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Thread: Your first knife

  1. #1
    Not a Mod finallyME's Avatar
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    Default Your first knife

    I am looking for some good ol' anecdotal evidence, or other type of historical evidence, on when kids would normally get their first knife. Obviously today is different than, say, 30 years ago, and 30 years ago is different than 60 years ago. So, at the very least, when did you and maybe your siblings/friends get your/their first knife, and maybe even what type was it? And, if you are historically inclined, what do you know about historically when people would get their first knife?

    To start, I got mine when I was 11. My paper route paid enough for a shiny white scaled Victorinox. This was late 80's.
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    Got my first knife in northern MN at a country store. It was sorta a log cabin. Gas, milk, eggs, Coleman fuel, short aisle of staples, tobacco, stuffed birds and mammals, ammo, traps, ...and a knife case. I was going through Edgar Rice Burroughs' books when the sun went down and almost done with the Tarzan series. I just knew in order to be like Tarzan I HAD to have a "Long Tooth". Buck sheath knife. I carried it for a few years then snapped the blade off. Probably abusing it. I can still see it in the case of that store.

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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Different situation for me. Also different time frame between being allowed to USE a knife ad being allowed to CARRY the knife.

    I was fortunate enough to be born while my G-Gfather was still alive. He had been born in 1865 just at the close of the Civil War down in Middle Tennessee and had lived a rural life all his days. He was in his late 80s -early 90s when I was a kid and he lived to 102. His younger brother lived on the farm with him and he was only slightly less a fossil.

    The two of them used to sit in the shade on the front porch and whittle on chunks of red cedar. They were not making anything, just removing curls of cedar from the chunk.

    I began sitting out there with them, whittling and listening to their tales and stories, when I was about 4 years old. I still remember those two men talking about reading the details of Custer's Last Stand in the local newspaper when they were kids.

    Those two old men taught me safe knife handling from that early age and I never remember cutting myself at that point. Looking back I see that they kept very close watch on me.

    I used the small single blade knife my Mom carried on her key chain. It had white pearl scales and a blade about an inch long. I was too young to carry such an instrument so I returned it to Mom's key chain when I finished whittling.

    By the time I was 5 I had a pocket knife that lived in the kitchen drawer, which I could take outside for whatever use and return to the drawer when I came in from play. I think it was a 2 bade pen knife, don't remember for sure.

    Now remember that "play" in those days meant making bows and arrows, spears, trimming string and occasionally making slingshot forks. A kid needed a knife for those tasks.

    By second grade, about 7 years old, I had my own knife for daily carry. There have not been many days since that time that a knife has not been in my pocket daily.

    That was in the early 1950s. Truly a different era from the helicopter parenting and "state mandated behavior standards" of today.

    Historically people were given a knife when they "needed one"! That is also a different concept from today. Two generations ago kids had chores. Often those chores involved opening sacks of grain and feed, cutting twine, string and rope, smoothing out rough spots on the ax handle they were using or setting figure 4 traps for fur or varmints. Girls helped in the kitchen and used knives for food prep from the time they could stand on a chair and reach the table.

    They were skinning rabbits, dressing out chickens, trimming meat, chopping veggies and preforming all manner of tasks we now consider "extreme survival" skills as part of their day to day chores.

    They needed a knife back then, while today most parents first comment after the request for a knife from a kid is "you don't need one!" when what they mean is "We don't want you to have one! We say we want you to go out and play but we really want you to sit safely in front of the video console so we do not have to worry about you."

    Each century has had its own "first knife" but most of the time it was a single blade peasants knife of whatever design from the friction folders and penny knives of the English and French colonials to the Barlow of Tom Sawyer. BTW the Barlow knife has been with us as a peasants knife since the early 1600s.

    I am sure you will eventually get a replay that sounds something like "they get one when they show they are ready".

    WHY?

    We wait for very little else until the "kid is ready". We have an educational system that has zero tolerance for the readiness of a child to learn. First grade you learn this, second grade you learn that, and on and on until college graduation. If the kid is not ready we need to "talk to the parents".

    How about a shift? How about the kid getting a knife when YOU HAVE MADE THEM READY. Just like if it was a course in the school system. You chose what the kid learns. If you want a 7 year old to have a knife then teach them how to use the knife properly. You do not wait for some set of secret skills to develop spontaneously.

    Teaching is the responsibility of the mentor. Learning is the passive action. The kid learns what you teach, hopefully when you teach it. If they do not learn then they are not interested and do not need the knife.

