A Slice of the Past: The Second Knife I Ever Owned

While I consider my Camillus BSA Whittler to be my first real knife, the reality is there were actually two knives before that in my history, although they are barely worthy of the name. I came face to face with that history when visiting my parent’s home for the Christmas holiday. All I can say is… what a piece of junk!

My family has a washstand with a drawer, that was always filled with office supplies for some reason or another… post-it notes, tape, pens and pencils, et cetera. Even though my folks’ house is now on the opposite side of the country from where I grew up, I figured the drawer paradigm was still the same, so I opened it up when I was searching for some rubber bands.

Imagine my surprise when, tucked into the back corner, I found a small zip top bag containing a box of matches, a wad of dryer lint, and the second knife I ever owned, a knock-off Swiss Army Knife that I earned by selling popcorn as a Cub Scout.

I had figured this knife was lost to the sands of time as I hadn’t seen it in years. Judging by the items with it in the baggie, the gear had likely been with me on a camping trip and then misplaced at some point, eventually finding it’s way into the junk drawer.

Junk; such a fitting epithet for this knife! If there were no sentimental value attached to it, I would sooner discard it rather than give it to a youngster.

The stamped tools are rough with unfinished edges, are flimsy and easily bent, and are misaligned, requiring a good fiddle in order to close any of them… to say nothing of the pivot which feels like it would fall apart under even moderate lateral stress.

The toothpick and tweezers are long gone, and the Trail’s End Popcorn logo wore off ages ago. The corkscrew was bent and sticking out the side, and a few of the stainless items were even pitted; I wish I could remember if this was a new development, or if it had always been like this. The saw isn’t even sharp!

Still, it was very cool to find it. I’ll stash it away alongside the first knife I earned from selling popcorn… an equally abysmal representation of a bladed implement, in even sorrier condition. Really, these are closer in countenance to toys than they are actual tools, which is why still I consider the Camillus to be my true first knife.

Yes, these old popcorn prizes are of a quality I would be embarrassed to carry today, but I’m sure I’m not the only one to have some stinkers in their past, or even current collections.

So ‘fess up! Past or present, what was/is the crappiest knife you’ve owned?


  1. cmeat says:

    as a kid i got a “chinese camping” knife at a truck stop. the grinding marks were prominent, and every “tool” could be easily bent. i wish i had saved the box; the graphics thereon were all action wonderful.
    a bid lot of assorted mediocreness yielded a frost cutlery knife all silver and shaped like a leaf, the blade was all belly. duller than a butter knife. it came immediately to mind after reading your article. straight in the can it went.

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A Slice of the Past: The Second Knife I Ever Owned

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