Small knife effectiveness


July 26, 2008, 03:08 PM
I have often suggested that a small knife is not ideal for defensive use.

For this test, I used an Asheville Steel Cobra automatic knife. This is a very large knife for a folder, and is quite sharp. I first used it for a stab against a two liter water bottle filled with green water.

You can probably tell from the water squirting everywhere that I'm stabbing quite hard. The bottle was thrown several feet.

I next tried several hard slashes against a target made of bamboo, wrapped with nonskid matting, and then covered with cloth.

The results of these on the target were less than impressive. I would like to believe slashing tissue would have more effect, but this certainly wouldn't be life threatening unless the jugular were slashed.

Knives are tools. They can certainly be used to hurt other people, but if a knife is part of your defensive plan, have realistic ideas what it can do, and how to use it.


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July 26, 2008, 03:17 PM
I have always thought stabbing was "where it's at" in terms of killing. I know a nasty slash is no good, and if you're really good you can cause "mechanical failure," but isn't one sharp pointy thing about equal to any other (if it's 2" long or so) when it comes to stabbing?

I'm just rambling out loud, feel free to engage if you like though. You know more than I do about this.

July 26, 2008, 03:47 PM
I would tend to agree.

I have long been of the opinion that knives tend to be more effective for offense than defense.

Tom Krein
July 26, 2008, 04:53 PM
You should wrap that bamboo with a cheap or out of date steak and see what happens. I bet you would be surprised.

I personally feel small knives can be VERY effective in close and personal.


July 26, 2008, 04:59 PM
I think they can be messy. I just doubt that slashing will probably end a violent attack.

Carl Levitian
July 26, 2008, 05:00 PM
There are many factors involved in how much damage is done with a sharp tool. Small knife not effective? Keep in mind on the 9-11 hijackings, the flight attendant who tried to resist was killed by a box cutter.

What happens when a person is cut or stabbed depends a heck of alot where the cut or stab is.

Kind of like bullet placement.

A slash in a non-vital spot with a Kay-bar may not be as effective as a small cut of the carrotid with a sharp pen knife.

It all comes down to how knowlegable the cutter is. I'd be more afraid of a general surgeon with a Christy knife, than a mall ninja with the tactical of the month.

Byron Quick
July 26, 2008, 05:32 PM
Wrap that old steak around the bamboo. Tape it. Then cover it with a shirt sleeve made of standard weight cloth. It's going to take a knife with some weight to get a good slash through the cloth.

I work in a small ER with a maxiumum security prison just down the road. We get to take care of all the injuries with shanks. Most are stabbings to the face or neck. I don't think I've ever seen an attack from that prison that targeted an area covered
in cloth.

July 26, 2008, 05:39 PM
Byron wrote:
Most are stabbings to the face or neck. I don't think I've ever seen an attack from that prison that targeted an area covered
in cloth

John wrote:
I have long been of the opinion that knives tend to be more effective for offense than defense.

Key points folks would be wise to read again and again.

Don't look like prey - think like a criminal

July 26, 2008, 09:26 PM
Dunno why it's so common to assume that the only way to end an attack is by killing or seriously injuring the attacker...

July 26, 2008, 09:36 PM
for those that have boxed or trained a bit in stand up.

think of the diffrence between 16 oz sparring gloves and 8 and 10 ounce gloves. for those that have trained MMA style stand up with open fingered gloves think of the diffrence there.

Byron wrote:
Most are stabbings to the face or neck. I don't think I've ever seen an attack from that prison that targeted an area covered
in cloth

John wrote:
I have long been of the opinion that knives tend to be more effective for offense than defense.

Key points folks would be wise to read again and again.

Don't look like prey - think like a criminal"

as per, SM on point

The Tourist
July 26, 2008, 10:05 PM
Ya' know, the cutting edge on my Razel is less than three inches. No one in his right mind would go up against that

Could the overall design have a more important factor than just blade length?

I mean, does size really matter?:D

July 26, 2008, 10:50 PM

Get a cheap flank steak and put an old T-shirt over it and then tape the whole mess to a piece of hanging PVC. Give it a few good slashes and let us know what the results look like. The difference may be the clothing vs the bare "skin".

July 26, 2008, 10:56 PM
that poor soda bottle, what did he do to deserve this.

July 26, 2008, 10:57 PM
This old dog certainly ain't no knife fighter, but I'm pretty sure I read some where that the purpose of a slash is "for effect".

In other words, a good slash will open up an attacker to some real good bleeding even if it's not in "the zone". The psych affect of this may be enough to either get him or her to pause and allow a better placed thrust or in some cases they might just high-tail it out of there. It could certainly be enough to render their strong side useless if tendons have been hit.

I certainly wouldn't poo-poo a good slash to the arms or chest (or even the top of the thigh for that matter) as a defensive move. As noted above, if dealing with a crack or meth head I don't think you can count on anything past or present to work 100%.

Now, I'm talking about a down and out "him or me" situation, so you have to be prepared to unload on them at least until you can get out of there.

The Tourist
July 26, 2008, 11:08 PM
The difference may be the clothing vs the bare "skin".

Do you think a six inch knife made from 154-CM will cut better than a three inch knife from the same alloy?

There has to be something else at work other than simple "nose weight."

