I like knives. I always stop to look at them. Can't really tell you why, though. I have read doctoral dissertations on individual knives on internet blogs. However, a knife is simply a tool, needs maintenance and should be acquired according to a perceived need. It should feel comfortable in your hand and hold a sharp edge.
Here are some of mine.
Top row, left to right
One, two and three are no-name examples of multi-tools. I purchased these at the state surplus store and paid about 20% what I would off the shelf. I get to pick these up, handle them and get the feel for how the tool fits in my hand. I like having one or two of these everywhere. In my tool boxes, first aid kits, car glove box, emergency bags, drawers in the kitchen, drawers in my office and at least one or two just in the way on counter tops.
A multi tool is just that: some are better made than others, stronger, more versatile, heavier or not. Bottom line, does the tool work? Will the fold-out knife work in an emergency? Will the pliers grasp? Does the wire cutter work? Can I tighten a small screw or open a can of beans? Does it carry easy? Does it fit my perceived needs and is the price right for the tool?
Four are two CRKT (Columbia River Knife and Tool) knives. I bought the black one in South Africa and the other one at the state surplus store. I had looked a many pocket knives and decided on this knife for every day pocket knife. It fits comfortably in my front pants pocket. Clips to the bottom edge of the pocket with the knife inside the pocket. Does not get in the way of every day movements and is designed to open upon pulling from the pocket. Takes practice. Not my main reason for purchase, but I like the design concept. The blade holds a sharp edge, is easily sharpened, locks open and is very comfortable to hold. I like the looks of the knife.
Five is a little orange box cutter. Cheap, razor sharp, but cannot be used under a lot of down pressure and is expendable. I try to keep these in drawers around the house, tool box, first aid kit and car glove box. A cheap razor sharp tool; quite often one time use. I find that the knife extension and locking knob breaks most often.
Second Row left to right
One, Razor Pro®. It does not get in the way on my belt, surgical steel blades are replaceable and the grip is non-slip. Comes with 6 replacement blades in the sheath and is dangerously sharp. I find that the knife does not easily pull out of the sheath and the snap needs to always be “worked” when snapping. Superior razor sharp knife, sheath “iffy”. I have replaced one blade in the past 6 months. I would never give this knife to a youngster and I never lend it to anyone who asks me if I have a knife they can borrow. This not a knife for a beginner or novice.
Two, Kershaw® Carabiner knife.
I bought this several years ago as a novelty item but quickly found it was perfect to connect to a backpack, bug-out bag or vest. The stainless steel knife is a great back up knife, razor sharp for first emergency uses. A good Carabiner addition with function use of knife, screwdrivers and bottle opener. It makes sure my wife's go bag or emergency pack has a compact, dependable, sharp locking blade knife with easy access.
Three, Lansky® knife. Generic small pocketknife with locking blade. Sharp with a handle big enough to grasp for cutting. Fits easily in a pocket or purse.
Four, Smith's sharpening stone and sheath.
Inexpensive 4” diamond stone with course and fine option. Great for sharpening small knives.
Five, Bear Gyles® Ultimate Fixed Blade Knife.
I found this at the state surplus store at 35% of off the shelf cost. A good deal as I had not been able to cross the bridge to purchase a top of the line expensive knife at retail.
This would be my first choice of all the knives I have. It is razor sharp and snaps snugly in the sheath. It is not too big as a sheathed knife and the grip and feel is one of the best I have. The knife can be carried parallel with the belt or hanging vertically. It is full tang knife (blade and metal handle runs through the grip) giving the extra strength and a strength option for prying. A ferrocerium rod snaps into the sheath for starting fires and there is a sharpening stone sewn into the the back of the sheath. The orange color adds to the ability to find the knife on the ground when dropped or set down while working with it. More important than you might think. The butt is heavy metal with an embossed hammer markings for pounding. An all around excellent knife to have out packing and emergency.
Skinning, boning and all purpose kitchen knife.
Made for the farm and kitchen by Charles, probably in the 1930's. Shaped with heat, forging hammer and anvil. Full tang knives for strength and ease of construction. Handles carved from local woods and attached with brass pins penned flat until the handles held snug.
The skinning knife was used to remove hide from slaughtered cows, the boning knife with it's long sharp point worked meat off the bones and the all purpose kitchen knife was just that. The top left skinning knife has a bone handle and the blade is tapered and forged thinner at the cutting edge. I think that heat treating and forging skills improved as this blade holds a razor sharp edge.
All these knives were made early on when Charles and Rose bought their farm and land. There was a lot of scrap steel in the farm forge shop and Charles had the skills and knowledge of working metal. I would guess that he could make one of these knives easily in a couple of hours.
Do your homework and knife research. Learn and study knife safety and teach that to your children and peers. Practice knife safety.
As much as a utility tool offers many problem solving solutions, I will always choose a high quality fixed blade sheathed knife over any other belt/pocket carry tool. Backpacking, hiking, biking or emergency outing, a high quality dependable knife will pay for itself in a one time needed use. Knives are fun to shop for and there are more choices than time allows to shop. You get what you pay for applies here.
In a perfect world, where money was no object, I would find a knife maker to build me the ultimate backpacking sheathed knife.
Another good knife blog to read.