How to Date a Kinfolks Knife: A Comprehensive Guide

Dating a Kinfolks knife involves trying to accurately identify the time period it was manufactured based on various factors. Understanding the history of this sought-after cutlery brand can provide essential clues towards narrowing down the manufacturing date. The procedure can be slightly challenging for beginners, but with semantic entities and some guidance, it becomes easily achievable.

Introduction to Kinfolks Knives

Kinfolks Inc. is an American cutlery company that was established in Little Valley, New York, in 1925. Its high-quality, durable, and visually appealing knives gained significant popularity, leading to an increase in collectors and enthusiasts who appreciate the superior craftsmanship of these knives. Dating a Kinfolks knife involves understanding its unique features, like its design, tang stamp, handle material, and blade type.

The Importance of Tang Stamps

When dating a Kinfolks knife, the first step is to examine the tang stamp. This stamp, found on the “tang” or flat side surface of a knife, usually contains information such as the manufacturer’s name, location, patent number, and possibly model number.

How to Decode Tang Stamps

Different tang stamps were used at different times, so they can provide a clue about the knife’s manufacturing period. The original tang stamp used by Kinfolks between 1925 and 1945 read “Kinfolks Inc.” followed by “Little Valley, NY.” If your knife bears a stamp that does not mention a location or features “USA” instead of “Little Valley, NY”, this likely indicates that it was made after Kinfolks was purchased by the Case family in 1945.

If a model number accompanies the tang stamp, you can refer to Kinfolks’ catalogues, often available in libraries or online, to identify the specific years when your knife’s model number was in production, further narrowing down the manufacturing period.

Examining the Handle and Blade

After decoding the tang stamp, the handle’s material and the knife blade’s design can provide more insights into its manufacturing date.

Handle Material

Different handle materials were popular in different eras. For example, knives manufactured during the initial years tend to have handles made of bone or celluloid, while those from the 50’s to 70’s are likely to sport a synthetic handle such as Delrin®.

Blade Design

Similarly, blade designs also changed over time. Early Kinfolks’ knives favor clip point blades, while drop point blades were more typical in the post-war years. Features like blade finishes and construction, such as full tang or partial tang blades, can also contribute to dating the knife.

Dating Through Catalogues and Knife Forums

One of the most effective methods is referencing old catalogues from Kinfolks. These can frequently provide definitive production dates for models and can usually be found online or in libraries. Also, participation in knife kollector forums and communities can provide helpful insights from other seasoned collectors.


Dating a Kinfolks knife can seem like a daunting task for beginners. However, with the right techniques, it can become an engaging and rewarding hobby. By thoroughly examining the knife’s tang stamp, handle material, and blade type, and cross-referencing this information with old catalogues and communities knowledge, enthusiasts can effectively determine their knife’s production era. Happy collecting!


  • Kinfolks Inc. Catalogues
  • Levine’s Guide to Knives and Their Values by Bernard Levine
  • Knife Forums and Online Collectors Groups
  • Peterson’s Field Guide to American Knives by Harold Peterson

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the history of Kinfolk knives?

Kinfolk knives have a rich history that dates back to their founding in 1902. The Kinfolks Cutlery Company was established in Little Valley, New York, by Russ Case and his brother Tint in collaboration with a group of knife enthusiasts. They aimed to create high-quality knives that combined traditional craftsmanship with modern innovations. Over the years, Kinfolks knives gained popularity due to their outstanding design, durability, and functionality.

2. How can I identify an authentic Kinfolks knife?

To identify an authentic Kinfolks knife, there are a few key features to look for. Genuine Kinfolks knives usually have a tang stamp on the blade that includes the name “Kinfolks” along with the company’s logo. Additionally, these knives often have handles made of high-quality materials like bone, stag, or wood, which are meticulously crafted and finished. It’s recommended to research and compare the knife in question with authentic Kinfolks models to ensure its legitimacy.

3. What types of knives does Kinfolks produce?

Kinfolks has produced a wide range of knives over the years. They manufacture hunting knives, pocket knives, folding knives, fixed-blade knives, and even kitchen knives. Their product lines also include specialty knives, such as fishing knives, survival knives, and multi-purpose tools. Kinfolks knives are known for their exceptional quality, versatile designs, and excellent edge retention.

4. Are Kinfolks knives suitable for everyday carry?

Yes, many Kinfolks knives are designed to be suitable for everyday carry (EDC). They offer a variety of pocket knives that are compact, lightweight, and easy to carry in your pocket. These EDC knives often feature sturdy construction, reliable locking mechanisms, and convenient opening mechanisms like thumb studs or flipper tabs. However, it’s essential to check the specific model’s legal and size restrictions depending on your location.

5. How do I care for my Kinfolks knife?

Caring for your Kinfolks knife is crucial to preserving its longevity and performance. After each use, make sure to clean and dry the blade thoroughly to prevent rust or corrosion. Lubricate the moving parts with a light machine oil to maintain smooth operation. If your knife has a wooden handle, apply a thin layer of wax or oil to protect and nourish the wood. Lastly, store your Kinfolks knife in a dry and secure place to avoid any damage.

6. Can I sharpen my own Kinfolks knife?

Absolutely! Sharpening your own Kinfolks knife can be a rewarding experience if done correctly. You can use a variety of sharpening tools such as sharpening stones, honing rods, or guided sharpening systems. It’s crucial to follow proper sharpening techniques, maintain a consistent angle, and use the appropriate grit for your knife. There are numerous tutorials and resources available online that can guide you through the process of sharpening your Kinfolks knife effectively.

7. Are Kinfolks knives covered by a warranty?

Kinfolks knives are generally covered by a warranty, but specific warranty terms may vary depending on the model and the age of the knife. Typically, Kinfolks offers a limited lifetime warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship. However, it’s essential to check the provided warranty information or contact Kinfolks directly to understand the specific terms and conditions of their warranty policy.

8. Can Kinfolks knives be used for outdoor activities?

Yes, Kinfolks knives are highly suitable for various outdoor activities. Whether you’re hunting, camping, fishing, or engaging in general wilderness exploration, Kinfolks offers a range of knives designed to withstand rigorous outdoor use. Their hunting knives, fixed-blade knives, and survival knives are particularly favored for their durability, sharpness, and reliability in demanding outdoor conditions.

9. Where can I purchase a Kinfolks knife?

Kinfolks knives can be purchased from a variety of sources. You can visit their official website to explore their current product offerings and make a purchase directly from the manufacturer. Additionally, Kinfolks knives are often available at specialized knife stores, outdoor retailers, and online marketplaces. It’s advisable to ensure you are purchasing from a reputable seller to guarantee the authenticity and quality of the knife.

10. Are there any collectible Kinfolks knives?

Yes, there is a wide range of collectible Kinfolks knives that have gained popularity among knife enthusiasts and collectors. Vintage Kinfolks knives, especially those from earlier years, are highly sought after due to their historical significance and limited availability. Some collectors also look for specific models, special editions, or knives with unique handle materials for their collections. Collectible Kinfolks knives can be found through auctions, collector forums, or specialty knife shows.

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