For example, people used to be severely injured all of the time with barbers' razors. The element at work there was the thin edge.

And let's not forget, many 1950's street gangs used nothing more than a six-dollar switchblade--which isn't sharp, at all.

If you could buy "courage," geeks would rule.

July 26, 2008, 11:17 PM
From my (limited) military knife fighting training, what you say is what I've been taught.

Our training told us to expect slash-type cuts that could be very large in size... but those cuts would be the ones most easily fixed by medics. Deep stabs are what hit major organs. If limited to a small blade, I would pick vulnerable spots that don't need deep penetration... such as the neck, face, armpits, elbowpits, wrists, back of the knees, etc.

"Achilles Heel" is a dimunitive term, because people are that vulnerable in a lot more spots. Learn 'em, and remember 'em. God forbid, but someday, you might have to use them.

The Tourist
July 26, 2008, 11:32 PM
And who says I only get one cut? If I have to hurt an aggressor, I'm latching onto him and cutting like a windmill.

July 27, 2008, 07:38 AM
From the training I've had, ( other than when in the military) knives were used to get you out of the fight by taking away your opponents weapons. Hands, behind the elbow, behind the knees, groin etc. Weather the other guy dies is not the main objective, but removing yourself from the danger is. Like The Tourist says, cut going in, cut going out. In an ideal circumstance, you opponent will never know you have a knife until the fight is over. Your circumstances and mileage may vary.

The Tourist
July 27, 2008, 11:21 AM
Plateshooter, the driving aspect of my views come from the fact that Wisconsin has no CCW provision.

Like we used to say in drag racing bikes, "Ya' run what ya' brung."

So I pick the best things I can find. Now granted, any knife I choose must have use as a tool, first and foremost. I'm not going to pick some laser-guided mercenary showboat from TK that's worth spit cutting food at Perkins.

But a Razel is part razor and I am a professional tinker. Using the knife that Josh Graham envisioned for extremely hard use in wilderness hunting and construction, I can also hone the edge to slice through just about anything.

But let's be honest here. The best weapon is the brain. Stay off the railroad tracks and you won't have to cut your way out of anything.

Having said that, like anyone else, I go to malls and darkened movie theaters. I'm not going to allow my life to be crippled by fear and crime. Meet the Razel.

July 27, 2008, 10:53 PM
effect of seeing large quantities of your own blood is the trump card here. A slashing cut can also sever tendons and connective tissue particularly in the wrist and ankle areas. The willingness to continue the fight is somewhat diminished when you are watching an arterial spurt or nursing a hand or foot that doesn't work anymore. I'm no expert in these matters but wouldn't a smaller knife also be easier to retain?

July 28, 2008, 01:04 AM
I have often suggested that a small knife is not ideal for defensive use.

Spend some time with SouthNarc , and see what he can do with a clinch pick or a Disciple , both small blades.

Up close and personal , at contact distance , a small blade can certainly be as effective , IF you know what you are doing with it.

July 28, 2008, 01:07 AM
I've seen (and been victim to) small knife actions of two types.

The kind that I've seen started as amazingly quick slashes at the brow, nose-bridge, and eyes of an attacker armed with an axe handle. The attacker quickly went on the defensive, got his forearms and hands thoroughly slashed, dropped his much more impressive weapon (possibly because he couldn't hold it anymore), and ran like a frightened child.

The one that happened to me started as wide slashes at my stomach which I blocked with my left hand and wrist while grabbing with my right hand. Just when I got hold of the knife hand I realized he had a friend. I'd gotten close enough to my truck to reach into the bed and grab without looking. I lucked out and came up with a putter. I got cut twice more while getting turned around, but after that- well, stick beats knife, on the average, unless the knife wielder is very good or very lucky.

This time I was lucky.

Carl Levitian
July 28, 2008, 07:04 AM
There is one thing abouit a small knife that I have not seen mentioned yet. Like a small gun, it's way more likly to be with you.

Right now it's summer time. T-shirts, shorts in 90 degree weather are more the order of the day. People have broken out the bicycles, canoe/kayaks, coolers. How big a knife/gun can you carry under those conditions and still be inconspicous? No printing at all. The value of a self defence weapon is to not let anyone know you have it. If the bad guy can look you over, see the pocket clip, or the bulge under the shirt, he's now informed just where you're goodies are, and what to watch for. Indeed, he may find your not too concealed weapon more of a draw than your wallet and credit card. That nice little Kahr or tactical knife you have could be a prize to him.

The small knife can be shoved down out of sight in a pocket. Out of sight, out of mind. But I like a small enough knife that I can slip a hand in a pocket and have the knife completely in my hand without a bad guy seeing anything exept an old guy with his hand in his pocket. Surprise is a very valuble thing. Take a leason from the german Q-ship.

A very long time ago, there was this young lady. Her father was this government guy in a grey suit. Sort of a intellegence type out of one of the Washington D.C. spook shops. Very inconspicous guy. He was a fan of the little Christy knife. Anyone familiar with this knife knows its a very small, thin bladed knife, like a light duty pen knife. The blade slides up out of the handle with one hand operation. In fact, it is most likely the first one hand opening knife of the 20th century, being made since the 1930's.

Anyways, this man gives one to his daughter, a very attractive young lady. Teaches her how to use it in a very effective way. How the man knew is open to question, as he bought 50 of these knives and issued them out to the people in his section.

