Share the joy of collecting knives

Knife collecting is fun.

I think we’d all agree to that, right? But do you know what is equally as much fun? It’s what I’m going to call- Sharing the joy.

Sure, we all love tracking down new, in my case new old, knives to buy and all that is a part of that, but if you want to experience a different level of fun, then help a new collector.

What got me off on this today? This did-

Good morning Scott. Thanks for your reply.

I am pretty much a novice with elephant toenails, but am very captivated by the big funky old time nostalgia look and size. Most of the knives I have collected so far are bowies and conventional slipjoints. I have not ventured into the ancient past yet.

Any advice for starters?

If you know me at all, this was all she wrote. Katy bar the door. Advice, oh my, where do I even begin.

When collectors seek advice the responsibility we have to guide them is tremendous. Think about it. And, I bet if you had to do a quick list of the top 5 recommendations you could do that as fast as you could write, right? I couldn’t type fast enough.

What I found as I offered my suggestions was I enjoyed sharing the joy- helping this collector explore the world of elephant toenails.

So, this collector wanting some advice is what promoted today’s post here.

Want to experience a different level of fun? Then share the joy!

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Published in: on February 27, 2010 at 9:33 am  Comments (2)  
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A psychologist’s take on why we collect

The psychology of collecting

By Mark B. McKinley, Ed.D.

Everybody collects something. Whether it be photographs of a person’s vacation, ticket stubs from ballgames, souvenirs of trips, pictures of one’s children, athletes’ trophies, kids’ report cards or those who collect “junk” (pack-rats) and dispose of it in garage sales.

The evolution of collecting
During the 1700s and 1800s there were aristocratic collectors, the landed gentry, who roamed the world in search of fossils, shells, zoological specimens, works of art and books. The collected artifacts were then kept in special rooms (“cabinets of curiosities”) for safekeeping and private viewing. A “cabinet” was, in part, a symbolic display of the collector’s power and wealth. It was these collectors who established the first museums in Europe, and to a lesser extent in America.

The motivations to collect
Why do we collect things, e.g., Cracker Jack toys to manhole covers? Some people collect for investment, yet one must wonder how a penny can become worth thousands of dollars. Some collect for pure enjoyment – it’s fun. Some collect to expand their social lives, attending swap meets and exchanging information with like-minded souls.

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Published in: on January 6, 2010 at 4:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Challenges of technology and Knife Collecting

The advantages of technology and, more particularly- the Web, to our hobby are tremendous. I see it everyday, both here and over at iKnifeCollector. In addition to allowing makers & collectors the ability to upload and respond to images and video, the Web allows us to span geographic boundaries- to connect, in a personal way.

Well, using technology has its pitfalls too. Bugs, server crashes, hacks, bankrupt providers, etc. Most of which are over our heads and out of our control, and are issues to dread.

Unfortunately, the Custom Knife Collectors Association recently experienced just such an issue with their forum.

forumcollageForums are online discussion areas where you can post and read messages from other users, usually in an organized thread layout.

Here’s what Kevin Jones, the CKCA President said about the interruption in service of their forum-

“…we have an issue with our forum causing a shutdown, from which we may not be able to recover.”

Talk about bad news.

The good news is they are already in the process of obtaining and setting up new v-bulletins forum software and should be up and running now.

Relaxing Sunday afternoon playing knives

Yes, it was a beautiful day yesterday. Fall in the air, leaves changing colors, just right temp- what a day to chill-out. Relax. Enjoy some R & R.

So, what did I do with the day? I spent it playing knives, of course. Yes, I played knives from around 1:00 til 10:00 PM (except for an off and on break to go outside and stand by the fireplace).

The odd thing to most of you is I never touched a single knife.

Instead, I created a multi-media presentation about the Elephant Toenail knife and its history. I know. Call me crazy. But I had a blast. Found knife and cutlery company pics and scans in the deep recesses of my external hard drive I had totally forgotten about.

Had tons of windows up and apps running. I love it! Now to me that is fun and relaxing.

Picture 6

Just a playing and a playing- knife playing, that is.

