When I say the word "folding knife" the picture that pops up in your head is probably the one of the Buck 110 Folding Hunter. In 1963 Buck creates a robust lock back folder of a design that made it the classic it is today. Together with it's siblings the 110 has become one of the world's most bought folders. This year the Buck 110 Folding Hunter celebrates it's 50 year anniversary and this I want to salute by writing this article.
Although it's these folders from the 60's that are Buck's most well known products the history of the company goes back to 1899 when the founder Hoyt H. Buck as a 10 year old becomes a blacksmith apprentice in Kansas USA. In 1902 the young Mr. Buck invents his own method of forging his knife blades giving them a more durable edge making his knife making bloom. In 1949 the talented knife maker Hoyt passes away leaving the business to his son Al Buck that continues the knife making until 1991. Since then Al's son Chuck Buck and his son CJ Buck have passed on the family legacy together with Paul Bos that is Buck's current CEO.
On April 18th 1963 Buck's Board decides on developing a robust lock back folder for hunting use. The year after that the company introduces the knife model 110 Folding Hunter and the success is a fact. There had been robust folders on the market prior to the 110 but Buck was the first to refine the design of the knife and also add a leather holster for convenient carry. The knife attracted not only hunters, also farmers and other craftsmen started to carry this elegant and practical tool in their every day hard work. Initially the 110 was equipped with a 440C stainless steel but in 1981 this steel was replaced by the 425M and since 1991 Buck has used the well known stainless steel 440HC as their standard blade steel. Of course this year's 50 year anniversary is celebrated with an anniversary model.
Soon the siblings of the 110 started turning up. First out was the Buck 112 Ranger in 1969; a more compact version with a shorter blade The Buck 55 can be described as a miniature of the 110. If you're more into drop point blades I can recommend you take a look at the Buck 500 series. The 110 and 112 is also offered with a finger grooved handle (FG). Also a light weight version of the 110 and the 112 called EcoLite was in production between 2010-2013.
Since the launch of the 110 almost every knife maker has at least one folder in there catalogue inspired by the legendary Buck 110. Here you see some examples, from the left hand side; Chinese folder, anonymous copy, Cold Steel Mackinac Hunter, Valor Super Sport, Buck The 55, Buck 112 Ranger EcoLite, Buck 112 Ranger and Buck 110 Folding Hunter.
The Classic Design of the 110
Most of the knife's weight is situated in the brass handle equipped with stainless steel details and handle scales made of wood. Since 1994 the scales is made of laminated birch (Dymondwood) dyed to give the look of the wood used on the older knives; Makassar Ebony. The shape of the blade and the nail nick makes it easy to open the knife and the lock back mechanism locks the blade nice and tight when opened. The 94 mm long and 20,5 mm wide beautiful clip point blade is delivered with an excellent edge straight out of the box and it's a joy to let the knife work trough all kinds of material. When it comes to field dressing my game I personally prefer the shorter blade of the 112 Ranger, but when I need a good all round folder I gladly carry the 110 on my belt. As the Buck 110 Folding Hunter is a pretty heavy folder the well made 2,8 mm thick leather holster is perfect for carry. The black holster of my newest 110 has a 25 mm wide loop for the belt, but looking at my older holsters I notice that the loop is 5 mm wider.
Blade Material: Stainless steel 420HC, HRC 58
Blade Length: 94 mm
Blade Thickness: 3 mm
Knife Length: 125 mm / 218 mm
Handle Material: Brass, Stainless steel and birch
Handle Thickness: 15,4 mm
Knife Weight: 210 g
Holster Material: Leather
Total Weight: 269 g (knife and holster)
Price: 610 SEK (Sweden 2013)
Childhood Dream and Faithful Life Partner
The genuine history of the 110 and the reasonable price in combination with the knife's potential makes it no surprise that this often is the first own knife of many youngsters with adventurous dreams. For me I can admit that the 110 was the first folder able to convince me to "just" bring a folder to a big game hunt. And the range of Buck's old lock back models makes it easy to find a knife for each occasion.
Jonas Vildmark hereby gratefully wish the Buck 110 Folding Hunter Congratulations and a Happy 50 year anniversary! May you join me on my adventures for at least another 50 years.
I can recommend you a visit to Lamnia to check out more Buck and other stuff.