A few years pass, and the young lady, now in her early 20's, is leaving her office building just a bit after dusk at the end of a long workday. Emplyees have to park at the back of the building, leaving the front lot for the clients. As she walks back to her car and goes by an alcove that is fenced in concealing the dumpster, she gets grabbed and yanked into the dumpster enclosure by a man who had stalked her with some rape in mind. He never thought anything about her hand being in her purse groping for her car keys.

He pins her up against the brick wall with, and tells her he'll break her little neck if she screams, so she plays it cool, tells him she'll do anything, just don't hurt her. Makes all the right sounds, makes him feel in control. Exept by now she has something in her hand, and she ends up with a handfull of his hair yanking his head back, and a very sharp thin blade right to his carotid. Hard enough, the guy feels a little blood tricklling down his neck. Scares the tar out of him. Knows he's dead if she flicks her hand.

She tells him to put his hands in his pants pockets, and he's too scared not to do what she tells him. Then she knees him in the family jewels with everything she has. Crumples him right up. He's still doubled over when the police get there and take him off to the house of many doors.

A thin little inch and a half of blade saved a pretty young lady from rape and maybe worse.

Don't have to be big, just sharp enough.

July 28, 2008, 10:32 AM
JTW, look at what I'm saying.

I'm not saying that a small knife can't be an effective weapon.

The Tourist
July 28, 2008, 10:50 AM
JShirley, I don't think anyone is denigrating your opinion. However many of us cannot or will not adapt to larger blades.

Nor do we need to.

As I have written before, I am not James Keating or Jerry Vancook. Oh, I read and digest their writing. But the factor is that if there was a great expectation of increased knife fighting in my life, there would be a "for sale" sign on my house.

My knife is a daily tool. (As I type this I am waiting for the UPS and custom sheath from Josh Graham. It is a softer, rounder custom sheath, helping me to bend my legs in more comfort on a motorcycle.) However, it can be pressed into service as a weapon.

I also hate camping. If necessary, I would take the best equipment. If I needed a good chopping tool, I would not buy a Bagwell Bowie. I would go to Sears and buy a decent hand axe.

(BTW, I'd love to own a Bagwell Bowie.)

I think what you're seeing is a differing preference as we discuss the issue of the post.

July 28, 2008, 11:15 AM

I think some folks think I'm saying small blades can't hurt people. Of course they can.

What I am saying, is know how to use what you've got. With a knife, if you can't escape, that probably means "the best defense is a good offense".


The Tourist
July 28, 2008, 11:21 AM
I think some folks think I'm saying small blades can't hurt people.

Yikes, I hope not! Jesse James killed his first man with a broken knife, it had only one inch of blade length.

The crux is always "man and machine." A drunk with a Bagwell is about as dangerous as a common head cold. However, if I ever get the privilege of meeting Mr. Vancook the first thing I'm going to tell him is that I'm scared to death of him. Just so there's no misunderstandings...

I also believe that modern technology plays a factor. Little knives are better now. They get sharper. They chip less. There's more research into ergo.

Little knives are very deadly.

The Tourist
July 28, 2008, 11:25 AM
Here's my deadly little knife. It has only 1.5 inches of blade edge.

Joe Demko
July 28, 2008, 11:57 AM
A drunk with a Bagwell is about as dangerous as a common head cold.
Fancy that. One wonders how so many people end up getting murdered by drunks, then.

The Tourist
July 28, 2008, 12:12 PM
Fancy that. One wonders how so many people end up getting murdered by drunks, then.

It's other drunks.

If you ask an ER professional about knife fights they answer with something like, "At least one cut, but both drunk."

The most blowhard, death-dealing, chest-thumping townie in the bar gets dragged home by his wife who's tired of the nonsense.

Carl Levitian
July 28, 2008, 12:26 PM
Almost all the calls involving knives when I was a police officer, also involved very intoxicated people.

Joe Demko
July 28, 2008, 12:28 PM
I've been drunk and had a head cold both at the same time. I lived. Guess I'm either lucky or tougher than I thought.

July 28, 2008, 01:59 PM
I really want to get my hands on a Razel sometime soon...

The Tourist
July 28, 2008, 03:36 PM
I really want to get my hands on a Razel sometime soon...

Ahhh, what you need is a knife salesman.

More to the point, where are you going to find a salesman that also has access to refined sharpening techniques.

Where, oh where...

July 28, 2008, 03:39 PM
What I really need is more money. I can find the "crack dealers". :D

(hso jokingly refers to himself as a crack dealer for those who love fine knives. Considering the jolt you get when you handle a beautifully done knife, it's understandable.)

The Tourist
July 28, 2008, 05:55 PM
a beautifully done knife

A beautifully done knife is mere eye candy.

Now, a beautifully done knife with a polished razor edge, that's a knife.

July 28, 2008, 06:10 PM

I think you sometimes oversimplify things. I get what you're saying about the "common head cold" as a point of reference - there are certainly worse things than a "drunk with a bowie" - but to me, anyone armed with a knife that has the slightest ill will, or heck, anyone armed with anything with ill will toward me at all, is a very serious threat.