…and when I finish the ET presentation- I’ll be sure to load on YouTube. I think you’ll like it!

Published in: on November 9, 2009 at 9:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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CNJ Editorial- Just what is a knife collector club? It is time for the question to be asked.

smallmensfashionsturnofcenturyA much talked about topic here at CNJ is how times change. We look at knife history and current events, and oftentimes compare the two. The methods, materials, habits of collectors, preferences, knife companies starting up and closing down, sales and advertising methods, etc. Today, we are fortunate to witness, firsthand, another change and one that started only recently, but will forevermore change the knife industry and knife collecting.

communityvirtualMore and more knife enthusiasts are online today. Some knife folks use the web to further their knife hobby, while others are finding out they are in fact collectors and didn’t realize it, and others still are becoming collectors as a direct result of the web. The phenomenon we’re clearly seeing is all these folks beginning to congregate online too. Yes, they are like-minded in their passion for knives and they are coming together- online.

The online congregating of these knife collectors leads me to one question-

When, if ever, does an online place knife collectors gather become a knife club?

Many of these online places are more than simply posting boards of topics and replies too. I know of one that’s a true social network, much like facebook or MySpace, and yet it is exclusively for connecting knife collectors- creating association between folks who have the common bond of knife collecting. It is a community of knife collectors.

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Knife collecting still making the cut

us-economyThis year’s been a doozie and we’ve still got a quarter to go. We’ll end up at over a hundred bank closings. Auto maker bailouts. Record high foreclosures. Unemployment near 10%.  Record business and personal bankruptcies. Makes your head spin doesn’t it? Not since the Great Depression has our country been hammered like it has this year.

CNJ reported successful knife makers reduced employee’s salaries or have been forced to adjust by laying off workers due to low knife sales. In some cases other business failures have impacted knife companies too- distributors, retailers and suppliers.

In regard to our knife organizations, the timing of this severe downturn couldn’t be worse, as most need the steady revenue while the leaderships conduct SWAT analysis on their organizations. The economy’s caused many collectors to drop club and association memberships.

economyThe dark-side of the recession is also having it’s toll on collectors in other areas too. More collectors are selling knives to help make ends meet. I spoke with another collector yesterday who is selling because he needs the cash.

One knife industry expert claims, incidentally, these collectors will become tomorrow’s dealers. His theory is this-  these individuals who do need to sell will hit the show circuit in order to liquidate. Then they will eventually need to buy more knives from other dealers in order to have additional inventory to sale. I think that is hog wash, personally. The guy I mentioned earlier who is selling off a major chunk of his collection isn’t going to set up at shows- he’s using eBay.

Even with the tough times, knife collecting is still making the cut.

The 2009 CNJ Knife Collector Survey taken earlier this year revealed almost half of the 1300 collectors surveyed stated their participation in the hobby hasn’t been affected by the recession.

Click to enlarge

2009 Knife Collector Survey Q#6 II

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There is an additional bright-side to all this too- Record low interest rates and tremendous investment buying opportunities. Untold billions will be made as a result of this recession. Cash rich companies and individuals will make a fortune buying in a down market, but when we do come out of this-  the business landscape will look all together different.

Don’t be surprised if there are some knife company mergers and buy-outs before this is all said and done too.

Photo credits: http://www.uml.edu; http://www.blogtrepreneur.com

Knife Education: Doing our part

blogboard“Knives are Bad” was the title of the blogger’s post. The writer had my full attention at that point, so I followed the link to a young mother’s blog.

There she shared a story of her young daughter making a birthday cake out of bubbles as she took her bath. The daughter showed her mom a pretend knife she planned to use to cut the first slice. The mom told her “No, you can’t play with knives. You do not hold knives.” The daughter said, “But I need to cut the cake.” “No knives. Make it a fork,” her mother instructed, so the daughter then pretended to use a fork instead.

Then the mom addresses her readers- “That’s right, I don’t even let her play with imaginary knives.” The mom ended the post with this question- “Overprotective much?”

Now, we understand the mom’s concern for the safety of her daughter and yet, she missed an opportunity to teach and instead left the daughter with- “Knives are bad.”

