Question of the Day: How much is too much?


This diamond and platinum Bonfort Swiss Army Knife retails for north of $200k.

Reading the comments from yesterday’s post about the Extrema Ratio – Glauca B1, many of you have sticker shock from its $650 price tag.  Certainly understandable, though the “cool” factor of that knife is off the charts IMHO.  I got to play around with it on my recent trip to Ohio, and I can say that holding it felt like almost like holding a pistol – the grip is that ergonomic and locked into your hand.

I personally have never spent more than $150 on a knife -yet. However, I am anxiously awaiting the Blade Show where I will likely blow right past that ceiling to buy an automatic now that they are legal in Tennessee. Just for the cool factor. I doubt I will EDC one, but who knows?

I have a Bob Lee custom recurve bow.  It is beautiful to look at and a pleasure to shoot, but if I wanted something practical it is a bit overboard.  My Hultafors axe is more expensive than one I could pick up at an outdoor store, but in one season of use I can state it is a finely crafted tool that exceeds most others of its type. I would love to own a Randall knife, but to use such a work of art would be a fiduciary and possibly aesthetic tragedy.


My Bob Lee custom bow is certainly more than a utilitarian arrow throwing device.

Whether it is cars, guns, knives, homes, or pretty much anything else, there are always categories of “things” which are a reflection of our personalities and thus we spend more than utility would dictate.

Ian, the author/owner of the Extrema uses it daily for its designated purpose, Law Enforcement, which must make the designer of the knife smile a bit inside. If sheer utility were the only determining factor in knife choice, why would 90% of people ever spend more than $20 on a Mora?

So I ask you this:

In your opinion, what is an acceptable amount (raw $ or %) of a premium to pay for a knife beyond its simple utility?


  1. Duncan Idaho says:

    Oh my, that’s a pretty recurve. I’ve got a Fred Bear Montana longbow now, in a couple days I’ll be the proud owner of a custom bamboo-hickory English longbow.

    I don’t TYPICALLY buy a knife for its looks- I buy them for their quality and utility.

    That being said, there’s a pretty seax knife with a carved guard and a bone handle on a certain website for fifty bucks, which I plan on ordering next time I’ve got some cash. Could I get a better value from buying five or six Moras for that price? Probably. Would they outlast the seax? Probably. Do I really want the seax? Absolutely.

    In my case, the history of the design and the “cool factor” of owning such an item will probably trump its utility (hey, at least it’s got a carbon steel blade), but I still plan to get some use out of it.

    I think the percentage or amount of money really just comes down to what makes people tick. I wouldn’t spend anything on something that I wasn’t positive or reasonably certain would stand up to real use. For me, it’s typically the history associated with it, with equal parts of function in there. Kind of the same reason that I prefer the old ’03A3’s or an M38 Nagant to the best Remington or Savage bolt gun.

    That, and I’m a cheap bastard.

  2. Bill J. says:

    I use knives everyday. From cutting an apple, opening stuff,or even spoon carving. I can spend big $$ on a knife, but I don’t want any “safe queens”. I love my Mora, Opinel, RAT2 and other good quality (but low $) knives. Knives to me are tools. My favourite is a bent knife from Cape Forge.

  3. daveinwyo says:

    How much? Easy.. what I can afford, or am willing to save up for. $60.00 +/- for an EDC ( I like the Kershaw Leek) to over $1500.00 for a custom hand made. And most anything in between. I would love to have a few from AG Russel, but I am not willing to pay those prices for a knife I would be afraid to carry. Yes, I do carry my hand made. Same with guns. Sig-Sauer, would love to have one. Ruger, I have several. Both do the job, but I can get 2 rugers for one SS.

  4. Nathan says:

    I’ve grown fond of high-end productions, mid-techs, and customs lately. My most expensive is $700 (Ferrum Forge Pretium) and I use it regularly. Once you taste the high life, there is no going back

  5. GC says:

    I tend to stay around the $150 mark for the knives that I purchase. My limit is $700 – but to fork that out there has to be something interesting about its aesthetics or design history.

  6. Tom in Oregon says:

    Sometimes price doesn’t matter. I’ve got a nice Emerson (I don’t remember what I paid), that I use all the time.
    I just thought that the Glauca was priced a bit high for what it is.

    Nice bow, by the way. I’ve got a black widow take down recurve.

    How much is too much for a knife? I think the $32,000.00 engraved one I held a few weeks ago was a bit much. But the engraving was stunning. To each their own.

  7. DrewN says:

    I use (kitchen) knives all day every day at work, and the high quality regular production works just fine for me. In fact, I use a MAC premium line chef’s knife exclusively (around $300), but all the rest of my knives (I only use 5: paring, 6″ boning, 12″ cimitar and a 14″ slicer plus an offset sandwich) are regular stamped cheapies. I’m not against paying big bucks for a custom, but that would only be an aesthetic improvement not a performance one. Certainly the Extrema looks all kinds of bad ass, but I doubt you’d ever be doing enough cutting that the ergonomics would really matter. I will say that a poorly designed, shaped or sized haft on a kitchen knife will lead to repetitive stress issues in short order if it’s in your hand 6+ hours a day. Like I said in the other thread, for $200 bucks or so you could have 95% of what the Extrema offers if you didn’t care about the aesthetics. To me it would be like having 5K custom 1911 as your duty gun, when a Glock would do just fine.

  8. J- says:

    Under no circumstances will the knife that I am carrying cost more than the pistol that I am carrying. I can’t figure out what a $600 production knife with an N690 blade and aluminum scales do better than my $60 Kershaw Blur S30v with aluminum scales.

  9. Josh in TX says:

    EDC a benchmade contigo. 200 bucks after tax. Used every day for 8 months before I had to sharpen it. Most expensive knife I have bought to date. Nervous at first but no regrets now.

  10. Sam L. says:

    $150 is the most I’ve paid, and that was for a very simple William Henry. Otherwise, about $50, tops.

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Question of the Day: How much is too much?

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