    But remember that in another era the Dad looked at his 7 year old son and had stern words. "You need to open these sacks of feed and it takes a knife, so you are gong to carry and use a knife. Yes it is dangerous so be careful. And if you lose this knife I am going to smack the crap out of you so keep up with it."

    Then Dad walked away and expected the stock to be fed.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 09-22-2017 at 12:02 PM.
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    Not a Mod finallyME's Avatar
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    Had to look up Barlow Knife. This was interesting. http://barlow-knives.com/history.htm
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    I'm thinking 7 years old...1950's....MF was with me at the bait store.....and were heading out trout fishing....

    Yellow scaled "Imperial" fish knife...long blade and fish scaler.....to be used when fishing with him....not carried.

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    Some time later was a BSA multi blade folder.......that one I did carry...maybe 11 ?? ...already had paper route, so bought my own.

    Always lusted after a Buck sheath knife...out of that case in the hardware store....never got one till much later.

    Or the knife / hatchet combo....thinking Schrade.?...several other companies made them.

    To this day I don'tr get the up turned up nose when referring to ... "Buck Knife".......
    I guess if it doesn't look like a rambo knife or short sword....or it isn't a Rat something or other(?) it's not cool.

    BTW both kids were throwing knives and hawks at about 8-9 years old....at events at rondy....and winning prizes.

    They used to come and ask for a "sharp"....when they needed to cut something....treated them with respect.
    Last edited by hunter63; 09-22-2017 at 12:49 PM.
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    My lust dispenser was the series of display boxes in the hardware stores. Case, Imperial, Schrade, Boker and then the ones I could actually afford from Sabre. 10 year old me would have a seizure if he saw the knives I buy now!

    I still have the Sabre Barlow I bought when I was 12, but it was not my first knife by a long shot.

    Earlier I also had the 4 blade camp knife, also a Sabre, but I found them too heavy to carry and with too many blades I never used.

    Even today I prefer a medium "stockman" having 3 well planned cutting blades. Not many folks realize that the "sheepfoot" blade is actually for trimming sheep hooves and the spaying blade is designed for castrating livestock efficiently. Not that mine are ever called on for those functions any more. Last pigs I cut were a long time back, probably in the '70s.
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    I was probably about 7. I don't remember the exact knife, but fishing with my Dad, I always had my own. In the Cub Scouts I had one of "their" folders. Found one last year at a yard sale.....had to have it.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Why do we buy all the stuff, we couldn't as a younger person?

    Don't need IT....always wanted IT....have to have IT........maybe not even use IT....But get IT anyway.
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    Because we can.

    I had a conversation with my younger neighbor the other day while cutting up some damaged trees. He made a remark that he couldn't imagine having all of the tools that I had (I swear, I only had three chainsaws out). I told him that if you get what you need when you are able - take care of it - it will last, and you too will end up with a lot of stuff.

    @H63 - part of it might come from two sources......

    1 - I always wanted one of those.
    2 - I could never afford one of those before.

    Of course there is always.........

    3 - I might need one of those.
    4 - I don't even know what it is, but it looks cool.
    Last edited by crashdive123; 09-23-2017 at 05:58 AM.
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Part of it is actually deprivation as a child or young adult. It is a reaction to some incident in your younger years, usually scarce resources.

    We buy stuff we do not really need because when we were young we might have wanted it, or really needed it and could not afford it.

    With men it is generally sporting goods or tools, sometimes if we can afford them it is vehicles; classic cars, jeeps, trucks, tanks.

    With women it is often clothing. When my x-wife(the bad one) and I divorced and we moved her gear out of the house she had more than 50 winter coats stashed away and hidden in various spots in the house and half a pickup load of shoes. Much of it had never been opened or worn. She had grown up very poor and often did not have proper clothing. It was as if coats/shoes were "survival prepping" for her.

    As for me, I grew up in the home of a pacifist minister that did not believe in violence, self defense or the tools to accomplish it. No guns allowed in the house. I rebelled against the constant fear of being victimized.

    Part of the rebellion was joining the Army. What could possibly be more rebellious to a pacifist than to have a son that was an officer in the Army? And not in the Chaplin corps or the Quartermaster branch but a volunteer in a combat branch.

    As a teen before the GCA of 1968 I bought a shotgun and a rifle as soon as I had a car to drive. The guns lived in the trunk of the car from the time I was 16 until I was 20.

