All these observations about frankensteel blades are why I like Mora knives so much. Good ol' high-carbon steel that's needs a lil' attention in keeping it both sharp and dry. They come really sharp and it's very easy to keep them that way. (I have one in my kitchen that I ordered about 8 years ago that only sees a butcher's steel once is a while, that is still hair-popping sharp.)
Disclaimer: The fact that Mora knives are made in Sweden, as was my paternal grandfather, has absolutely nothing to do with my affection for them.
Soft steel for me, all day long. The knives I can work, get the most use. The Ultra-hard blades end up on shelves forever. I refuse to use "Machines" to sharpen my knives as well.
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I am not, nor have ever been a collector of knives. Nor, do I know anything about them other than "what I like". I have a lock blade "made in where ever" knife handed out as a trinket at work for some kind of safety incentive prize. Classy right? Anyway, I tried everything to sharpen the thing and nothing I tried put an edge on the blade. My tool buddy at work was using his and it was sharp. I ask him how he sharpened it and he said he used a steel. I had one of those small portable steels with a brass case that doubles as the handle, in my tool box. I tried it and came out with the thing being razor sharp. I also use a small cheap single blade pocket knife with a soft carbon blade to cut with and use the back of the blade (while folded) to strike flint with for flint and steel fire building. When in survival school for a month in southern Utah, I carried that folding single blade and an early sixties Puma Skinner. For sharpening I used the tungsten rod that welders use in their stingers for (tig or mig?) welding. These are about eight inches long and I slip one down in the knife sheath on the blunt side of the blade for carrying. Both knives were still extremely sharp at the end of the month and everyone wanted to know what I was carrying and where they could get one. By the way I discovered petrified wood was much better than flint for a good spark while building a fire. Have no idea what wood that was petrified as I found the pieces in the desert at random places.
I have a knife I prize that was made from a file. It is fitted with white micarta scales and I paid $15 for it from a table at a gunshow. It will take an edge like no other I have come across and holds it for a long time. My other knife was made by a fellow I knew (Dave Boltinghouse) made muzzle loader rifles and knives to sell at gunshows. I could recognize one of his knives. I saw a used one that tempted me on a table one day, I did not need another knife. I look it over, but laid it back down and was starting to leave when the guy made me an offer so low I would have been embarrassed to have offered. I had some Christmas money in my jeans, so it now resides with me. It has some nice stag scales.
My other prized knife is one I found discarded under a couple of inches of lint on top of a control room structure inside a paper mill. It has scales that look to be birch. The handle part is full size but the blade is only a couple of inches long and thin. I think it was used to cut the paper when the spool was full. When I found it, it was rusted and dull. It took an edge very easily and got extremely sharp. I use it for years for skinning large cable. It is so handy with the short blade having an almost square tip with just a slight angle to it. I have never cut myself with it or had any mishap with it. The full handle and short blade give great control over your cutting chore.
I have Spyderco ceramic sticks, and a Work Sharp hand sharpening fixture(small enough to carry in your vest or pack) that have turned out to be my go to sharpening tools. I also keep Arkansas stones and diamond impregnated stones. I had a carpenter friend build me a wooden fixture to set the stones into for sharpening. This fixture holds the stones at the same angle as the spyderco fixture holds the ceramic sticks at. I keep Cold steel butcher knives and paring knives sharp with these.
I do have a butcher knife I found in a Bandara Texas junk shop for $2 made from an industrial band saw blade. It still has the teeth on top and it looks like they used an oak hammer handle for scales. This knife is very hard to sharpen but holds an edge. I use it for cutting things like ribs and for separating joints in bone.
Good knives are where you find them and need not be expensive if you have a use for them. One of the most useful knives I keep in my pickup map pocket is a Buck lock blade that is hard to sharpen but gets so sharp that I once cut a deer's throat and it cut so fast and cleanly I thought I had missed my mark until I saw the blood. Again that knife was free of charge, purchased with accumulated safety points at a mill in Oregon.
Last edited by jgt; 02-02-2020 at 10:54 AM.
I've had one serrated blade folder that someone gave me. Tried to cut a small elm sprout (about 1/4 inch diameter) about 25 years ago at the edge of my yard. It has been residing out in the woods about as far as I could throw it to the north ever since. I'd sooner have a sharp piece of flint rock than a modern serrated blade.