Searching for the perfect silver spoon? Consider this heirloom-quality silver knife instead.
My first knife was a Barlow. It was handed down to me by my dad when he got a new one. It had no particular significance other than that I remember it to this day; it was my first knife and my father’s before that. I remember his opening the knife and giving it to me, handle-first, and telling me that was always the proper way to hand someone a knife. I remember his telling me to check the blade’s sharpness by lightly rubbing my thumb over and perpendicular to the blade so as not to slice myself. (It was only recently that I learned to rub it perpendicularly against the thumbnail, in case someone bumps into you while you’re checking the sharpness of the knife.) I remember his telling me to keep the blade evenly sharpened and clean, perhaps metaphorically advising me always to be prepared. One’s first knife is a powerful tool.
I regret to say I don’t know where that knife is now. I’m almost certain I didn’t sell or trade it. It’s probably down by the creek somewhere. But that was long ago.
I don’t reckon such a fate will happen with The Wyatt. Probably someone in the youngster’s life will hold on to this one until it can be better appreciated. The engravable handle is solid silver; Vernon Red melts solid silver ingots and pours the liquid silver into the handle mold. Silver bars are 99.9% silver. (Compare sterling silver, which is 92.5% silver!) Each handle side starts off from 1.3 ounces of silver and is ground and polished until there is approximately 1 ounce of silver per finished handle side (2 ounces per knife).
Vernon does not engrave, but makes by hand a block that your engraver can use to hold the knife in place without harming it. Be sure to tell the engraver that the handle is 99.9% pure silver, so that extra care can be taken since the silver has not been hardened with an alloy. We’ve included a couple of pictures of the original knife, engraved for “Wyatt,” so you can see how nicely the silver takes the engraving.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to silver: use it every day and relish the scratches and resulting smooth patina, or use it seldom and keep it perfectly polished and on a shelf. My grandmother was of the former school; the silverware pieces she and my grandfather owned were used every day around an otherwise humble household. When she passed on, the silverware was almost worn out, but it was obviously and definitely silver, and very beautiful.
The blade is Damascus. The feel is heavy; the patina doesn’t get any better (unless you rub it). And, of course, this collector’s item doesn’t have to be just for a kid. It’s 2.5 inches long when closed and 4.25 inches long when opened. It weighs almost 3 ounces and makes a beautiful lady’s purse knife or gentleman’s pocket knife – just remind them to put the knife back in its walnut gift box before going to the airport!
Vernon has agreed to continue hand-making these for us as long as he’s around. Twelve knives have been ordered and are sequentially numbered. Number one went to Forrest Reynolds, proud grandfather of Wyatt Pickering.