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Ulster, Utica, Imperial, Colonial...

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:51 pm
by rstecher
Comparing them at their respective best, what would be the ranking order of these brands in terms of overall quality?

Re: Ulster, Utica, Imperial, Colonial...

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:13 pm
by Eye Brand Man
That's a very subjective question. A lot will have to do with time period a given knife was produced. Ulster and Utica made some fine knives from the 20's thru the 40's. But i'd list them pretty much as your title. Ulster,Utica,Imperial, Colonial. YMMV.

Re: Ulster, Utica, Imperial, Colonial...

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:22 pm
by Gunsil
Ulster before WW2 was head and shoulders above the other three you list. At least a head above Case too if hand made quality is what counts. Utica did make some nicer knives early on in their history but Ulster was a true premium brand.

Re: Ulster, Utica, Imperial, Colonial...

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:59 pm
by tongueriver
Gunsil wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:22 pm
Ulster before WW2 was head and shoulders above the other three you list. At least a head above Case too if hand made quality is what counts. Utica did make some nicer knives early on in their history but Ulster was a true premium brand.
Oh yeah... Love them old Ulsters.

Re: Ulster, Utica, Imperial, Colonial...

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:56 pm
by TripleF
Well, you asked.....the Imperial USA (not Ireland) carbon steel is hands down my top to sharpen and put a wicked edge on it.
Id take an Imperial over the other 3 any day of the week!!!

Re: Ulster, Utica, Imperial, Colonial...

Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:00 am
by edge213
You have them in the order that I would put them in.

Re: Ulster, Utica, Imperial, Colonial...

Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:02 am
by knife7knut
The solid bolster Imperials of the 1930's are at least the quality of the Ulster & Utica knives.The early Colonial knives are just as good as well.I would say you could arrange them in any order and you would be right.JMHO
EDIT: Here are examples of all 4 brands;you pick the one you like the best.

Re: Ulster, Utica, Imperial, Colonial...

Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:15 am
by orvet
I agree with Eye Brand Man it depends on what time periods your speaking of. ::nod::
If you're talking in the 1920s up to mid-1930s Ulster, Utica and Imperial all made well-built, solid knives, though I might give a slight edge to Ulster. Imperial started making shell handle knives in the late 1930s, while they did use quality steel knives, I would not say that shell handle knives compared to the quality of the earlier solid bolster Imperial's.
I don't know much about the early Colonials, but the later stuff I've seen made after World War II was not as good as the others, IMHO. I personally thought the shell handle Imperial's of the 1950s and 60s were better than the Colonials made in the same period.

Re: Ulster, Utica, Imperial, Colonial...

Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:32 pm
by Gunsil
Even in the early days of their companies neither Utica, Imperial, or Colonial made knives of the quality of Ulster. They did not have the beautiful grinds or "swedges" of the Ulsters. One will not find many premium scales on the others either, ever seen a stag Colonial or Imperial? Utica? Pearl? The Ulsters when new had many gorgeous blade etches, and all their knives were stronger made than the others. When other companies had gone to automatic grinding machines and other modernization of their plants the owner of Ulster refused to modernize and all their blades were hand ground into the WW2 era even though the company lost money for twenty years or so. Ulster after the war are no better than the imperials because Ulster was bought up by Schrade-Imperial and had all the knives made on automated machines. I think that anybody who disagrees has never actually held a near mint 1880-1930 Ulster in their hands, they were among the best ever made.

Re: Ulster, Utica, Imperial, Colonial...

Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:55 pm
by btrwtr
I agree with the order; Ulster, Utica, Imperial, Colonial. Opinion is that although I have had some Imperials and Utca knives that were fine overall quality of the early production Ulster knives was tops.

Re: Ulster, Utica, Imperial, Colonial...

Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:00 pm
by WillyCamaro
I think that a very fair assessment ::tu:: . I personally feel all of them are great knives. Can't beat Imperials for sharpening though.

Re: Ulster, Utica, Imperial, Colonial...

Posted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:36 am
by hardman
I like Imperials, but not shell handles.