A good knife

Everybody should have at least one.

It seems to be the bloggy thing to write about right now, so…

My first knife was an old Swiss Army Knife that I “inherited” from my mother when I was about 10 years old – “inherited” meaning it lived in the desk drawer because she didn’t use it anymore, so I asked for it and she said yes. The tweezers and toothpick had gone AWOL years before I found it, and it was missing the scale off one side, but I still carried it regularly and used it frequently.

Not long after, when I got involved in Cub Scouts, I got an inexpensive lockback Buck knife. It had (IIRC) a 4″ blade and plastic camouflage scales, and came with a camouflage nylon belt holster. That became my usual carry knife for many years, eventually even at school (imagine that today – they would lock down the school and I’d be led off in handcuffs). I actually visibly wore down the blade right at the ricasso using it with my firestarter (mostly just to make sparks – I was young and it was cool).

In high school, I worked at a Scout camp and picked up a newer Swiss Army Knife. This was a very nice one, with a small blade and a large blade, bottle opener/screwdriver, can opener, awl, and a Phillips-head screwdriver, and the Boy Scout logo below the Victorinox logo. I lost it a couple of years later (and I’m still mad about that) and replaced it with this one, which is the same model (but without the Scout logo). This was my everyday carry (EDC) knife from when I was 15 up until just a over a year ago.

Swiss Army Knife

When I was about 16 or 17, my dad’s boss bought Dad and I each a Leatherman multi-tool, with a leather belt case. This is one I always have on me, except at work – my job requires slacks and a tie, and it’s too big for a dress belt and too beat up for business dress. I mostly use it for the tools, and use my EDC for cutting things, because getting either of the knife blades out is slow, but it’s incredibly handy – I don’t know how anyone gets by without one.

Leatherman Multi-tool

I have an old Sears pocketknife that belonged to one of my great-uncles. I don’t use it much, but it’s a good knife.

Sears pocketknife

I also have a cheap dressy penknife that I’ll usually slip into the inside pocket of my suit jacket or sport coat. It’s not good for much, but it will cut packing tape or open an envelope.

Dress knife

And finally, my current EDC:

Chinese no-name EDC

This is a cheap (~$20) Chinese assisted opening knife that I picked up at a gun show, with the idea that it could be a decent EDC but if I lost/broke/damaged it then I’m not out a significant amount of money. It is, as I hoped, a decent knife, though I find myself touching up the edge more than I probably would with a more expensive blade.

When I went looking for a new EDC, and got that one, I had a few criteria in mind:

  1. Cost – it had to be about $20-$30.
  2. Assisted opening – one thing that I wanted was a blade I could open quickly. I don’t really care for the thumb-stud openers, and I liked the assisted openers I had tried.
  3. A belt clip – far too useful to do without.
  4. A full handle – I have almost cut myself on the exposed blade of a closed “skeletonized” knife, and realized two things: when the knife is closed, the handle is supposed to protect you from the blade, and the blade from foreign objects. It does neither of those very well when most of it isn’t there.
  5. A non-serrated blade – I’m just not a fan of serrated blades, and I also like to be able to sharpen my blades myself. A sharpening stone is an easy item to find, and easy to use if you know how (and everybody should know how).

I was once asked, when I pulled out my knife to help someone open a package, if I “always carry a weapon.” My off the cuff response was “yes,” but I wish I had taken the opportunity to correct that person. A knife is a tool, nothing more. Like any tool, it can be used as a weapon, but that is not its normal purpose. A knife is, quite simply, one of the most useful tools anyone can carry. I’m always amused when my coworkers are digging around in their desk (or asking me) for a pair of scissors to open a box because they don’t think to carry a simple pocketknife. I certainly can’t understand the mindset behind the idea that carrying a pocketknife is “going armed.” There’s nothing malicious or hostile about it, it’s just basic common sense.

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1 Comment

  1. I really enjoyed reading your article on lockback knives. From past experience and ownership of several Lockback Hunting Knives they are the safest knife to carry afield. I like the lockback knife because of the ability to close the blade securely in the handle. I wrote blog that will compliment yours http://huntingoutdoors.org/2010/08/13/hunting-knives-lockback-hunting-knife on lockback hunting knives and it has some good information for you to review before making your buying decision.

    Again thanks for the informative post. I really like how you pointed out all of the great features of the lockback hunting knife.

    Reply

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