Buck 110 Folding Hunter Review
Cons: Heavy, with no modern pocket clip
Manufacturer: Buck Knives
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Buck Knife 110 Famous Folder is the most lasting design in our review.
Blade and Edge Integrity
Across the internet and knife blade community, the "420hc" that Buck uses in this knife gets mixed reviews. To fully understand any review of knife steel, one must acknowledge that there are competing demands on a knife blade and the material it is made of. It must be hard and durable to hold an edge and relatively rigid for energy transmission. It must also be soft enough to sharpen at home (all knives require maintenance, despite the claims of some budget, hype-heavy manufacturers) and flexible enough to deflect before snapping.
Depending on the intended application and blade shape, these attributes are balanced in different ways. In short, there is no "best" steel for constructing knife blades from. Lastly, the blade is heat-treated for hardness after the shape has been finalized. Knowing that, we can dive in a little more to the 420hc. This alloy is known to be relatively inexpensive (both in its raw form and regarding manufacturing process and equipment). Also, it is known to be relatively soft and therefore easily sharpened. This softness, however, compromises edge hold. Balancing the soft makeup of the steel is Buck's excellent heat treating process. The end product is nothing special but holds an edge through weeks and months of "normal" use, and then is readily sharpened.
As one of the largest knives in our test we expected it to be easy to hold in one's hand during heavy use. The drawback, however, is the shape. The knife handle is long and relatively symmetrical. The wider, more rectangular handle profile of something like the Editors' Choice Benchmade Mini Barrage 585 was easier to hold in heavier use. Next, the biggest difference in modern knives and the Buck Famous Folder is in blade deployment. Modern designs can be opened easily with one hand. The 110 requires two hands, one of which must be equipped with a prominent and strong fingernail for activating the blade. This attribute alone significantly compromised the scores of the Buck and allowed for most of the more contemporary, full-size knives to shoot ahead in overall rating.
Like any "classic" throwback product, one expects construction quality and lasting design. The Famous Folder meets these expectations. The knife is durable and strong, with smooth hinge and reliable lock.
This competitor is the heaviest knife in our test, but also the only one that comes with a dedicated belt pouch. Most modern environments aren't real conducive to belt carry. However, if you live and work in an environment in which carrying a leather holster on your belt with your knife in it is appropriate, the Buck Famous Folder could be a viable option for you. Belt carry is comfortable and unobtrusive, as the weight of even this robust tool is transferred to your entire waist instead of just the front pocket of your pants. That being said, the entirety of our testing team preferred the lightweight pocket-clipped carry of something like one of our award winners. Of those knives that don't have pocket clips, the Opine No. 8 is lighter and more compact than the Buck 110.
There are no other features on the Buck Famous Folder. This is a simple folding blade.
The Famous Folder price point seems to put a premium on the nostalgic design. The materials nor design is particularly sophisticated, but the price is well above the low end of our test roster.
This model is a nostalgic product with a familiar look and design. Other tools in our test are more sophisticated, but the design and function of the Famous Folder are reliable and applicable. The beefy construction, workable ergonomics, and satisfactory blade earn the Buck Famous Folder average scores in those categories, while the portability and features scores are below average. The sum is a score near the bottom of our category. However, remember that we only compare the best of the best. The Buck is a great, classic knife.
— Jediah Porter