In 1964, Buck Knives launched its 110 Folding Hunter, which changed the knife industry forever. He introduced a revolutionary folding blade that was so firmly fixed in place that it acted like a scabbard with a fixed blade. The new Atlas looks at these cutlery that are changing the game.
The first folding knife we know of was found in Austria and dates back to the Iron Age around 600 BC. Since then, over the centuries, many different types of folding knives have emerged, from simple peasant knives to many camper knives, Barlow knives, canoe knives, pen knives, peanut knives, settlement knives, hunter knives and many more. another. with an amazing variety of blades for everything from sharpening feathers to extracting stones from horses ’hooves.
By the 20th century, folding knives had become so common and affordable that many men felt undressed when leaving home without them in their pockets. However, one problem remained – how to fix the blade of the knife in place after its opening.
Folding knives were designed to be easy to open, and usually a spring held them in place. Unfortunately, these knives also closed very easily – often on the user’s fingers. Various locking mechanisms have been developed, but they tended to be expensive, difficult to use, failed at worst, and any heavy use damaged the mechanism.
Ideally a folding knife was as sturdy and reliable as a scabbard with a fixed blade. Since there are no moving parts, a good knife in the scabbard can be forged from a single piece of steel, where the blade and the rod (the part of the blade that goes into the handle) are one, with the latter embedded in wood, leather, horn, bone or other material. shaping the handle.
Then, in 1964, a new knife appeared on the market. It was a folding knife Buck 110 Folding Hunter, manufactured by a small American firm HH Buck and Son. Assembled by hand, it featured a very robust ergonomic design that fitted the details along with very fine tolerances to eliminate the destructive stroke, it combined new steel hardening techniques with a new locking mechanism.
The result was the first massive knife, which fixed the blade so firmly that it functioned at the same level as the scabbard, but it could be easily folded and placed in a small belt when no longer needed. Within a few years it had become one of the best-selling knives in the world, as well as the most copied and pirated.
We recently contacted Tony Wagner, a historian at Buck Knives, to learn more about this wonderful tool.
Would you yourself think that 110 changes the game a bit?
Yes, absolutely. In 1963, there were other sophisticated hunting knives on the market, but none of them had the strength of a fixed blade. Thus, El Buck made his enthusiastic project the development of a folding knife with a locking mechanism that would give it the rigidity and strength of a knife with a fixed blade to allow hunters to have a compact tool that they can take with them into the field. In 1964, the Buck 110 came out of the gate relatively slowly and then suddenly got hooked. This has really put Buck knives at stake in the cutlery industry and made us a world-renowned brand that we are today.
So Buck Knives wasn’t such a big company in the 63rd.
A concise story of it. Hoyt Buck is the founder of knife making in the Buck family. As a blacksmith’s apprentice in 1902, he developed a method of heat-treating steel that would create a knife that would hold the blades longer than anything he found.
Forward to the war during World War II. The U.S. government has called on everyone to create weapons of war. Hoyt said, “I don’t have knives, but I know how to make them,” so he went and bought an anvil. He bought other equipment, built a smithy in the basement of the church, which he tried, and began to make knives from discarded files, rasps and saws, and then gave them away.
Then Hoyt began to feel unwell, and he turned to his eldest son, Ella, who was living in San Diego at the time. He finally convinced Ella to learn how to make knives, and it was a good thing he did, because in 1949 Hoyt died of stomach cancer and died soon after. Al left San Diego, moved to the Tacoma area, and in 1945 Al and his father founded HH Buck and Son and started advertising in sports magazines, basically, send us five dollars and we’ll make you a knife and send it to you .
In the war, the guys who got the knives were really looking for these new knives because they were very well made. They cost about 5-10 times more than knives on the market, but with Buck’s lifetime warranty it meant you only had to buy one knife and it was guaranteed for the rest of your life.
Folding Hunter when released in the 64th catalog really added Buck Knives knives quite strongly, and along with other products it just carried us all the way.
Let’s talk a little about its design. It’s one thing to say, “I’ll make a folding knife that will be fixed and will be as good as a scabbard,” but how did they do it? What was the breakthrough?
That’s a good question. Many knives are known as slip knives, where there was really no locking mechanism, it was just a spring. The tension of the spring kept the knife open, but there was no lock so you could just close it. Most pocket knives are sliding knives.
In a frame lock, the frame itself acts as a lock so that the blade does not fold. In the liner lock, the inner part of the frame is a different material on the inside, so the liner itself acts as a locking mechanism.
These types of designs have a higher failure rate than the Buck 110, which is a lock where the rear spring engages the locking bar that runs across the spine of the knife.
So basically when it’s open, it really locks in, almost like the full grip of a knife with a fixed blade.
It is durable. This is brass. Thus, the liner and props are integrated, solid brass and then wood. The first used ebony Makassar before 1994, so now we use West African ebony from sustainable sources.
As for the steel from the blade, I understand that there is also something special.
It is not so much in steel as in heat treatment of steel. Think of it almost as baking. You can have all the same ingredients to bake cookies, mix it all the same way, but there is a difference in how cookies turn out if you put the oven at 400 ° F for eight minutes or 300 ° F degrees for 14 minutes. It is the heat treatment of steel that will really affect the result and performance of this steel as a knife.
We must pay tribute to Paul Boss. He began working with the Buck family in the 1950s and developed a heat treatment that yielded high Rockwell hardness that holds much better edge and corrosion resistance.
When you talk about knife steels, there are two factors. Depending on the use of the tool, it will determine which steel is best suited for that particular tool. If you need a sturdy knife, which I call a mallet – something that you are going to use frequently in a truncheon, or as a camping knife or a universal knife, you need a softer steel such as 5160, which is springy. This is the same steel used in the spring suspension sheets of your car. It has more flexibility, so it can really withstand shocks without creating pits, chips or cracks in the steel, but you sacrifice corrosion resistance. If you leave untreated steel 5160, it will start to rust almost immediately.
Going back to 110 Folding Hunter, three main steels were used. In its release, it was the 440C, which was relatively high-carbon steel at the time, but it was pretty standard when it came to cutlery. Not many unconventional thoughts about blade steel, but the way it was hardened set it apart. So with Paul Bos’s heat treatment – I’m going to paraphrase this, I can’t reveal the company’s secrets – it heats up to around 2000 ° F (1093 ° C) and then instantly freezes in a cryogenic chamber and then slowly heats back up. Carbides begin to merge into the steel itself during heating and then cooling and then prolonged tempering. If done correctly, it will be a solid piece, if done incorrectly or too hastily, cracks will appear in the steel that may form. Thus, with intensive use you begin to break the blades. You begin to have chips and other imperfections.
Do you use 110? What is your personal opinion of him as a knife?
Well, I used 110. 110 is very nostalgic for me. My dad was one of seven brothers and they all had 110. You weren’t human if you didn’t have 110 on your thigh. I’m not a hunter, so for me the practical use of such a large knife just wasn’t for me. It may be inconvenient for everyday wear, but for the use for which it was intended, it has no equal in the world of cutlery. There is simply nothing like 110 Folding Hunter.
As evidence of its design the folding hunting knife Buck 110 is still on sale today, so if you want your own piece of knife history, you can get it in Tank knives for $ 59.95.
A folding knife Buck 110 that changes the game
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