In June, we took a survey to learn which pocket knives our readers believe should never be discontinued. Respondents were asked to name as many or as few pocket knife models as they wanted, and no brands or blades were off-limits. 404 respondents named a total of 268 models and the average respondent named 4.1 pocket knives. 90 out of 404 respondents said the Buck 110 Folding Hunter should never be discontinued.
It found its way just about everywhere. Soldiers, sailors, hunters, bikers, warehouse workers, and everybody in between carried a Buck 110 Folding Hunter. Its popularity in America was so great that the phrase ‘Buck knife’ came to mean any pocket knife, not just the ones rolling out of Buck’s factory in Post Falls, Idaho. For decades after its release it was one of the most commonly carried knives in America.
The 110 revolutionized the world’s conception of a folding knife, and paved the way for the many greats to follow. It wasn’t the first locking pocket knife, but its lockback mechanism was so well-executed and strong that it became the industry standard. The knife offered capabilities that until then had only really been seen in fixed blades, but in a lighter, more portable design. Before 1964, the standard pocket knife was a traditional slipjoint. After the 110 all of that changed. Its strength and capabilities were far beyond what people had come to expect from folding knives.
The 110 was also probably the first knife to see dedicated aftermarket modifications. Aftermarket pocket clips and thumb studs have been available for decades for people looking to add these features. There is also a pretty serious collector’s community for this hallowed design. The Buck 110 is rightly recognized as one of the high water marks of American knife making history.
Today, the 110 is still made by Buck in the USA, even though a few things have been upgraded or changed over the years. The bolsters are now rounded over rather than flat. The covers are made from Dymondwood wood laminate instead of walnut, and the steel is now a Paul Bos heat treated 420HC instead of 440C. The blade shape, always a stylish California clip (a clip point with an elongated profile), has been changed slightly. Overall though, it is still very much the same knife that turned the industry on its head in the 60s.
There have been many special editions of the 110 over the years, but the standard line consists of only two models: the standard 110, and a version with finger grooves on the handle. A 50th Anniversary collector’s edition, with a laser-engraved picture of C.J. Buck on the blade and Macassar ebony covers, is also available. The Buck 112, the 110’s closest relative, is about an ¾” smaller than the 110, if you prefer a more compact size.
Visit KnifeNews tomorrow to find out which model is #1 on our list of the Top 25 Pocket Knives that are Indispensable.
Knife featured in image: Buck 110 Folding Hunter
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#05 Benchmade 940 78/404
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#03 Benchmade Griptilian 81/404
#02 Buck 110 Folding Hunter 90/404
#01 Spyderco Paramilitary 2 94/404