Buck Knives: American made cutlery for over a century
Buck Knives was started in 1902, making fixed blade knives from old files. They really ramped up production during World War 2, providing knives made in the basement of their church to servicemen fighting in the war.
After the war, they began larger scale production of knives, growing into the company we recognize today. 1964 was the year they incorporated, and 4 generations of the Buck family have steered the company since the beginning, with CJ Buck leading it today.
Also in 1964, Buck designed their flagship knife, and the first successful, heavy use folding hunter, the Buck model 110.
While some may think of it as old fashioned, it was a hugely revolutionary design when it was first manufactured. Up until this point, the vast majority of folding hunters were of slip joint construction. A folder with a heavy duty lock back mechanism helped redefine what could be expected of an easy to carry knife. With its heavy, rigid steel liners, solid brass bolsters, and clip point blade, it really expanded the field use of folding knives, paving the way for the modern, hard use folder. Soon after, they introduced a smaller version, the 112 Ranger, following the same design pattern, and these two knives became some of the most copied models of knives made.
They are equally known for their fixed blade hunting/outdoor knives as well, with the 119 or the Nighthawk series instantly coming to mind during conversation with long time knife people.
And while Buck is looked at as a traditional knife company, they have made some very up to date modern knives, such as their collaborations with Steve Tarani and Strider knives, which were some of my early 2000s models of production knives.
Along the way, they have done their own modern designs as well. Just looking at the new Paradigm knives they have, it impresses with it’s fit and finish, as well as the ingenuity in making a bolster lock/actuator that is both functional and easy to use.
And for me, the icing on the cake that we were able to get after becoming official dealers for Buck Knives, the automatic versions of the 110s and the 112s.
Identical in every way to the original folding hunters, they get a boost from a strong spring and push button release on the face of the handle. They come from the factory in two variations. There is the traditional model, with rosewood handle and brass bolsters, and the Elite, which has nickel bolsters, G10 handles, along with an S30V blade, which has gone through the Paul Bos heat treatment protocol.
Buck also produces some very affordable fishing knives, with the folding fillet knife being a popular favorite.