Thursday, August 12, 2010

The first tool was a rock. The second tool was a sharpened rock.

Marko has written a paean to his everyday carry pocketknife.

I, too, am a little baffled when I run into people who don't carry a knife. I mean, what do they use when they need to open something? Their teeth?

I still haven't gotten around to sending my Emerson Commander back to the maker for a tune-up (one of the tiny screws that hold the scales on went missing and the liner lock was starting to show some wear,) so for the past several years I'm most likely to be found carrying a Benchmade Stryker. It's big and sturdy enough to handle most any chore to which you'd set a pocketknife without being too bulky in the pocket, and the ATS-34 blade takes a wicked edge.

The biggest downside is that it's too big to fit in the pockets of my Gap jeans which have shallow girlie pockets more for decoration than for actually carrying anything, so on the days I wear those, I carry a smaller knife, usually a CRKT Urban Shark or a Spyderco Dodo, both of which are sadly discontinued. (Both also sport blade lengths compliant with even Chicago's anal knife laws.)

66 comments:

John said...

I, too, am a little baffled when I run into people who don't carry a knife.

I can only think of two employers that I've had that didn't ban them. That's the reason why I don't carry a knife, and probably a lot of other people don't carry for the same reason.

Boat Guy said...

Carried a similar Benchmade for some time (actually a couple of them, but I wound up losing both). Currently a Gerber Applegate-Fairbairn which is compliant with the Fed regs.
As I noted recently to a friend overseas; I remember Cooper looking at the "issue" MkII on my gunbelt and remarking "Well, a sailor without a knife could hardly be considered dressed."

theirritablearchitect said...

"...I mean, what do they use when they need to open something? Their teeth?"

That's always the excuse I've given at having one on me, as we've got to change the paper on the plotter somehow. How else am I gonna get the box open?

Anonymous said...

I used to carry a multi tool with a blade on it in my purse all the time, but after forgetting about it twice while going through air port security, I stopped.

Anonymous said...

Yeah me too, I fly all the time for work.

I do however rant and rave everytime I wish I had one to hand and ...

D.W. Drang said...

I have two problems: Legality when I'm at work, and security--i.e., losing the things--when I'm not.

Tam said...

There's also a multitool and a SAK in the turse and a small fixed-blade on my key chain... :o

Ken said...

I carry my late father's old folder. Three blades, none of 'em any too sharp at the moment, about as untactical as can be, but it opens things.

Robb Allen said...

I carry my Leatherman pretty much 24x7 (you get used to sleeping with a lump in your hip... really). The knife on it is purely utilitarian and in no way a self defense tool.

I'd prefer to be fired from a job where I couldn't even carry a Leatherman and I don't fly unless someone's life is on the line.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, since I actually own some sharpened rocks.

(Yes, real honest to Ogg, neolithic stone axes and what not.)

I wonder if I could pass them off as 'just rocks'.

Stacy said...

"anal knife laws"

I won't share the first thing that popped into my mind.

Bubblehead Les. said...

CRKT M16-13Z on me unless I'm in the shower or asleep, then its one arms length away. But with Winter on the way, I'm thinking about getting a Spyderco (easier to open with gloves on). Either way, I follow Gibbs Rule #9-Always have a Knife! What Boat Guy says is true. At my first real Sea Going Command, the Skipper looked at my Newbie Butt and said "Where's your Knife"? Stammering back about what knife, He said "Look around you. Every member of MY command will carry some sort of Knife while on Duty. Have something by tomorrow mornings inspection". My Chief came up to me afterward and said, "Don't sweat it. The Old Man did 2 back-to-back tours on River boats in 'Nam, and he's a little Gung-Ho about us being ready to fight at any second. I'll take you into town tonight and we'll find you something good that won't bang into gear". Still have that old Schrade Bear Paw. Good times, Good times....

Mike W. said...

Robb - How the hell do you carry a leatherman sans pants?

Ed Rasimus said...

Don't you have a LaRue Tactical 'Dillo--Tactical Beverage Recovery Tool?

Matt G said...

