The under rated cheap knife.


Carl Levitian
July 18, 2008, 01:38 PM
Like alot of knife knuts, I went through the stage when I was young, where I had to have the best, most hyped, high dollar knife around. I have to admit it; at one time I was a knife snob. Now I'm happy with w Victorinox bantam and classic, with an old Opinel or a Case peanut tossed in now and them. If I need a sheath knife, I have my old wood handle mora and an older Buck 102 woodsman.

How did I loose my knife addiction?

I became a cop.

For a while in the mid 70's I was on the Trinidad Colorado police department. It's kind of a long story how I got there from my native Maryland after I got out of the Army, so we'll skip that for now.

Cheap knives.

When I got to Colorado, I was still in my hype knife phase. My Randall 14 was my woods walking knife, my George Stone hunter was my game knife when I wasn't using my Randall trout and bird knife. In the late 60's early 70's those were the hight of custom made knives. But in Trinidad I came to a sort of awakening.

I remember one call we had when I was still green as grass in the spring. It was down by the Purgatoire river that flowed right through the town of Trinidad, and was a popular fishing spot right where it went under Commercial street. One hot afternoon, a couple of Mexican workers took some beer and thier poles and went fishing right at that spot. It was nice and shady under the big cottonwood trees that grew there. It was in easy view of the bridge over Commercial street, and pedestrian passerbys could see the area clearly.

Well, a falling out took place about 2 in the afternoon. Witnesses on the sidewalk over the bridge could see both men on thier feet arguing loudly, and gesturing with great gusto. We got the call as a possable drunk and disorderly call and were on the way when it was changed to a stabbing call.

On arrival, one man was down and dead, with the handle of a K-Mart Rapala brand fillet knife sticking out his chest in the area of his heart. The other man was running up the river bank, and was cought after a short foot chase. With all he had to drink, he was not running a strait line as we were. The body was trasported after the M.E. was done at the scene. The aftermath of the medical exam was interesting.

The thin pointy fillet knife was thrust into the chest of the victim at the hight of the arguement, according to multible witnesses on the bridge less that 50 yards away. The victim fell immeditaly and did not move. According to the M.E., death was instant, with the fillet knife blade glancing off a rib, and sliding right into the heart.

I remember looking at and feeling the Rapala afterward, and thinking "how could this thin little thing kill like that!" and making mention to an older officer that was sort of a mentor to this green rookie. I'll never forget his words.

"Kid, the human body is a frail thing, more frail than you think. After you do this job for a while, you'll see that you don't need one of those expencive custom knives you're fond of totin around. Hell, they kill people in prison with sheet metal shiv's made from the licence plate shot scrap, or sharpened toothbrush handles. Think about it kid."

Well, I did alot of thinking about it, and a sea change started to come over my view of knives. A month or two later another knife call did it.

The second knife call, I didn't feel much sympathy for the victim. One could almost say he had it comming to him. There was this guy who worked at the Allen Mine Company, who was in the habit of beating up his wife when he drank too much. A black eye here, a fat lip there. No charges pressed because she was afraif of him. But everyone has a point where enough by God, is enough. She got to her's.

One night he was slapping her around, and she got tired of it. At first she tried to run out of the appartment, but that angered him more so he beat her more. Then she tried to fight back, and he really gave it to her. The final report from the Mt. San Rafial hospital was two broken ribs, a broken nose, a lower jaw broken in three places, a couple teeth out, a concussion, and possable damage to the spleen.

But somehow she got her hands on the bread knife laying on the kitchen table.

It was a lousy knife. One of those cheap 1.98 things from the kitchen stuff isle at the supermarket, with a molded on white plastic handle, a serrated edge on a blade that was the thickness of a sheet of writing paper folded over 4 times. But it laid the bully low. When we got there, he was laying on his back on the kitchen floor, gasping and moaning, with this cheap bread knife sticking up out of his fat belly. The knife was sunk in about 1/2 way up its 10 or 12 inch blade and was wobbling with his every gasp. Kind of meshmerizing in a macabre way. He'd gasp taking in a breath and the knife would wobble over one way, then he'd moan exhailing, and the knife would wobble over the other way. Kind like AAHHHHH, wobble wobble, EEaaaah, wobble wobble.

He lived, but it took almost 5 hours of emergency surgey to pull him through. Not sure if it was worth it. The lady signed the compaint from her hospital bed, and the bully was sentanced to a couple years in the house of many doors. We had a judge in Las Animas county that took a very dim view of abusing women and children. The stabbing was ruled self defence.

I ended up selling off my knife collection, and took to carrying just standard pocket knives, like my mentors from my childhood. Some sak's, a few traditional pocket knives from Case and Camillus and Buck.

But mostly it made me loyal to the early mentors like Mr. Emory Varhidy and his stick. I learned that even a cheap knife is capable of much more mayhem than one would guess. A cheap box store fillet knife or supermarket serrated edge knife can lay you open as well as the highly hyped Spyderco this or Benchmade that. And one should keep well away from a knife, keep the distance and carry a nice stick. I learned the use and value of a stick early on, but as a police officer I re-learned the value of distance.

I also learned a knife doeasn't need a knife magazine's blessing as the tactical knife of the month. It just needs to be sharp.

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July 18, 2008, 02:02 PM
Awesome writing Levitian. I really enjoy your stuff...I'm about to do a "Find more posts" search on you.

The Tourist
July 18, 2008, 02:12 PM
Carl Levitian, I think we are using the wrong terms here.

An Opinel is cheap, but not of poor quality.

If you abused an Emerson, you would still have a quality knife, but with a poor edge.

July 18, 2008, 02:46 PM
Good read. I was told in LE training that a person armed with a knife, in attack mode, can go across at you over a 20-30 foot span in a mere 2 or so seconds, emphasizing the need for distance that you mentioned. I hate knives, but will have to live with them if I want to eat my steak!
Save a knife, carry an ASP ;)

July 18, 2008, 02:54 PM
Very nice piece Carl, inciteful and most of all honest.

And I'm sure you understand and agree with Tourist's comment regarding "cheap" vs. "inexpensive".

I have wondered myself where the whole "tactical" approach of thinking originated and if it is propelled by need and experience or machismo and marketing. That is not to say I have not been affected by it or even promoted it. I can understand it from a military service standpoint or a law enforcement perspective but admittedly scratch my head as to how that mindset relates to *my* daily living conditions and environment.

That is why, I'm almost positive, that my 'tactical' knives are drawer queens for the most part and my tiny Spyderco Copilot, SAK Soldier, and Leatherman Wave proudly wear the well-worn marks of something that is used and enjoyed everday. Interestingly enough, they haven't broken, sharpen easy, hold an edge well enough and probably cost me less than $100 on sale (actually one was a gift). Apart from making a dugout canoe, I'd could probably survive for a bit with just the three of them, or even two in a pinch.

This should be an interesting conversation...

July 18, 2008, 03:03 PM
I have some nice knives, no question about it. I also have this el-cheepo tiny Chinese fake spyderco that I think I paid all of $5 for and I call it "bad penny" because no matter what happens the knife keeps coming back to me! And it hold an edge. Who'da thunk it.

July 18, 2008, 03:16 PM
UK is going through a spate of lethal stabbings at the moment preferred weapon of choice a kitchen knife often or not from the pound shop :(

July 18, 2008, 04:00 PM
I've thought about making some type of "shiv" to sell. Doesn't take much to cut the neck and kill, for sure.

Dave McCracken
July 18, 2008, 04:46 PM
A couple things.....

I'm not a knife fanatic, I do like good tools. There's a handful of Pumas, Bucks, Gerbers, Kaybars, CS etc, here.

My EDC has devolved down to a Kershaw Scallion, though once I return to the workplace I'll probably add something better suited for cutting seatbelts, etc.

The Scallion was free. I found it.

There's an old Western 3 blade pocket knife here that was first my Grandad's , then Pop's. Grandad passed on in 1953. The biggest clip blade is well worn, and my aunt says her father carried a tiny whetstone also.

All the blades take a scary sharp edge as does my dad's old Case sheath knife.

As for improvised knives, I'm retired from the MD prison system.

A couple cases.

Two cellmates were arguing over the last jug of illicit hooch they had bought. Both had imbibed plenty already. When it got physical, one broke a plastic mirror and stabbed the other in the heart. The victim survived, but wasn't good for much.

I mean, even less than before.

Another I witnessed was when a new fish crowded an old hand in the chow line. Said old timer had a Number 2 pencil in his shirt pocket. After warning the newbie once, the oldster spun around when again crowded and buried the pencil in the chump's head. Didn't penetrate the skull, but part of the pencil was left under the scalp. Enough was left for the old timer to gash the chump's cheek with the remnants.

The chump was known as Ti after that, short for Ticonderoga #2. I didn't see him crowd anyone after that.

