Thinking about knives

What’s the optimum number to carry? 1-3-10 or 30?
When I read survival blogs, or ‘learned ex-spurt’ reviews, I’m left with the one inescapable thought. They are all fixated on violence, costly metal, and variety, with a blade for every job!

Thus they are considering key ring, neck, boot, covert, box cutting, paring, gutting, boning, fixed blade, folding blade, hunting, combat, basic camp, and the all singing complete bad ass of a survival knife.

You’re probably thinking when will I get heavy!
The bolo, machete, kukri, panga, and blades used to chop, baton, and basically those used for the ‘non finesse’ type of blade work.
Well actually they don’t form part of my day to day kit.
So it’s a judgement call on my side that I’m not too bothered about them, day to day that is.

If you are a fortress type of prepper, or happen to carry heavy metal in your vehicle kit,  heavy is entirely up to you. Only here’s a thought.
How many of you carry an Everyday Carry Kit (EDC) E V E R Y W H E R E!
On your person 24/7, including those little personal moments i.e. on the toilet.

If you do, I’m betting your EDC hasn’t got one of everything in the way of blades.
So what do you carry? Bit of a personal question isn’t it?
Only here’s the thing, I’m not going to recommend anything special.
I’m also not one for quality, just versatility, lightness, and freely available.
So here’s my carry (and why).

  • A ‘snap off’ blade DIY knife.
    Got to love these little craft / DIY knives as they are generally nice and sharp and when the tip gets blunt, I just snap off the end blade.
    Cheap, easy to scatter around your kit and clothing.
  • A plastic retractable box / utility knife, plus blades! For heavier use.
    The carpet ‘hook blade’ is great when gutting foodstuff as the danger of cutting inner organs and contaminating the meat is lessened.
    Again, cheap, light, even with 10 of each type of blades.
  • A basic fixed blade stainless or carbon steel camp knife.
    Full tang 4 inch blade, 5 inch ‘comfy textured handle’ with a squared off back spine which is dead useful for scraping fire steel (Ferrocerium) to generate sparks. Not forgetting descaling fish! No fancy wavy blade I’m afraid as without an expensive sharpening set, to me, they are just “Tacticool”.
    Tacticool? Looks cool, but is impossible to maintain in austere scenarios.
    One of the most important things I look for is a pronounced Quillon or Guard.
    It’s sole job is to stop your hand slipping forward onto the blade.
    And a lanyard hole. There are arguments fore and against lanyard holes.
    I like them as it’s useful when lashing a knife to a ‘stick’ to make a short spear.
    Or, with a good locking sheath, the knife simply hangs around the neck.
    The against? That lanyard gets in the way. Ho hum. Little things matter I suppose.
  • So what about sharpeners? Everyone carries one of them, right?
    Mine is a basic two grade puck. Coarse and fine.
    Very ‘stone age’ (pun intended) some will be thinking BUT carrying one enables me to keep the knife sharp and put a decent edge on anything I pick up AND, I’m quite good at refreshing the edge of wood chisels and repairing screwdriver blades with it.
    Small note, keep it wet in use.

Total cost of everything listed, £20 ($25 USD).
So why not megger expensive steels?
Why spend out loads on something which you can resharpen and replace (unless you live in the back of beyond? In that statement is the clue for choice, buy what suits your usage and general scenarios.

Mine will probably be for minimal rural or light urban usage.
However you mountain men and Sgt Rock types can’t just pick one up from foraging like I can. Funny how you can never find a shop in the wilds!
Only there is a small point there.
Drop a knife in the dark or in the river and it’s probably gone for ever.
$100 bucks plus, (cry quietly please).
For $100 bucks I’ve got 4 times my list.
One breaks, I’ve got a replacement although I’ve never replaced my puck.
Funny that. My fire steel and puck. Both treated like gold.

Is that it? Basically yes.
Why get too sophisticated or too attached to what is basically a tool.
You replace worn tools don’t you? I replace whatever breaks or gets worn out.
The argument is what happens when TEOTWAWKI happens?
It’s called foraging and goes with my favorite thought.

Wanna know the funny thing about the end of the world?
The world is still there afterwards.

