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Patterns and Modern Folders: are we putting too much or too little thought on this topic?

 I’m curious should we actually be trying to categorize modern folders as a new breed or do many of the familiar traditional pattern names actually fit these new knives.  I bring this up because I have a tendency to watch a certain late night cutlery show and one of the hosts often refers to some of the larger knives that are despairingly called “crapticals” as “Folding Hunters.”  When you think about it -- regardless of the quality of the knife, if it had nickel silver bolsters and wood handles instead of molded plastic and was bright and shiny instead of matt-black, I would call these five inch folders a folding hunter myself?

(the S&W is slightly bigger and bulkier that your 5 inch LB but is it a stretch to call it folding hunter?)

And so many of the so-called Rescue knives are nothing more than a serrated Hawkbill or Rope Knife!

I recently bought one of those Zombie Knives that has green skull camouflage.  It’s an assisted opener, with a can opener on one end a classic stiletto style blade.  (It was moment of weakness, I have a lot of those!)  Everything about the knife screams Stiletto! But it doesn’t look like a classic stiletto!  It’s camouflaged-even the blade! it has aluminum scales!  For crying out loud -- It even has a pocket clip! How can I call that a stiletto?  But then else should I call it!??!

(Sure the blade is slightly serrated and it a little heftier than my Italian Automatic but what else can you call it?)

So are the modern designs, especially the single blades ,really nothing more than Jack knives, folding hunters, stilettos, hawkbills, etc.?  And when these same knives have other devices added such as can-openers, seat belt cutters, or extra blades are they also nothing more than a multi-tool.

Plus are some of the knives actually not really nothing more than knives from non-Western cultures that have been introduced, modified and made new to Westerners? (For instance the Karambit!)

Sure these modern folders might open with one hand or be spring assisted openers, and they might have a belt clip!  They may have handles and liners made with anything from non-traditional super plastics to titanium.  And their blades might have finger holes and strange new shapes.   But in the end are they a totally new concept in knives or are they just Jack knives in never before imagined skins!

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I cant wait to hear the responses to this Tobias.  It is a very valid point and well illustrated with the side by side photos 

I like that camo zombie knife toby!

Yes and no.

It is a knife. Is it a "traditional" knife as we know it, no, but it is still a knife. Knives, swords and pointy things had names derived by the region they were made. I doubt a Frenchman saw an Englishman and said [in my best snooty French accent] "There goes an Englishman wearing an English long sword". He merely saw a sword. Some had names like a Japanese Katana, but they were keen to name things. But as time goes by, we as collectors started assigning names to categorize and differentiate the many styles. Be bit of a mess of a catalogue if everything was called a "knife". This also allowed us to sort and collect styles or makes of knives we liked.

Knives are knives, are knives, but not all knives are equal. But we are equal in our love of all things sharp.

Doug you have a point but actually Swords were given names based on function of use, their blade shape and length, and the style in which they are employed. They might say he was wielding a sword, but the trained swordsmith would know the difference between a cutlass and sabre.    And sword collectors would also be able to date the sword and determine its region of origin based on its design.  Thus we know the difference between a Scottish Claymore and an English Long Sword.

And we have the schiavona, rapiers, and mortuaries, all being used at the same time but by different people (The schiavona a backet-hilt military boradsword, the rapier a slender civilian sword, and the mortuary and backet hilt short sword used by the Cavalry)

Throughout history, we have categorized our tools and weapons. We have broad terms such a s shovel but then we use oher words for specific types of shovels"  spade, steam shovel, coal shovel, snow shovel,  long handle, short handle, d-handle, post hole digger, garden spade, etc.

My point is we know modern folders are knives. but what kind of knife?   And really in some case how much different are soem of the modern folders when compared to older traditional patterns?  (I'm trying really hard not to use the words "Tactical" and "SAR")   After all, most people define a Jackknifes as a medium to large size folding knife, normally with one or two blades and relatively straight handles.   That definition would fit just about 90% of the Spydercos that I've seen. 

And as this group is about discussing knife patterns, I ask is it wrong to apply to traditional names to modern folders.  Is it possible that that folks are rejecting the knives of our children simply out of "generational bias" in the same way some folks won't by a Chinese made knife for political reasons and this is why we won't call a Jackknife a Jackknife  but instead call it a Craptical?

After all, most people define a Jackknifes as a medium to large size folding knife, normally with one or two blades and relatively straight handles.   That definition would fit just about 90% of the Spydercos that I've seen

Wiki says JackKnife = jackknife, or pocket knife, is a compact, foldable knife.  Your correct that most of us think of it as the description above that you provided.  In reality a teardrop pattern is a jackknife and using that description and that type of frame.  Yep Spydies would fit well in the category.  Although I would think you would have a hard time getting a spydie collector to call it that 

Jan said:

"In reality a teardrop pattern is a jackknife and using that description and that type of frame.  Yep Spydies would fit well in the category.  Although I would think you would have a hard time getting a spydie collector to call it that "

And i would agree with that statement.  My point is for the people who don't collect by brand but by pattern.  Are there modern folders that also fall with the pattern you collect?  My guess is nine times out of ten there is , especially if you collect  single blade knives.

Anoher side by side example.   Below is a 100+ year old Marlinspike knife and modern era Marlinspike knife. 

The Camillus with bone handle was  known as  pattern 6353/1905 three piece clasp knife back in WWI.  Fury refers to their knife with the Black Aluminum handles as pattern 32206, Locking Marlinspike.  It is a copy of the Myerchin's P300 Sailor's Tool.  The black handle one is often called a Tactical Folding Spike Knife.  Strange considering the three piece clasp knife was made for combat and the other was designed for civilian use.

But to get to my point.  I didn't pick up the Fury because it was made by Fury or because it is a modern folder.  I bought it because I collect rigging knives (marlinspikes) and despite the major differences between the two knives they are both marlinspikes. It never even crossed my mind that the Fury was a tactical knife,   I just thought it look like one ugly fish!

Throw some skulls on that Fury and you'll have a Tactical Zombie Spike...to better aid your rigging needs during the Zombie invasion.

And while I (for the most part) understand your commentary and even agree with you, I got your ten dimes here that says if you ever run a late night Knife show, you'll need new crazy names to sell your product too!

Just sayin'.... :-)

3 things that describe or differentiate a "modern" from a "traditional":
A modern has:
1) A Pocket Clip
2) Factory 1 hand opening; for example, a "Spidie Hole" or flipper. (the only exceptions being the one-arm knives, which pre-date the US Civil War, and an auto/switchblade, which were made prior to 1900, and "butterfly" knives, also made in the 1800's or earlier)
3) With few exceptons, screw or bolt together construction. (there were some single and multi blade knives made c1920 to c1960 that used screws/bolts rather than pins)

Basically, a "Traditional" folding knife is one that takes two hands to open (with the exceptions of the one armed, auto/switchblade and butterfly knives), and would have been well known and in use prior to 1970 or so. (this would include the Buck 110 and variants (1964) and its later clones.)
Generally traditionals have pinned construction, and, traditionals also commonly have more than one blade.


Just my 0.000025 cents worth.

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