Another incident saw a biker type having a beef with a smaller, but jailwise inmate who worked in the prison hospital. The biker was big, bulky and pumped iron. The smaller inmate evened things up with a razor blade melted into a toothbrush handle.

200 stitches worth later, the incident was over. The biker survived by getting a transfusion before he got on the ambulance. A co worker was the donor.

Another toothbrush razor left the still visible scar on my left thumb. I broke up the fight.

The scar on the back of my right hand was from another fight, in the inmates dining room. A fork was the weapon. The user apologized afterwards, I wasn't his target. It didn't stop me from subduing him using the maximum force I coul get away with. I had four officers in the area and around 200 inmates.

Other weapons I recall being used included a sock with two bars of Ivory soap in the toe stuck inside another sock and tied off.

Rocks in socks were also popular. So were canned goods.

It boils down to just about anything can be used as a weapon and will be.

July 18, 2008, 05:06 PM
It boils down to just about anything can be used as a weapon and will be. The mind is the weapon, all else but tools . . .

July 18, 2008, 06:30 PM
I have LOTS and LOTS of knives from Case and Schrade and Cammillus and Queens.
Lately I have been bitten by the Opinel bug and they have become my daily carry and work knives.
Capable of a very scary edge.

July 18, 2008, 07:45 PM
I got two that are outstanding. Both are Buck Diamondback fixed blades. One 3" and one 4".

They're not exactly cheap but they were when I bought 'em. Cabelas was blowing them out at $10 ea. I had a $15 gift card as part of their Christmas promotion for card holder/club members. With the card I got them for about $4 each with shipping.

The Diamondback line is one of Bucks import offerings. Some from China, others from Taiwan.

I only bought them to use up the gift card without spending much of my cash. After getting them I was very impressed with the knives. The edges are a bit on the brittle side so I assume these are not the "sharpened pry bar" type of knives that many are fond of.

The spine is as square as you can imagine making for a great ferro rod scraper. These things throw a shower of sparks! Use the (rather sharp) thumb grooves and its even better.

The sheaths are nylon with snap closures and kydex liners. Also impressive for the price.

Overall, I wouldn't feel under-knifed if these were all I had.

I've been using the 3" version in the kitchen just to test edge holding. I noticed that if left wet it will show some rust spots. Obviously stainless but a high carbon SS. Similar to Bucks usual 420HC but I can't be sure as they are imports. If buck has learned anything from Paul Bos and his heat treat and uses it overseas, I imagine these knives will last for a good long time, hold a decent edge, and continue to impress me.


July 18, 2008, 08:33 PM
Victorinox Pocket Pal sells for less than $15.

What we have is a 3 1/4", Equal End pattern with a main blade, that opens on one end, the smaller pen blade on the other, using a single back spring.

-The knife is sharp out of the box and ready to use.
-Blade geometry assists in the ability of this knife to cut as it does.
-Fit and Finish
-Comfortable in Pocket
-Society Acceptable
-Meets Legal restrictions in the UK, and USA, for most settings
-Lifetime warranty
-Easy to maintain, and sharpening can be as simple as using a Rapela "V" sharpener.
-Great Whittling knife, and all one needs to do is strop every 10 minutes
-The ability to clean fish, fowl, game, cut rope, cardboard, cut a chicken fried steak in a diner or cut a Porterhouse served in the finest steak house in town.
-Not expensive to replace if lost or stolen.
-To darn handy to not have, and one does not mind using it, loaning it, or even giving the darn thing away to someone in need of a knife.
-Works in a saltwater environment


The last time I stood in front of a Case Display with the new order with folks...well the mom and pop was just sick. The apologized and were going to send every damn one back.

Yellow handles , both CV and True Sharp, had edges not even finished to tip, rivets either sticking out, or "recessed" way too deep or both. ~ $36

Red Bone, looked worse than a whore's red lipstick, and at least a whore can get lipstick on a lip proper.
These were that bright of a red, then faded to white, near bolsters with a gap. ~$50

Prices just a average for series and knives in a mom and pop store.
It would take some work, to get these knives ready to whittle, heck, cut anything.

Contrast :

So...the Ladies have ordered Bokers.
Oh yeah, a tad more money, and bought from a online source that checked them out, and will give a no hassle money back if not happy.
~50, for these Tree Brand, with carbon steel , and Rosewood handles.

Sharp out of the box!
Fit and finish very very nice!

Ready to use.
So the good knife is the Boker, the fun, general purpose and all, including in emergency kits as back ups, the Pocket Pal.

Some folks remember what brung them up, and some don't, and don't seem to care.

Brian Dale
July 18, 2008, 11:54 PM
It would take some work, to get these knives ready to whittle, heck, cut anything.Man, that's bad news. I almost bought a Case a little while ago. I might have got in before the change.

Instead, I got an Opinel No. 6 that I usually carry, a No. 7 for the tool shelf and an Okapi that I carried today. So far, so good, with these. I'm happy with them.

Pax Jordana
July 19, 2008, 12:31 AM
I have wondered myself where the whole "tactical" approach of thinking originated and if it is propelled by need and experience or machismo and marketing.

By and large, machismo and marketing. Give a tool some hard use and it will speak for itself. The ad copy people do their best to convince you a tool will speak for itself - i.e. the new dongle will be just as good as the old dongle.. but you already own the old dongle.

That's not to deride the legitimacy of the knife as a showpiece for class, style, wealth or geekdom (this last especially - look at all the nutso kookoo locking mechanisms we have nowadays!)

One of the instructors from my EMT class drove ambulances back when an ambulance was a hearse with white paint on it. He carries a slipjoint, and a leek - but he only carries the leek because someone gave it to him.

His first lesson was, it's illegal to carry a weapon on an ambulance 'round here, so remember you're carrying a tool. The second was, there's probably a better tool for the job, but if you use your brain you can probably improvise. Knives have cut for millions of years - there is always room for innovation in design and materials when incorporating other purposes into the tool (see: leatherman, atwood, EOD robotics. (

July 19, 2008, 12:43 AM
Sorry Carl, but a folks are killed by sharp pieces of glass and sheet metal all the time. And they're killed with cheap poorly made knives from the grocery/walmart all the time as well. The difference being that a cheap knife doesn't have many more uses and won't stand up to use as a tool where a quality knife will.

If you're just using the criteria of someone being killed as your definition of what a knife is good for you might as well carry a sharpened stick since that will do the job you've described.

July 19, 2008, 01:29 AM
... look at all the nutso kookoo locking mechanisms we have nowadays!
Well, it's good news/bad news, ya see.

If it wasn't for the patent system and predatory licensing practices, we'd have mebbe what, 4? 5?, locking patterns.

Same with assisted opening methods. In fact, seems to me, some of the locking techniques are partly a function of the opening method.

If folks was free to just copy an existing production design and improve as they could, we'd have fewer, but better evolved, locking systems.

The fact that the early worm "owns" the system-and-method for such-and-such a lock mechanism means that anyone else who wants to play has to 1) license what the other guy did, 2) come up with something new and different, or 3) adopt a method that's effectively in the public domain.

And, presto! Dozens of variations on the locking concept.

Mixed blessing, I guess. Commercial "area denial" strategies do, in part, encourage innovation and invention. And that's a good thing -- provided the "best of breed" method belongs to a company that survives.

July 19, 2008, 01:41 AM
Sorry Carl, but a folks are killed by sharp pieces of glass and sheet metal all the time. And they're killed with cheap poorly made knives from the grocery/walmart all the time as well. The difference being that a cheap knife doesn't have many more uses and won't stand up to use as a tool where a quality knife will.

If you're just using the criteria of someone being killed as your definition of what a knife is good for you might as well carry a sharpened stick since that will do the job you've described.

WOW! :what: I didn't get that from reading the original post at all...:uhoh:

I took it as a commentary on underestimating the ability of a 'cheap' knife and overestimating one's actual needs in a carry knife.

The trend that I've observed over the years (perspective: I'm 45 and got my first 'real' knife around the age of 7 or so...) is that there is some magical quality in the knives being produced today that makes anything carried yesterday obsolete. Knives that had proven themselves in the field at home and abroad were somehow just not 'good enough' for todays soldier, LEO, citizen, or hunter. Ok, a certain amount of progress is expected and designs such as the "Spydie Hole" and beefed up "liner locks" are wonderful, as are micarta and some of the 'wonder steels'. But it has gotten to the point where we are testing $400 camp knives on car doors. You have to admit that the customer base who *really* needs a knife like that is tiny relatively speaking. Most times a blade that size would just be in the way for most of the people who would be in a situation to use it. And how many rank and file Soldiers or Marines could even afford one?

Carl is 'preaching to the choir' I think and not *against* the choir. I appreciate his perspective and believe it goes a long way toward bringing a bit of reality into a subject that has become mostly Walter Mitty fantasy (picture the mall ninja with his kerambit and CIA darts). It's a voice in the wilderness saying "it's ok...your Grandfather's Marbles will not let you down..." At the least it encourages a look from a different perspective.

