By Ryan Walsh
Once in a while it’s nice to see a designer style knife, beautifully decorated to catch your eyes. Though most outdoorsmen won’t gravitate to them as a “functional” knife, they are much like a piece of working art: they can just as easily hang on a wall, as accompany someone out into nature. Personally, being the kind of guy who loves the outdoors, from hunting, to fishing, or range shooting, I like the most bang for the buck and the most use out of something, with the least amount of luxury (because in service, luxury serves no purpose other than offer beauty). Knives come in millions of styles — all of them define the purpose they were built for. Here, after carrying, cutting with and generally using several different knives, we examine a top utilitarian folding knife and a collectible fixed blade – each perfect in its own rights for outdoor use.
Arguably the best utilitarian knife ever made was Al Buck’s Model 110. The Model 110 was the knife that put Buck beyond its already great title. The 110 officially appeared in 1963, and despite being a lock-back, it still had the same strength as a fixed blade knife. It immediately started flying off the shelves, with its brass frame and ebony Macassar handle; it was neatly tucked into a leather belt sheath. Not only was the sheath a nice addition to the style and class, it was just too heavy to casually carry in your pocket. For a birthday, I received a Model 110, obviously not an original, but the only differences that had been made revolved around making it slimmer, sleeker, and of course, stronger. In fact, you can feel the sense of strength and reassurance while using it. The knife offers strong blade integrity and portability, and can be had for about $40 retail.
As to the collectible fixed blade knives, the Swedish made Fallkniven Northern Light knife with Damascus blade and leather sheath is one of the more artful knives. At just about $2,200 retail, the Northern Light hunting knife series offers what could be the world’s best edge and exclusive steel blades, made of Cowry X Damascus steel. The Cowry X Damascus steel edge is powder-content steel that contains multiple elements and has a hardness of 64HRC. The sides are stainless Damascus steel in 120 layer format. This knife is a great combination of beauty and brawn. The handle is stacked leather and fiber that makes it comfortable to use. The Northern Light knives are built in very limited numbers, and so this is one of those pieces that one may acquire simply for the collectability of it. While the quality and blade construction are top-notch, to me, this would be the wall hanger.