the U.S. Navy in 1964 (it was issued to me). I have worn out or lost several and still have one on my belt to this day.

I also have a P-38 on my key ring. Never without my handy-dandy can opener or my TL-29.

Deltaboy
April 12, 2014, 08:32 PM
I still have a P-38 and a Sears pocket screw driver just like yours I had it since high school.

Derry 1946
April 12, 2014, 11:08 PM
Here's some of the old gang. Buck 110; Wingen folder (sadly, the lock for the saw is broken); Buck 121.197266197267197268197269

theotherwaldo
April 13, 2014, 01:55 AM
I carry a Bear and Sons 3" Executive that I found in the frame of a car seat. It's the modern version of the Old Man's Knife. I've got a drawer full of other, "better" knives, but that's the one that's always in my pocket.

deadeye dick
April 14, 2014, 05:21 PM
I have my dad's RH28 Remington with original sheath. My mom and pop were married in 1936 and I came along in 38. He had that knife before he married mom. So lets do the math, 1936 till now is78 yrs. so the knife HAS to be that old. It is in near perfect condition with no scratches on the hard rubber handle and No rust or pits on the blade and no rot or splits on the sheath. I used it when I hunted for years. I am very easy on things in general. Discharged from the army in 63 and many wears later was still wearing my issue underwear and sox:D:what:

conw
April 16, 2014, 08:41 PM
My two favorite SAKs are the Compact and the Manager. I stick a small red Photon light on the manager for extra utility.

If the compact had an inline Phillips and a pen that worked like the Manager it would be perfect. I know a saw is a full layer all by itself but if a saw could fit into a layer with the inline Phillips...wow.

I would get a Yeoman which is like the compact but with inline Phillips and magnifying glass but it isn't a good value at all.

Elkins45
April 17, 2014, 12:15 AM
My Grandfather bought this knife new. When my Grandmother died in 1987 my Dad picked it up and started carrying it. He carried it until 2008 when he went into the Veteran's home. When he died in 2010 I picked it up and put it in my pocket.

I own a bunch of other knives (a bunch!) and my personal preference is for anything Spyderco, but is the last knife I would ever part with.

http://i292.photobucket.com/albums/mm35/elkins_pix/dadknife2.jpg

toiville2feathers
April 17, 2014, 04:39 AM
My Dad always carried a Camillus G. I. knife. He also carried a small "Doanes Little Liver Pills" tin box with various copper rivets and washers. Dad farmed a lot with horses, and that was his emergency kit. If he was in the field and a leather strap broke, he had the knife which had an awl and he made the hole, took a rivet out of the little tin box and fixed the problem, and finished the day.
When dad dressed up, he had a Case Stockmans, three blade knife, awl, speying blade and cutting blade, with a bone handle that he but in his dress pants. He always carried a pocket knife. He kept it up on the inside ledge of the kitchen door where us kids couldn't get it and play with it. The only time dad used that knife around the farm was when we castrated calves or hogs.
I still carry a Schrade Old Timer pocket knife today. I also have a small swiss army knife on my key chain. Its the one with the twezzers, tooth pick, scissors,nail file and blade. Just seems like everyone is asking me for my keychain knife for some small chore fairly often. My family and my relatives all know I always carry a knife.
I can't quite remember a saying about giving a boy a knife, It was something like the old saying, "Take your kids hunting,and you won't have to go hunting your kids.
Does anyone have any recollection of that? It would be great to see it again.

We were able to take our jack knives to school, and at recess we played a game called Mumbillty Peg, or Stretch. You would stand face to face, about a foot apart, feet together, and take turns throwing the knife and getting it to stick in the ground between 45 - 90 degrees up. You had to stick the knife. Then the other kid had to move his foot over to the stuck knife and it was his turn to stick the knife. This went on until some one lost his balance and fell over or couldn't stretch out any more and as a result he lost the game. There were many of these games played, but I don't remember a single instance where any one got stuck in the foot with the knife.:evil:
Damn, I can't even imagine what kind of uproar it would cause if the play ground supers saw two boys playing that game at recess today. :what:

deadeye dick
April 17, 2014, 06:33 PM
Been there done that growing up in N.Y. city in the 40's 1940's that is. And No I didn't put my eye out;)

Carl Levitian
April 19, 2014, 09:44 AM
"Been there done that growing up in N.Y. city in the 40's 1940's that is. And No I didn't put my eye out."


Dick, it sounds like we grew up in the same era, only I was a bit south down in Washington D.C. We had a dead end alley in back of the apartments we lived in, and there was a small grassy area at the end where there was a garden area for the residents, and a play area where we had our stickball games. Also played stretch, and nobody got their foot impaled, and we had all our eyes when last I saw these guys. Way different era back then in peoples attitudes about knives. If a boy didn't have a pocket knife it was weird. But society did have their pressure as to what they considered a "proper" pocket knife.

I can't even imagine a couple of kids toady taking out a couple of knives and playing stretch, mumbly peg, or even chicken, and not having the SWAT team show up. D--m shame.

Deltaboy
April 19, 2014, 10:13 AM
"Been there done that growing up in N.Y. city in the 40's 1940's that is. And No I didn't put my eye out."


Dick, it sounds like we grew up in the same era, only I was a bit south down in Washington D.C. We had a dead end alley in back of the apartments we lived in, and there was a small grassy area at the end where there was a garden area for the residents, and a play area where we had our stickball games. Also played stretch, and nobody got their foot impaled, and we had all our eyes when last I saw these guys. Way different era back then in peoples attitudes about knives. If a boy didn't have a pocket knife it was weird. But society did have their pressure as to what they considered a "proper" pocket knife.

I can't even imagine a couple of kids toady taking out a couple of knives and playing stretch, mumbly peg, or even chicken, and not having the SWAT team show up. D--m shame.
That is so true Carl and it is a shame.

If you enjoyed reading about "The old man's knife." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!