The realization that I've come to (for me now-for me...) is that most of the heavy tactical stuff is unnecessary or even unsuited for what I typically cut. The blades tend to be too thick the edge profile is closer to an axe than a knife etc. In other words-there are tools more suited to the job. If we want to bring the idea of carrying for defense into the discussion it changes the dynamic 'a little' but again, not as much as *they* would like us to believe. Another thing that puzzles me is the worship of "edge retention" and "staying sharp". It's always been my lowly experience that the harder it is to dull the harder it is to sharpen. I cut my teeth on high carbon blades and whet stones. Every knife ever made will get dull-period. The knives I use can be brought up to speed in 5 or ten minutes by hand using a stone and spit, including my machetes. I like it that way. For my needs that's what works.

Lastly, Carl's piece opened with "How did I loose my knife addiction?" It wasn't a sermon on why YOU should loose YOUR knife addiction. As I've alluded to before, I am re-evauating my own knife 'needs' right now. Every piece is on the table so to speak. From my 1970 Old Timer pen knife up to my most coveted John Greco and all the knives I've amassed in the last 38 years. Maybe by discussing it someone else will be able to break free from their own 'tactical hell' :neener:

Yes-"My name is Mongrel and I'm a knife nut" no more...


Just serious enough to make it interesting, but not serious enough to get worked up over....

Eleven Mike
July 19, 2008, 09:08 AM

So you can stab somebody with a cheap bread knife. That has nothing to do with what kind of knives a person uses or carries for peaceful purposes. I carry a custom, Loveless-style knife because I like it, and because it is a practical tool; not because it's better for killing bad guys than some other knife.

You weren't packin' that Randall trout and bird knife for CQB were ya?

Carl Levitian
July 19, 2008, 09:22 AM
Hso- obviously my post rubbed you the wrong way.

I know very well what a knife is used for, as well as knowing people are killed by sharp glass and scrap metal every day. Thank you for pointing that out to me, as that was exactly one of the points I was trying to make.

It seems like you missed the entire point of the post.

I was attempting to point out, that contrary to the garbage put out by certain magazines, one does not need a Emerson this or ninjadeathdealer that, costing hundreds of dollars to do serious if not fatal damage. As this IS the NON-FIREARMS WEAPON forum I was talking about the weapon aspect of the knife. If that offends you, then why is this called the NON-FIREARM WEAPONS forum?

This may a novel thought, but it is very possable to get a job done with less than a high dollar knife. Too many people belive that unless they have the equel of a pocket Excaliber, their comming from behind. Sure, from a collector standpoint a sebanza is a nice knife. But do you really need one? No.

As far as a cheap knife not standing up to use as a tool, I beg to differ with you, sir. I grew around blue collar working class men, and most got by very well with a carbon steel Colonial barlow and a old butcher knife in a homemade leather sheath. They used the cheap knife as a tool, and when the blade was worn down to a steel toothpick, it was replaced. Cheaply. But then they were not concerned with a status symbol, just a sharp cutting tool that got the job done.

If something about my post offended you, tell me what it is instead of sarasticly attackking me with a "Sorry Carl."

Good day, sir.

Fred Fuller
July 19, 2008, 09:23 AM
When I was a kid, the State Fair in Birmingham (AL) was a regular outing for my family. I remember the BPD used to have a travelling exhibit that appeared every year.

A feature of the exhibit was 'criminal weapons' that had been confiscated or taken as evidence. Sawed off shotguns, pistols, all manner of firearms. And then there were the slashy and stabby things. There was a wall full of still-bloody kitchen knives, steak knives, pocket knives, you name it- on display. LOTS of them.

Likely years worth of accumulation for a big-city PD, but still- it was a LOT...


Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
July 19, 2008, 10:24 AM
Good story Carl - point taken. Hso, what you said is the very point he is trying to make, I think....

An Opinel is cheap, but not of poor quality.

And one could say the same thing of the Rapala filet knife murder weapon in question.

July 19, 2008, 10:43 AM
I own a few custom knives myself but honestly the most "work" is done by a "cheap" Mora knife. The other knives I buy for other reasons.

And one could say the same thing of the Rapala filet knife murder weapon in question.

Actually I own that knife and it is the sharpest in my kitcen lol

July 19, 2008, 12:31 PM

Though he focused on the lethality of cheap knives I felt like that was right-on for a couple reasons...

This is the non-firearm weapons forum

So-called "tactical" knives are marketed as such because their primary purpose is fighting...anyone who thinks people buy tactical knives primarily because they like apples and hate strings is probably incorrect

I agree that a cheap(er) knife can't do EVERYTHING a $300-400 knife can do for as long and as well, but it can come close. a $30 knife is not "worth" just 10% of a $300 knife in the field.

July 19, 2008, 12:42 PM
It seems it's being said, "a cheap knife used in an emotional state is justification to disbelieve the claims of better knives, which will be referred to in slighting tones."

If that's the inference, then applied to firearms, those "Gun of the Month" Kimbers, Kahrs, HK's, and others are not really necessary when you've got a 9MM Keltec. It'll kill'em just as dead as a Glock.

Put 50,000 rounds through it. Heck, put 50,000 rounds through most of the .45's, or even the service Beretta. They aren't touted and made to do it.

Therefore, all better grade guns are really just a waste of cash. And no, I don't believe it for a minute.

That's not what's being said here, is it?

The Tourist
July 19, 2008, 01:12 PM
There is an overriding issue here that we seldom touch upon.

Can't a person like something simply for the personal joy of "liking it"?

I'm sure a full-dress Gold Wing is quite comfortable. It doesn't look like much fun to me.

In that category, I'm not big on black powder pistols, tall redheads, books by Dumas, about 2/3's of my 1970's college courses, quiche' lorraine, courdouray pants, nagging, cold rain, and Everyone Loves Raymond.

I do like Grahams, Striders, and Emersons. I will be adding one of Valkman's knives to that list in a few weeks.

Yes, I'm tending to use my "good stuff" more as I get older. I have fewer "drawer queens."

But there are some things I have purchased for pure joy. And that feeling to me is reason enough.

Having said that, my wife and I keep a SuperKnife by the front door for difficult packages sent UPS.

July 19, 2008, 01:31 PM
Having said that, my wife and I keep a SuperKnife by the front door for difficult packages sent UPS.

:D excitement kinda gets the best of you sometimes, huh?
Can't even get away from the front door before opening goodies from the BBTOJ (Big Brown Truck Of Joy).

Embarrassed to say, I'm the same way. :o Dang that truck! Makes my ears perk up when I hear it coming. Just like my dog when my wife pulls in the drive. :p

July 19, 2008, 01:44 PM
Tourist, that makes perfect sense IMO. It really does. But what (I think) Levitian here is saying is that if you have limited resources, you can spread them more evenly than some people who buy Swamprats, Emersons, whatever, do; you can allocate your resources better if you are operating on a budget...

You admit that you don't HAVE to have those knives...but if you go to Bladeforums or or wherever, there are going to be lots of people who are full of hype about the latest whatever.

You appreciate your fine knives, and they are fine knives, but you admit that they're an indulgence...and most importantly you don't scoff at my Case.

July 19, 2008, 03:57 PM
I use:
-Valkman's Small Skinner and mine is 01 steel.
-The custom made fixed blade with steel from a bastard file, with Elk handle and is a hunting classic design.
-Spyderco Mule
-Original Becker-Necker
-Krein Dogfish , plain edge, in SV30

I have used custom knives with handles of ivory, stag, 18k yellow gold, Platinum, and some had diamonds set into the precious metals , and I cleaned game, fish and fowl with these.
I never blinked wearing a Patek Philip while out quail hunting or having a Corum $20 gold pc, watch. (This is the one that is made from a US $20 gold pc, and looks like one, just one had to know where to open it.

I have used custom shotguns worth $100k on a skeet field, to fell doves, ducks and other uses.

I appreciate fine things.
I have been there and done that with nice things.

I appreciate the fact I have some skill sets, and the tool performs for me because I have skill sets.

I rarely wear a watch, the knife I always have with me, is a ugly, SAK classic that needs to be sharpened, but I have no gumption to do so.

I used a $100, bone stock, H&R Youth, 20 ga shotgun with a fixed modified choked plain barrel, and factory recoil to beat out a person with a Ultimate Extreme shotgun with pistol grip only - and - the Ultimate Extreme shotgun with pistol grip fore end, extended mags, side saddles, light, and whatever else that gun had in, on, around and hanging off it.

This bone stock gun, is a user. Don't ask when the last time the bore was cleaned, we don't know.
The chamber is cleaned, barrel is removed often and STOS, RIG+P or something used on hinge pin.
I think we used Radiator Specialty Super oil to lube the action (it would require walking 5 steps to get the can of BreakFree CLP last time lubed) and the stock and metal gets Johnson's Paste Wax.