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9 Responses to Thinking about knives

  1. Brittius says:

    Start off with what is lawful in the UK. I have a peanut one blade, that I thinned the blade and honed so sharp that while touching my skin to the blade doing detail work, I cut myself several times. Then think of a surgeon with a blade of 4cms and in skillful hands can perform miracles with precision and dexterity. I have field dressed deer with a small blade of 5 cms, while others laughed, but because I had formerly worked in a slaughterhouse, with about ten extra minutes, the task was done, and a right nice job at that.
    Normally, because around here, there is so much work to do, at any given time, I carry a TL-29 two blade electrician knife, that is 7 cms in blade length. Last evening, I ordered a Boker, single blade 5 cm, because I had lost one during the flood of 2012. At times, my multi-tool, a Buck, does the fair share of chores. For cutting apples, and other food, again a TL-29 stainless steel and dedicated for food only, because I clean it with hot water and soap after each usage. Then the German Bundeswehr knife with OD handle scales and corkscrew, bottle opener and saw, or the Victorinox that recently grew legs, in Officer model, very nice, and missing (!). My wife threw away my Randall Model-2, and Randall Model-14 Attack, and it took me almost three years to get over it. After the flood, “They were rusty and old”. I look into the mirror and with mental detachment and remorse for the discarded Randalls and say:

    • Today I own a SS camp knife. What to say about it? It works. My last one was plain old CSteel. Did it rust? No. Washed clean, wiped dry, and it held a better edge than the SS blade.

      Interesting you talking with respect to what is legal in the UK. Our knife and gun laws aren’t doing anything to protect the law abiding which will probably come as a major surprise (not).

      As for the wife? In my mind you can replace anything except a good rifle.

      OUCH! Yet another bruise! 😉

  2. equippedcat says:

    Nice set, and similar to mine.

    In place of the hobby knife, I have a scalpel handle (cut down if necessary to fit) and several blades. The handle is more robust and the blades more versatile and less likely to snap off “by themselves”.

    I dislike the handles on the box knives; too much “air” and the locks never seem to hold reliably for me. For a while I tried a folding one, where the blade is locked in place and then folds into the handle, but it was heavy and still a bit big. Now I go with this small/light version:

    I usually have a 3.5″ or so folding locking knife, because I “always” have one of them.

    A small sheath knife similar to yours but seldom around town.

    And if I know I’m going to be “in the brush”, a kukri or other knife optimized for chopping.

    Good sharpening set; I aim for similar (course and fine stone or equivalent), plus I have a carbide sharpener in case the edge is really messed up.

    • My plastic box knife handle is hollow but holds 10 blades within. I like that as with a simple turn of a coin it opens and changing a blade is as simple as flicking the blunt one out (or reversing it) and dropping a new one in. I was also wary about the plastic element still thinking it’s inherently weak. Well it is but only if I’m stupid enough to use it for what it was never intended. User error. We all do that I’m thinking.

      • equippedcat says:

        Yes, the spare blade storage in the handle is handy, but the Gerber and a box or bag of blades is smaller. Even if size is not a factor, I don’t get along with the blade locks on the large handles. The blade seems to “run away” from my work and I’m constantly re-extending it..

      • Probably a design failure than anything else as it took me a few tries to find a design that locked well, but I know what you mean.

        Still, I use one when trapping or shooting furries to field pouch them with not too much trouble.
        As for skinning, I like the larger handle with slippery hands and the precision of the cut.
        I like it when the blades are out of the holder as they work well when scraping the hide down.
        When working on wires, again the sharpness is useful for wire stripping.

        I like to think of my box knife as a jack of light trade work. Gently does it, sort of thing.

  3. gamegetterII says:

    I carry a Swiss army knife every day, along with an “assisted opening”-(switchblade)so called tactical knife that has a 3 1/2″ blade with about an inch of it serrated. The knife also has a glass breaker to break cars widow glass.
    When out of the city-
    My camp knife is a Gerber freeman guide,and I also carry a Buck 110 folding hunter, along with a multi tool in my pack.
    I also carry a Cold Steel Trail Hawk tomahawk and depending on what I’m doing or where I’m going a Gerber Gator Jr machete.
    For sharpening I carry a coarse/fine diamond hone and a Smith’s pocket sharpener. The pocket sharpener can be used to sharpen serrated blades.
    The “assisted opening” and Swiss army knife are always with me- unless I have to go into some government building.
    Everything together cost me about 125.00 US.
    I never pay retail price- you can find all kinds of deals at Cabela’s, Midway USA, Cheaper than Dirt, Brownells, and currently the went bankrupt and was sold Gander Mountain.

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