The Tourist
July 28, 2008, 06:55 PM
oversimplify..."drunk with a bowie"...a very serious threat

Believe it or not, actually they are not (a serious threat).

The very definition of a "townie" means that he is a nightly regular to that saloon. Many/most times they huff and puff and threaten and knock each other around and essentially blow off steam.

Yes, there are cases where a guy loses a ton of money in a poker game, leaves the bar, and comes back with a gun. That's not what we're talking about here.

We're talking about two, stupid drunks who fight over wet change, or a pool game or an insult to their hideous girl friend and hurt each other by insipid luck.

Why do you think I denigrate townies whenever I can? They are the main reason the cops are called. In Madison, your liquor license can be pulled because of too many complaints to law enforcement. Last year, two hip-hop clubs were closed due to gun fights.

It's not a knife fight. The problem is alcohol, and the fools who live this way. In the three bars that got most of the business from my club, almost all of the complaints involved drunks, not bikers.

July 28, 2008, 06:58 PM
well, it all depends on how drunk, and what sub-species of drunk your talking about. if we're talking the drunk who drank himself blind, not really a threat compaired to the angry drunk who had just enough to get him riled up with liquid courage.

Joe Demko
July 28, 2008, 07:02 PM
You can all handle it any way you like.
A drunk with a bowie knife who intends me harm is getting shot.

July 28, 2008, 08:07 PM
oh, i didnt say they aint getting hurt if they come for me with a knife, im just saying the threat level goes down the drunker they are.

The Tourist
July 28, 2008, 09:42 PM
the threat level goes down the drunker they are.

And that's the class of low-life I'm talking about. No matter what time of day I rolled into Joey's Anchor Inn, the same stupified winos were still hanging out, and hanging to each other. If you were new to the bar you might have mistaken the group for a mural that smelled like vomit.

We're not talking about your average trailor park toughie who smacks his wife around. We're talking about hopeless alcoholics.

This is the demographic most referred to by ER personnel. I think the knife, it's length, who carried it, how it was used, and even if the correct end was used, to be entirely superfluous.

July 29, 2008, 06:23 AM
On slashing ...

Aside from actual targets; areas such as the neck etc - slashes perhaps need to be described in terms of concentration of force.

A simple, fast "swipe" with a small blade is probably going to produce a fairly superficial wound. Unless it is across the forehead (which will bleed heavily and maybe "blind" your antagonist), and the neck sides perhaps.

A slash can be concentrated in the same way a punch is thrown with follow through, exerting tremendous force; i.e. the blade tip is turned in and the force is delivered with the intention of cutting through the body, limb target area etc.

Of course one is not going to literally sever an arm or head with a small pocket knife with a single slash. However, one can assuredly cut inside the arm at the elbow to the bone. With an upturned blade one could sever alot of blood vessel and tendon where the inside thighs meet the groin. The larger and sharper the blade the better of course.

And I doubt though that most attackers are going to stick around once they have been badly cut, even with a somewhat superficial wound, unless they really have it in for you for a particular reason. Most opportunist thieves and thugs are cowards and do not like the sight of their own blood.

July 29, 2008, 11:14 AM
A slash can be concentrated in the same way a punch is thrown with follow through, exerting tremendous force; i.e. the blade tip is turned in and the force is delivered with the intention of cutting through the body, limb target area etc.

LAK, that's how I attacked the target. If it had been a person, they might have been knocked down if they were small or off balance.

The Tourist
July 29, 2008, 11:38 AM
Guys, I think we're missing the one element here. That's the very concept of the application. Let me explain.

In previous debates, we've discussed calibers and how diameter size and power relate to defense. In that regard, we discuss "mouse guns." Fair enough.

But in that debate we must look upon a mouse gun's application in self defense. For example, a felon drops out of the shadows, you go into a defensive posture and you see "all he has" is a .25 ACP Raven. Does your opinion and possible action change simply because it's not a 1911?

So let's play out that scenario for knives.

Pick your own scenario. You make and choose the roles as the good guy and the bad guy. But whatever the option of that story telling, you spin the biker around for some very serious confrontation, and the flash of glitter in his hand is not a Bagwell Bowie, but it's me and my Razel.

Now, you remember this thread. Hey, it's only a three inch edge. In fact it's more of a 2.5 inch edge. You've seen the pictures in THR, the posts are explained by people you trust and respect.

Okay, Chico probably has enough on the ball to land a superfluous slash on my wrist or possibly somewhere on my neck. He might even get in a few quick jabs with the front edge--but, hey, that's a relatively blunt chisel. And to boot, this clown has no official recognized MA training. No in depth credentials in JKD.

All he has is some typical jailhouse info. All he is going to do is latch onto me and wail away with a dozen or so cuts and stabs with a three inch knife.

You start to giggle. Heck, I'm in no danger at all.

July 29, 2008, 11:53 AM
No, stabs scare me a lot. Slashes I don't like, but they rarely kill.

The Tourist
July 29, 2008, 12:17 PM
JShirley, I'd rather not go through any of it. And I truly believe we do not take the position that it's "just a slash" seriously.

As always, I recommend a search on for knife wounds.

There's an old Three Stooges line that applies here, "I hate the sight of blood, especially when it's my own."

But having looked at the debates for self-defense and knowing the very serious outcome of how that plays out, I'd slash the stuffings out of an aggressor and I doubt he'd be the same smug predator he once was.

