Schrade Old Timer Sharpfinger Review

This has been a fairly popular knife for over fifty years, but it’s popularity seems to have peeked in the 70’s and 80’s. This is partially due to Old Timer moving the manufacturing overseas and using budget materials. The Impressive design of the Sharpfinger helped it maintain popularity in spite of the questionable decisions made by Old Timer’s parent company, Taylor Brands, over the course of the last few years.

2024 Update – Both the Budget and Generational Series Versions of this Knife Offer Good Value

There is a premium and budget version of the Old Timer Sharpfinger available.
There are now two versions of the Sharpfinger available – a budget friendly version (left) and the premium Generational Series version (right).

I first wrote this review about the Chinese made budget version of the Sharpfinger. Recently Old Timer has begun selling a premium version that is made in America. I updated this article with a few paragraphs about the premium Sharpinger at the end of the review. However, both versions of this knife offer good value at their price points. It is just a question of budget.

Knife Specifications

Overall Length:7.1″
Blade Length:3.3″
Handle Length:3.7″
Handle Material:Delrin or Chestnut Bone
Blade Style:Trailing point
Steel:7Cr17 or 1095

Classic Trailing Point Blade

Old Timer Sharp Finger Blade Construction

The Sharpfinger’s blade is a full tang and made of 7Cr17 High Carbon Stainless Steel. The general conscientious is that the Chinese 7Cr17 is comparable to  440A stainless steel which means it has good rust resistance (better than 440C) and holds an edge better than some softer steels like 420 stainless steel. However it doesn’t hold it’s edge as well as a 440C Stainless Steel blade.

The Old Timer Sharpfinger that I received was really sharp right out of the box, and it held it’s edge well even after cutting some cardboard, doing a bit of whittling and some fish cleaning. After a few days of semi steady use the edge began to dull which was not a surprise, and it was easy to get the edge back with a leather strop.

Overall the Sharpinger design worked well for most of the outdoor tasks I threw at it. I have not used it for field dressing yet, but it is highly regarded by most hunters who use it as a very capable hunting knife. In fact it is one of the knives that is considered to be responsible for the growing popularity of small hunting knives in the mid to late 70’s.

The blade has an upswept clip point design that has been copied by several other knife brands due to the popularity of the Sharpfinger.  I found the overall shape of the blade ideal for cleaning fish. It is also serviceable as a fillet knife when camping although the blade is a little thick to make it an ideal fillet knife.

Handle Ergonomics

Schrade Sharpfinger Ergonomics

The handle is one of the areas where the Sharpfinger really shines. It is a relatively small, fixed blade knife, but it feels much bigger than it actually when it is being held. The saw cut delrin handle fits comfortably in the hand, and is easy to grip even when it is wet. The two pieces of delrin that make up the handle are riveted firmly in place and don’t wiggle at all even after heavy use. This is not always the case with knives in this price range.

Sheath Quality and Funtionality

Old Timer Sharpfinger Sheath

The Sharpfinger ships with a black leather sheath that is certainly not the best quality leather sheath on the market, but considering this knife’s price range it is decent enough.

The sheath has a button clasp that is easy to unsnap when removing the knife but a little difficult to snap closed when placing the knife back in the sheath. The location of the clasp makes is bit awkward, because you have to move it to the side before drawing the knife to keep the bottom of the blade from catching on it. If you watch the video in the “Ergonomics” section of this blog you can see what I am talking about.

The Sheath is Not a Viable Long Term EDC Option

For the money the sheath is fairly durable and comfortable to wear, but if I were going to use this knife for every day carry, I would probably have a custom kydex sheath made. One of the nice things about the relatively small size of the Sharpfinger is that it doesn’t flop around like bigger fixed blade knives do if  they don’t have thigh tie-downs.


Old Timer Sharpfinger FIxed Blade Full Tang Knife Review

OK I know aesthetics may not be high on the list for a lot of people when it comes to choosing a knife. It is certainly more important to have a quality tool that will get the necessary jobs done, but the look of a knife factors in on some level with all of us.

Time Tested Design

The design of the Sharpfinger has proven itself over 40 years of use by thousands of happy customers. The fact that it happens to be a great looking knife too is a nice bonus, especially for those of us that take photos for knife blogs. I personally think the version with the black camo handle is the coolest looking Sharpfinger model, but that conclusion is certainly subjective. There are a lot of handle color options available including: brown, black, orange and camouflage.

The Sharpfinger’s influence can be found in modern EDC knife designs like the Kizer Comet and the folding version of the Remington Hunter.

American Made Alternative

The 1520T Generational Series version of the Sharpfinger is made in America with better handle and blade material.
The Generational Series

A few years back, Old Timer announced the launch of their Generational Series which consisted of classic models that would now be made in America with more premium components and materials. I was happy to see the Sharpfinger would be included, and I ordered one as soon as it was available.

The sheath on the Generational Series version of the Sharpfinger is a huge improvement over its predecessor.
The Generational Series version of the Sharpfinger ships with a sheath that is a huge imponent over the one that ships with the budget version.

I have mostly been impressed with the Generational Series version of the Sharpfinger. They managed to improve the fit and finish, handle material and steel while keeping the price tag down under $100. 1095 steel would not have been my first choice for the American made version, but nobody asked me. It is a much better steel than the 7Cr17 steel used in the budget version. I just would have preferred something a little more corrosion resistant like Nitro V or AEB-L.

Steel issues aside the Generational Series of this knife is well worth the increased price from both a value standpoint and a nostalgia standpoint.

Review Recap

Overall I think this is one of the best knives on the market at the sub $25 price point. It is a great beater knife for hiking, camping, fishing or hunting, but the sheath will not last as long as the knife.

The design of the Sharpfinger has stood the test of time and remained popular through most of the 20th and 21 century. It is nice that we now have two versions to choose from. If you want a semi-disposable, budget friendly outdoor beater knife, the Chinese made model is the way to go. However, if you want a knife that will stand up to regular use in harsh elements, I recommend the Generational Series version of the Sharpfinger.

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Avatar of Ben North

Ben started a twenty year commercial photography career after a blurry stint in the navy. He spent a lot of time losing and breaking knives and other EDC gear on location shoots before starting Nothing But Knives. He has reviewed and tested hundreds of both outdoor and kitchen knives over the course of the last six years, and he was mostly sober while testing and reviewing.

4 thoughts on “Schrade Old Timer Sharpfinger Review”

  1. China made SharpFinger knife is dirt cheap…I buy 2 or 3 @ the beginning of hunting season. then I thro the old ones away… using this method I found out the China made ones really holds an edge! I recommend giving this method a try…

    • Hi John. Ha ha. That is one way to do it. Fortunately Old Timer is now making a new version of the Sharpfinger here in the States. It is called the Old Timer Generational Sharpfinger. I will be updating this post with new photos and specifications for the American made version soon.


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