A New Old Timer Sharpfinger

A New Old Timer Sharpfinger

I had been talking about the Sharpfinger on the knife forum I frequent, just like I talk about innumerable other knife models, when out of the blue, a member asked for my address and said he had something he’d like to send me.  I had no idea what it was going to be, and I was quite surprised at what I saw when I opened the box.

I was not aware that there was a Sharpfinger being produced in the USA until this knife arrived in the mail, though I had heard there was a limited selection of pocket knives being made in the USA under the Old Timer name again.

Schrade closed its doors and the name Old Timer was sold when the company went into bankruptcy in 2004.  That really saddened me because I grew up with an Old Timer in my pocket.  It is what poor folks bought when they couldn’t afford a Case XX.  While an Old Timer was a budget option for a working knife, it wasn’t a step down.  In fact, the steel used in Schrade USA Old Timers is among the best cutlery steel ever used; 1095 Carbon steel, and 440A stainless.  Value for the money, and quality at a fair price are the hallmarks of a Schrade USA knife.

The Schrade Sharpfinger was listed in their catalog midway through 1973, and was in full production by 1974.  It quickly gained a cult following.  It has been the premier field dressing knife for a legion of hunters.  It seems everyone that ventured into the outdoors in the last 50 years had a 152OT on their belt or in their pack.

This knife seems to be carrying on that commitment to quality cutlery that made the OldTimer Knives of yesteryear so popular.  It is made from 1095 carbon steel and is polished to a mirror finish.  My example is symmetrically ground on both the left and right.  The polish is not wavy, and the finish is very consistent.  The factory handle scales were jigged bone, but mine has been replaced with micarta before it was gifted to me.

The sheath isn’t the best quality item I’ve ever seen, but surely isn’t the worst.  It seems quite functional. I suspect it’s made in china, though no mention was made of country of origin on the company website, www.theoldtimer.com.

Overall it seems to be a high quality knife.  It has a slight butt heavy balance and is comfortable to hold and use.  I’m not sure what the difference in weight between an unmodified model is, but mine weighs 3.4 ounces with the micarta scales, and measures 7 1/4″ overall, with a 3 1/8″ cutting edge.  The blade is exactly 1/8″ thick at .125, and is stamped deeply with “Old Timer USA” on the right side of the blade, and “152OTG 1095HC” on the left side.  I’m glad to see this stamping instead of the etching that has become commonplace.

It was dull, as it arrived to me, but I pretty much expect that with a new knife.  I sharpen things my own way normally anyways.  It’s ground at a low angle, which is really what you want for a knife that’s primary purpose will be dressing out animals, food prep, and light camp chores.

I sharpened it for quite a while before finally removing the burr that it had.  The burr didn’t seem to be changing sides, and my estimation is that the steel is tempered pretty high on the Rockwell scale, though no specs were listed on the company website.

It does take a good keen edge, and responds well to both a soft Arkansas and a translucent Arkansas stone.  I finished by stropping on a leather strip loaded with green polishing compound.  It has a hair popping edge that also has some bite to it.

The Sharpfinger responded well to my favorite Arkansas stones.

I plan to give this new rendition of the classic Sharpfinger a thorough testing over the next few months, doing some more general cutting tasks, food prep work in the kitchen, and hopefully I’ll see how it performs on field dressing a deer this coming fall.  It’ll be interesting to watch a patina form, slowly dulling the shiny-bright blade to a mottled collection of blues, purples, yellows, and ultimately grey.

Overall I’m quite impressed by the quality and execution, and while I didn’t get to examine or test the knife with the original handle scales, I believe I wouldn’t have been disappointed.