|Founded||San Diego, California (1902)|
|Headquarters||Post Falls, Idaho|
|Key people||Hoyt Buck, Founder; Al Buck, former CEO; Chuck Buck, Chairman; CJ Buck, current CEO; Paul Bos|
Buck Knives is an American knife manufacturer founded in San Diego, California and now located in Post Falls, Idaho. The company has a long history through five generations of the Buck family from 1902 to the present day. Buck Knives primarily manufactures sport and field knives and is credited with inventing the "folding hunting knife" and popularizing it to such a degree that the term "buck knife" has become synonymous with folding lockback knives, including those made by other manufacturers.
Buck Knives Inc. dates it history back over 100 years to the first knives made by Hoyt H. Buck. Hoyt H. Buck became a blacksmith's apprentice in Kansas in 1899 at the age of 10. During his tenure Hoyt learned to make knives and in 1902 when he was 13, he developed a method of heat-treating the steel in hoes and other tools so they would hold an edge longer. Hoyt left Kansas in 1907 for the American northwest and eventually enlisted in the United States Navy. He is not known to have made knives until 1941 in Mountain Home, Idaho after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Hoyt made each knife by hand, using worn-out file blades as raw material. These early knives are called "four strikes" by collectors, because each of the letters in BUCK was struck with an individual letter stamp, which in 1961, was replaced by a one-piece stamp.
With the entry of the USA into WW2 the government asked the public for donations of fixed blade knives to arm the troops. Upon learning there were not enough knives for soldiers who needed them, Hoyt Buck bought an anvil, forge and grinder to set up a blacksmith shop in the basement of his church and started making knives for US troops. Hoyt later explained, “I didn’t have any knives, (to offer) but I sure knew how to make them”.
After World War II, Hoyt and his son Al moved to San Diego and set up shop as "H.H. Buck & Son" in 1947. These early knives were handmade and more expensive than a typical mass-produced knife, Hoyt Buck made 25 knives a week until his death in 1949. In the 1950s the company began making knives on a much larger scale marketing through dealers as opposed to direct mail.
The Model 110
On April 18, 1963, just two years after their incorporation, the Buck board of directors voted to authorize development of a new folding utility and hunting knife. The new design featured a sturdy locking mechanism and a substantial clip point blade suitable for butchering and skinning large game. This would become the world-famous Buck Model 110 Folding Hunter.
The Buck Model 110 has a 33⁄4–inch blade, a high-tension lock and a low-pressure release, the handles are typically wood and the bolsters are made of heavy-gauge brass. Introduced in 1964, the Buck Folding Hunter was one of the first lockback folding knives considered strong enough to do the work of a fixed-blade knife. Its debut revolutionized hunting knives, rapidly becoming one of the most popular knives ever made, with some 15 million Model 110 knives produced since 1964. Before 1981, the specially heat treated stainless steel used was 440C, from 1981 to 1992 it was 425M, and after 1993 Buck has used 420HC stainless steel. Its design is one of the most imitated knife patterns in the world.
In 1984, Buck introduced a survival knife with a hollow handle for storage and a 7.5 inch blade with a serrated spine and prongs so the knife could double as a grappling hook. Dubbed the Buckmaster, it was marketed to the military and fans of the Rambo movies of the 1980s. The Buckmaster was soon followed by the M9 Bayonet manufactured for the US Army, with an initial order of 315,600.
In 1992–1993, Buck introduced the Nighthawk, a fixed-blade knife with a 6.5 inch blade and a black, handle made of Zytel for an ergonomic grip. This knife [Best M9]was submitted to the United States Marines for evaluation for use by the USMC.
In 2000, due to a demand from major retailers to reduce prices, Buck opened a plant in China. Imports from this plant had reached a high of 30 percent at one time, but have dropped to 13 percent with the majority of these knives going to large retailers as opposed to sporting goods stores or knife shops.
In 2005, the company relocated to Post Falls, Idaho. Leaders of the San Diego business community considered this move a blow to San Diego County's economic landscape and a symbol of the state of California's problems in attracting and keeping businesses.
