Knives - Knives - Knives...My last visit to a local gun shop had me looking through their display case of knives, which I am apt to do at any time I'm at a gun shop or gun show. As I inspected the contents of the case I found several that were interesting and at least one that I seriously considered taking home with me. I was just about to pull a hundred out of my wallet for my newest acquisition when I remembered "THE BOX". In my bedroom closet it sits, THE BOX is a beat up old metal cash box; inside it is filled with nearly every knife I have ever owned. "Nearly" every knife as some have been lost and more than a few just outright destroyed by me over the years. Yes I do like knives but I can be very hard on them.
The contents of THE BOX is diverse, from very cheap to very expensive, from nearly worn out to hardly used at all. There is a full spectrum of American and foreign made edged tools in there, some going back nearly 25 years. Yes, I like knives and THE BOX contains all of those that have survived me owning them.
As a kid I had a few knives but the collection that would eventually turn into THE BOX didn't begin amassing until I was a young adult. It was 1984 and I was working my very first real, tax-paying job, I was a stock boy at a local department store. After working there just a short time it became evident that I needed a good little pocketknife to make my workday easier, but only making $3.40 an hour I couldn't (and didn't) afford much. What I ended up getting was just some cheap import pocket knife that lasted me a while only to be broke or lost, it would then be replaced with something very similar. This cycle would continue in my life for a long time, as I must say at that point a knife was for me just a cheap tool to be used hard and replaced after its brief life span had been used up. The life expectancy of my early knives was short indeed.
At that same time I also came to recognize the value of a knife that could be opened with only one hand. That type of knife made a lot of sense to me and would really come in handy for the types of chores that I often needed one for, ultimately a one-handed knife made my life much easier. Unfortunately this was years before the popularity of one-handed "tactical" knives with thumb studs or other inventions to necessitate one-handed operation. There was very little selection in "one-handed" knives at the time, you had a limited choice, either expensive oddities or knives that had a "bad rep" and in some areas weren't even legal to own. Even so eventually I did find a well made one-handed knife that wasn't too expensive and it got me hooked on the idea. I made sure to take care of that knife as it was a considerable investment for me at the time. I must have gone a little easier on that particular knife because I still have it to this day.
I most certainly was nicer to it than my normal cheap "work" knives that I still primarily used during those years; I continued to break and/or wear them out on a very regular basis. Over a dozen years had gone by, the jobs had changed and the work I needed my pocket knives for had also changed but I still needed them. By that time I was working as an over the road truck driver and a good knife was still used by me nearly every day. By now though I had began to understand and appreciate a value of a well made, quality knife. I came to understand that I wasn't really saving any money by buying cheap knives because I was just buying more of them to do the same job one good knife would do.
It was at this time in the late 1990s that I started investing in more quality "name" knives. Names like Spyderco, Benchmade and EDI started attracting my attention and freeing me of my hard earned money. What I found was what many knife owners already knew, that buying quality knives might cost you more initially but saved you money, time and aggravation in the long run. I found that the extra cost was more than made up in reliability and longevity of the tools that I was buying. I discovered that you did indeed "get what you pay for". I must be an especially cheap and hardheaded b****** because that seems to be a lesson that I have to learn over and over again and in many different areas of my life!
Since that time I have changed careers again, my need for a good work knife is not the same as it used to be but I still find uses for them. There are still many times during the average week when I need the use of a good knife. THE BOX still continues to grow in number, slower now that it used to but still putting on weight with the occasional addition. My slow learned appreciation for a quality knife is still there even though I don't get the chance to use them as much as I used to. And I still carry one whenever I can because there is a comforting feeling of having a good knife on you just in case you might ever need it.