I couldn’t let this one pass. She had asked a fair information seeking question to her readers, so I paused, took a deep breath and replied-

“Yes,  you are being overprotective. As a father of 4 and a knife collector, knives aren’t bad in and of themselves, nor do knives kill- people do. Helping your daughter understand “we must be careful with knives or any other pointed objects” is wise and responsible, as a parent, but conditioning a child that knives are bad is really not the point you were trying to make.”

Now I don’t consider myself the Knife Collector World Association’s ambassador to the web, but I do try to spread the word a little everywhere I go. And in this case, she asked me!

Knife collectors, we must do our part to help folks see knives aren’t the enemy!

Let me ask you, just what is our part in helping folks have a proper understanding of knives? Are we as collectors obligated to actually do something here? Can we not simply let KnifeRights and the AKTI head off threatening anti-knife legislation? Do we really care that millions of folks see knives as bad things?

It really boils down to us feeling comfortable to have a mature conversation. Yes, they are entitled to their opinions, but we wouldn’t hesitate to add our 2 cents to balance things a little, now would we?

And, if we’ll use the web share in our hobby, will we not also use it to help educate web users on the benefits and correct ill-informed viewpoints about knives?

Let’s just agree to this- we all will try to spread the word a little everywhere we go and especially as opportunities present themselves.

Image credit: blogs.worldbank.org

Published in: on August 28, 2009 at 9:09 am  Comments (2)  
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Knife collection direction- Which way do you go?

fun

Knife Collecting is Fun!

Knife collecting is fun. Of course, there is the camaraderie of other collectors, but for today, that’s not what I’m talking about. Instead, it is the excitement of seeking out new knives to buy. The rush of finding one you want. Sometimes, even the nervousness you feel about wanting to buy an expensive knife, and then the mental games you play justifying the decision to go ahead and get it. All that is the fun, no doubt.

We also love to get our new prize home and then figuring out what to do with it. Display it? Use it? Put it in the safe or drawer, or is it one for the special glass case? Decisions. Decisions. Still all the fun part.

Which way do I go?

Which way to go?

Eventually though, every collector comes to a point where a decision must be made- What is my collecting direction here? Most of the time the collection at that point is made up of knives we like, but are really a bunch of random knives.

If you are like me, you have probably found yourself with a hodgepodge of knives too. All nice knives, yes. All knives you like, sure. But is there a theme or pattern you are following, or are you going to continue to buy just any knife that tickles your fancy?

What direction are you headed?

What direction are you headed?

All the “knife experts” advise us to make a deliberate decision to specialize, whether in a particular type, era, brand, etc. But even within the knife type, for example, there is a myriad of decisions. What about handle materials? Patterns? Makers? Blade types? On and on we could go here, but I think you get the point.

I, for one, have in the past subscribed to this line of thinking, but of late, have decided not to over analyze it. Instead, I’m now sitting back and enjoying knife collecting for what it is- buying knives I like. Knives that are cool, whether old or new. Knives that speak to me when I first see them. Then let the chips fall where they may.

The heck with this, “What do you know about ____ type knives?” Yes, when we go with the flow like this, we run the risk new collectors face, like overpaying because we aren’t as familiar with values. Or buying a maker whose popularity or appeal has peaked, or even falling victim to “buying into the hype” of a knife company’s marketing, only to later realize the knife maybe isn’t high quality or demand.

But in the end, does it really matter? While we don’t want to waste our money, we collect because we enjoy knives, right? Yeah, one day we are going t0 sell them, and may not get all of our money out, but let’s go back to the beginning and reexamine why we started collecting in the first place.

TiggerKnife collecting is fun and let’s keep it that way.

Hunting ain’t no fun when you can’t find the game

liarHow many times since you started collecting have you heard fellow knife enthusiasts say they love “The Hunt?”  You immediately know they are referring to the time spent diligently searching for the next knife to add to their collection. Well, I’m here to tell you, if you don’t know it already- they are lying through their teeth.

