Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Fallkniven F1: Used Abused Loved

Nothing good is unmarked by the passing of time. 
I've had my Fallkniven F1 for quite a while now, and its seen a fair bit of use, it's been back to the factory to be re-ground and its the suffered the slings and arrows of heavy use. If I'd put it in a drawer, still in its original packaging, it would be nominally worth double what I paid for it (I bought it in the US at a time when the dollar was lower against the pound and our tax rate was lower) but that would be to spectacularly miss the point of owning such a knife. Sure some knives are designed to be worn with fine boots once a year, some are designed to be kept in the pocket of a dinner jacket and then be admired for their workmanship and materials as they are used to trim the end of a fine cigar, but a knife such as this was designed to be used, abused, and then loved for its utility.

I sharpened the knife she gave me. The buffed factory edge, though shiny and new and perfect to see, was not keen when I took it up to use. Stoning the edge to a shaving sharpness left it uniformly and finely scratched where it had been as mirrored as the blade, and to a collector (those ill preservers) less valuable. Sharpening and using the knife is an act of being alive. Touch and pressure and wear are real and whole, and nothing good exists absent of them. Nothing good is unmarked by the passing of time.

From the excellent Rum and Donuts [if you aren't reading his blog yet, clear some time. It's that good]. In the comments section of this R&D post Some Guy mentions a passage about box-fresh knives from a William Gibson novel that's worth repeating

...Stood staring blankly into a glass-fronted cabinet, the shelf at eye level displaying military Dinky Toys and a Randall Model 15 "Airman," a stocky-looking combat knife with a saw-toothed spine and black Micarta grips. The Dinky Toys had been played with; dull gray base metal showed through chipped green paint. The Randall was mint, unused, unsharpened, its stainless steel blade exactly as it left the grinding belt. Fontaine wondered how many such had in fact never been used. Totemic objects, they lost considerable resale value if sharpened, and it was his impression that they circulated almost as a species of ritual currency, quite exclusively masculine. He had two currently in stock, the other a hilt-less little leaf-point dirk said to have been designed for the US Secret Service. Best dated by the name of the maker on their saddle-sewn sheaths, he estimated them both to be about thirty years old. Such things were devoid of much poetry for Fontaine, although he understood the market and how to value a piece. They spoke to him mainly, as did the window of any army surplus store, of male fear and powerlessness. William Gibson - The Bridge Trilogy

For our ill fated scouting trip to Italy the F1 was the only knife I took with me, I cooked with it, I split fire wood with it, and when trying my hand at digging for water - I have to admit - I hit it with a brick hammer to get through some tree roots. To fund my Kifaru habit I've been selling off my posh knives; the clever designs, and the interesting timbers, but this one's a keeper. My companion has some gnarly scars and a few titanium rods to remember the his trip by, I have the scars on the F1.

More soon

PS seriously though; if you must get a Randall it's gotta be a model 18, not boxfresh but real user, abused and loved in equal measure like Albert's.