Several months ago I wrote an entry about a Solingen made pocket knife by Hugo Köller, you can check out the article here. Little did I know back then that I had already a knife made by Hugo Köller in my possession. A knife that is very special to me, because it belonged to my late grandfather. Apart from being a very successful business man, who together with my grandmother build up an apparel store after WWII, he was a very passionate gardener.
The knife I´m showing you today is what we call an “Okuliermesser‘ in German. The English term for this type of knife is “Budding Knife“. Budding knives are used for fruit tree propagation. For executing this technique the gardener needs an extremely sharp knife with special characteristics. The most noticeable is the sharpened round “nose“ near the tip of the knife. The nose is used to loosen the bark of the tree.
You have to be very careful even when the knife is closed because the nose is not covered by the handle.
The second characteristic is the chisel ground blade. While making the cut the flat side of the blade has to point towards the stem, this makes it possible to get a very level cut surface, which aids the healing of the tree.
Similar to my other knife my grandfather’s knife also has messing liners, a carbon steel blade and back spring as well as synthetic handle material. It is equally well constructed and still razor-sharp. The sharpness of this knife is legendary in my family and there is a nice anecdote that I don’t want to withhold from you. One day my grandfather spent once again some time in his beloved orchard. He had to use the knife and as it always happens when you use a sharp knife and don’t pay attention, he cut himself rather badly. Being the tough guy that he was, instead of going to the doctor and getting stitches, he just filled the cut with super glue, bandaged his finger and kept on working.
The knife has a neatly fitted red spacer, because the blade is shorter than the handle.
I am very thankful to own this knife since it is one of the few items I have of my grandfather. It will always remind me of this great man and I sincerely hope that I inherited some of his qualities. The appreciation for a fine knife is one of them for sure!