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Queen #41L, The Mini-Hunter

Dan Lago

11/28/2014

This liner-lock pocket knife has been produced by Queen Cutlery since 2004 and now has completed its 10th year in the catalog. The single blade knife is made on the traditional Copperhead pattern, with a swell at the top bolster providing some hand protection and a firm grip. The tail bolster is curved for a comfortable grip and ease of pocket carry. The knife is 3.75”closed and just over 6.5”open. Reflecting its hunting roots, the relatively massive clip blade has considerable belly, a sharp point, and a substantial half-stop. Almost all the catalog versions use D2 tool steel and are polished to a satin or brighter finish.

While liner-lock knives might not be mechanically as sophisticated as other lock blade styles, they can be quite functional. The Mini-Hunter lock is made of steel, not brass as in many other models. It is long with small grip serrations along its length and physically captures the open blade; an elegant, comfortable, and secure version of this style lock.

Queen has cataloged the knife in eight different treatments, all included in this summary. There may be other knife patterns Queen has plunged into as strongly as the 41L, but I am not aware of them. In its first catalog, 2004-2005, the knife is shown with six different treatments. While all are catalog offerings, for this review they are divided into two subgroups, regular production knives and gentleman's knives, based on handle materials, blade etches, and shields.

Regular Production Knives. Five Queen #41L knives have been produced as parts of other knife series using the same handles. blade etches and shields as other models. These include, starting from the most humble:

41L SBC (Smooth Black Cherry Delrin), (2004-005). Standard “Queen Cutlery Block Tool Steel Blade Etch” including the model #, D2 steel, no shield.

41L COBO (Cocobolo), (2004-2005). Standard “Queen Cutlery Block Tool Steel Blade Etch” including the model #, D2 steel, “Relief Knife Q” shield.

41L CSB (Carved Stage Bone), (2004-2006). Standard “Queen Cutlery Block Tool Steel Blade Etch” including the model #, D2 steel, “Relief Knife Q” shield.

41L BEM (Birds Eye Maple), (2006 -2009). Standard “Queen Cutlery Block Tool Steel Blade Etch” including the model #, D2 steel, “Relief Knife Q” shield.

41L ACSB (Aged Honey Amber Carved Stag Bone), (2008-present). Standard “Queen Cutlery Block Tool Steel Blade Etch” including the model #, D2 steel, “Relief Knife Q” shield.

Photo 1. Regular Production Queen Model #41L knives. 2004-present

In photo 1, the Cocobolo example is quite dark, almost like ebony, while others have been seen in a much lighter red/brown variable color. Clearly the ACSB is the longevity winner and the only model still in production. The Mini-Hunter was skipped in the recent Curly Zebra (CZ) wood handle series, suggesting only moderate demand for the model and helping consumers to more easily choose the bone-handled knife. Still, many would say the Amber Stag Bone is also the prettiest of these offerings. Of these five knives, the CSB has been by far the hardest to find.

Gentleman's Model #41L The other three versions of this knife are displayed in Photo 2. These three were offered in high quality traditional handle materials with no shields, and with special blade etches, including:

41L AB (Abalone LVS) (2004 -2006). D2 blade steel, with script “Abalone #41L” blade etch.

41 SJ (Sheffield Jigged Pearl (2004-2006), 420 Blade steel with script “Queen Pearl #41L” blade etch.

41L P (Pearl) (2004-2006), D2 blade steel with script “Queen Pearl #41L” blade etch.

Photo 2. “Gentlemen's” Versions of Queen #41L, Mini Hunter (2004-2006).

It does seem that the 420 steel in the Sheffield version permitted a somewhat higher polish, although even the difficult D2 steel received very high polish in these models compared to the other regular production models.