    Then there were the college years of poverty and the babies that took precedence and then everyone eases needs that came before mine and often I was down to Grandad's shotgun and the heirloom .38 revolver. Sometimes there was more and I worked with guns constantly as a side job, so I had exposure to things I could not buy or afford.

    Finally in late middle age I had enough money to indulge. At that point it might be said that I overdid it slightly.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 09-23-2017 at 11:28 AM.
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    All my early age knives were given to me by relatives or friends, although I did buy a Hudson Bay Axe from Herters when I was 7. I was 5. My grandfather gave me a stockman type with a big longhorn steer on the scales. I don't remember what brand it was. About ten min after learning to open the knife I found out how to get blood out of my finger. They didn't take it away from me, just bandaged the finger and "sharpened" the knife to a more "5 yr old" type edge. From then on I didn't figure I really owned a knife until I had cut myself with it, at least once. I whittled enough wood to denude a redwood forest. One day when I was about 11 -12, I laid that knife down to do something else real quick and never saw it again. I looked for it for weeks.

    A friend of my father gave me a Schrade-Walden stockman and I have it still. That began a lifelong love of Schrade knives. Another gave me a Buck (model?) fixed blade 4" that I sharpened about half the width of the blade off of. The only knife I ever lost (and don't know where it went) was that first one. I felt so bad losing that knife that I've been OCD about keeping them safe.

    One thing I don't do is loan my knives, even for a second. I had an "Eye Brand" folder, and a fellow asked to borrow my knife. I handed it to him and before I could say anything he reached down and cut through two wires still connected to a six volt battery on an insecticide sprayer. "POW"! It burned a bite out of that blade. Last time I EVER did that. You need something cut and don't have the wherewithal to keep a knife handy? I'll cut it for you maybe, but you won't touch my knife.

    Now, like you guys have already pointed out, I've got literally more knives than I can physically pick up at one time. I have some that have never cut anything and likely never will. They won't touch a whetstone or even carry a fingerprint for more than a few seconds. I have others that have come to me from family and friends and will never see the inside of pocket for the rest of my life.

    As a High School administrator I got a lot of flack about boys having knives at school. I alway said that I encouraged them to have a pocket knife and furthermore I wanted the girls to have them too. In all the years I can remember there was never one single incident where any one used a knife for anything inappropriate. Yet, they banned them anyway. I banned myself about three years ago and never went back.

    I gave my 6 year old grandson a knife for his birthday and told his daddy to teach him how to use it safely. He did.

    Alan

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    "sorry backside" rebel's Avatar
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    Cub Scout knife. Still have it. It cut me within about 5 minutes of having it. Lol. Some never learn.

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    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    My first knife was when I was 5 or 6, if memory serves it was a imperial barlow
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?

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    5 yrs old Imperial 2 bladed yellow handle
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Imperial seems to have been a popular brand up in Michigan.

    The knife I have that belonged to my Dad's father is an Imperial and he was from Michigan.

    You did not see the Imperial displays too much down south. Everything down here was Case or Boker with a German Eye or Queen display on occasion.

    I also had several friends who had a first knife that already had a past life. It was not unusual to see a kid with a knife with one well worn blade and one broken blade, passed down from Dad after it was "worn out" for continued use.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 09-25-2017 at 08:48 AM.
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    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    Back in the day when I would go to the stockyard in Edmonton. The old timers would be swapping knives and whatnot, that was a long time ago. A few months back I went to the Glasgow stockyard and not a knife swap to be seen, sad days indeed. Edmonton and Glasgow, where do you reckon the first settlers of that area was from? LOL
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?

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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Probably Pakistan.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyratshooter View Post
    Probably Pakistan.
    Yeah...That was the Good stuff....

    Funny story....
    At a yard sale....found one of those wood scales (teak?) lock blade folder.....but it was a big one...maybe 5" long.... so folded out about 10"
    Plainly marked.... Made in Pakistan...

    Marked $30 bucks...and was kinda beat.
    Asked the lady if she would take less....I was thinking maybe $10 buck? because I hadn't seen any that big... She got all huffy and says..."THAT was my fathers that he carried all thru WWII.....and came home safe"

    So I pointed out the country of Pakistan did not come into existence till 1947....
    I thought she was gonna blow up....I left.
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    Senior Member Antonyraison's Avatar
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    I think I got my 1st knife around 7 maybe 8
    so that was 88/89
    Also a Vitorinox style knife, cause mcgiver was my hero then.
    Around similar age got one of those cheap Rambo hallow handle knives also.

  20. #20
    Donkey
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    I was about 10/11. Coleman Western; Still have it.

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