The online community of knife collectors, A Knife Family Forged in Steel
If I am honest with myself I have to admit that I am more of an accumulator than a collector of knives. Part of that description is that I struggle with just how to segregate the many, many factors that identify these things.
Here are some folders that contain some of my"accumulation" and you will see that some are grouped by manufacturer, some by style, some by handle material, some by unknown factors. How do some of you address this question?
What a great topic Robert!
Of course - there is no right or wrong answer, as this is really a matter of personal taste and interest, but it makes for really good discussions nonetheless. I think it's one that many blade enthusiasts struggle with - be it knives, bayonets, or swords. I also like your distinction between one who is more of an accumulator than a collector of knives - that's a really good description. Borrowing your terms, I see myself as a hybrid of terms - an accumulating collector - one who loves the blade so much that I am intentional about collecting all I can afford! (you could say borderline hoarder).
But to your question - "How do some of you address this question?" Simple - have fun with it! Try it one way, if it doesn't feel right - change it!
Speaking for myself - I "categorize" first by Maker, then by style, then by handle material if I have many from one maker. For example - I am a fan of CFK knives - those blades that either one loves or one hates. They are a frequent user of Rams horn and Water Buffalo horn for their handle materials - which I absolutely love on a knife. Since their designs are something I can afford (to buy, use, abuse, and loose), I have quite a few. So categorizing these knives in this way is sort of obvious and automatic.
However - I'm also a sucker for the Bowie knife as well - regardless of who makes it or what the handle material is. Since I own many Bowies by a number of different makers, I have a case dedicated just to my Bowies. Blade type is predominant category here.
Another group of knives I hoard - err collect - is the Boot knife, dirk, and dagger. This is one category I truely believe one can never have enough of. Well I can't anyway. I don't care who makes it, what it's made of, it's size - if it is a dagger, I gotta have it. Now - want to watch this Polish guy have a seizure? Offer me the perfect boot or dagger from any maker with bone or horn handle material....and I go stupid! Acting giddy can't even begin to describe the excitement I have in adding one of these to my collection.
So here is my conundrum...using my Boots and daggers as an example...I have several from a couple of my favorite makers - so do I show them by maker, by style, or by materials? Here on iKC, created photo albums around my interests, and I post the same photo in Knives by X album, and in my Boots & Daggers album. Problem solved here - pick your perspective. However, at home, in the case of my daggers, it's by the style - regardless of who made it. So I have several cases of just daggers.
I also have at home a case of knives categorized by Function. I talk a lot here at iKC about using my hunting and bushcraft knives for meat prep in my BBQ and sausage making endeavors. So almost all my knives have at one time or another have been kitchen tested to see how it performs for this purpose. Those that make the cut (pun intended) end up in my kitchen kit. We can talk about that all day as far as I am concerned.
So with all that said - I hope you can see that it's really up to you on how you want to categorize, catalog, or even "specialize" in your collection. Again - have fun with it and remain flexible!
There's just so many options...and I'm a fixed blade guy. I can't even imagine what you folder guys do!
A large part of my collection is kept the same way you do as pictured, Knives are marked on the non display side with a DYMO LetraTag for type, date of manufacture, cost and date purchased, and from whom. Canal Street Knives kept in their original boxes. Lists are kept on MS Word with pertinent info. This helps at knife shows. The collection is kept physically small over time by selling some and buying higher grade knives. Some of the collection is shown in my photos, many of which have been sold.
Paul S now in AZ.