Schrade Old Timer 1520TBC Sharpfinger Review

This classic full tang hunting knife is cheap, good looking and durable.

This has been a fairly popular knife for over forty years, but it’s popularity seems to have peeked in the 70’s and 80’s. The fact that it is no longer made in America has removed some of the appeal of this Old Timer Classic. However, it is still a great design, and Schrade’s decision to move manufacturing to China has not seemed to have too great of a negative impact on overall quality. The fact that the Sharpfinger can usually be purchased on Amazon for less than $20 is impressive for a well designed full tang fixed blade knife.

That being said if you can find one of the older American made versions, I highly recommend grabbing it. They can still be found on Ebay or classic knife websites.

Knife Specifications

Overall Length:7.1″
Blade Length:3.3″
Handle Length:3.7″
Blade Style:Trailing point

Blade Construction

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.


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.


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.

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 holster 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.

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.


Overall I think this is one of the best knives on the market at the sub $20 price point. I wish Schrade would come out with an American made version that had S30v steel and a higher quality sheath, because myself and many others would be willing to pay a premium for such a knife. That being said I think the Sharpfinger is worth owning, and it is a great relatively inexpensive gift for knife collectors and enthusiasts.

Larger Alternative

The larger version of the Old Timer Sharpfinger on a white background.
The Old Timer Sharpfinger Large has a 4 inch blade.

Old Timer has recently released a larger version of the Sharpfinger called the Sharpfinger Large. While Old Timer certainly does not deserve any points for knife naming creativity, they do deserve points for releasing a slightly larger version which is something Sharpfinger fans have wanted for years. The large version has a 4 inch blade and a 4.59 inch handle.

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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 1520TBC 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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