by Don C.
It’s springtime, when an old man’s fancy turns to fishing. Unfortunately, an old woman’s fancy turns to yard work and my recent weekends have been spent in mulch, flowers, and trips to Lowes. Such is married life. Yesterday afternoon, I found this sitting on the edge of an outside planter. Seems my wife dug it out of the toolbox while I was gone and used it to cut open a bag of potting soil. Then left it in the bottom of the muddy wheel-barrow overnight and, well, that’s what happens to carbon steel blades.
She offered up a trite “sorry”, followed by a shrug and a “you have LOTS of knives” comment. Which is true. And this isn’t quite the first knife I ever owned. It’s the third. The first was a Purina knife, the second a Klein knife with a screwdriver blade. The first two are lost to the past, but my third, Old Crafty, still remains. I carried it through middle school, high school, and off to college. It went everywhere I went.
Like many of my old things, I have no memory of where it came from. Old Crafty is a Sears Craftsman knife, made in the good ole USA. I say this simply because the knife was probably made in the ‘60’s or early 70’s at the latest. Back before everything went Chinese. Chances are it came with a tool box set or perhaps as a door prize. I’m thinking I’m the second owner, that it’s something given to me by some adult in my life, but damn if I can remember who, when, or where.
To me, a pocket knife is an everyday tool. There’s nothing tactical (or tacticool) about it – it simply is what it is. Old Crafty covered every knife need I had for damn near a decade. As I entered the workforce, I finally moved up to a Buck lockblade. But as my career became more professional, I switched to a Victorinox and things were fine for a while. I probably switched knives once every 7 or 8 years, going to a Case most recently. Meanwhile, Old Crafty was relegated to the tool box, to be used on dirty chores that I didn’t want to risk breaking my “good” knife on. And there it sat, in the tool box, for close to 30 years.
I almost tossed it. The trash can was right there, the lid already open, but I just couldn’t. So this morning I pulled out the dremel tool, affixed a wire brush, and went after it. The blades were pockmarked and etched, as old carbon steel blade will do. The metal had a patina to it you only see after decades. The brass polished up a bit, not perfect but better. The blades are still a little stiff opening, but there’s no wobble and all rivets are tight.
I have several modern knife sharpeners, but that just didn’t feel right. So I pulled out my old stones, a Christmas gift I received back when I got my first hunting knife. I was maybe ten? Strange that I remember that. The course and medium stones are so wallered out in the middle that I had to use the very edge. The fine Arkansas stone has a corner missing, I dropped it many years back. But a few strokes on each and the a nice edge appeared. A leather belt, seasoned by many saltwater fishing trips and hung on the wall, became the strop. A few minutes there, and Old Crafty once again had a razor’s edge.
It’s already back in the tool box. I can’t see carrying it again. I have a much nicer Case knife I carry now. But for one Saturday morning, I got to spent time with the best knife I ever owned. Old Crafty.
Editor’s note: First I want to personally thank Don for his excellent submission. And kudos for an excellent job rehabbing that knife. Additionally, I would like to extend an open invitation to our readers to submit knife stories like this one or whatever you would like to cover. The more content we can add from such diverse sources, the better it is for the blog and all of our readers. Be creative. You the readers know what it is you would like to see more of, and we here at TTAK are always looking to make this site the best resource for all things edged. Thank you all for your support of TTAK. -HCA