I used the old, rusty cased slugs, I don't care, and these needed to be used up.
Oh it likes 2 3/4" Brennke's, oh yes indeed.

Still I felled low house 7, a clay bird only 4" in diameter going 55 mph with a slug, and I busted it, before it got halfway to the center stake.
I felled the incomer (high house) right at me, and clay shards went everywhere.

I ran 26/26 and somehow did not flub up, and continued to make effective hits, on moving, 3D, and stationary targets.
I was able to shoot 5 rounds, before the pump PGO could shoot 2, and she missed her shots at 7 and 10 yards.

I went 8/8 shooting from the bed of a moving pick up truck.

Now I don't do what I used to. Hell I don't shoot like I used to, and really spend my time with others shooting.

Still we keep some Old Hickory knives around and they get used for a lot of stuff, both indoors and outdoors.
The old Gerber with M2 blade was bought for 50 cents in a yard sale, and I sharpened it a year ago in a hurry.
It may get "stropped" , mostly to get the sticky stuff from tape off it.
It holds an edge.
It has busted down more clay target boxes, sliced all sorts of foods for food prep, cleaned game, fish and fowl and even cut wood for who knows what.

A Case Peanut sold for what back when the OK bombing occurred?
Do a search for the Orthopedic surgeon that amputated a leg, to save a ladies life.
He had all his surgeon tools for amputation, sharp tools, specially made for amputations.
They. Would. Not. Cut.
He could not get them to where he could use them.

The first responders more than once wanted to evacuate, it was that dangerous for them and the Doctor.

Doc used his personal pocket knife, that Peanut, to amputate that leg at the kneeand I am betting it was just whatever sharp it was, as one carries a small knife around.

Best recall the local hardware store gets $35 for a Peanut, and off the Internet one can get these for less.
I am sure they were less back when the OK bombing occurred.

We have got to stop with the majic talismans for physical items and how one maintains them.

No tool is ever better than the user of a tool.
Yes, some tools fit tasks better, still if one gets fixated and becomes anal and obsessive compulsive on aspect(s) and not the "target" they will miss out.

The SAK Pocket Pal that sells for $12 is sharp at 400 grit, and it does not matter if both sides meet perfect side to side and the edge is polished.
It will handle 90% of what folks use a knife for.

A SAK Classic one buys for $8, that has never been sharpened, and is on a key ring, or console of a car, or in a desk drawer, bottom of a purse...
Will continue to cut.

I have seen a Veterinarian do a emergency surgery with one, more than once.
That is why so many Doctors carry a SAK Classic, and very few actually have the "emergency blade" .
In the old days, Docs carried the free Advertising knives like those from Purina, or a small Imperial, Shrade, Hen & Rooster, Case...

Still a small "inexpensive" knife with a thin blade will cut, and while not expensive, the tip here is, the small thin blade, as it does not have to be polished , razor sharp to do what a medical person might need to use that knife for.

Go get the most expensive knife you have with the sharpest edge.
Now breast out 8 trash ducks, cut some cord, open boxes of shot gun shells, whittle on sticks, cut some summer sausage, cheese, brownies in a glass dish and I forget what else...
Then use that knife to do an emergency trach using a straw from a fast food joint.

Doc buddy of mine did just that one day, using a SAK Classic, back when these did not have screwdriver tip, they did not come with tooth picks and tweezers, the scissors had a screw in them.

It was a free SAK a drug rep gave him.
He had carried that knife for some time, and never sharpened it.

Human life is pretty expensive.
I had his six with a small pen knife I had won in a raffle at a shoot.
That one I had never sharpened either, just a good looking gentleman's knife only 2 3/4 in closed length.

July 19, 2008, 04:19 PM
I always hate posting after Steve. He makes me look stupid and overly concise. Oh well, c'est la vie.

I live in the country and have three boys. Therefore, I've bought a lot of cheap knives. I've found that the cheap gun show knives don't last more than a couple of months, the next step up, such as the Winchesters maybe half a year. I got tired of buying them new knives all the time so I started looking for knives that were sufficiently well made to last but not cost so much that a lost one would be too big of a deal.

The brands that fit my bill the best are:

1. Kershaw and a somewhat distant second is,
2. Buck

Kershaw is my preferred knife as well, not just my boys. I've also purchased my two oldest girls Kershaws and my youngest girl has a Case Peanut that her grand parents got her. Now that is a classic!

July 19, 2008, 04:45 PM
If something about my post offended you, tell me what it is instead of sarasticly attackking me with a "Sorry Carl."

Nothing in your post "offended" me and I'm sorry if you thought I was attacking you.

I read your discussion as how you came to sell off your high end knives, "the best, most hyped, high dollar knife around", based on your experience as a LEO where cheap knives had been used as weapons. As such I took that as the criteria for why you got rid of your Randalls and Stoner since that's all that was presented.

I considered that impression, that any cheap low quality knife will do, to be inaccurate and a disservice to the members here where we've told folks over and over again that quality knives don't have to be expensive and expensive knives aren't always needed to serve as excellent EDC/camp/hunt knives.

I also learned a knife doeasn't need a knife magazine's blessing as the tactical knife of the month. It just needs to be sharp.

We're in complete in agreement that a pricey knife isn't needed to be a good tool or weapon.

Todd A
July 19, 2008, 04:56 PM
"Cheap" is relative.

I own used knives by Schrade,Ulster,Case,Western,Boker,Robeson,Camillus,
Kingston, Hammer Brand (New York Knife Co) and Imperial.

(Imperial made high quality knives that rivaled the others back in the day).

And even "cheap" store brands of Craftsman,STA-SHARP,and Wards.

These were mostly "cheap" working men's knives in their day. The fact that I am still enjoying using these knives today,in some cases 80 +/- years later, shows they are anything but "cheap".

High cost does not mean high quality in every case.Just as low cost does not mean your knife will instantly fall apart upon use,in every case.

July 19, 2008, 05:22 PM

You are parenting.
Kids lose and mess up stuff.

Carl Levitian
July 19, 2008, 06:39 PM
My point I was trying to make is a very simple one.

I'll try it again more simply.

Since this is a NON FIREARMS WEAPONS FORUM, I'm talking about the WEAPONS aspect of the thing.

Don't under estimate a cheap piece of junk because you may be one of those knife snob poeple who believe all that is written. A no name 2 dollar knife from the junk bin at a thrft store will kill you just as dead as a sebanza in the hands of the mugger you may be facing. or in your own hands when you have to fly someplace and pick up some weapons on the other end.

Too many people make the mistake of thinking that just because you have the high end what-ever, it gives you an advantage. Sorry, but it don't. And that goes for most things. If one wants to talk about the tool aspect of it, fine, lets do. Most people are tool users, but not knife knuts. So they go out and buy a low cost cutting tool. Millions of people have got by just as well with a Opinel, Douk-Douk, Mercator, Colonial barlow, Victorinox classic/bantam/pocket pal/recruit, or the humble Old Hickory.

Guns? Fine. Lots of people are not gun nuts, but recognize they may need a gun. So they buy a H&R single shot break open, or in handguns a zink frame Raven .25 or Davis .380. There is no way to deny that the single shot shotgun will drop a quial or duck just as well as a Remy 870 if the shooter does his end of it. The man holding the tool is the defining element of it. How many of you have come home without the deer with your modern gun and gear? And yet the neolithic man was out there keeping his family fed with a sharp stick. A plain wood spear with a fire hardened tip. Sure he missed alot, but so do modern hunters. If a lower paid hourly worker at a custodian job at a motel wants to defend themselves, and can't afford a Glock, should they give up? I believe Ayoob had an article in one of his writings about an abused woman who killed her abusive husband with a 49.95 zink gun. It worked good enough that she would never live in fear of him again.

My point was simple, don't underestimate the cheap whatever. Gun/knife/cresent wrench...

It just may get the job done and surprise you. I'm willing to bet money that there's been many a buck dropped with a single barrel Stevens, dressed out with a cut rate knife, and driven home in the trunk of a second rate used car.

As for my own experiance, I found myself going to other tools when I found out my custom knives did not work as well as some surprising low end stuff. My Randall trout and bird knife was a pretty thing, but it was not really all that great a knife. It was heavy, cut decent, but that was it. My little Victorinox parring knife in the nylon sheath gets a scary sharp edge, goes through a fish belly or squirrel hide way better with cleaner cutting. As for the Randall 14, it actually cut decent, but chipped when I went through a sappling on a camping trip. Something that never happened with my Tramontina 12 inch machete that cost all of 8 dollars.

