For most of us, almost all the hunting knives we’ve used, or are familiar with, are factory-made knives. Not that there’s anything wrong with them. Just like everything else, technology has caught up with the knife-manufacturing industry.
Modern knives made in factories are great, and often, they are just as good as their handmade counterparts. Even the price can reflect this as many high-quality factory knives can command prices as high as those for many handmade hunting knives.
Why Go For Handmade Hunting Knives?
A lot of people collect handmade hunting knives. There are several popular reasons for this:
• Handmade knives are made from a wider variety of materials. Some of them are extremely exotic. Specialty steel may be used instead of stainless steel, and very rarely a handmade knife will use stainless cheap steel. Even the handle may be made of some exotic wood, or it can use horns or ivory.
• The steel used for handmade knives are often superior. They can be much sharper, they can hold their edge for longer periods, and they are often resistant to moisture.
• The materials are usually much more refined.
• Sometimes, they may have special embellishments and decorations. It may have some nice engraving, or it may use a gemstone as decoration.
• The value of these knives doesn’t really depreciate all that much and they are very collectible.
Collecting Handmade Knives
As they are usually superior to regular knives (and often much prettier to look at), collecting knives have become a very popular hobby. There are literally thousands of knife makers around the world who make knives by hand. Most collectors try to specialize on a type of handmade hunting knife.
• You can collect the knives of just one or a select group of knife makers. It’s a bit like collecting Mustangs or muscle cars, except knives are much more affordable.
• You can collect according to the style or pattern.
• You can perhaps collect knives with the same type of handle material, such as ivory knives.
• You can focus on a specific area, such as the knives made in Germany or Japan.
Tips on Collecting Knives
If you are new to the hobby, it’s very easy to make a mistake if you want to acquire a collection that turns out to be valuable. Don’t make the mistake of paying too much for a knife that no one else wants. The price is ultimately decided by the demand, and the lack of demand means the price will be lower.
• A “unique” handmade hunting knife is not necessarily valuable. If you have a one-of-a-kind knife made by some minor knife maker, no one else will care about it. Instead, you may want to focus your attention on rare versions of common knives.
• A knife made by a dead knife maker doesn’t make the knife more valuable. Most collectors prefer the new knives, and old knives are regarded as merely old-fashioned. The exception here is if the knife maker is historically famous.
Remember, if you are collecting knives, your own enjoyment is the most important. And if you also manage to get a valuable collection, that will be still better!