Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Selecting Your Perfect Knife

One of the many childhood rights-of-passage is getting your first pocket knife.  I remember getting my first Old Timer from my Granddad.  I thought I was Davy Crockett reincarnated, ready to head out into the wilderness, eager to learn the ways of the mountain man, and excited to find that first good stick to whittle on just like all the old men down at the local tire shop.  Fantasizing aside, having a dependable, strong knife gives a sense of comfort and confidence unlike anything else you carry on a daily basis.  Choosing the right knife for you, and for your needs can vary; however, there are some fairly straightforward tips for choosing the best everyday knife.  To start, there are two primary types of knives to consider:  fixed blade and folding blade.

Fixed blades are easy to clean, quick to put into action, and have no moving parts to break or gunk up with mud, blood, hair, or other foreign material.  Fixed blade knives are inherently stronger due to the tang, which is the extension of the metal into the handle.  It is simple, elegant, and deadly efficient.  It can be used to cut wood, skin and butcher game, strike fire starters, build shelters, open cans, attach to a pole for a spear, as well as many other tasks.

There are several key features you want to look for in a general use, fixed blade knife.  You want a knife with a full tang or metal that extends the full length of the knife.  Knives with a partial tang are more susceptible to breaking in the handle and are not as sturdy for hammering and chopping wood.
A good survival knife will be around 10 inches long.  This gives enough length to be effective for big cutting jobs and remains small enough for finer cutting tasks around the campsite.

The favored blade for an all-around survival knife is a drop point with a full straight edge.  Depending on your needs and uses, there are several other blade types to choose from.  And anyone who likes having one knife will probably want several.  Along w/ the blade type, look for a knife with a thick, flat top.  This will allow for batoning, or hammering down on the top of the knife to chop wood, and also gives a wide surface for striking a ferro-rod.

Folding blade knives are popular for carrying anywhere (except airports).  They are smaller, making them easier to carry, and larger ones come with pocket clips and sturdy locking mechanisms.  They are designed to be opened with one hand using a thumb stud or blade hole, and many today are designed with an assisted opening device to spring the blade open once it has been started.

Selection of a folding knife, much like a fixed blade, is dependent on your needs and uses.  If most of your use is for opening Amazon packages, cutting through smaller food items, or whittling a whistle out of a tree limb, a smaller one, two, or three blade pocket knife will do the trick.  However, if you intend to use your folder around the campsite for bigger jobs, a heavier, thicker blade folder with pocket clip is what you’ll want.  The drop point blade is still preferred but will depend on what all you will need it for.

Knives are great tools that serve many purposes.  Having a strong knife handy at all times brings a sense of comfort like no other tool I know.  There is no single knife that is perfect for every situation, but hopefully, this is some good starter information to move you towards the knife that best fits your needs.

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