Its an eye opener when you go back to using a 10 dollar Victorinox bantam because it cuts better than a 200 dollar Barry Wood folder. And the Victorinox will open bottles, can, screws and so on. Thats a heck of alot of utility for 10 dollars, any way you cut it. And the Vic comes with a real lifetime warenttee to boot. One day I found myself looking at my collection, and I asked myself "what the heck am I doing with all this stuff?" Off it all went to A.G. Russell to be sold off. Now I use 10 dollar sak's like a Bantam and classic, and my almost 40 year old S&W model 10 takes care of keeping me safe. If I go afield, my 20 gauge H&R seems to do as well as my 870 I sold off. Plus I've discovered a wonderfull sense of liberation in using cheap gear. If my canoe dumps over, breaks into my car while I'm in the diner, or some other catastrophy strikes, I can replace all the cutlery at Smoky Mountain Knifeworks for 20 dollars, and a new shotgun for a single hundred dollar bill.

Sometimes the cheap stuff works better than the high dollar hyped ----- of the month.

And hso, okay, with this media its easy to misunderstand things. I'm okay if you're okay.:D

July 19, 2008, 07:16 PM
Since this is a NON FIREARMS WEAPONS FORUM, I'm talking about the WEAPONS aspect of the thing.

Oops. Sometimes I forget this is a weapons forum and not a tool forum. My post was obviously off topic. Sorry for getting carried away. :o

The Tourist
July 19, 2008, 07:19 PM
Can't even get away from the front door before opening goodies from the BBTOJ (Big Brown Truck Of Joy).

Correct, there are times I just need a tool. And let's face it, for grimy, dirty wet boxes, something cheap is the correct tool.

You admit that you don't HAVE to have those knives

Sadly, you must know my weaknesses. I like nice toys. I have thousands of dollars of useless chrome in the garage. But that's precisely why I posted as I did. I did live in a cold apartment at one time. I did own cheap knives. If you work hard you should get to splurge. However, I did not want to publicize my choices as an indictment of folks who can't/won't do the same.

We have got to stop with the majic talismans for physical items and how one maintains them.

Wow! I'm going to start printing that on my business cards! The ultimate value of any tool should be decided by the practicality of its usefulness.

I was talking about the weapon aspect of the knife.

I hope you don't read anything negative into my posts. A week or two ago we talked about the defensive capabilites of my Razel, despite the fact I use it simply as a tool.

In the case of knives, that is the duality of the case. For example, you might open UPS boxes every day. Then suddenly after two decades you need that same knife for self-defense.

Now granted, you could use a Bill Bagell bowie or a Keating Chinook II for an EDC. Someone out there somewhere is a THR member who does just that. In fact, if I was staying in Yellow Knife for an extended period I might try the Bagwell, myself.

The problem here, as with any SD tool, is that you cannot schedule an emergency. There are SureFire flashlights that can double as a kubaton, but they are still great flashlights on a routine basis.

Now, is there such a thing as a dedicated edged weapon that is simply designed to slash and puncture? Yes, I polished a Konjo a month ago for just that use. I doubt it's good for anything else in the state I left it, so yes, there is such a thing as an edged weapon that exists in real time that is not a tool.

But ask yourself the same question I did. "Now that I have it, what am I seriously going to do with it?"

In a very sincere comment to the intent of your question, it's worthless.

July 19, 2008, 07:34 PM

The bottom line is too many folks put too much stock in physical things to keep them safe now-a-days.

I remember the days before THE Great Equipment Race.
Folks had skill sets, the ability to think, figure out and be self reliant.

Now one can buy skill, targets, and safety. Hell the Magic Talisman will keep evil away, and if...if evil should show up, the Gun, Knife, or whatever else physical object will Magically take care of it.

Now one still "has to have" the latest greatest knife.
It has to be a Super Steel that costs a helluva lot of money and the edge has to be sharpened to the nth degree and mirror polished so it can shave hair off a gnat's arse.

Like hell it does!

I walked off from Competition , burned my sanctioned cards and me and mine left when the The Great Equipment Race come to be. Screw 'em! Those folks were not responsible firearm or knife owners and they can eat fish heads and rice!

I have nothing against folks having nice things and using them. Don't BS me and blow smoke up my arse.

I know all too damn well what a Trapper will do, in a defensive situation.
I know all too damn well what a rusty steel beer can will do.

I do not fear the person with a high dollar knife with a mirror edge, the hi-cap new gun on the block with the exotic ammo, and the rest of his/her TGER gear.
Except to say , I do not want them anywhere around me, "putting on the Ritz" as them crazy folks will get one pegged, hurt and killed!

I have not stayed in a place with 4 gals dressed like "gun" or "gun instructors" as they advertised so bad!
I mean I and my party left , as if I were a crook, I for sure would shoot them four strawberry blonds gals right off the bat, before I arm robbed the joint!

Now that sumbitch with a screwdriver, Chinese knock off knife, kitchen knife, or that gal with cheap letter opener, nail file or bright orange box cutter with the intent of doing me harm, with street savvy is the one I fear!

I want the person with a well Model 10 or Detective Special, with a $20 drug store cane, and some slipjoint watching my six.
This person has become one with the streets, is savvy, and has skill sets derived from being on the streets, from seeing "cell college" and has instincts.
They have quality practice with the mind, thinking along with the tools they have on person and whatever is around them.

Give me $5 and 5 minutes in a dollar store and I will come out with more than 2 defensive weapons.
Last time, I came out with 4.

That $1 serrated knife, with a decent guard and rubber grip, went to the bone on a picnic ham and made some real nasty cuts.

Broom , bottle of water, a carbinger with some heavy child's toy truck on a cord, were the other four items.

That metal truck, on that cord took chunks out of dry wall, and busted apples, and melons.

JShirley needs one of these toy trucks, he would fully appreciate it.
(I've not seen anymore, but I do recall how they were made).

Eleven Mike
July 19, 2008, 07:56 PM
Since this is a NON FIREARMS WEAPONS FORUM, I'm talking about the WEAPONS aspect of the thing.
In that case, you should have said so. So far as I've seen, the knife threads in this forum are overwhelmingly concerned with the "tool" aspect of knives. Regardless what the forum's name might be, we would have been foolish to assume you were only talking about a knife's value as a weapon. Especially when you started off talking about hunting and survival knives. Then you tell us that you don't need those, because a cheap knife can be used to kill someone.

Really confusing first post.

So-called "tactical" knives are marketed as such because their primary purpose is fighting...anyone who thinks people buy tactical knives primarily because they like apples and hate strings is probably incorrect

No, their primary purpose is not fighting. That's not what their designers/makers expect them to be doing. That's not what most customers envision as their primary purpose.

It simply is the case that the "tactical knife" has replaced the traditional pocket knife for many people. Few people buy them with self-defense as a main concern. They like the one-hand opening feature. Or they like the fact that the blade locks. But those features are as good for "tool" use as for weapon use. They might even like the fact that they are more weapony than a Case. But that doesn't mean they are being purchased as fighting knives.

July 19, 2008, 10:26 PM
I was gonna back out quietly until I saw this:

Originally Posted by conwict
So-called "tactical" knives are marketed as such because their primary purpose is fighting...anyone who thinks people buy tactical knives primarily because they like apples and hate strings is probably incorrect

No, their primary purpose is not fighting. That's not what their designers/makers expect them to be doing. That's not what most customers envision as their primary purpose.

ElevenMike, with all due respect, just a couple comments on that...

I've got Tactical Knives magazines going back to like 1995 and they cover just about every one-handed clip-on blade made under the sun and every fixed blade from a $6 Opinel to those $600 Randalls. *Every* article mentions the self-defense aspect of them all. Sure, they may talk about cutting "fir strips" but somewhere along the line is a paragraph or more about how it would work for fighting\defending. So, even if it's not a knifes primary purpose, it sure enters into the equation.

Secondly, while I agree that *most* users may not buy a specific knife with fighting in mind-many do. It may be a simple "could I defend myself with this?" or "man I KNOW I can defend myself with this-and it will probably cut open a box or two along the way. And to say "That's not what their designers/makers expect them to be doing" doesn't really show the whole picture. "Tactical" knives are specifically marketed as such, and makers like Emerson have built an entire dynasty on that foundation. These makers *know* that this type of knife sells. Now, maybe it's all smoke and mirrors but it surely seems like they know what they are doing and that they are designing knives to work as fighting knives and to appeal to people on the "tactical" level.

Now, I'm not talking about knives that happen to have a clip and a hole or other one-handed convenience. I am specifically talking about knives that carry the word "TACTICAL" on them somewhere. Whether by design or by marketing a "TACTICAL" knife is just that-tactical (i.e.-fight worthy).

I remain thankful that there are plenty of good knives with clips and holes that aren't marketed as "tactical". Because to be honest, most tactical knives don't fit my needs and I have found that "tactical" winds up being "impractical".

Take care,


July 19, 2008, 10:34 PM
I'm okay if you're okay.


We're good.


