Why You Need to Spend a Hundred Dollars on a Knife

A hundred dollars? For a knife?


Let’s start out by saying this isn’t 1980 any more, it’s twenty five years later. You can’t get the knife your pops bought you back then for twenty dollars. Because back then a twenty dollar knife was a well crafted, well made, but an expensive knife. One that was expected to last. I’ve seen many of them, old, worn, some partially broken. Because they were used. People carried them in their pockets and pulled them out to use when ever they needed them which most often was daily. They cut, poked, prodded, stabbed, pried, re-sharpened them, all the time. Well twenty years later those blades are worn out. They held up and your pops got his monies worth out of his knife. Unless he lost it, there was never any need to buy another one.

That brings us to today. That same knife your pops bought and probably still carries with him at the bottom of his pocket would cost him a hundred dollars today. Now there are knives out there today that you can still pick up for around twenty dollars. Ninety nine percent of them are produced over seas in China, and yes many of them actually have 440 stainless steel blades.

440c steel was invented in the early 1900’s and was quickly adopted by the cutlery industry which helped revolutionize the industry by moving many knives away from high carbon to “SS, rust free, Rostfrie, Inox” stainless steel. 440c though, still a good inexpensive steel, belongs back in the last century. Metallurgy has grown by leaps and bounds since then. There are modern steels such as 154CM, S30V, ATS34, ASU8 and many others. All modern steels that are well adapted to knife blades. The reality is there is a higher cost in the manufacturing of these steels.

Knife scales or handles also have improved. Wood, Stag and composite plastics were the norm. Wood is still found on many knives today, though much of it is of the more exotic woods imported from around the world. Stag is still around, but the price is gone up and is continuing to rise as it gets scarcer mainly due to less and less hunting that is going on. Plastics are prevalent and have improved in durability. But there are other materials which are now preferred by knife owners.

G-10; simply a specification for a grade of fiberglass laminate composite made as commercial sheets, rods and tubes which makes an extremely durable knife handle.

Micarta; is a brand name for composites of linen, canvas, paper, fiberglass, carbon fiber or other fabric in a thermo setting plastic.

Dymondwood is a product of Rutland Plywood Corp of Rutland, VT. Select hardwood veneers are impregnated with advanced dyes and resins through state-of-the-art processes. The result: rich colors and optimum strength and durability that allows precise and efficient crafting. This beautiful, highly engineered material provides endless possibilities for fine, high quality products. DymondWood is ideal for creating high quality knife handles, pens, plaques, awards, trophies, billiard tables, pool cues, drumsticks, desk accessories, etc.

Exotics such as Mother of Pearl, Ivory, Abalone, Mammoth Tooth, etc.. all used as knife scales were expensive then and still are today.

Last, wages have gone up since then. Knife making in the highest quality takes a certain skill set. Skills that take time to learn. The skilled knife makers need to be paid a wage equivalent to their skill set.

You add up all the above and you will find a quality knife at a hundred dollars is a bargain. With that you should expect to get a well working knife you would be proud to carry, use, abuse, re-sharpen and expect to last you as long as your pops lasted him. Yes there are knives out there that can still be had for twenty dollars, but I’m a firm believer in “You get what you pay for.”

When you’re ready to spend you’re hard earned money on a quality knife, the best advice I could give you today is; Do your research!”

Published in: on January 27, 2014 at 8:21 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. i know this is an older post, but i have 2 thoughts, well one piece of info and one thought
    first the dymondwood plant burned down Aug of 2014 and from what i can find there are no plans to rebuild. sad
    second 440c is an awesome knife steel, every bit as relivent today as it has been, the reason 440c doesn’t have a better name is lazy knife makers poor heat treating. i’ll leave it to a more seasoned knife maker to explain. Jay Fisher, here is the link to his discussion of it


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