Al and Chuck Buck were inducted into the Blade Magazine Cutlery Hall of Fame at the 1982 and 1996 Blade Shows respectively in Atlanta, Georgia in recognition for the impact that their designs and Company has made upon the cutlery industry. Buck's heat treater, Paul Bos who heat treats knives for other custom makers and production companies at Buck's facility was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.
Buck Knives is an American manufacturer of different styles of knives including the first successful folding lock-blade, introduced in 1964. Folding lock-blade knives and "Buck Knife" thereby became strongly linked in the public mind, and the Buck design was much imitated, so that a buck knife, has come to mean any folding lock-blade design, even while Buck Knife is yet a trademark and not limited to folding lock-blades.
Buck licensed art knives
Buck Knives has produced art knives for and under license with other companies and organizations such as: the National Rifle Association, the Boy Scouts of America, Colt Firearms, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), Republic Studios, Harley Davidson, Indian Motorcycles, Ford Motor Company, Chevy Truck, Elvis Presley Estate, John Wayne Estate, Roy Clark, Purina, NHRA, Monroe Auto and Ducks Unlimited. Additionally Buck has worked with many commissions to produce art knives for state anniversary's (Texas Sesquicentennial), state agencies (West Virginia State Police), commemorations (Battle Iowa) or celebrations (Apple Harvest Festival).
In popular culture
- In the movie Red Dawn, a carton of Buck Knives was one of the survival items the future Wolverines took with them when they were heading for the mountains. Patrick Swayze's character Jed Eckert keeps a Buck Folding Hunter in a sheath on his belt.
- In the Scream film series, Ghostface's primary weapon is a Buck 120 e.
- "The History Of The 99-Year-Old Buck Knife". Popular Mechanics 178 (6). 1 June 2001. Retrieved 17 November 2008.
- Pacella, Gérard (2002). 100 Legendary Knives. Krause Publications. p. 126. ISBN 0-87349-417-2.
- Price, C. Houston; Mark D. Zalesky (2008). The Official Price Guide to Collector Knives, 15th edition. House of Collectibles. pp. 164–166. ISBN 978-0-375-72280-6.
- Ables, Tom (1991). The Story of Buck Knives a Century of Knifemaking. Buck Knives. p. 120. ASIN B000M155X4.
- "Obituaries: Alfred C. Buck, Knife Manufacturer, 80". New York Times. 3 April 1991. Retrieved 17 November 2008.
- Petzal, David E., "The 20 Best Knives Ever Made: The Buck Model 110", Field & Stream Magazine, Vol. CXIII, No. 2 (June 2008), p. 73.
- Petzal, David E., "The 20 Best Knives Ever Made: The Buck Model 110", Field & Stream Magazine, Vol. CXIII, No. 2 (June 2008), p. 73: "As of 2008, Buck had sold 14 million Model 110 knives."
- "1 million, and still cutting: Buck Knives hits landmark production number this year", Coeur D'Alene Press, 30 October 2010: "Buck produced over 1 million Model 110 knives in 2010 alone."
- Many Buck Knives date codes and data sheets can be found online, including here.
- Jackson, Mark (1987). "Survival Knives". Black Belt (Active Interest Media, Inc.) 25 (2): 40–48.
- Dick, Stephen (1995), Blades of the Combat Swimmers, Tactical Knives, vol. 1, no. 2, p. 68-73
- Krueger, Anne (26 March 2006). "A cut above: Buck Knives enjoying a better business life in Idaho than El Cajon". Signs on San Diego. Retrieved 17 November 2008.
- "Buck Knives keeps its knifemaking legacy in family". The Spokesman-Review. 2011-10-23. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
- Markel, Paul (2006). "Practical Tacticals: Buck's Strider Folders". Tactical Knives Magazine 13 (5): 76.
- Price, C. Houston; Mark D. Zalesky (2008). The Official Price Guide to Collector Knives, 15th edition. House of Collectibles. pp. 493–494. ISBN 978-0-375-72280-6.
- Winter, Butch (2003), "Collaborations with Custom Knifemakers", Sporting Knives 2003: 154–161, ISBN 0-87349-430-X
- "Mr. SpeedSafe Joins the Club". Blade Magazine. 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
- AEPMA Trademark List