USA -(Ammoland.com)- As a kid, there weren’t that many knife manufacturers so it goes without saying that there wasn’t that much to choose from. Then on top of that, even if there had been more offerings, I didn’t have enough money to buy the cool knives I wanted.
The first real job I had was at the Bud Fox Texaco in the 10th grade and we worked 7:00-7:00, six days/wk. for 60 cents/hr. So, knocking off an hour at lunch, that meant I only made $39.60/wk. I don’t know if they had minimum wage laws back then or not but if so, I never heard of them.
Years later after getting married, one day my wife looks over and said Tom, you’re the eternal tightwad. (I’d prefer to refer to myself as thrifty but maybe I had carried it to an extreme level). We were in a store and I was looking at an old school leather handled knife and whining how I had wanted one ever since I was a kid. She said Tom, you’re not a kid anymore. You’ve got a real job. Buy the dang knife! So now I’ve got a few.
Nowadays, nothing epitomizes the old school leather handled knife era like Case XX knives does it? If I remember correctly back in the day a company named Western Knives made a lot of the leather handled knives but to my knowledge they went out of business and sold a few times ending up in the hands of an Asian company.
But have no fear, if you’d like to purchase a leather handled knife to remind you of old times, Case XX carries a line. Here’s a few of the ones that I like:
I have the 323-5 Part # 10342 SKU 221016. It’s a nice stout knife with a 5-inch upswept blade.
I also like the Part # 10344 SKU 221018
And, the 385 SKU 225255
Nothing would be cooler than gutting your deer with an old school leather knife is there? Might as well be wearing an old school red plaid wool shirt to further top off visuals for the picture. I noticed that knifecountryusa carries the above three knives as well as a few more.
One thing that I’ve noticed while hitting at the local gun shows is that most of the old leather handled knives are in rough shape. So, let’s talk about taking care of them for a moment. If you never properly dry out your boots or oil them what do you think they’d look like in 5 years? Much less 30, 40 or even 50 yrs.
Most people figure their boots have a 3-6 yr. life so we can deduct from that we’d better treat our leather handle knives different if we want them to last for a long time. We’ve got to get a different mindset for these knives. You following my drift?
If you’re a cowboy think of your saddle. For your saddle you’re going to get it cleaned and oiled up every year, aren’t you? If not, it’s going to crack and deteriorate over time. I used to rodeo a lot and the saddle I won back in 1973 gets oiled up periodically to help preserve it. It still looks nice and is functional.
So, I’m going to say do the same with your leather handle knives. Don’t put them away wet. Let them dry before you store them. Blood is rough on stuff so clean the blade and the handle. I assume if the handle is super blood-soaked you could clean it up with saddle soap.
Then I’d recommend wiping the handle down at least yearly with Neatsfoot Oil or Lexol. I think that should help preserve the handle in pristine shape. Like I said above, I see a lot of the really old leather handle knives in rough shape on eBay or at the local shows along with their cracked-up sheaths. This could have been prevented.
About Tom Claycomb
Tom Claycomb has been an avid hunter/fisherman throughout his life as well as an outdoors writer with outdoor columns in the magazine Hunt Alaska, Bass Pro Shops, Bowhunter.net and freelances for numerous magazines and newspapers. “To properly skin your animal you will need a sharp knife. I have an e-article on Amazon Kindle titled Knife Sharpening for $.99 if you're having trouble”