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How To Choose Your First Pocket Knife
How To Choose Your First Pocket Knife

Basics

How To Choose Your First Pocket Knife

You know, there was a time when every young boy looked forward to getting his pocket knife. I can remember getting my first pocket knife as a birthday present. It was a Schrade stockman pocket knife with the clip, sheeps foot, and spey blade. I have to tell you, but I was a little bit disappointed it wasn’t a Case or other well know brand back then. But not disappointed enough not to show it off at school the next day!

Pocket knives are one of my favorite gifts to give at birthdays or Christmas. I only give them out to people I know because I can kinda figure what they’ll be using the knife for and then can match the knife to their style. You should also do the same when you choose a pocket knife. If you have specific plans for carrying a pocket knife, then don’t just buy the cheapest one you can find!

For example, if you’re an Electrician and you use your pocket knife to strip wires, then you wouldn’t want a dinky little knife nor would you want one that was so large that it was both uncomfortable to use and carry. You’ll probably want a single-bladed knife, maybe two blades at the most, with blade lengths of 2 3/4 inches to maybe 3 1/2 inches or so.

If you want a pocket knife for general use, then you’ll have a hard time beating a good ole Stockman knife. As stated above, they usually have three blades of different designs and lengths. Stockman pocket knives come in three sizes; small, medium, and large.

The medium size is generally good enough to handle just about any chore you need a knife for. And while I’m thinking about it, pocket knives are not screwdrivers or pry bars! This is one of the fastest ways to break your knife. If you’re going to need a screwdriver or prybar, then carry on! Otherwise, you can carry a multi-tool that has a screwdriver bit.

Which Brands of Pocket Knives Should I Choose?

Which Brands of Pocket Knives Should I Choose?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s damn hard to find a quality pocket knife under $30. Sure, there are a ton of cheap pocket knives listed all over the Internet and elsewhere for $9.99 and other nonsense.

A quality pocket knife will cost you somewhere between $40 and $100. This may sound like a lot at first, but what else these days can you buy for that much and be able to hand it down from one generation to the next? You can do this with well-made, high-quality pocket knives if you take care of them and don’t take your eyes off of them. (good pocket knives have a way of walking off!)

I’m fond of Case pocket knives. Not only do they use quality steel in making their knives, but they’re still made here in the good ole U.S.A. They come in a huge variety of styles to fit everyone’s taste. They’ve been around for a very, very long time and they stand behind their products. This is probably one reason they are so well-loved by their customers!

Other good brands of knives I like are Hen & Rooster and Spyderco.

Since I was a boy, many of the traditional knife makers have been bought out, many by foreign companies. Now pocket knife brands we used to take for granted are being made in China and third world countries and are of questionable quality in my opinion. It breaks my heart to know that Schrade Old Timer knives along with many Buck knife models are made overseas just to save a few dollars. It seems that Case is the only U.S. maker that realizes many consumers will pay extra for quality!

Other Things to Consider When Buying A Pocket Knife

Other Things to Consider When Buying A Pocket Knife

Something else you should consider when buying a pocket knife is the steel that the knife is made of. Not all steel is created equal. If you are looking for low price knife, we recommend considering 8cr13moV high carbon stainless steel.

Good knives are made out of different hardness of stainless steel. Cheap stainless steel knives can rust and discolor. Just another reason to pay a little more upfront and get a good quality knife.

Carbon steel knives tend to sharpen easily but will rust quickly if not oiled and taken care of.

The best choice among carbon steel and stainless steel blade is to use 1095 cro van steel. In this specific grade of steel, chromium, and vanadium added to prevent any rust on carbon steel. With the addition of rust-free characteristics, this steel grade abrasion-resistant is comparable to high carbon steel and that’s why it can be used in any circumstances from camping to the kitchen.

I like the surgical stainless steel used by Case in their knives. If I choose another pocket knife, I look for good quality stainless steel. Sometimes I may be camping for a week or longer and I don’t want to worry about my knife rusting.

Operating Types

Most of us are familiar with the traditional spring-type pocket knife. You open a blade and it springs open with a snap-in in most cases. Other types of operating systems you may want to take a look at are as follows.

  • This type of pocket knife has a long tail on the blade that is used to open the blade.
  • Generally folding knives are single-bladed knives and the blade is held open by either spring pressure or by a locking mechanism that will have to be depressed to get the knife closed.
  • There are the butterfly knives, but again, I don’t consider these true pocket knives.
  • There are the slide lock knives. These have a blade that retracts into the handles and are opened by sliding the blade out and it locks into place once fully deployed. I haven’t seen many of these types of knives that were quality-made. Also, most are too long to comfortably wear in your pants pocket.

In closing, I’d like to address the Swiss Army Knives. Two traditional makers of these knives are Victorinox and Wenger. These two companies turn out some fine knives, but these knives are a bit bulky for me to carry. I do keep one in my truck and boat along with emergency kits. If you don’t mind the extra bulkiness, then one of these types of knives may be for you. If like me, you are looking for some small minimalist knife, you should checkout the crkt minimalist bowie knife for hunting and survival activities.

I know that purchasing a pocket knife may not be the event of the decade for you. But if you going to give something as serious as a pocket knife to a person, at least take the time and research what is out there. You must take into consideration the age of the person and whether or not they are capable of being responsible with a pocket knife. Stick with these tips when you go to choose your first pocket knife and you should do fine.

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