LEOs tell me that more people are killed and injured with cheap knives from Big Box Mart World stores every year than any other type of knife there is. Might be because they're cheap to the point of being disposable or that folks in lower economic groups also have the higher violent crime rates and that's what they can afford, but it doesn't mean those knives may not stab adequately in a pinch. Pick one that's sturdy and take a little time putting an edge on them and they'll cut/slash too. If they're not expected to do those things for hundreds of repetitions or stand up to impact on bone they don't need to have the same quality and cost of an expensive knife (nor the ridiculously expensive ones) to kill and maim. It's certainly not difficult to get something much better than them for not a whole lot more and not have to make the choice between a car payment and ordering a knife.

OTOH, if the knife is expected to be used with more skill than a prison shiv issues like balance, strength, sharpness, point of percussion and ... come into play. Of course, hardly anyone actually uses a knife like that except in practice any more than most folks use their SUVs to carry the springbok back to camp from the hunt through lion country. The lineage, design and quality may be there, but the thing is almost never going to be called upon to perform that way. It's more for show even if it will go.

If one of our folks finds themselves without the high dollar folding/fixed blade they ordered from because they couldn't carry it on the plane and were afraid to pack it in their luggage for fear someone would spirit it out of the bag, they can get themselves down to Big Box Mart World and grab a cheap fillet/chef's knife and be fairly confident that it'll do the job. Once. Heck, grab a roll of duct tape and make a sheath with the packaging and stick it in your back pocket like SM has described over and over again. Rather that it do the job and not have a chance of bending/folding up if it hits a rib or jacket. Get a Chicago Cutlery piece for a couple bucks more. Want a folder instead? They can just walk over to the Sporting Goods section and pick any of the name brand folding knives there and they'll do (and for fraction of the cost of the knife on the cover of Tactical Blade Illustrated Tm).

Knives in the US are mostly hype for what they get used for, but then you get what you pay for and if you want to pay more you can get more than you'll ever need.

Knives as tools are different only in where "cheap" ends and inexpensive begins. A $12 Mora will do most jobs better than a big tactical will. OTOH, a cheap Big Box Market World knife won't hold a candle to Mora. Better features cost more, but that $12 Mora has a blade that will do 80% of what any knife will do. In defense of more expensive knives, my wife borrowed my Sebenza near sunset and I found out she wanted it to cut chicken wire to get an errant chick out from between two layers of wire. After not finding the wire snips in the barn I told her to go ahead. I figured I'd just sharpen it. Apparently there wasn't any need since it just cut the daylights out of me while I was sharpening what I assumed would be a dull knife. I didn't expect any nicks or chips out of the blade since I've used/abused this knife hard for years and know what it can take, but I figured it would be dulled more from cutting 6 inches of chicken wire than it was. Just a bounce while talking to the dog and I've got a nice 2" gash on the back of my left hand. I know that there are plenty of knives that will take an edge and hold it and won't chip/crack from normal use that cost a 10th of this Sebenza, but I also know that you can't get many knives that will handle what it will tolerate for that price. For 20% of what I paid for it, probably.

The Tourist
July 19, 2008, 10:36 PM
Tactical knives exist because of one reason, that is "romance."

In every man is a iron-willed operator, walking tall and taking no quarter. Every time he straps on a weapon, it might be his last...

...and a lot of other BS they want you to imagine in an effort to sell knives.

I like knives, I sell knives, and I collect knives. But here's a dirty little secret.

In the four years I went to high school (some biographies claim seven years) I carried a six inch stiletto. No knife fights.

From 1969 until 1974 I was a daily customer of Joey's Anchor Inn, The Ideal Bar or The Wisconsin Inn. Each night perhaps half of bikers carried Buck 110's, and so did equally as many citizen patrons in the trades. No knife fights.

If you mix that many angry young men, that much liquor, that much angst and those tawdry conditions for over a nine year period, and you still can't produce a knife fight, nothing will.

The real problem is knife attacks. To my knowledge from police, the most common knife used in a knife attack is a steak knife from a Chicago Cutlery set, not a razzamatazz "tactical knife."

Dirty Bob
July 19, 2008, 11:31 PM
I carry semi-custom knives simply because I like to make them (often from someone else's blades, although I've made a few from scratch, including the kiridashi that hangs from my neck as I type this). I get pleasure from a unique tool that I made myself.

That said, the base blades that I start with seldom are expensive. A great source for blades is Mora knives.

For pure function, I've gotta agree with Carl. I use Moras, Opinels, Gerbers, Kershaws, Bokers, and the Benchmade Red line knives. One great thing about inexpensive carry knives is that if a friend or relative really likes one, I can give it to them and replace it easily. It's surprising how many people consider Mora and Opinel to be "upscale!"

As far as a weapon, many of the knives over $25 are a study in diminishing returns, at least in their lethality. Each dollar doesn't make it a more effective weapon.

What I can't argue against is the pleasure of owning and using a fine knife, and in that sense I 100% understand folks who buy Zero Tolerance, upper end Benchmades, or custom knives. Even though I understand it, I'm not willing to spend $100+ on a knife. I find myself buying more ammo or beer instead. :-)

Dirty Bob

July 20, 2008, 12:39 AM
I just spent a good part of the day photographing my knives for Ebay.

To be honest someone like me had no business collecting that many knives in the first place. I literally have gone into debt and even borrowed money from people to feed my knife lust. And I'm talking blue-collar knives (the most I've paid for a single knife is $275.00). No Sebenzas or Busse knives here. :o

Boxes of knives that have never been carried, bayonets that I'll never use, choppers, slicers, dicers, fighters, pens and pockets. Did I mention machetes? Autos? Two unopened Dyads, a Benchmade Spike that I've only used for opening letters. :rolleyes:

Gentlemen, this is madness! :banghead:

I would look in the drawer and think "I should take out that Spyderco G10 flat ground Police Model today". NO WAY-I may want to sell it! How about that Greco Kukri-NO WAY I may want to sell it! On and on down the line. Brand new Kershaw Chives (doesn't everyone have two?). Why in the world would someone NOT use a $30 Kershaw? Gerber Covert-geez don't carry that one, you may scratch the clip, then no one will want to buy it!

Gentlemen, this is madness! :banghead:

24 Grecos! Yes-24 unused Grecos! Ever seen a Greco? You can open the roof of a car up with one (Tactical Knives proved that lol). What the heck am I gonna do with them? Better yet-what would my wife and kids do with them if I croaked tonight? Exactly where does a middle aged overweight suburbanite carry an 18" long La Duena'? To the grocery store? On a hike through Yellowstone? What is this-Raiders of the Lost WalMart? :scrutiny:

Gentlemen-this has been my madness...:banghead:


ahh...that's better :D

Why in the world did I do that? :confused:


OH yea...

So with all of these unused knives what the heck do I use?...

Ancient Old Timer-ULSTER 580T. I could probably do some of that surgery that 'sm' wrote about up the thread a bit with this penknife. My father smoked enough cigerettes (Lucky Strikes I think?) back in the day that he got us both one. I was seven. I lost it once for several years and found it in a coat pocket or something. I may take this one into the casket with me. He's 70 and still has his as well. (Of course the blades look like an Exacto knife blades now).

Spyderco Copilot-My 'work' blade. I work in a school so 'tactical' is out. Copilot works great on boxes and it's especially good on the banding that holds stuff to pallets. I I will say that this is a very awkward blade design for cutting a lot of different things. To offset this I use the smaller blade of a mulitool (which unfortunately are usually crappola).

Benchmade Mini-TSEK-I actually prefer it to my Mini-AFCK. The blade shape works better for me because it has more belly. My 'all round' folder. I retired a Spyderco Native in favor of this, broke my heart to do it too. The Native was a really good looking knife. (The Natives blade was just too impractical for me).

Victorinox Swisstool-Have other multitools, this just happens to be the one I'm using now.

Gerber-don't remember what model. Has an aluminum handle with rubber inserts ( I ripped half of them off because it interfered with getting the thing out of my pocket). This is my beater, bought it for $11.00 at a Lowes on clearance. Came with a little diamond sharpener do-hickey (works well for fish hooks). I've seen this model sell for $30 elsewhere, so I guess I done good. Took the clip off of it 'cause it was still hanging up on the pocket.

Old Camillus 'KABAR' pattern fixed blade-cost me $10 at a flea market about 20 years ago. Until I read that it was obsolete, this was my go-to 'big' knife. Still is-she definately aint no drawer queen! :D

18" Military Machete (Ontario)-I use this for anything too big for my KABAR. I've taken down a few 4" oaks with it and it will eat anything smaller with ease. The only issue is with pines, as the blade is so thin it will get hung up in the soft sticky wood.

Small hand axe-I have no idea, my father in-law gave it to me.

Small (30" maybe?) band saw-again, it was a gift. Sure tears up trees and logs though.

