Do you know someone who is a bit obsessed with knives? Here's a case study of that knife-crazy person in your life.
We all have at least one knife-crazy person in our family or list of friends. Shoot, you might even be a knife crazy-person yourself. There's no shame in being enamored or even obsessed with edged weapons. There are many other things that folks fixate on and collect that could arguably be worse.
But I do find these folks interesting and their obsession oddly compelling. You see, I have some intimate knowledge of this kind of person. My brother is that knife-crazy person, or as I like to say, a crazy knife person.
Let's face it, these folks can be a little irritating. That's the case with my brother, at least.
There's even a word for their affliction. It's called aichmomania, which is an obsession with sharp, pointy things such as knives.
My brother would undoubtedly be considered an aichmomaniac. I'm not sure he likes being called one, but that doesn't stop me.
But seriously, there are a few traits that describe the aichmomaniac fairly well.
First, they always seem to have a small duffel bag full of knives with them.
Whenever my brother comes over for a visit, he's inevitably carrying one. He either sets the bag dramatically on the table as though he's about to unveil something mysterious (a new knife), or he subtly sets it off to the side, in which case I know he's got some "old" knives that have either been newly sharpened or have new sheaths. It just depends on how quickly he wants to get to the knife demonstration.
Whether it's a new knife or and old one that's been modified, he always has something to show me.
If he has a new one, he's sure to fill me in on every single piece of information regarding its construction. He can go on and on about the most specific details.
Though I tend to glaze over at times, it is interesting. He looks at knives much like I look at different types of fishing line or .308 loads.
Next, he's able to discuss both the pros and cons of different knife sheaths, whether they're kydex, leather or a combination of the two. This is where I perk up a bit. I love a good sheath, and can appreciate both the aesthetic and practical qualities that go into one.
I love the combination of form-fitting kydex covered in tooled brown leather.
Next, he performs the paper-cutting demonstration, usually by grabbing whatever paper happens to be within reach. More than likely, it's one of my bills, tax forms or something else important to me. Before I can protest, he'll neatly and slickly slice it into ribbons with a knife he's sharpened to a razor's edge, as if to validate everything he's said up to that point.
"Just look at this baby," he'll say. "Like butter, man, like butter!"
Finally, he'll allow (force) me to hold the knife and, if it's a folder, nag me to open it with one hand in one quick, smooth motion.
"Flick it like you mean it!"
If it's a fixed-blade knife, he demands that I move my hand around on the handle.
"How's that feel?" he'll ask. "Choke up on it and put your thumb on the jimping. Feel the weight and heft of it. You can see how this one would be good for batoning."
"Yes, yes. It would be great for batoning or whittling feather sticks," I'll say, trying to impress him with my experience.
This is the routine we'll go through with every knife in his bag, of which there are usually four or five, including at least one new one.
Of course, my brother has his favorite makers, for both production and custom knives. Peter Kohler's Dark Timber knives are his current favorite, which I'd have to admit I'm quite impressed with myself. You can't help but fall in love with Kohler's beautiful, hand-forged blades.
Finally, you can also identify that knife-crazy person by their Instagram page. Where most folks will display photos of their kids or fish, your knife afficianado will have his page peppered with images of blades.
If you know someone who displays any of these traits, there's a good chance they're a legitimate aichmomaniac.
If I'm not careful, I might be headed that way myself.
Like I said, there are worse things a guy could be.
Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his Facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.
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