And that's with a 2.5 inch knife.

July 29, 2008, 12:22 PM
I really want to keep my distance from knives, Chico, at least when they're being used aggressively. That's one of several reasons I usually suggest other options if you know you're facing one.

July 29, 2008, 12:26 PM
i like my plan: run away. best plan ever!

The Tourist
July 29, 2008, 12:33 PM
JShirley, and I would heartily agree. And there's more to the story.

For example, when we look at the global aspects of the historic improvements in firearms, we see dramatic dividing lines. Like matchlock to musket to rifle to percussion caps to cartridges to scopes to lasers. (Granted, that's very, very general in nature.)

Being a blade nut, I see imporovements in knives in that same fashion.

At present we now have alloys that allow razor performance, we have reasonable pricing due to CAD and CNC machining, we have defensive videos, we have McDojos even kids can afford, we TK style magazines, Escrima, Keating, the Graham brothers...the list goes on.

For 75 dollars, access to a tinker and a DVD, I can now obtain a cutting tool rivaling a 1300 AD samurai tanto. Fully, it surpasses any Bowie of the 1840's.

And any idiot can obtain this tool, legally with the money his mom gives him for lunch.

We are no longer in the "switchblade--Mack the Knife" era of edged tools. As you know I have a Konjo here that easily outdoes a pistol at contact distances. You can obtain its use by reading any knife rag or googling the 21-foot rule.

I feel this way because I have polished the edges of these newer knives.

July 29, 2008, 01:58 PM
Tourist, I hear you. There's value to your perspective, no doubt. What I plan for, though, is falling on my butt when the drunk comes at me...I plan for the drunk sneaking up behind me and applying a little too much pressure, slicing instead of waving his knife around...

I tried to find a great Marc MacYoung quote on it, it goes something like "Humans are the darnedest things. Sometimes the biggest, strongest guy will fall like a dead leaf, and sometimes the smallest, oldest guy will take rifle shots and keep coming. There are no givens in combat."

The Tourist
July 29, 2008, 02:11 PM
There's value to your perspective

I also believe that responsible tradesmen have to draw a line in the sand.

I think JShirley ought to find a 3" Graham (especially in S30V) and re-do some tests. After all, it is a short knife in public circulation.

July 29, 2008, 02:17 PM
Send me a PM when you turn 18. :evil:

July 29, 2008, 02:20 PM
If I get the chance, I will.

OTOH, the Cobra I used is a modern ATS-34 knife. It would be interesting to see if the geometry of the Razel alone would make a great difference on a similar target.

Carl Levitian
July 29, 2008, 02:57 PM
Try hanging an old ham butt from the Safeway that was tossed out because of past expiration. Put it in a leg of an old pair of jeans, and take a swipe with a well sharpened Old Hickory paring knife or boning knife. Its interesting. :D

July 29, 2008, 03:04 PM
sounds smelly.

July 29, 2008, 03:22 PM
hso, JShirley, Jeff White, Lee Lapin and a few others understand "my" perspectives based on "my" experiences, and "my" tasks for environments.
They know exactly whom mentored me and why they passed forward real life experiences and observations to me. As my "needs" were the same as theirs

-Small pen knife, less than 3" closed, that does not have one hand assisted opening, and does not have a lock.

-I prefer two blades.
Main blade is "toothy" sharp, and is not polished.
Pen blade is going to be sharper. I did not say it was going to be "razor sharp", nor did I say it was going to be "polished.

-I prefer carbon, tool steel blades.

It is true I was born with a Case Peanut , with bone handles and CV blades.
I am "associated" with such a knife and in recent years the yellow handled one.
I do not own but one Case knife, period, at this time, and it happens to be a celluloid Case Peanut , with Stainless Blades. It is sentimental, a gift and the blade has been engraved with something special. I have never sharpened it, and doubt I ever will. It is a sentimental collectible to me, and it means something to those that presented it.

I give perceptions I choose to give, to whomever I choose to give "what" to.
There were other tools, including knives in that crib as well. Time passes and other small pen - knives and other "knives" were custom made as well.
Offensive and defensive tools.

Now I can "polish", and if I had access to what I used to have, I could scare the living daylights out of folks with "sharp" and "polish". I have restored some swords, and other neat edged weapons. I did it without a store bought jig.
I may have used some ingenuity, to protect the integrity of the Civil War patina, or whatever.

I will share again, I had some Mentors & Elders that were interesting folks. These ladies and gents, were in places were guns, and many other things were restricted.
Checkpoints, where one was to cross, and "Police" armed at checkpoints.
One was subject to search on the streets by "police" , anytime gathered with others, and just walking down a sidewalk, or riding in any type of conveyance.

That small thin piece of steel was a much needed and respected tool.
One blended in, for sure one did not attract attention, and one gave perceptions needed to stay safe, and to survive.

Now that "Policeman(s)" likes ladies and likes to have his/their way with them, especially girls, that want to "get past his gate".
You want to get past that gate, they might accept a "bribe" whether you intended the female to be a bribe or not.
Then again, it might just be easier to shoot the male and have their way with a female, especially a younger one, and especially "girls".

Those persons have information, they know things, they may even have something real important, a "package" that needs to be on past that gate.
Time is critical, a "deadline" if you will.