Looking ahead? I have a couple SAKs on the way for me and my daughters to learn knifecraft with. And the latest Victorinox models with the 'hole' look like a great all-around solution to the convenience in a non-threatening package factor. I especially like the look of their 'Rescue' model.
That about covers it I guess...and since this is a 'Weapons' forum, I assure you from personal experience (just look at my hands :eek:) that anyone of the above will cut you. :evil:

For what it's worth-I don't fault anyone or harbor any ill-will toward anyone who carries, uses, or collects high-end stuff of any kind. I have absolutely ZERO issues with the fact that there are great quality knives out there in as many different shapes and sizes as you can imagine. I really don't. I would love to be able to *comfortably* use a $400 folder. But I can't. It's certainly not your fault, and it isn't really anyone's fault. It's just the "way it is". And you know what-I'm thankful that we can find common ground in this thing no matter what the economics of it may be.


July 20, 2008, 01:34 AM
Wow, I've just got to write a reply - I haven't even read all the new posts. This forum is great. In the words of one Bald Bob, err Robert Hairless, this place has solid character...
The Tourist wrote:
If you work hard you should get to splurge. However, I did not want to publicize my choices as an indictment of folks who can't/won't do the same.

Hey Tourist, I agree completely. Heck, to some degree I find your hard-won collection (and particularly skills) envious. But clearly by the way you post, and live, you are completely different from the type of person Carl mentioned. If I wanted, Google would help me dredge up some kind of post like sm was talking about ("Majic Talismans" etc) but we all know what he means...and that ain't you.

If it weren't for indulgences we'd all be sittin' around a fire eating wooly mammoth and chanting...wait, that doesn't sound so get what I mean though :)

Eleven Mike, respectfully, I echo what Mongrel says.

And I just gotta repeat Tourist again...this belongs in THR's hall of fame:

Tactical knives exist because of one reason, that is "romance."

In every man is a iron-willed operator, walking tall and taking no quarter. Every time he straps on a weapon, it might be his last...

Sadly, it's true.

But let me prove it to ya...plenty of people buy Kershaws with defense in the back of their mind, but Kershaw markets them mostly as "hard use" knives, with AO for people who need AO at the job site.

Contrast that with the truly "Tactical" line that KAI inc makes, "Zero Tolerance"...(noticing a pattern in the marketing? the main selling point is the bad-assness, the deadly nature of the knife...ZERO TOLERANCE)

July 20, 2008, 01:39 AM
There's a great deal of irony in the fact that most people here agree that as a weapon, a sharp piece of refuse is as good as a knife; it's the tools that need to be higher-end. I agree.

But the irony lies in the fact that the "Tactical" and "Combat" knives are almost always more expensive...

July 20, 2008, 02:05 AM
At bad breath distance a inexpensive tool, such as a knife, AA Maglite, No. 2 pencil, Bic disposable ink pen and the like is proven.

The Christy Knife, used to be a good tool and if memory serves was about $2 or $3 back in the day.

I was born in the mid 50's and grew up Veterans from previous wars living near, and of course these Vets were everywhere we went.
Many had amputations, or had physical limits.

Polio victims, were another group of folks that had physical limits.

Sure, folks had guns they could use, and while some "had" been quite proficient with a certain make or model of gun, they had to change up and learn again.

Anyone can rack a slide... I hear folks say.
Listen, maybe a damn Vet, or Mash Nurse does not want to rack the frigging slide as they lost fingers, thumb, part of a hand, the hole hand, the forearm, maybe the whole damn arm up to the shoulder!
Tell you what, when your butt has been in friggin war, then you can spout all this damn wisdom, until then, shut the hell up!

We had crooks back in the day too.
And just like today, crooks look for an easy target, like these Vets.
Bad enough to be a crook, but it takes a really low life sumbitch to go after someone that has been in War, or afflicted due to Polio.

Now not all the folks had a One Arm Jack knife. Many used a small paring knife for EDC.
The Christy knife, while not expensive, was well liked.

It was a small, light weight knife, with a replaceable stainless blade that slide forward from its frame, locked, and could be retracted back with one hand.

At bad breath distance, a tool will beat a gun.
I know of too many instances of this happening.
Crook did not know the person had a Christy knife or that paring knife, until it was "produced".

Like I said, a lot of lessons were passed forward , street savvy lessons back in the day.
We did not have known schools for civilians either.

There is a lot to the saying " necessity is the mother of invention".
WE had folks on budgets, there was not a lot of choices in guns and knives and other equipment either.

Folks did not whine "What are you going to do about it", or "Somebody had to do stuff for girls...".

Folks dealt with it with Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.

It was not the tool as much as the folks with grit, gumption and the willingness to survive.

Take a free "church key" ( can opener) and take an eye out of a crook, and he will lose all interest in using that hardware store gun to pull a lady into the bushes and have his way with her.

We did not have pull top cans, we used can openers on those steel cans.

The Tourist
July 20, 2008, 02:10 AM
When we discuss and debate the dual role that knives portray (weapons and tools) it reminds me of an opinion my Father had.

For 42 years my Dad was the senior engineer for The Master Lock Company. And while many people are familiar with their padlocks, very few know about the security projects they did for the military (especially the Navy) and how the research filtered down to the daily domestic consumer.

As a boy, my Dad told me he saw the last of the horse-drawn fire engines. And as a man he witnesses the atomic bomb, the breaking of the sound barrier and men on the moon.

But in all of that history, my Father made this observation, "When mankind discovers a new breakthrough, the first thing he will do is make a weapon or a toy."

In that scheme of things, we have improvements in metallurgy, CAD designing and even a resurrection in the art that defines the way I sharpen a blade.

So it comes as no surprise to me that with those advances mankind makes a better shiv and the marketing departments paint a better fantasy. The weapon and the toy.

I didn't care for my Dad much, he was not a particularly warm human being, as is the flaw in all engineers. But I do find that most of the silly editorials he did on modern man have been unshakeable standards for my life. The best tool I can refine is just some sot's answer to killing.

July 20, 2008, 02:25 AM
I don't own ANY knives at the current time, so I believe I can address this topic in a less biased manner than some here.

I could honestly CARE LESS if somebody wants to spend five hundred dollars or five dollars on a knife. It's not any of my business.

As far as I'm concerned, if somebody wants to buy a five hundred dollar knife, and that knife gives him the pride of ownership and confidence to go out and get some professional training in knife fighting/self-defense---MORE POWER TO HIM!

If you've ever attended some firearms defense courses/seminars run by top PROFESSIONALS who know what they're doing---you'll find that virtually all of the instructors and students will be using QUALITY weaponry.

Not everybody will have 3500.00 Wilson custom 1911's, but you'll see VIRTUALLY NOBODY there with trash guns like Low-Points and Kel-Wrecks.

The same goes for knife training. The PROFESSIONAL instructors and serious students don't use two dollar plastic handle kitchen knives that will break easily and quickly.

Buy whatever floats your boat, that you can afford. If you really like a five hundred dollar knife, and it won't break your bank account---GO FOR IT. If it's a little rich for your budget, there are fifty dollar knives that will serve you well.

But don't fall for the mantra of the envious Lilliputians who can't afford a nice knife, thus they try to convince you that a 2.00 plastic kitchen knife from Family Dollar Store is "just as good" as anything else.

There's a happy in between when purchasing both knives and firearms. Stay away from 2.00 knives and 100.00 handguns, but don't feel you have to spend 500.00 on a custom knife, or 3500.00 on a custom handgun.

Eleven Mike
July 20, 2008, 02:28 AM

Now, I'm not talking about knives that happen to have a clip and a hole or other one-handed convenience. I am specifically talking about knives that carry the word "TACTICAL" on them somewhere.

I apologize, then. I was thinking of the "tactical folder," which usually applies to any knife with a stud or hole, clip, and locking blade. Even my CRKT Bwana would be called a tactical knife, by most, even though it is designed for hunting.

And I would certainly agree that most of the tactical knives (by your definition) are less than practical.

The Tourist
July 20, 2008, 02:36 AM
I don't own ANY knives at the current time

Then let me impart this bit of wisdom. It is said that the swarf on the hands of a tinker is akin to the soot on the hands of a chimney sweep. Good luck will rub off on a handshake.

Taking that into consideration, would it be possible to show you a line of cutlery that you never knew existed, but I do offer assurance that you cannot live without...

July 20, 2008, 03:05 AM
I am inclined to look askance at anyone who admits to currently owning zero knives but nonetheless sees fit to advise us regarding knife ownership. Countless generations of " envious Lilliputians " have adopted and adapted field expedient tools and techniques to the business at hand. Practicality and availability tend to hold sway in the real world regardless of the opinions of armchair commandos. Low tech and low budget do not necessarily equate to low effectiveness if you have skill and imagination.

July 20, 2008, 03:09 AM
Well, there's lots of stuff here.

Many themes.

