Determining the date of a Buck knife

Hoyt Buck produced the first Buck Knife in 1902. Hoyt and his son Al moved to San Diego and set up shop as H.H. Buck & Son in 1947. Al Buck revolutionized the knife industry in 1964 with the infamous Model 110 Folding Hunter. The company's innovative history and attention to quality have made for many great collectible knives.
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philco
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Determining the date of a Buck knife

Post by philco » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:36 am

On a different thread one of our members made a passing reference to being able to "date" a Buck knife. I'm not a big time Buck collector, although I do own a dozen or two.

Can anyone explain how to determine when a Buck knife was made?
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Re: Determining the date of a Buck knife

Post by jonet143 » Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:17 am

got a chart to post when able.
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Re: Determining the date of a Buck knife

Post by Joe Houser » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:51 pm

Hello,
For knives made from 1986 to present, there are date code symbols that tell approximately when a knife was made. There are exceptions to that rule but it covers maybe 85% of whats out there.
Knives without the date code fall into any of a number of categories and need to be examined model by model. Within this group there is one basic rule:
If it is stamped:
BUCK---1967 and older
BUCK, U.S.A.---it is from about 1967 to about 1972.
BUCK, 119, U.S.A.---it is from about 1972 to about 1985.
Then in 1986 the date code symbol is introduced.
I hope this helps and if you ever want a specific knife dated, feel free to ask me for help.

Joe Houser
Buck Knives Inc.
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Re: Determining the date of a Buck knife

Post by philco » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:16 pm

Thank you Joe for your reply. I appreciate the information.

Welcome to AAPK. ::welcome::

We are very pleased to have you here with us. ::ds::

Would you be so kind as to expand a bit on the date code symbol that you mentioned?

Phil
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Re: Determining the date of a Buck knife

Post by jonet143 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:45 am

buck date code
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buck updated date chart.jpg
johnnie f 1949

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Re: Determining the date of a Buck knife

Post by philco » Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:00 pm

Thank you Johnny.

::doh:: I have seen those little symbols and wondered what they meant. Now I know. 8)

Phil
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Re: Determining the date of a Buck knife

Post by Joe Houser » Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:18 pm

A picture is worth a thousand words! :) Thanks Johnny!
Couple things to keep in mind in regards to that chart. 2002's date code got changed to a tiny anvil in commemoration of Buck's 100 year anniversary.
Then, we moved our plant from San Diego California to Post Falls Idaho in 2005 so...we changed the symbol for 2005 to a tiny outline of the state of Idaho.

I will see if I can figure out how to get a good picture of the updated chart posted here.
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Re: Determining the date of a Buck knife

Post by philco » Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:32 pm

Thanks for the update on the symbols.
I look forward to seeing the revised list.
I love learning things like this. :)

Phil
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Re: Determining the date of a Buck knife

Post by Hukk » Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:06 pm

Welcome to AAPK Joe. ::welcome:: We're glad to have you here!

I lost my link to a site (hard drive crashed) that had the chart Johnnie posted, BUT it also had which primary steels Buck had used over the years. Currently, it is 420 HC SS, before that it was 425M which replaced 440C.

Can you give me/us a link that contains that data, which years that they used what steels? What steel did Buck use before 440C?

A knife I favor now and have for the last couple years is a Buck 110 with CPM S30V which holds its edge remarkabky well. Glad to see Buck is using some superior steels. Although there is a part of me that would like to see some Buck knives with carbon steel blades, including the 110. ::tu:: ::tu::
Hukk

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Re: Determining the date of a Buck knife

Post by Joe Houser » Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:57 pm

Thanks Hukk!
Well I dont have the chart anywhere but can offer some help.
Buck used old files of, I think, 1085? up until 1961.
Then they switched to forged blades of 440c.
In 1967 they switched to conventionally blanked 440c blades.
In 1981 they switched to 425mod.
In 1992 they switched to 420hc.

Buck's first experiment with a premium steel was the Master Series. There were 5 knives in the series and they were made of bg-42. They had green diamond wood handles with a small medallion in the handle. Master Series models included the 110, 119, 192, 501, and 532.
I hope this helps.
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Buck Knives Inc.
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Re: Determining the date of a Buck knife

Post by Mossdancer » Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:46 pm

Hi Joe:
This is all very interesting, there may be another way to get a better grip on mid 60's dates. Here is a cut from the usps on zip codes."ZIP Code began on July 1, 1963, as scheduled. Use of the new code was not mandatory at first for anyone, but, in 1967, the Post Office required mailers of second- and third-class bulk mail to presort by ZIP Code." Would it be possible for you to ascertain when the Buck sales dept started using zips and in particular when the boxes started being marked with zips. It might help and then again it might confuse matters worse.
For your consideration. Thanks for your help.
moss
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Re: Determining the date of a Buck knife

Post by Hukk » Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:24 pm

Joe Houser wrote: I hope this helps.
Perfect, thank you! ::tu:: ::tu:: I had no idea that Buck made knives from used files. Many a fine knife has been made from used files. I have a few dozen used Nicholson rasps in my shop that I thought were 1095 steel except that they did not anneal like I thought they should. These I just tossed into a wood stove (actually a fireplace insert). Possibly an insert does not get as hot as a wood stove? I have used a wood stove in the past to get files to anneal (like butter) - kinda like getting it done for free! I'll fire up the Evenheat kiln and try because I'll have temperature control. Maybe they are W-2, but annealing is somewhat similar for both steels. :shock: Sure surprised me to see the teeth of that "annealed" rasp wreck a 36 grit belt.

The premium steels in the Master Series was and is a smart thing to do. I really appreciate a blade steel that is still sharp after field dressing and skinning an animal like an elk. I like the Gen 5 skinner because of the checkered wood handle and one of my favorite steels CPM 154. I'd love to see that knife with stabilized and checkered spalted California Buckeye Burl with 410 stainless hardware rather than brass. I'm also a long time Kalinga user, I gave it to my son - well used but in great shape.
::hmm:: Hmmn, maybe I should customize one!
I like the use of the textured rubber for handles - comfortable to hold and sure grip. That outweighs my preference for wood handles which can get real slick.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.
Hukk

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Re: Determining the date of a Buck knife

Post by Joe Houser » Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:12 pm

Moss,
I am going to tuck that interesting bit of info away for future reference. We dont have the needed info from the sales department to do the corelation but I am sure that usps info will help solve another puzzle someday so thanks for passing that along.

Hukk,
Chuck Buck once told me that one of his first jobs at the knife factory was grinding the teeth off the old files. I believe he actually used a grinder vs. abrasive belt. I can say that he did not like that job!
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Re: Determining the date of a Buck knife

Post by Mossdancer » Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:33 am

For anyone interested this appears to be a fair example. A fair Buy it now and it has a make offer. Someone could get a pretty good deal it seems to me. the number is. 120361882544
Should this be an illegal post please just remove it. It is not my listing.
moss
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Re: Determining the date of a Buck knife

Post by philco » Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:26 pm

For anyone who may be interested, here is a link to a site with a very informative article regarding the history of Buck knives.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/outdoor ... tml?page=1

Hope you enjoy! :)

Phil
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