"War" is defined as what it is, and does what one must do to win a war and keep others safe in fighting this "war".

The word is out, that "Police" are going to want "bribes".
So a female tapes her breasts tight to look flat, her hair is either up under a hat, or has been cut in the style of a male.
She is going to act, walk, talk like a male, to "blend in" and give the perception of being a male.

Someone blabbed, it is not important if it was an accident, or intentional to get some items needed by "Police" still someone blabbed.

One "Police" at the gate, the other is eating.
Two persons approach, both appearing to be males, one is actually a girl, with her hair up under a hat.

The drill is to show papers, stand and be frisked, and if asked, remove hat.
The practiced plan goes in motion.
The male has a newspaper in hand, and it with hat in the other hand are extended as he is frisked first.
He is behind and to the side of the "Police" as he goes to frisk the girl. She extends her arms and leaves her hat on. This "male" is being a bit curious, and he reaches to remove the hat, the "paper knife" slices his throat.
His gun is removed and he is beat about the head.
"Policeman" two, comes to see and his face meets the butt of a rifle.

Two bodies are dragged out of sight..
Two persons continue down past that gate.

Some want a knife to cut poly rope, cable ties, wet sisal rope, duct tape, electrical tape.
Some want toothy and bite.
Some like a blade to have the ability to bend, and not break.

There is a place for hard blades.
Phil Wilson is just one person that "thinks" as I was mentored. Shing is another.
Take a steel, and for that steel and its properties make it hard. This is for those folks that understand knives, care, use and how to maintain.
Not for a lot of the "general knife folks".

Phil will sharpen using a Norton Crystalon stone, then a few strokes on a white stone, then a few strokes on a leather strop.
The strop sometimes has some of the "debris" from the Norton stone mixed into it.
His other suggestion is 600 grit diamond and a strop.

He wants a bit of toothy. His Vietnamese wife a chef/cook, I forget, is one that gives feed back to his geometry, heat treat, and sharpening.

There is a place for small sharp things, and for them to be sharp and polished.

A Jig repeats the same motion over and over. It does not allow one to properly sharpen a tool nor polish it to its best effectiveness.

If one engraves , by hand, using a graver, they will use tool steel, to engrave carbon and stainless steels.
The cuts made are polished, as they are cut.

Those fine intricate designs to not allow one to get inside them and polish.
Same principle for "bright cutting a diamond".
That diamond is going into a gold or platinum "plate". The hole is drilled, the diamond setter measure stone, depth of plate and gets the plate ready to accept the girdle.
Today's "brilliant cut" diamonds, the rounds are much easier. Diamonds were not always "brilliant" or "ideal cut".
Just like they do not make pear , marquise , emerald, or oval cut "burrs" that will cut pear, marquise , emerald, or oval 'holes'.

You never could chuck up a "burr" or use a jig, to cut these. Nor could one with a old mine, or other diamond cut.

The diamond setter sharpens his tool steel gravers and strops on a pc of leather, and uses oil of wintergreen as lubricant, as he /she slices gold or plat with a graver.
He/she cuts what is not needed to fit the stone into that plate.
A 'bead' is kicked up onto the diamond.
Meaning one had better not slip, and one can break a diamond so that sharp pc of steel need to be sharp. It also needs to cut "bright" as one does not need to screw up craftsmanship, with "polish".

Diamonds are 10 on the moh scale. Ruby and Sapphire are next , running 8.25 to 9.
Emerald is much softer and if that graver is not sharp, it will break a emerald in a heartbeat. Opals and Pearls rap up the seriousness of a sharp tool being effective.

Beading tool rounds that kicked up gold/plat. One that stone is secure, it is now a matter of the craftsman removing what is not needed by "Bright-Cutting" the metal out.
Some will use a "milgrain tool" to give the itty bitty beaded appearance, many instead cut each one of those by hand, using a "liner" or a sharp pocket knife with a small thin blade sharpened and polished.

The Master Polisher, knows to not touch that plate , bright cut, by hand and is polished. They will finish out correctly , often times by hand, the rest of the piece.
If the diamond is set into Plat, or White Gold, it is cleaned , and if the water beads, it means the pc still has oil or grease. When the water streams off, it is clean.
The item is masked using nail polish, "remove what needs removing only". So the White metal is left.
Rhodium is a whiter and harder, so that plate and the stone are "Flashed" or Rhodium Plated.
Acetone Removes the nail polish, the total pc cleaned and handled with gloves or smooth wooden tweezers.

Same principles apply to hand engraving a firearm, a knife, Sterling Silver punch bowl,

Define: effective, small, sharp, polish, and tasks.

I sorta have my own definitions of these.

When the criminals enter a setting, firing guns, and breaking up the joint, they have just un-nerved folks and gotten inside the mindset loop.
Employees are forced onto the floor, and concealed guns are removed from them.

One has a tendency to not argue with a shotgun barrel at the base of the skull, or a .44 mag revolver pressed against the forehead.

What is done is done. They own the employees, and they own the joint. Now the deal is to survive . Mdse is insured, it can be replaced, people cannot be replaced.

Zip ties, duct tape, and sisal rope ties up and shuts up employees.
The criminals take what they came for and leave.
Nobody got shot, none of the ladies were taken to the back and sexually assaulted or raped.