Mr. Levitian, sir, you have made a lot of posts I agree extremely strongly with. I have trained more with sticks than any other weapon, probably even including firearms. I believe, and preach, that defensive users are better served with an impact tool, preferably one with reach, if faced with an attack by blade and firearms are unavailable.

I also agree strongly with the theme that dedication, perhaps combined with skill, is much more important than the actual tool. Too many people make the mistake of thinking that just because you have the high end what-ever, it gives you an advantage.

Well, this is a problematic statement. It's almost true, but it's deceptive. I know people who could kill an attacker with anything or nothing. These people are the closest thing to unstoppable you'll find in human flesh. One of these masters would prefer a quality weapon, but you're right, can kill with anything. On the other hand, I have trained with many "scary good" people (and have approached that level myself, a few times). The chances of two masters fighting are nil. Won't happen. I've seen two that I know of in my life, among the thousands of people I would prefer not to cross.

I've seen an unknown number of scary good- perhaps about one hundred, at a rough guess. It is not unthinkable that two people of that skill level fight. If that were to happen, other factors being equal, who wins? I'm just going to guess it might be the guy with a dedicated tool, instead of the disposable clumsy one. Might never happen. Probably won't. Could. Because- to hell with "high end"- a well designed tool DOES give you an advantage. Just like training, mindset, and physical capability are advantages, too.

Some folks might believe I'm a fan of "tactical". Well, I like things that work. The "tactical" things I like are bargains in their areas. What defines a bargain? Incredible value for the price.

Spyderco? Incredible value. Less hype, more use. Superb ergonomics. Excellent heat treats. Great steels. Commendable business ethics. And if you chose to fight with a folding knife, you'd never find a better choice than an appropriate Spyderco. If I had to fight with a folder, I'd pick a Chinook II or III over even the nicest Sebenza.

Cheap? Hell, no. Chinooks can be had from about $130.

What is my life worth?

Maybe they are cheap, in comparison.

Let's look at John Greco's knives. I love the codger. I'm really happy he's making knives again. You know why I love Grecos? Because they're incredible values. I've seen knives of John's that other custom/semi-custom makers would have sold for at least double what John sold them for. And they're good knives. I have a small one that I think I'll send to a good friend, because regardless of what it costs (not that much), it's a really good knife, and he had a birthday. I'll then be left with a sole Greco. It, too, is a really good knife.

The first knife of John's I picked up, I didn't really want to touch. It was ugly. I was uninterested. A friend practically forced it into my hand, and to be polite, I held it.

And I could feel it, like a shock. That ugly knife had something you would never find in a knife from a box store. My eyes got big. "Oh, my god." I don't mean balance. I don't mean weight. It was something else, and either you know what I mean, or I'll never be able to explain it to you. You'd better believe I'd prefer that ugly knife be in my hand should I ever be forced to defend myself and something sharp be in the only thing within reach.

Now, I have often suggested that people be prepared to defend themselves with whatever is at hand. I firmly believe this. I also believe in making your dollar count. I own more HI fixed blades than anything else, though I can't seem to help giving them away to friends. Though HI prices have been forced upward because of political instability and rising fuel costs, those knives usually still cost 1/3 or less what an equivalent hand-forged U.S. knife would run.

Here's the deal. Use what you can reasonably afford. Don't be fooled by hype and advertising. Listen and learn. If you're actually planning on self-defense being a potential reason for purchasing a knife, in general, you're best served with a knife that's a reasonable size. It should be easily opened with one hand, if a folder. It should be sturdily constructed. It should cut well. If it's a folder, it should lock.

Just because other things have been pressed into service, in no way changes the fact that a dedicated tool will do the job better. My "new" CRX has a window handle that falls off. I tried to use a Guppy Multi-tool to roll the window up today when I couldn't find the handle, and then finally borrowed vise-grips to roll my window up, because the Guppy wouldn't work at all. The handle would have worked best.

So, to all, don't imagine spending more automatically means buying something that works better. Don't believe that something will work best because it's a neato color, or looks cool. At the same time, don't go for false economy. Do reasonable research, look reasonably and intelligently at your budget, and make good decisions.

Live well, prosper, and accept my apologies for what's probably my longest post ever.


July 20, 2008, 03:23 AM
Posted by sm:
At bad breath distance a inexpensive tool, such as a knife, AA Maglite, No. 2 pencil, Bic disposable ink pen and the like is proven.

I'm living proof they're NOT proven.

I've been stabbed in the throat with a small, cheap pocket knife, and was still able to beat the bejeezus out of the guy who stabbed me. Didn't even have to go to the hospital.

I was stabbed with a pencil in junior high, and still beat up the guy who stabbed me. No trip to the hospital.

I was stabbed with a disposable ink pen in high school, same result as the first two---beat up the attacker and no hospital trip.

While in the U.S. Army, I personally witnessed a guy take a very hard blow from a four D-cell Maglite. Those things are HEAVY---I know because I've owned a couple. He merely flinched a bit and proceeded to beat up his attacker.

Also while in the Army, I personally saw a guy in a bar fight get hit hard by a large bartender who was wielding a large club. The guy went down for a second or two, then we heard a loud roar as he rose rapidly from the floor and proceeded to beat the Hell out of at least half a dozen guys, including the large bartender who had struck him.

Yet another time in the Army, I personally observed a guy take a hard hit in the head with a solid oak club about the length of a police billy club. The guy winced a bit, then proceeded to beat his attacker senseless.

Those "dime store arsenal" items may work "every time" in the fertile imaginations of internet forum storytellers, but in real life they're often not that effective.

July 20, 2008, 03:41 AM
John, good posting. Determination is the "starter switch" for success in fighting or any other worthwhile endeavor. Without it, good techniques and superb weapons will not function as well as expected. Having said that, I would like to remind our readers of a statement Duncan Long, the author of a book on edged weaponry, made about knives. Long stated that the mere possession of a bowie knife would not transform someone into a modern Jim Bowie. In other words, the hardware does not make a person into something. That is the purpose of training. This is a point that can not be overemphasized.


Brian Dale
July 20, 2008, 03:44 AM
If my goal is to get away rather than to stand my ground and beat up my opponent, then a key parameter has changed. My judgment of whether the weapon has "worked" or not will be different, too.

That's not to disparage fine tools, either.

The key question is, "what is it for?"

July 20, 2008, 03:53 AM
Posted by hangtime:
a message from Lilliput. . . . .
I am inclined to look askance at anyone who admits to currently owning zero knives but nonetheless sees fit to advise us regarding knife ownership. Countless generations of " envious Lilliputians " have adopted and adapted field expedient tools and techniques to the business at hand. Practicality and availability tend to hold sway in the real world regardless of the opinions of armchair commandos. Low tech and low budget do not necessarily equate to low effectiveness if you have skill and imagination.

I could honestly care less what you're inclined to look "askance" at. In my younger days when I was a "mighty warrior" :barf: like yourself, I owned quite a few knives, thank you.

Never felt the need for high dollar customs and expensive "fighting" knives---but I certainly owned my fair share of quality production knives such as Buck etc. There's nothing wrong with owning a quality knife, regardless of what the "skill and imagination" crowd thinks. :p

It doesn't take a world renown knife "expert" :rolleyes: like yourself to recognize the difference between a two dollar kitchen knife hanging in a grocery store aisle, and a nice 75.00 dollar Buck or something similar.

The Buck will last MUCH longer and be FAR superior for ANY task, when compared to a 2.00 plastic kitchen knife.

If you think a 2.00 kitchen knife is "just as good" as a quality knife such as a Buck, I'll have to admit that you've got "imagination". :evil:

July 20, 2008, 04:06 AM
Let's be sure we keep it polite, guys.

Defensory, I've disagreed with you on some things in the past, but this statement There's a happy in between when purchasing both knives and firearms would seem to be something few members would disagree with.


July 20, 2008, 04:20 AM
and I can't find any of the things you attribute to me. I thought you might be clairvoyant but then I remembered that you were stabbed three times so that didn't seem likely. Perhaps you're just insufferable. For what its worth, the translation of my signature line is "Who does not understand should learn or be silent." 'Nuff said.

July 20, 2008, 04:26 AM

It's late, and I am going to bed. I'm closing the thread for now. It may be opened at moderator discretion tomorrow.

Enough with the insults.

Highly motivated and poor probably beats uncaring and well equipped. Skilled and motivated beats 'em both. Anything can be well applied. As I said in another thread recently, I was in theater when an ANA troop was lit up by 30mm. He lived. Lotsa people have lived after taking 7.62x39mm rounds.

Lots of people have died, too.


July 20, 2008, 11:05 AM
Guys, like John said, keep it civil.

What is it, a full moon or something?:confused: Oh, yeah. It is a full moon.:eek:

I think we've talked past each other enough on this thread anyway and if John doesn't mind we'll just let it stay closed.

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