Robb Allen said: "I carry my Leatherman pretty much 24x7 (you get used to sleeping with a lump in your hip... really)."

Two thoughts came to mind when reading this:

1. Who does he think reads these comments? Half of us here have awoken with the slight crick in the back that comes from napping with a pistol on. More than half, probably.

2. So Robb apparently only wears pants while asleep?

Breda said...

I hate the shallow girlie pockets.

Anonymous said...

At the moment, an NRA Benchmade Tactical in my right rear pants pocket, an NRA Ceramic in my right front pants pocket, a Swiss Army Champ model on my right hip in a pouch in front of my primary carry .40 or .45 Bangin-Boomer, a Leatherman Wave in a double magazine pouch along with a Streamlight Scorpion flashlight, a small model S&W HRT double edge immediately behind the Leatherman pouch but in front of my holstered back-up Bangin-Boomer in .357, and a much larger double-edge (5 inch blade) in my boot. And to balance everything out so I don’t walk lop-sided with uneven weight distribution, my “always gun” is a Mustang Pocket-Lite in my left front pants pocket. To save everyone the trouble of counting and adding, the total is six separate sharp and pointy implements and three separate Bangin-Boomers.

With the exceptions of the two NRA knives and the Mustang, the rest of my “gear” is on an easy on -easy off separate gun/gear belt (to keep from dragging my pants down around my ankles). On the other hand, if I have pants on at all, I will ALWAYS at minimum have two reasonably serious knives and one serviceable firearm on me.

Why so many? I live in one of the more “reasonable” jurisdictions in the country. Simply put, I can, therefore I do. Besides, the various bladed implements serve different purposes. By comparison, all of my carry knives except the Swiss Champ technically constitute felonies in California because of either being double edged or one-hand openers. Concealed carry of a firearm in California without an almost impossible to acquire license/permit, however, is only a misdemeanor.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Chinese no-name assisted opener I picked up at a gun show for $20. If it gets lost, stolen, broken, or confiscated I'm only out $20, rather than the cost of a name brand equivalent.

I do have to hit the sharpening block for touch-ups more frequently than I would with a higher quality knife, but considering I sharpen my straight razor myself, that's not a big deal.

When I pulled it out to open an envelope, I did have one of the attorneys ask if I always have a "weapon" on me. My (somewhat) tongue-in-cheek automatic response was "Of course." I wish I'd pointed out that it was a tool, not a weapon, instead, but nobody has made an issue out of it.

Stretch said...

Swiss Officer model in right front pocket. For the wet-their-pants types I tell them "I need the corkscrew to open the Merlot."
Swiss Army brand multi-tool on left hip in horizontal case. Has saved me HOURS of time and money by having the tool I need when I need it.

Lissa said...

I recommend Hideaway Knives, myself. I've got one that nicely clips inside a pocket, rides on a belt or gets ace-bandaged under a skirt.

Jay G said...

Wow, what timing - I just posted about my new knife earlier this week.

$25 for a Kershaw Barrage - how can you go wrong there?

Tam said...

Jake,

"I do have to hit the sharpening block for touch-ups more frequently than I would with a higher quality knife..."

Those things lost their charm for me after an article in American Handgunner several years back where the writer hucked them up in a vise, dressed his pre-teen daughter in goggles, gauntlets, and apron, and let her snap the blades off a few.

The differences are more than just the quality of the steel.

In a world where a quality CRKT or SOG can be picked up for less than fifty bucks, the $5-$20 gun show specials seem like a false economy...

Justthisguy said...

On the Shallow Girlie Pockets: A woman I lived with for a while complained about the Menzes making the Wimminz wear un-practical clothing.

She had a subscription to Vogue.

The Big Guy said...

I'm with Stacy...

When I read "Both also sport blade lengths compliant with even Chicago's anal knife laws."

All I could think was:
"Chicago has laws regarding anal knives? Wow. I guess you have to carry your knife *somewhere*..."

TBG

staghounds said...

Ever since the Queen of England took my carried-every-day-for-20-years pocket knife, I can't hold onto one.

Lost four good knoves in a year.