A small pen knife, is accessed, it is a small , effective defensive tool. It rarely gets anything but a coarse stone, and stropped on leather, dry.
It simply bites, and cuts.
It cuts the rope of another employee, and the same knife is used to cut cable ties.

That knife was accessible with both hands tied behind the back. There is one accessible if hands are tied in front, and there may be other "accessibles" on person.

The Police are called direct, the clean up and dealing with aftermath begins.

The sales rep was caught by surprise, and tied and tossed into the truck of criminals vehicle, her guns had been removed from her person.

Bad enough to get taken down, and your mdse taken, it is even worse when you are lady, and these criminals raping you and letting someone hear this rape happening, will force them to open a business and get more goodies.

That young lady had a small sharp knife, she cut her hands free, then her legs in that trunk, she had practiced on many makes and models as to how to open a trunk.
Lady Luck showed, and the vehicle slowed down from having gone faster, it kept slowing and just before it stopped, she was out and running!

She escaped, some pretty nasty plans by two criminals.
Her mdse was recovered, the punks rounded up, and the other business was not forced opened due to her rape sounds.

Her larger knife, was taken off her person...

Her small knife was a Sterling Silver , B.A. Ballou key chain knife with a single blade.
I gave her that knife and I used a small diamond needle file, ~ 300 grit, to make that little bit of edge - "toothy".
She was able to access that knife, with her hands tied in front.

It cut, screw the contests on cutting rope and paper, that knife was that sharp to cut what needed for the "contest" of not being raped.


The Tourist
July 29, 2008, 05:32 PM
sm, all true. The problem here (speaking in defensive and tool terms) is that the characteristics of S30V really show in mirror finished edges.

I would ask that you research the professionals discuss this issue in the Keeping Sharp section of KnifeForums.

No matter what style of sharpening system you use, S30V is just more metal until it's a mirror.

I hope down the road JShirley sends me his S30V short blade for further tests, or he seeks out a Razel.

July 29, 2008, 07:06 PM
About that SV30 bidness. *rut-roe*

I have messed with it, and I did pay attention to what you said about mirror finish.
It depends on that steel and whom heat treated it. In my experience and observations.

Ain't no absolutes and I have found some SV30 actually performs better for me, and the owners if it has a wittle bit of toothy.

Err...currently I ain't got nuttin' to sharpen with. This has to do with some Veterans needing stuff to whittle with in Rehab and some 'Nam Vet assisting these lady and gent Vets and kids, and family in whittling.

Now this SV30 for me, "gets on down" with a Norton Crystalon coarse, about the same as the DMT/Lanksy/EZ-Lap "coarse".
Removing metal is removing metal and just gimmee metal and something to do it with.

Now I am looking at this under 10x and sometimes higher magnification.
[Yeah I seem to have lost my Bauch & Lomb 10x and 20x loupes too...]
So the inexpensive optics I am using, are not as good as to what I am used to using, still , they work. <teeters hand>

I do my thang and kick er on down using some old tricks and I get this mirror finish on SV30.
Here is the kicker. I was able to "whittle" a mustache hair , I knew the instant I did, I had goofed up, going to "mirror".

10x +20x so essentially 30x and I have removed my glasses and in the edge, I can my eye reflection.

Now there is a unwritten rule about never using a "tree product" to get a high polish, that is why the eyeglass places and makers of Optics, strongly suggest one clean eye glasses and optics with a cloth.

Cardboard is essentially "brown clay and dirt" and newspaper is essentially "white clay and dirt" and is abrasive. This "tree product" might be wood, still after it is made into paper towels (brown or white) or napkins, even tissues, it will leave scratches.

Now wood by itself "can" be such it does not "scratch" depending on the wood and how hard. Hard Maple is one example. Get a piece of hard maple, baby butt smooth, and do not put anything on it, and it will surprise folks as to what it does as a "strop".

Another old old trick is taking a good hard wood, baby butt smooth and painting it with John Deere Green paint. That paint has Chromium, and chromium does neat thing in regard to polishing steel.

Hence the reason I suggest Green Rouge, as it has chromium, when folks asks what they can get to put onto a strop.
Rouge comes in Red, White, Blue, Black and Green. Each one works "best" for certain metals.

Now I had two knives exact, except for steel. One was SV30 and the other ATS-34.
The ATS-34 out performed the SV30, with a mirror polished edge.
So I ever so slightly made the SV30 "toothy". I actually did this by hand, using a 1200 grit diamond dealie.
Actually going to 800 grit diamond toothy was best.
The only diamond grits I see listed by most diamond stone folks are 1200, 600, 400, 200, and 120.
800 grit diamond and 800 grit Norton emery paper seems to work best on that steel of SV30, heat treated as it is.

My gut says, rap up the hardness Rcs on SV30, and it will perform even better with a 1200 grit toothy.
Just enough bite.

What I want is to strop any burr. And I prefer to do this with a dry strop,and I may use leather, genuine chamois leather, or 100% cotton denim.

It is extremely easy to to go past "effective polish". This is the same reason one is advised to strop lightly, meaning just the weight of the blade on the strop.

Polish compound will get one into trouble.
Now leaving a toothy edge, and very lightly using a compound on a strop and not striving to "polish" will benefit a edge, for a user. Again, there is no one-size-fits-all.

