Uk knives from the 1980’s onwards, how thing change

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MikeLA

Full Member
May 17, 2011
1,645
149
Northumberland
Just thinking how the quality and amount of knives and knife making has changed since the 1980’s/early 90’s. When I was having a clear out and found a K Bar and a Spec Plus Navy knife still in their boxes. Also remember having other knives of Less quality which were difficult to sharpen when the bench stones etc were rare. Only using a 2 inch oil stone or a butchers steel. On the market were SpecPlus knives ( many kinds), Cold Steel SRK, Golock and the MOD Survival knife and others of a military nature.
Lofty Wiseman tool and the Wilkinson Sword knife were the few makers knives available but out of price range for most youths.

Then around the early 90’s I guess we began to see a change with new knife makers on the market like fallkniven, mora and many independent UK knife makers selling good quality knives. Until the choices of today. What knives can you remember having to struggle with or owned and still miss.
 

Allans865

Full Member
Nov 17, 2016
402
137
East Kilbride
The knife of choice for me in my youth was the old cheap Chinese hollow handled "survival" knife with the big ball compass on the pommel.
The steel was so soft the tip would bend.
The amount of times I cut my fingers trying to sharpen the blade with that tiny oilstone!
Never did manage to catch any fish with the fishing kit either.
Managed to find a photo online of one.
da0080bec7549a2c0eed29a7098f28e2.jpg


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Danqrl

Member
Jan 14, 2021
40
19
41
Derbyshire
The knife of choice for me in my youth was the old cheap Chinese hollow handled "survival" knife with the big ball compass on the pommel.
The steel was so soft the tip would bend.
The amount of times I cut my fingers trying to sharpen the blade with that tiny oilstone!
Never did manage to catch any fish with the fishing kit either.
Managed to find a photo online of one.
da0080bec7549a2c0eed29a7098f28e2.jpg


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This was my first fixed blade knife I owned as a child (and shouldn't have owned really) I had 2 of these growing up and the handles broke on both.
 

Allans865

Full Member
Nov 17, 2016
402
137
East Kilbride
This was my first fixed blade knife I owned as a child (and shouldn't have owned really) I had 2 of these growing up and the handles broke on both.
I don't think I should've owned one either...especially as I was only about 12 at the time but that didn't really matter back then!

Still, learned most of my fundamental knife skills on blades like these.

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Kadushu

Full Member
Jul 29, 2014
293
256
Kent
The knife scene has changed dramatically in the last 10 years or so, particularly with regard to steel types. I recently heard S35VN described as a low mid-range steel where not so long ago it was regarded as high end. Some of this super steel chasing is completely overblown, especially when it comes to collectors who barely use their knives, but a general increase in steel quality can't be a bad thing.
 

MikeLA

Full Member
May 17, 2011
1,645
149
Northumberland
The knife of choice for me in my youth was the old cheap Chinese hollow handled "survival" knife with the big ball compass on the pommel.
The steel was so soft the tip would bend.
The amount of times I cut my fingers trying to sharpen the blade with that tiny oilstone!
Never did manage to catch any fish with the fishing kit either.
Managed to find a photo online of one.
da0080bec7549a2c0eed29a7098f28e2.jpg



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Now that knife I remember having as well.
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,448
457
-------------
Knives branded Whitby with blades of that gummy steel that gave stainless steels a bad name.

There are very good stainless steels about nowadays but they still get tarred with the same brush.
 

Tiley

Full Member
Oct 19, 2006
2,173
242
57
Gloucestershire
My first knife was bought from the Scout shop. It had a stacked handle built up of bits of fibre and a wodge of antler that was far to thick and knobbly for viable sustained use, a Sheffield steel blade and the most useless sheath on the planet. It was only when my father brought back a knife, which I now know to be a puukko, from a business trip to Finland that I realised quite how terrible my 'Scout' knife had been.

Things have certainly changed over time. Buyers' interest in the steel, geometry, grind angles, handle materials and heaven along knows what else have had a signal effect on the quality of knives. The appearance of very skilled knife makers has also changed the landscape for the better. Perhaps the biggest change around knives and their ownership and use appear in the laws that now govern what we can and can't carry and utilise...
 
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Laurentius

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 13, 2009
2,055
328
Knowhere
My first knife was bought from the Scout shop. It had a stacked handle built up of bits of fibre and a wodge of antler that was far to thick and knobbly for viable sustained use, a Sheffield steel blade and the most useless sheath on the planet. It was only when my father brought back a knife, which I now know to be a puukko, from a business trip to Finland that I realised quite how terrible my 'Scout' knife had been.

Things have certainly changed over time. Buyers' interest in the steel, geometry, grind angles, handle materials and heaven along knows what else have had a signal effect on the quality of knives. The appearance of very skilled knife makers has also changed the landscape for the better. Perhaps the biggest change around knives and their ownership and use appear in the laws that now govern what we can and can't carry and utilise...
I had a similar item, my dad was not impressed (with it's quality that is) and I replaced it with a decent sheffield steel bowie. I also had one of those old British Army jack knives (as they were called at the time) with a broken tin opener blade. This would be tail end of the 1960's when I was a teen.
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,774
2,678
S. Lanarkshire
I still have mine, and Himself's :) versions of those knives from the Scout Shop.
Carp. Absolute Carp. You just had to get used to doing a lot of sharpening. Mine has a brass end and his has an aluminium one. The leather stacked handles were comfortable though, and they've lasted well.
We also both had army 'jack' knives....with the marlin spike. Those got an awful lot more use.

My little bother and I played with a Kukri, a real one, my Uncle did his national service as the M.O. for the 2nd Battalion the Gurkha Highlanders in Hong Kong in the late fifties, as children.
Thinking back on it, it's astonishing neither of us lot any digits or limbs :rolleyes: and an assortment of sharps from Grandpa's shed. From army sabres to cutlasses. Wasn't even that uncommon really.

Different times indeed.
 
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Duggie Bravo

Nomad
Jul 27, 2013
487
107
Dewsbury
I must have been a trend setter then as I had a Mora Scout and Opinel, bought from the local sport shop.
A lot of scouts had a plastic handled mini Bowie thing that if you hit handle first when playing splits was likely to shatter.
Had the Mora stolen whilst I was a Junior Leader at Arborfield, but now have my brothers that he bought when the handle broke on his mini Bowie.


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Van-Wild

Full Member
Feb 17, 2018
866
686
42
UK
My first ever knife was gifted to me by my grandad. A small, stainless steel pocket knife in the shape of a fish. Double bladed, one small (about 1/2 inch) and one larger blade (about 1.5 inch). I eventually lost it as I got older....

My first ever fixed blade knife was a J.A Sheffield small Bowie with a bone handle and brass pommel. Very nice but I recall it being incredibly difficult to sharpen. That one got stolen.

Then I went all Rambo and got an MOD Survival knife. Kept that for a long time until I gifted it to a good friend.

My wife got me an SWC Woodlore (pre Ray days) in 2006 and I've hardly used or felt I've needed any other type of knife since.

I have had a couple of Mora Robusts over the years. They're solid knives and if I didn't have my SWC they'd be the only knife I'd use. I've gifted quite a few to very good friends over the years.

Another knife I've also carried for a long long time is the Victorinox Rangergrip 79. Its my EDC pocket knife and the perfect back up to the SWC in the woods.

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