Now it's cheapos that I can pitch, lose or abandon and not miss.

Still use one every day.

Revolver Rob said...

I good knife is a tool that is about seven factors of 10 more useful than a gun. Yet lots of folks carry guns, but no knives.

My everydays are either a Buck Strider or Spyderco Delica, and a fistful of custom knives (before I loved custom guns, I loved custom knives and I've got a bunch of friends who make them). My next one is an Emerson Mini-A100, the knife is a good shape to not scare the planet if you whip it out to perform a chore (something my Delica certainly does).

FWIW, my girlfriend carries a Kershaw Scallion everyday in her jeans "which have shallow girlie pockets more for decoration than for actually carrying anything". Works good and the little 2.25" Scallion blade is up to nearly every task out there.

-Rob

WV: Taste, you have exhibited good taste in knives with brands mentioned in this post.

DirtCrashr said...

Used to have a Leatherman Micra on a keychain, of which I used the scissors mostly it's in the glovebox now. No pretension for self-defense with that, but it would cut open hard-plastic blister-pack stuff and had a nice little nail-file.
Biggest thing on my keychain now is a Gösser beer-bottle opener from Austria. Sharpest thing is a mailbox key that's good for popping the strapping tape on a cardboard box.
Don't like carrying a lot of heavy stuff around in my pockets, don't like to wear a sheath on my belt either - hell, don't even like to wear belts.
When I need to I peel-tear boxes open, ripping up the glue-side, it's easy with a case of beer.

perlhaqr said...

The laws here in Albuquerque are actually more lax about carrying guns, now, than knives. :( We have a ludicrously short length limit.

staghounds said...

DC doesn't even like to wear clothing.

(Sorry, I had to.)Captcha word vermuri, something to do with a prototype Weatherby cartridge used to interdict heavy water shipments.

I need a holiday.)

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"In a world where a quality CRKT or SOG can be picked up for less than fifty bucks, the $5-$20 gun show specials seem like a false economy..."

Well, the prices are closer to equal now than when I first got it - at that point you couldn't find an assisted opener for less than about $60 (or at least I couldn't).

Even on those sites you pointed out, though, the cheapest assisted opener I could see was $50 (a nice one though, I might pick one up when they're available).

Also, around here the ones I can find in stores in that price range usually have the skeletized scales, which I can't stand - I've nearly cut myself more than once because part of the blade edge is almost always exposed in a place I can get the "meat" of a finger into accidentally.

Like I said, if I lose this one, I'm not out any significant amount of cash to replace it. It's the same reason I buy cheap sunglasses - if I spend more than about $10-$15, I invariably lose or destroy them, but if I spend less than that, I couldn't lose them if I tried, and if I do, I'm only out $10-$15 for replacements.

Tam said...

Be aware that prices at the manufacturers' websites are MSRP; most retailers will have them for less.

Joel said...

I carried a Benchmade folder for years before moving to the desert full time, but then started having trouble with dust. Also had to go back and find it one time a few hours after hopping a fence. Since then it's been belt knives for Unca Joel. My current companion is a Gerber Freeman Hunter, but from month to month it varies wildly. If I have to dress in "real people" clothes to go to a town, I still drag out the Benchmade. Certainly I wouldn't feel dressed without at least one knife. They're just too useful to be without.

Justthisguy said...

Oh, did y'all know that old-fashioned Cub Scout knives are illegal in Californian, at least in schools? My Cub Scout knife had a thingy which had to be shoved aside to close the blade back into the handle. This was a safety feature, to prevent kids from cutting themselves. An old-fashioned Cub Scout knife is apparently a Dangerous Weapon in California, these days

wfgodbold said...

I got the Benchmade folder I use on steep and cheap (it's a clearinghouse like woot) for ~$35; they put them up from time to time, but you need to keep your eye on the page cause they tend to sell out of the knives/multitools faster than the other items they put up.

D.W. Drang said...

Be aware that prices at the manufacturers' websites are MSRP; most retailers will have them for less.
Heh. While outnabout, in addition to picking up some brewskis-for-beerblogage, I stopped next door and picked up a CRKT two pack, a KISS and a PECK. $27 +/-, including the Governor's %'age.

