Jun 26, 2010

Knives

As most of you reading this know, a knife of some sort is just part of being dressed. Sure, there have been times I've been knife-less over the past ten or twelve years, but more often than not I've had a blade of some kind with me. Most of the knives I've acquired over the years are still in my possession. Not all, but most.

The *first* knife I was given was very similar to this one. Basic Cub Scout knife. One blade, a screwdriver/bottle opener, and an awl. Mine had blue scales, though. Lost by a fifth-grade teacher who confiscated it from my desk and promised I could have it back at the end of the week.

Sometime in junior high, I was given a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife. I don't recall what model, but it was very similar to the Huntsman, lacking only the hook. Lost that one on a scout camping trip.

In high school I was given a sheath knife - a gift from my great grandmother. I still have it. Not sure of the brand, but the blade is etched "Pioneer". It's gone hunting with me once or twice, but otherwise lives on a closet shelf.

Before I went to college I was given a Leatherman PST. This is, IMHO, the perfect balance in a pocket tool. Enough things to be useful, but not so large as to be unwieldy. It now lives in the console of my truck and still sees occasional use.

At some point after college I acquired a Wenger Swiss Army Knife; the traditional executive-style knife with a penknife, file, and scissor. Lost somewhere along the line.

When I started doing tech stuff, I always had a small blade with me, usually a Gerber Mini Paraframe. Nice size, sturdy, inexpensive, but wouldn't keep an edge for crap.

On business trips (systems installations), work provided us with a Leatherman Supertool 200. It's a brick - but it's got everything. I still have one floating around; I think MrsZ has appropriated it into her garden toolbox.

When I joined the fire department, I put a Gerber AR 3.0 in my bunk gear. Great knife - until it walked away one day. I wasn't willing to drop the change to replace it with another one, so I bought a Gerber Paraframe II and it's been around ever since.

On fire calls, I found myself looking for hand tools on a regular basis, so the Gerber was supplemented (not supplanted) by a Leatherman Core. The Core seems to be the evolution of the Supertool 200, and is a great multi-tool. Sturdy as hell, nice lock mechanism, and has everything.

At some point along the way I had misplaced the aforementioned Leatherman PST and wanted a multitool for daily carry. I picked up a Leatherman Kick for about $25, which is the current (lighter) version of the PST. It's now my daily-carry multitool. The plastic liners are slightly melty from being dropped into a charcoal grill, but it still works fine.

I also carry a pocket knife with me - the Leatherman is a great tool, but it's not a great knife. For a while it was the Mini Paraframes mentioned above, then a Leatherman c301. That knife lasted me quite some time, until I found a SOG Twitch II. Knife love. Light, slim, assisted-opening, sharp as hell, took an edge easily, kept it a long time... just about the perfect knife. I lost it tromping across a field to retrieve a ground blind that blew off in a wind storm.

I replaced the SOG with a CRKT Point Guard for a while. Not a bad knife, but was much thicker than the SOG. Next stop was a CRKT Bandera, which I'm still carrying. This knife is almost right... it's slim, the blade profile is great, it takes and keeps an edge nicely... but the back edge of the blade points UP in my pocket, and is SHARP. I've nicked the back of my hands more than once reaching into my pocket for change or my phone. I need to grit my teeth and cough up the money for a new SOG.

... And that's just the daily-carry stuff!

When I go hunting, I usually have at least two and sometimes three knives with me. For a while it was the previously mentioned Pioneer sheath knife, which is too big to be a great hunting knife, IMHO. After a bit of shopping, I ended up replacing it with a Buck Diamondback Guide. This is, in my opinion, the perfect knife for small- and medium-game hunting (up to whitetail size, in other words). Profile is perfect for opening an abdomen without puncturing the gut, and the size is such that I can put my whole index finger along the spine to guide the cut. Shaving-sharp out of the package and takes an edge easily. It gets sharpened again each time I dress a deer with it. (The rubber grip doesn't get too slippery in cold and blood, either.) I've got a spare one living on the shelf in my closet and a third one in my truck console.

I've also taken to carrying a Buck 110 when hunting. It's handier than the Diamondback for finicky stuff, and narrow enough to make it easy to cut around the anus when dressing a deer. EVERYONE should have a Buck 110. $30-40 depending on what store you visit, and worth every penny.

Of special note, for the hunter who has everything: Buck now offers one-off 110s with engraving etc. A bit pricey, but a heartfelt gift for the right recipient.

The one knife I am currently missing is one to have with dressier wear. I need to find a Schrade or Case with stag scales for my nice pants...

2 comments:

mhaithaca said...

I should get all my knives together in one place and do a post like this. Would be a good exercise, if nothing else. I probably have five or six, not counting the assorted kitchen gear. :-)

The one I haven't seen in ages is my original Victorinox Swiss Army Knife, which I probably got around when you were born, for camp. Pretty sure I can find the (earlier) Cub Scout one.

bluesun said...

I can't help but toshow off some of mine. I love hearing about other peoples' knives and why they like them.