Part One: My Discovery
Inspired by Dan Jacquart’s story last month and a few recent posts on the forum, I thought maybe it was time to let a bit more of my personal history out. Admittedly it isn’t a riveting saga, but I think it’s interesting to see how and when the SAK bug hit each person!
My story, as anyone who has read the Collection Highlights article featuring my trusty old Camper will know, started with the Camper, but as with any story, there was a heck of a lot more to it than that. I got the Camper and I was fascinated, but as a small kid (around 5 or 6 at the time) I was only allowed to use it when supervised. Of course I used it unsupervised at times when I thought I could get away with it, and, as an avid nail biter I also had trouble opening the blades and often cut myself when they snapped shut. This lead to me deciding to no longer chew my right thumb nail- a huge challenge to anyone who has ever been a nail biter. Years later I eventually gave up the nail biting, but that’s another, non SAK related story, so we’ll end it there! It may however account for why these days I am conscious of my nails and why I love the Wenger Swiss Clipper so much though!
A few years later, an uncle of mine gave me a knockoff for Christmas, and, not knowing any better, I was fascinated with it, and my Camper took a back seat. I don’t remember much about the knockoff except that it had a hawksbill or pruning type blade, it was bigger than the Camper, it had more features (at least I think that’s why it was bigger), it had a shackle and it must have been higher carbon blades because they developed a very dark color after a while. I really don’t know what happened to it, but the last time I recall seeing it was when I was about 15.
Around that time I also started experimenting with other knives and my fascination started to grow. It’s a turbulent time for many young men and it was doubly confusing for me because I liked to collect knives. I didn’t know much about them, just how to sharpen and maintain them, and I was in awe of Victorinox and Ka-Bar products, which were about the only knives I knew by name. At the time I had a number of hollow handles survival knives, most of which quickly developed broken tips as I attempted to use them for throwing. I don’t feel bad nowadays looking back on them as they were cheap junk, although at the time I was horrified.
My parents weren’t thrilled with the idea of their son collecting and being fascinated by knives, but they respected my interests as I was a pretty good kid, not getting into trouble much, and when I did it was rarely serious. While I doubt they’d agree to that if asked, in hindsight I had pretty uneventful teen years. I kept my knife habit a secret from almost everyone, or at least I tried to, since at the time the only “role model” I had for knife collecting was a guy who had murdered someone then sat by as a wrongfully accused Native man named Donald Marshall was convicted and sent to jail for the crime. Years later it was discovered that this guy (I don’t even know his name, nor do I care to) was unbalanced and collected knives. That was certainly not what I wanted to be, and I had drawn the conclusion that knife collectors were mentally unbalanced people. My fascination scared the living heck out of me.
Next month we'll look at how I found out that knife people aren't necessarily serial killing scumbags, and are in fact, some of the nicest people I've ever met.