DirtCrashr said...

Clothingses? Que? :-) I don't live in Forida like pantless Robb and it's been a freezing summer here. Was looking at a H1 super-stainless Spyderco for dinghy sailing just yesterday but don't have $79 for it. Can't buy cheap sunglasses, mine have to be Rx.
Nowdays they all have different specially ground name-brand contour blades - I'd have to study it or something before I could even decide and that gives me a headache. Should I wear matching team-spandex with my all-Campy bike like that guy this morning or is he just COSplay with velocepides?
Oh yeh, there's some blog-ad I host for a knife-guy, wonder what he's up too or if he gets any traffic from me?

aczarnowski said...

I hate the shallow girlie pockets.

I have no idea how you ladies make your clothing options work, but I certainly appreciate the efforts!

Anonymous said...

"The first tool was a rock."

Yeah, I was gonna point out that error over on Marko's post, but he was so well and truly caught up in his ode that I didn't want to be accused of pissing in his cornflakes (again).

But I do understand his sentiment. In my case, my dead daddy's old two-blade Browning has been my daily companion since he passed. Yeah, I know it's not really by Browning (he didn't), and it's not even a great knife compared to the marvels out there now, but I do give it credit for preserving what's left of my sanity and protecting the innocent ears around me from my tirades when that little knife helps me to navigate and ultimately defeat the DIABOLICAL AND IMPENETRABLE MOTHER F'n PACKAGING THAT EVERY DAMN THING COMES LOCKED INSIDE OF THESE DAYS!!! IF I HAD A ROCK I'D POUND IT AND WHATEVER'S INSIDE TO SMITHEREENS!!!

Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah...nice post. A good blade is a thing of beauty and a keeper of the calm, forever.

AT

Noah D said...

The second tool was a sharpened rock.

Having just got back from a trip to DC, including the Natural History Museum, those early types really knew what they were doing. They had some of the really old stone tools out for people to handle (supervised), and it's amazing what you can do to a rock to make it fit well into your hand, and/or put a (useful) edge on it.

Also of primitive tool interest - The Iceman had a knife (flint attached to wood) with a woven straw sheath, a bronze axe, and was apparently in the process of making himself a new bow when someone put an arrow into his back...

Bob said...

My EDC is a Boy Scout pattern made by Keen Kutter; since it is a little heavy for pocket carry, I typically carry in in a belt pouch.

CounterClckWise said...

What's an anal knife?

Anonymous said...

Les:

On the destroyer, there was a standing order that EVERYONE except engineering WOULD have either a Buck or Case knife on their belt at all times. Even most of the engineering dept. (snipes) had belt knives. I still have mine.

On the cruiser--back when the Nav had REAL cruisers--not so much.

Hmmm, I always thought the second tool was a large animals thighbone (2001).

cap'n chumbucket

reflectoscope said...

Oddly enough, I used my CRKT M-16 to pull the screws out of the bottom cover on our ultrasonic bath this afternoon. Where would I be without it?

Jim

pax said...

Re the girlie pockets, even someone completely without other domestic skills (me!) finds jeans pockets easy to deepen. Nobody can see the wretched messy stitching job, after all...

Will said...

Benchmade #812-s mini AFCK, for delicate or social purposes. Since early 90's. Should have got the plain edge. Modified for left hand carry. When I gave it to the rep at SHOT to be sharpened at the factory, they set it back up for righthanded, and replaced my customized screws. Aahhrrggg!!! 3" blade. When I first got it, everyone who handled it cut themselves, even after being warned how sharp it was. Spooky sharp. Better than a scalpel. Didn't come back from Benchmade as sharp, bummer.

CRKT Crawford Point guard? Originally bought for heavy work, like cutting off bumper covers dragging on the ground. Used a lot, every day. 2 5/8".

Small, cheap folder (China), to do lite cutting, like opening food bags. 2 1/8" blade, in pocket. Hmm, that might be too long for concealed in pocket. Better check...

