PIQUED CURIOSITY AND THE FIRST ‘V’
Hearing or reading about the latest and greatest begs a couple of questions.
First, who are the collectors who are touting the work of these makers?
A foray onto the knife forums will introduce you to hundreds of experts. Spending time reading some of the posts can clarify for you that this member actually has extensive experience and speaks with authority on a wide range of subjects. Then there are experts who have compartmental expertise, such as slip joint and multi-blade folders. They can answer questions and usually point you in the right direction. Then, there are the other experts; more commonly referred to as “fan boys.” While in some circles, this is a derogatory term. In fact, they can have their own expertise. However, this is generally limited to only a few makers who in their minds feel that the makers they collect are the best. Often basing this on their personal relationship with the maker and the amount of said makers’ knives in their collection. To quote Abraham Lincoln, “If it is on the internet it must be true.”
Second, what is it about the maker that has gotten the attention of collectors. The first “V” stands for visual, in the form of photos or in some cases videos. If done well, these can give you a good idea if the knife will appeal to you or not. The 2-dimensional format of this media limit your ability to truly judge the knife. Depending on the quality of the photography or video, they may hide essential items when looking at knives. Example, is the maker left handed or right handed? Close ups of the choil area and plunge cuts if not clear can obfuscate the collector’s ability to determine with clarity the quality of the maker’s work. Case in point, while attending a show in Las Vegas in 2014 I was asked by a client to evaluate a new makers work. The knife featured a blade, with two pieces of Titanium for the handle. The entire knife had an acid wash finish. I pointed out an area on the blade, the plunge cut. This is the area in front of the ricasso where the edge starts. Often, acid wash is used to disguise the scratches on the blade where the plunge starts and moves towards the start of the edge. I pointed this area and the scratches that were visible under closer scrutiny.
Part 3 to follow…
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