Availability

Production and sales records for this knife are not public, but it is very likely that only small editions of the Pearl and Abalone knives were produced by Queen for the two catalogs that included them (04-05, 06). Buyers seeking a locking medium size, capable pocket knife for hard use could choose from the less expensive delrin or wood handled versions (or a non-locking Copperhead #41). Being labeled “Hunter” and not “for Gentlemen,” being a bit larger than most gentleman's knives (2.5 – 3.5”), and having a locking blade, might have not gotten the attention of most gentlemanly buyers. Even though offered for three years, it is possible that there has only been one relatively small edition of each of these knives made by Queen and that those took a few years to sell out. My opinion is that probably less than 250 of each of these special knives have been produced. It may well have been less. Beginning the search in 2008, except for the current production ACSB, all versions of this knife have been hard to find. The Abalone, Pearl, and Sheffield jigged pearl are VERY hard to find for catalog knives produced in the 21st century and can be called “rare”. At least one Special Factory Order (SFO) version of the Pearl Mini-hunter has been produced, but no other SFOs of the Mini-hunter have been identified to date. (Queen has produced versions of the Oar carver knife using this frame and lock, but they have a distinct, small carving blade).

One desirable feature of these knives is that early buyers were aware of the quality and generally kept the fancy Model #41Ls in very good condition. When you find one it is likely to be very nice.

The Queen 41L Mini-Hunter may not have a large place in Queen Cutlery sales, but is both rare and desirable for collectors. It deserve a special place for its initial grand splash, and its inherent capabilities as a pocket knife. Maybe some day we will see new editions with torched stag and buffalo horn to support these eight knives. You might get lucky and find one of the used wood or Delrin versions at modest price – truly one of the great values in Queen knives. Of course I like them. Why collect any knife you do not like?

Reference

The Queen Historical Documents report on this model is the primary source for this article: http://www.queencutlery.com/uploads/Model_41__41L__7-7-2014.pdf. In addition, a copy of each page showing the #41L in all the various catalogs can be viewed on this site, following the links to “Advertising material.

Tags: #41, Cutlery, Hunter, Mini, Queen, model

Views: 1441

Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for that history!

Thanks for adding to this J.J.,

I have put up an Iknifecollector discussion under "Oar Carvers" , since it is clear they go well beyond the 41L version.

Dan,
Thank you! For those wishing to read about and participate the discussion is here
http://iknifecollector.com/group/queen-cutlery-company-hosted-by-ry...

Another good one to find in this frame style is the version made with the "button lock" instead of the liner lock. These go back to the late 80's to early 90's.  I believe that a larger size was made in addition to the copperhead size. The lock mechanism was unique, with the release consisting of a button in the center of the blade end bolster.

Both a large & small size were made. I purchased both in late 80's .. I gave the larger to my brother .. avid outdoorsman .. kept the smaller one .. they are unique !!!

Steve Pfeiffer said:

Another good one to find in this frame style is the version made with the "button lock" instead of the liner lock. These go back to the late 80's to early 90's.  I believe that a larger size was made in addition to the copperhead size. The lock mechanism was unique, with the release consisting of a button in the center of the blade end bolster.

My 41L knives have different size shields on them. Was this done at random, or does it state a certain year of production?



Jon said:

My 41L knives have different size shields on them. Was this done at random, or does it state a certain year of production?
Good eyes, Jon.  I have no good information on the change in shields. My GUESS is they originally liked the larger circular relief shield - What I call "relief knife Q." and had it on both bone and wood in the first year - 2004 , but NOT on the black cherry delrin (the pure user from their point of view...).  Maybe late in that first set of knives, they might have changed to a smaller shield, but that is only seen in catalogs when the newer versions of ACSB and BEM came out in 2007.  (So, tentative, is larger shield ='04 = '06) I doubt there is that much difference between cost of a medium-sized shield (look on a Mountain man for "large") and a small one.  Some knives have subsequently gone to an "Incised" shield , which may be a bit cheaper, but my guess is that this change in 41L shields is a nice example of Queen design team changing things up. (smaller shield may put a bit more emphasis on the handle material -- maybe part of the process of prettying up ACBS knives...?)   

Also Jon I dont know if your aware but those old catalogs are available to see online.  The Queen Historical Group has given us some great resources here Queen Historical Documents

Note the Queen 2016 catalog shows some new versions of the 41L.  Feathered buffalo horn and stag bone.  I am  happy to see this pattern continued to be offered.   

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