Leatherman Micra, good scissors, and other bits. The tweezers are worthless. Blade seldom used, too slow to access. On about my fourth Micra. Bought a bunch for Christmas gifts years ago.

Swiss Tech Utili-Key on key ring. Fairly new, never used, yet. 1 1/2" blade.

Gerber multi-tool, in pouch. Not always on me, but in bag if not. Two blades, plain and full serrated.

Swiss Army Classic? Little bitty. One blade, file, scissors, toothpick, and the best tweezers ever! Also Christmas gifts one year. In pocket or bag.

Roberta X said...

Breda, Pax: Carhartt is your friend. I have reached the point where I won't buy anything but: they wear like iron and the pockets (7 or 8!) are meant to be used.

Knives, I walk out the door every morning with a Japanese carpenter's knife in my back pocket, a Leatherman Wave on my belt and a Kershaw flip-open with a 2.75" blade in my right front pocket -- plus the tiny multi-tool and knife+steel rule in my purse, the single-blade penknife folder on one key ring and the folding scissors on the other....

I hate breaking a nail.

Justthisguy said...

Bobby, do you go "clink" when you walk? No, really, you seem like a sensible woman to me, and I'd be happy to buy you a beer or cup of coffee if we ever meet, which seems most unlikely.

Außenseiter said...

I am a little baffled that anyone would carry a knife lacking such indispensable features as bottle opener, corkscrew, can opener, scissors, pair of screwdrivers etc...

pax said...

Bobbi, even the allegedly girl - shaped Carhartts aren't built to handle real curves...

wrm said...

I'm with Stretch, with the Swiss Officers (blade, bottle opener, corkscrew) in my pocket all the time. Bought one in Switzerland in '84, wore it out earlier this year (tore the corkscrew out of the frame on one synthetic cork too many). Replaced it for less than the cost of 24 beers.

Tam said...

Außenseiter,

The multitool killed the SAK, at least for anyone serious. (And really, a corkscrew is "indispensible"? I have a good one at home. The sommelier has one. The on a SAK or multitool blows goats.)

Anonymous said...

I work in a Fortune 100 company.
I couple of years ago, I pulled out my 2.5" lockblade (I think it was a "Browning") and my boss gasped, "Whoa! Are you supposed to have that?"
I shrugged, "Nothing in the handbook says I can't. I've carried a knife since 6th grade, so if HR says I can't then I'll find a new job."
No one's said a word since.
Mycroft

Awelowynt said...

http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/tools/6d98/

This isn't my main pocket knife, but I've used its other functions. It also serves in areas when a larger knife would draw more attention or is frowned upon.

I've 'forgotten' about it at security points several times, and I've never been stopped. Even did a tour of the White House with one.

If anyone ever does say anything and confiscates it, the replacement is only ten bucks. *shrug*

EgregiousCharles said...

I have a Kershaw Shallot and a Victorinox Swisstool Spirit Plus Ratchet that I that I carry every day and use pretty much every day. The Swisstool does everything except provide a good ready blade (it has only a serrated blade that
's slow to get to), the Shallot provides the good ready blade.

Carhartts are good, but I've switched to Duluth because of the crotch gusset. Too often I split Carhartts because of lifing with my knees, not my back. Never got anything from Duluth which didn't last, and I have a mostly-Duluth wardrobe at this point. I can't tell you a thing about how their women's clothes fit, though.

T said...

EDC is a Leatherman h502 in the pocket and a Squirt on the keychain. Well, it would be if my Squirt wasn't back at the factory for warranty work. The bag has a Buck Transport and a Leatherman Wave.

This doesn't count the various and sundry other odds and sods that go where I do, just the ones with knife blades.

Ian Argent said...

I'm carrying whichever random multi-tool I find on my desk right now since the clip on my skeletool loosened up and let go when I wasn't looking. I'll replace it one of these days...

I have an embarrassing collection of cheap chinese knives bought at renfaires when I wasn't old enough to drink.

Ian Argent said...

Oh, and one SAK knockoff with fake wooden scales engraved with "Royal Manticoran Diplomatic Corps" and a Manticore Rampant. (It was a gift)

Will said...

