Buck is one of the oldest companies on the American knifemaking scene whose history begins in the US state of Kansas in 1902 when the apprentice blacksmith Hoyt Buck begins to build knives from old files. Hoyt's work was highly appreciated and his son Hal began to follow the father's footsteps.
After the Second World War, father and son and their families moved to San Diego, California. After his father's death, Al took the plunge and founded Buck Knives Inc. in 1961, involving his young son Chuck and daughter-in-law Lori in the venture. In 1964, with the presentation of the legendary model 110, a turning point occurred that projected the Buck name into the Olympus of the great US manufacturers. Even today, after the headquarters moved to Post Falls, Idaho, Buck is still a company firmly in the hands of the Buck family and offers knives built in the USA. Through its website it also offers the possibility to customize them with engravings and other options before purchase.
Buck Budgie, the featherweight for everyday carry
Among the new products offered by Buck for 2021, I chose to talk about the 417 Budgie model, a true featherweight. When it arrived I lifted the box and at first I thought they forgot to put the knife in it. The knife was actually there, but it is much lighter than the rich packaging in which it is sold – a cardboard box with a jacket decorated with silver lettering, inside which the Budgie is placed in a cloth bag lying on a bed of paper shavings. It sounds like a dish from Masterchef, and in my opinion the paper shavings could be avoided (they are a bit dusty), but they undoubtedly make a scene.
At first glance the Budgie conveys a feeling of lightness that is confirmed by opening and handling it. It's a small and easy knife to carry in your pocket, with a 2”/51 mm blade for an overall length of 5.2”/132 mm and a weight of only 2.1 oz/58 grams. The blade has a drop point shape, is made from S35VN stainless steel that guarantees excellent edge retention, as well as great mechanical strength and corrosion resistance. The heat treat is the same pioneered by Paul Bos, which Buck also performs on behalf of third parties. According to the company, it represents “the best in the business”. The blade hardness is 59-61 HRC and it's satin finished; max thickness is 0.085”/2 mm. The edge is smooth, and there is no option for a combination edge, that on such a short blade would make little sense. A thumb hole that echoes the knife's outline serves the dual purpose of lightening the blade and providing engagement for the thumb's fingertip to deploy the blade with one hand.
The Buck Budgie has a frame locking mechanism, and the the lock arm features circular millings to lighten it on one side, while the on the other side there is a small not-repositionable removable clip, on which the shape of an anvil, the manufacturer's logo, is showed. The left grip is black G10, finely checkered, while the red anodized aluminum spacer, which also acts as a lanyard hole, adds a touch of liveliness. In addition to the black version, the Buck Budgie is also available with a green colored G10 handle. All screws are stainless steel, Torx type.
A small but efficient "Made in USA” knife
The level of workmanship on this little knife is good, with well-machined surfaces and an assembly that shows no flaws or weaknesses. The small size makes it the preferable option for those with smaller-than-average hands and who are right-handed. Left-handed options are not covered – but then again, nobody's perfect. The blade is short, but allows you to get everyday chores done cleanly, thanks in part to the good factory sharpening.
The Buck Budgie is a knife made entirely in the USA, something that is now not taken for granted, since many US brands relocated part or all of their production to the East. From this point of view, the price of 110 euros, is to be considered appropriate. The very elegant and scenic packaging makes it an ideal gift item.
Buck 417 Budgie specs and price
|Manufacturer: ||Buck Knives|
|Model: ||417 Budgie|
|Blade Material: ||S35VN stainless steel|
|Blade Hardness: ||HRC 59/61|
|Overall Length (Open): ||5.2”/132 mm|
|Blade Length:||2”/51 mm|
|Blade Thickness:||0.085”/2 mm|
|Weight:||2.1 oz/58 g|
|Locking System: ||frame lock|
|Price:||110 euro (price may vary in your country)|