Part II of the History of SOSAK explores the beginnings of what I like to think of as my enlightenment, and it's all thanks to a little thing called the Internet! As you may remember from Part One last month, my career as a knife collector/enthusiast seemed in jeopardy after having no decent role models to look up to.
With no decent role models for knife collecting, I buried my interest in knives under other hobbies until something major happened a few years later- a little known fad called the World Wide Web. I didn’t have a computer at home let alone a ‘net connection, but I had one at the place I worked at. I was fresh out of school and this was one of my first security jobs at a research and development facility, and there was little to do for long hours but look up things online. Unlike the other guards who spent their time looking at porn (we were all fairly young at the time, and none of us knew that the IT department was capable of seeing what we were up to!) I searched for knife information, where I finally came across this site called Knifeforums.com, where I learned that there were lots of legitimate knife collectors out there that weren’t out killing people and blaming it on others. Admittedly, some were better balanced than others, but on the whole, here was almost 1,500 people that liked knives and weren’t certifiable! Of course, at well over 32,000 members today, you get an idea of how long ago that was!
The knife industry was very different back then. At the time if it wasn’t a partially serrated, one handed opening tactical doodad or a high priced Randall, no one wanted to talk about it. Even Case knives, which always had a traditional following didn’t have much of a presence, and if you tried talking about SAKs all you got was “Those are toys, get yourself a real knife!” So, to fit in with all these newfound kindred spirits, I started to get into tactical knives, and got into cqb discussions- as a security guy in training I had a higher than average (average person on the street, not average for the forums!) self defense training and a fair bit of real world experience I could contribute to these- and my Camper was relegated to backup use. Still always handy, but it took a backseat to Spyderco Natives, Benchmade Ascent/Eclipses, Cold Steel Voyagers and the like. I didn’t care much about brands- I went with what was cool with these people that showed me I wasn’t hiding psychopathic tendencies- or at least no more than anyone else!
Over the next few years I learned more about knife steels, manufacturers, materials and physical blade dynamics than I ever knew existed before. I learned about sharpeners, grind angles and the differences between quality knives and the cheap junk I’d been buying before, and I have to say, it was a fascinating (and continuing) experience, although I still kept my SAK fascination to myself since they were “toys” and not “real knives.” I knew that was true, since these guys that know everything about knives said so! But, I still couldn’t help being fascinated, and I was still buying the odd SAK. At this point my modest SAK collection had grown to include a Midnight Manager, Wenger Adventurer and Wenger SwissGrip. There may have been another knife or two, but those are the only ones I recall having.