Yes, I’m going to tell a dirty little secret. And one that none of the others have the manhood (s0rry ladies) to admit-

Hunting ain’t no fun- not at all.

Don’t get me wrong, they love to find a knife to add to their collection, and I do too, but that ASSUMES we do in fact- find it. In my mind though, “the hunt” is over at that point.

There are only a few things I enjoy more than getting a new knife to add to my collection. You know, you get home with it. Carefully unwrap it. Then sit there gazing over it like it is the Hope Diamond or something. Not even wanting to open and close it too much, so it doesn’t wear. Then gingerly placing it in the display, like hanging a trophy mount on the wall.

hunterSure, the kill, if you want to call it that- the bagging of the knife- is fun, but we had to find it first, so maybe we best break “hunting” down- I guess we can call the first part, “the hunt” and the second, “the kill.”  I enjoy bagging the object of my desire just as much as the next guy, but it is the hunting part I hate.

I’m not talking about just casually out looking around and happening to see a knife to buy here. Nor am I talking about simply window shopping as if any knife will do for the next kill. No, I’m talking about hunting for a specific knife. A particular knife that I have already decided to buy…..if I can just find the doggone thing. To me nothing is more frustrating than to have already mentally bought it (and spent the $$$, at least in my mind) and then not able to find the sucker. There is no way knife guys and gals enjoy this part, unless they are into pain, so they mask how they really feel by telling us, “Oh, I love the hunt.”

In case you are wondering what set me off today. Well, I’m starving- that’s where I am right now. I’m “hunting” for a knife that I’ve got months into and still can’t find one. I keep hitting dead-ends. I’ll get a lead on one and then run it down only to find it already sold. I scouted the entire 8 hundred- million square feet of Blade Show. I’ve posted at iKnifeCollector and knife forums, saved the search on eBay with email notices, emailed dealers and looked at more “dealer” websites that I care to admit. At this point, I simply don’t know what else to do. I think I’m going to pass out from malnutrition.

skeletonwgunIf I was hunting to eat, I’d be major skin and bones- probably eyeing my fellow hunter ’bout right now too.

So, let’s all come clean….if for nothing else, but to make me feel better anyway.

And please don’t tell me I’m just a impulsive compulsive knife collector who is too preoccupied with finding knives to enjoy knife collecting.

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I’ll leave it at this- the next time one of our fellow collectors comes strolling up to me telling me how much fun he’s having out hunting for his next trophy knife, you may be reading about me jumping on him right then and there. The next day’s headlines will read- “Knife collector goes berserk and attacks fellow collector.”

Photo credits: redstatepapa.blogspot.com; clothedwithscarlet.typepad.com; chromatism.net

Change and Knife Collecting

Yesterday’s post about Robert Simpson’s reflections of his boyhood and the role pocket knives played, caused me to do a little thinking.

Then I ran on this statement by Harry L. Rinker. He is one of the most respected names in the field of collectibles.

“Nostalgia continues to play a major role in what people (collectors) buy.”

Nostalgia= a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past.

Many collectors can relate to the affection for the past, but boy is it in stark contrast to our modern computer driven society of today.

I’ll step out and forecast- old knives are going to continue to grow in popularity- even among new collectors- as we all wistfully long for something to help slow time down. Time brings change. Change is not always comfortable. Old knives pause time for us, but just for a moment.

I can’t help but think about iKnifeCollector in this context too. It’s the future of knife collecting on the web. Many are embracing it already. Some are going to decide it’s too different because it is too much change.

You will notice too, the universe of knife collecting is as broad as it is wide. As collectors start moving into the iKnifeCollector community, it is interesting to see how diversified collector interest is.  This is different too. Most knife places are like living on a single street. You either fit in or you didn’t. That’s not the case with iKnifeCollector at all.

The mainstream collectors and the younger crowd are both moving in- this is different too, but very healthy. Go look around and meet the collectors. I can’t wait to see the community in a year from now.

The knife collecting past and the future are now. Want to see this phenomenon? Then check out iKnifeCollector.

Published in: on April 21, 2009 at 7:39 am  Comments (1)  
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