Never miss an opportunity to revive a good thread.
As far as Buck knives go, in my opinion Buck knives "back in the olden days" (as some young'uns like to put it) appealed to sportsmen, hunters, fishers, and campers because they looked great, were just expensive enough to make a fashion statement, and they worked reasonable well at the time.
But, knives were used differently for the most part back then, the tasks knife were asked to accomplish were food prep, processing fish and game from the harvest to the table, and of course peeling apples, cutting cheese, and spreading peanut butter.
I think folks back then (pre 1970's) were more conscious of adhering to the 'right tool for the job' mentality, they used screw drivers to turn screws and pry bars to open crates, so knives like Western, Camillus, Schrade, and Remington held up better, most were made of good high carbon steel and well tempered, but they rusted if not maintained properly.
Buck came along and changed that with their line of Stainless blades, they were harder to sharpen, didn't take the extra fine edge that high carbon was capable of, but their edges lasted longer under use and they didn't rust, but they are hard and brittle, under normal use they work fine, they weren't meant to batton wood, or cut through heavy bone, used that way they chip, the edges roll, and sometimes they break in half, I never believed for one minute the suggestion that Buck's logo made of a Buck knife being pounded through a steel bolt, that was and still is a lie, another thing those knives had going for them, Buck included, was that most woodsmen carried an axe or hatchet and at times a saw of some kind that did the heavy work.
Today, whether a hunter, camper/bushcrafter, or home handy man we ask allot more out of our knives, hell we've even turned them into self contained tool boxes and named them multi tools, we expect them to do service as screw drivers, can openers, and wire cutters, we use them in place of axes to batton wood, we use them as pry bars to open crates, stuck windows, and to open doors when we've forgotten our keys.
To answer this problem makers like Cold Steel, Becker, and other companies give us knives that are 1/4" thick and are ugly to look at and uncomfortable to use, and silently make us forget that there are better tool options still available to do those jobs, and we have custom makers and a few production companies that make knives more suited to the use we expect in a good knife today, Bark River K&T, and Spiderco for example.
But, like the OP states, the question still remains, What constitutes normal use ?