The edge is alleviated of burr, the high spots of toothy are ever so slightly "polished" and the un polished tooth assists in not only bite, cutting also edge retention due to some big words I forget and cannot spell right anyway.
I just know what it means, and what it is about.

Where folks get into trouble is:
a. improper methods.
b. improper tools , equipment and supplies for task.
c. they do the same for everything.

What a person does with a Razel, is not the same for someone that uses a old old Old Timer with 1095, and is not the same as what a person with a Queen Whittler in D2 does.

If one sharpens, all three the same, one is not going to get the same performance for task, nor edge retention.

The steel will not let this happen, nor will geometry or heat treat.

Old Timers, with 1095 were good knives until about mid 70's, then Shrade starting letting heat treat "slide". The old ones will sharpen better and retain edges better than those made after about mid 70's.
Case pulled the same stunt.
There is difference in Case CV today, than in the 80's, and the ones before the 80's even better.
Find a 60's Old Timer and Case with CV, and compare, there is that much of a noticable difference.

Yes, the small knives are effective. Remember, many folks only had one pocket knife, and they used it for everything. It could have been a carbon, tool steel, or one of the "stainless steels" of the day.
The old ones were made right, had geometry and heat treat, and came sharp out of the box. These were for "users".
We have "collectors" today.
They do not use a knife, so all they need is a stainless steel sorta heat treated as it is not going to actually cut anything.

There was a time, folks were taught how to stay safe, and taught "offensive" use of tools to stay safe, and the "defensive" use of tools.
They could buy a small knife, and be effective in staying safe.
The Christy Knife is another example. Oh these were great!
These have stopped serious threats! These knives today are not the knives of yesteryear either.

Go find a Old Timer with 1095 or a Case with CV of late 60's to early 70's vintage.
Get a 3" closed pattern.
See how many rabbits, squirrels, it can take care of, how many ducks.
Get someone in the butcher bidness to let you cut some meat, or go mark cattle, with that small knife.

Now just freehand sharpen it with a Norton Crystalon, coarse/fine stone, hit it a few licks with a Case Arkansas Hard and strop on your blue jeans.

These beat out many of the newer offerings on the market today, made of newer steels, sharpened with doo-dads.

Yes they will.
That is why they are being bought up as fast as folks can find them.
Same reason folks want that Old Timer Sharpfinger, and Western line of cutlery , including sheath knives.


Carl Levitian
July 29, 2008, 07:19 PM
My little Buck Hartsook is S30V, and it seems to work better with a bit of tooth to the edge. Since I use it as my unfolding pen knife, it gets used on alot of stuff. Once in a while it needs a touch up like any knife. My pocket hone is in my wallet.

I carry a cut down Eze-lap diamnd home, the flat one with a red plastic handle, with most of the plastic handle cut off. It's in the zipper compartment of my wallet, so when the blade starts cutting ragged, out it comes. Only takes a minute and a couple strokes on each side to bring it back. But if I strop it, it does not cut as well as right of the hone. At home I use the Norton carborunum stone in the kitchen drawer. Works good too.

I've found for most things, I like a toothy blade thats a bit less than razor edge shaving sharp. Works better on rope and cloth, and meat.

July 29, 2008, 07:33 PM
Everyone I have heard with that Buck, says the same thing.
I bet your diamond is 600 grit or "fine".

Err, no. I ain't telling what other old knives I carried and like. I am selfish.
I shared Old Timers and Case, thems the only ones you get to hear about.

My customs were 01, 1095, Vacowear, 52100, 440C, ATS-34.
Vacowear is some neat stuff Maynard!

I actually like ATS-34 over D2 and SV30.

Somebody around here is going to get some sketches of mine for some customs I used to have and someday would like again.
I know the steels I want these made from.
Just some small knives, fixed...

Carl Levitian
July 29, 2008, 07:55 PM
Yes, the red one is the fine 600 grit.

It's my universal sharpener for all my knives.

July 29, 2008, 08:00 PM
Great forum here, I really enjoy everything about it.

The belt knife topic is awesome!

It would really be great if you could get a hold of a Graham Razel, the 3 inch ringed version, as you seem to prefer greater length, in S30V steel. Maybe ask the Tourist to polish it and wave a dead chicken over it for greater Mojo.

Let us know how you like it, and maybe test it out as to your preferences.

I have the shorter Stubby in 440 (I think) that I really like a ton! Chico saved it from the depths of hell after I tried to get it sharper. It came back with a mirror polish, and continues to put the scare in a stringer of bullheads!



The Tourist
July 29, 2008, 11:45 PM
sm, ya' caught me in a big no-no. That being "never assume."

Being a reseller, I can buy and use what I wish. I've become a snob. When you mentioned HT, it dawned on me that it's never a factor I consider much. For example, who does the HT?

For Graham, it's Paul Bos.

For Strider, it's Paul Bos.

For Emerson, it was Paul Bos, it still might be.

Follow my line of thinking. I have come to the point in life where I don't even buy Pakistani door stops.

So when I go looking for a new knife in S30V, I call my friends and business associates. They have attained that status because they like top shelf tools as much as I do.

BTW, ask Josh some time if you can check out his personal S30V Razel. Careful now...

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