Awelowynt,

Got mine at Costco. Comes with two other litle multi-tools and a keyring flashlite. $20.

Firehand said...

Roberta, one of the librarians at my local branch just about had a fit when a guy used his Swiss Army knife to open a box for her: "You Are Not Supposed To Have Weapons In The Library!"

She couldn't open the effing box, but freaked at the guy for having the tool to do it for her...

tweell said...

We're not allowed to have knives at work, but I keep on forgetting to take my Swisstech Utilikey off the keychain. Silly me!

Anonymous said...

Emerson SOCFK-A for EDC, Emerson CQC-7B mini-b for when I'm around those that would freak.

Expensive, but great knives.

And before someone accuses me of going for the high end because it's expensive, I carry a Zippo because it always works, I wear a Seiko 5 because it always works and doesn't need a battery, and my EDC flashlight is a Nebo CSI Edge.

I love my Surefire E2D, but the Nebo is smaller, lighter, cheaper to feed (AA vs Lithium), and almost as bright. At about $10.00 it's also a lot cheaper to lose.

"A man should never leave his house without a knife or a means to make a fire."

jed said...

I can't remember not carrying a knife -- at least not since high school. Used to be a SAK and a Leatherman, now it's a Scallion and a SAK. And a funny little Buck on my keychain that has a bottle opener. I occasionally carry an Applegate Fairbairn folder, but it's a bit on the large size.

I've opened more bottles of wine with my SAK than with my at-home corkscrews. Kinda funny to be on a campout, and someone has a couple bottles, and forgot to bring one.

If I've ever worked someplace where I wasn't supposed to carry a knife, I somehow conveniently wasn't aware of that.

Oh, and even though I quit smoking, I still carry a lighter.

Tam, I thought you were packing a Sebenza? Did you sell it? :(

Coincidentally, I just found myself having e-correspondence with Mike Lovett on a forum I hang out at. All my knives are factory jobs. Well, some day maybe I'll be able to afford something hand made.

bogie said...

I carry 3 knives; a utility tool with knife, and two sizes of pocket knives. Since last weekend I have been researching knives based more on self defense (I usually can't have my cc on me or in my car becasue of work restrictions).

Okay, technically if work asks, it will be an assisted opening knife for those times that I need to open the copy paper boxes - but definitely NOT a weapon ;)

Tam said...

jed,

"Tam, I thought you were packing a Sebenza? Did you sell it? :("

I still take it occasionally, and it's definitely my "out in the woods or seriously away from home" knife, but for everyday carry, the lack of a pocket clip on my early "P-stamp" Sebenza is a serious handicap in the utility department. :(

Buddy said...

Chris Reeve Mountaineer on my belt, and Leatherman Micra always in my pocket...
Benchmade Elishewitz or Cold Steel Ti-Lite when wearing my Mountaineer is inappropriate. Benchmade Mel Pardue for Sunday-go-to-meetin'.
Chris Reeve Nkonka for serious tool-using in the Great Outdoors, with a Cold Steel Pendleton Hunter as backup.
Also have Swiss Army combo lock-blade for any other occasion!

Dr. StrangeGun said...

I still carry that cheap alloy CRKT I got at the shop several years ago. Of course, it's *long* past it's expiration date, so it's been modded a little...

- the original scale/backbone screws stripped, so I drilled and tapped two much larger ones
- modified for two thin nylon shim bearings, original would gum up and get real sticky to open/close
- hinge screw grew tolerances until it was a total PITA... and was allen head with a blind post nut that would spin. I cut a groove in the allen screw, fashioned a cross-pin that seated in two little holes and was glued in place holding the screw, and cut a small slot in the post nut so I can use my thumbnail or a screwdriver to tighten it.

Should have thrown it away years ago, but I've grown rather attached to it... after so much work, it's *mine*, you know? There's buying something from a company, and then there's buying something and taking it over completely... next thing may be to grind/treat/resharpen a 'kanto' style angled tip on the blade to eliminate some question about blade length vs. regulations and give a stronger surface for "tool use"... prying and screwdriving. It's a tool after all :)