I’ve heard it said many times over the years that the more things change the more they stay the same. As I grow older I have frequently come to recognize instances that show me the truth in this statement, and I suppose this occurs for various reasons. One of them, I think, is that “new and improved” items are not always new, and even less often are they really an improvement, so at some point the old ones often return. I think another reason is that we have a fondness for history and long-lived traditions. In short, there are simply some traditions that we would rather hold on to, and this brings me to the subject at hand. Columbia River Knife and Tool is introducing a new lineup of traditional slip-joint folding knives with timeless classical lines. They are offering these very nice-looking pieces with 7Cr17 stainless steel blades so maintenance is less of a worry, and at prices that won’t hurt your feelings or make you fear using them. Taking them out over the last week to put them through their paces has been much like a trip back in time to visit old friends.
Slip Joint Simplicity
In today’s world traditional folders still offer many advantages, for even in our modern lives it is often in our best interest to have a small cutting tool on our person. If you don’t believe me, then just try leaving your knife at home while you go enjoy a weekend fishing trip; see how many times you regret not having your pocket knife. Easily portable cutting tools have been around for so long now that we tend to take the abilities they offer for granted. Traditional folders have been a part of our lives for so long that pulling out a small folding knife with long accepted classic lines is seldom seen as a threatening gesture. Their weight is so unobtrusive that it’s easy to forget they are there until they are needed, but even if it ends up in the tray at the airport, odds are that you will only be told, “I’m sorry but you can’t take that with you.” In the same scenario a larger folder of another style accidentally left in your pocket during the rush to catch your flight might just get you delayed by an annoying series of questions. It could even get you an examination you would rather forgo in a not-so-private room off to the side.
When the package arrived, I opened up all seven boxes inside. I looked over the familiar lines, admired the elegance of the Burned Amber jigged-bone handles, and was impressed by the fit and finish of each. Without fail the jigged-bone handle scales transitioned smoothly into the nicely polished nickel silver bolsters, and there was no catching on the bradded ends of any of the nickel silver pins. There was no unevenness in any of the materials on the backs of the knives, from end to end and from scale to scale, across the brass liners and stainless steel springs I felt only one smooth surface.
I’ve heard it said many times over the years that the more things change…
by Doug Larson / Jan 1, 2011