Arthritis and knife use.


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Carl Levitian
July 21, 2008, 07:47 PM
I guess if we hang around long enough, it get us. It's been getting me for the past serveral years, and its made a difference in the knives I've chosen to keep or get rid of.

Now I'm on record as not being real fond of the idea of a knife for a self defence tool. I really do preffer a blackthorn walking stick, bar stool, fire extinguisher, pool que, whiskey bottle, or even a train ticket to someplace else. But one has to face the possability of an adversary getting inside a stick or other factors comming into play, so one has to be preparded, as we used to say in the boy scouts.

For most of my life I've carried a pocket knife for most of my cutting tool uses. Only in the last few years I've been slowly swiching over to small fixed blades. I used to look very carefully at the folding knives I'd carry, picking the smoothest opening, easy to handle ones, like the smooth action on Victorinox knives. I love Victorinox knives.

A year ago last December, a friend gave me a Buck Hartsook. I really did not want a Buck Hartsook, and was not in the market for another knife. But I had been driving this friend around to medical appointments and to his chemo therapy for his cancer, and he wanted to do something for me. He knew I liked knives, so there we are.

I made the usual noises of thank you so much, I just love it, but in the privacy of my own mind I was wondering what the heck was this? I mean, it looked so,... so,... for lack a another name, tiny and frail. I mean, it had to be some sort of a joke, right?

The joke was on me.

It was the solution to a problem I had not thought of. Over the next several months, I used the heck out of that tiny knife, and I learned something in the proscess. It was like a handy sharpened claw. That little Hartsook was a rugged little bugger, and I used it hard to see if it would break, keeping in mind that Buck has a heck of a replacement warrenttee. To my surprise it stood up well. I learned a small fixed blade knife, small enough to disapear in a pocket, was a really handy knife. Nothing to open, no blade lock to fail from dirt contamination of mechanisim, no nooks and cranies to collect grundge. I like nooks and crannies on my English muffins, but not on my knife.

Thirty years of twisting wrenches, pulling on lathe handles, cranking on Bridgeport mill handles, have left me with some really ostioarthritic finger joints. I have good days as well as bad days, depending on how fast the weather is changing, and humidity is climbing. On the bad days, having a small fixed blade I can just pull out and open my mail, cut open a big bag of dog food, break down a box, or open one of those cursed plastic blister packages, is a very nice thing.

If, God forbid, I find myself one day rolling around "in the mud, blood and the beer" as Mr. Cash put it, I can't see how with my sometimes semi-functional fingers groping around in a pocket, finding a knife, and then trying to use the thumb hole, thumb stud, assited opening mechanisim. I may, if I'm lucky find the handle of a small fixed blade and just grab and pull out, and have something in my hand to act like a sewing machine gone mad.

The tiny Hartsook has been a great teacher. It's tought me just how handy a small knife is that needs no operations to open it. I still have my little sak classic on my keyring for public use, as well as just being handy, but now I find myself carrying a small fixed blade more and more. I've picked up a little Scandinavian puuko knife, not much bigger than the Hartsook, but thicker built with a real wood handle that I can get a better grip on for heavier duty use than the Hartsook. I carry it the same way, with a discreate fine black nylon cord lanyard attached to the sheath and the belt loop of the jeans just in front of the right front pocket. I just reach in and grab the handle, pull out sheath and all, the sheath reaches the end of the short lanyard and knife comes free. When finished, put knife back in sheath dangling from belt loop and shove back down in pocket. So easy even an arthritic old fart can do it.

Maybe old dogs can learn new tricks.

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ArfinGreebly
July 21, 2008, 08:33 PM
Steve will be along shortly to confer the "Order of Old Fart" award.

He will also remember the name of that small fixed blade we were discussing here a couple of months ago (an A.G. Russell thing, I believe).

I find that as my fingers and knuckles betray my age I cleave more to the fat-handled knives. (Hey, if yer gonna have a fat-handled gun, may as well round things out).

I still have some skinny ones, but I will shortly be culling the herd to remove the ones whose handles require younger digits.

For example, Opinel makes its knives with two kinds of handles, the ones that taper away from the blade end, and those that flare at that end. I tried one of the sleeker/slender handles. Can't get a good grip. Now I just get the ones with the flared handles.

Happily my thumbs and nails still work just fine, and I can still use slipjoints. There are still blessings to be tallied.

CZ.22
July 21, 2008, 08:51 PM
Hey, I'm quite young, and I prefer fat-handled knives.

Valkman
July 21, 2008, 09:13 PM
Uh-oh, wait until Steve sees this is about small fixed blades!

I do love 'em. :D

Steve might even recognize this one!

Small Skinner

1/8" O1 tool steel, HT by me
2 1/4 " blade, 7 1/4" overall
"Tigereye" Dymondwood handles
"Lifter's Leather" sheath

http://usera.imagecave.com/Valkman/Speed_Skinners/left_sheath.jpg

bikerdoc
July 21, 2008, 09:15 PM
my fingers are O.K. so I can still carry my pristine old Schrade LB 7. It is my hips, knees ankles and neck that give me pause, but any excuse to buy a new knife. thanks carl, I'll have one by the end of the month

hso
July 22, 2008, 11:11 AM
If you local/state gov allow you to carry a small fixed blade and you can carry it comfortably they sure solve a lot of problems.

Kingcreek
July 22, 2008, 01:58 PM
my old mother has very arthritic hands.
I bought her a Roselli "grandmother"
http://ragweedforge.com/r130.jpg

sm
July 22, 2008, 05:50 PM
Yes.
That is my Small Skinner in 01, with the Lifter's sheath.
This is one helluva combination!

This thing not only fits my hands as if it were made for it, everyone that handles it, says the same thing.
It is safe, with that finger guard.


I need another one or two of something else.
Krein Dogfish. The one I have used and arthritic hands have handled is SV30, with the Kydex Sheath and beaded chain.
Mine says: "Krein" with "Mid-Tec" underneath with Tom's dog logo.

I just cow hitch the chain over a belt and stick in my back pocket most of the time.
The cap lifter, works on prying other lids, and even being all metal many arthristic hands have no problems.
Ladies, with small hands like it too.

Original Becker Necker I have left, I used the same way. Again, hands with problems could use it.

I like the finger guard on the Small Skinner a lot!

I have not handled the Buck, just from the picture of the knife and sheath, I would prefer a sheath like the Dogfish or Becker Necker uses.
I like the design better from using and the holes offer a lot of options on how to use it.

I could be wrong and might be surprised with Buck's sheath, as I have not handled the Hartstooth.

wheelgunslinger
July 22, 2008, 07:08 PM
Dang it, guys.
I'm trying to save for a new rifle/pistol combo...

that knife Valkman posted is cool...

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