I carry a large Kershaw folder that retails for under $50, can get a razors edge and hols edge fairly well. Would I really be amazed by a Benchmade or Emerson costing 2-3 times as much?
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April 9, 2004, 10:46 PM
It depends. Much like loading ammunition to maximum velocity, there definitely are diminishing returns. Whether some less obvious factors are important enough to you to warrant the extra expenditure can only be answered by you.
April 9, 2004, 10:55 PM
It really depends on what your looking for in a knife. If all you want is something that will do light cutting work for you then you really wont care much for the difference.
If you are a stickler for fit and finish or asthetics then you would be happy with the extra expense.
Also, SOME high end knives will hold together and STAY sharper for longer than SOME cheaper knives. But if your smart about it there really isnt anything that a $150 knife can do that a QUALITY $50 knife cant.
Kershaw makes nice knives and really taking a step up has a lot more to do with desire than it does with need.
With that said i have no problem spending a LARGE chunk of my income on really 'nice' knives. My 10 year old Buck Hunter can really accomplish virtually any task i have put a knife to. but, it just lacks that 'something' that makes knives worth what they charge (to me).
April 9, 2004, 11:15 PM
I have several real ''budget'' knives ... some even Chinese (boy, there are plenty of those!). I have a Buckmasters giveaway which is a Camillus .. excellent blade.
I did tho go a tad overboard last year . and bought a Buck Mayo from a member here. Now this is a near $300 knife!! Titanium handle ... incredible blade. I would most likely have not even considered buying new. I did tho ''succumb'' to buying it for $200 ... which was very profligate of me but . I love this knife .. beautifully crafted, ''scary sharp'' ... and it is my 24/7 companion.
Seerms a temp server prob - pic not coming up right away.
April 10, 2004, 01:45 AM
MANY $150 knives really are better than many $50 knives. If you can't see the difference, then you are not ready for a $150 knife. IMO, there are alot of good knives out there for around $100 or less.
The more you use a good knife or knives, the more you appreciate their different qualities. I own and use several knives in the $200-$500 bracket and I have no reservations about using them for thier intended tasks. I wear a custom fixed blade on my hip when I hunt in the wilderness and I wouldn't trade it for a good rifle or even a good mountain horse.
April 10, 2004, 02:45 AM
My perception is that there are probably three "break-points" for knife prices. The first is around $20 to $25, which should give you an adequate and functional knife for most purposes. The second break-point is around $45 to $55, which will give you better steel, a better handle, a better sheath, and an edge that will last noticeably longer. The third break-point is around $75 to $80, where you start getting into the best or near-best steel and heat treatments.
There is a fourth break-point, which is the Sebenzas (or Randalls, or any number of custom pieces), that probably run $250 or more, maybe much more. I don't own one, so I won't comment.
Headless Thompson Gunner
April 10, 2004, 03:21 AM
There is a difference between a good knife ($50) and a truly great knife($150+). That difference is mostly in fit and finish, though, and not so much in function. There usually is a slight improvement in blade quality among the more expensive knifes, but you may not notice it in average use.
The real advantages of an expensive knife over an adequate knife are in the quality of the manufacturing and materials used. Materials like titanium or polished micarta are tactile, sensual details that some people prefer in their knives. Such won't make the knife any more useful, but they may make it more desirable. Similarly, the finish and assembly quality make a difference to certain people. Precisely fitting the scales to the liners and spacers won't make a folding knife cut any better, for instance, but some people appreciate these little details.
It's sorta like the difference in gun finishes. Parkerizing is good enough to keep the rust away, yet some people prefer the look of a highly polished, deeply blued gun even if it is much more costly.
Kershaw makes a fine knife. If you like yours then be happy with it, and don't feel obligated to drop hundreds of dollars on a new "better" knife. But if you get the chance, thoroughly examine one of those expensive knives, and look for the subtle differences. They are there, if you look closely.
April 11, 2004, 12:37 AM
I used to be a real knife snob, myself. Then I bought an Edge-Pro, and knives that were mediocre before became quite useful.
A few months ago I had a CRKT M-1. True, the steel was AUS-6A, but it was quite sharp, well made, had the LAWKS system and opened very smoothly. For a 48 dollar knife, it appeared to me to be as well made and functional as some of my 300 dollar Microtechs.
If you take the passion out of this subject, like anything else, things are worth what you are willing to pay for them.
I carry a Strider SnG, and truth be told, it's a tad rough. While I paid 400 dollars for it, its usefulness to me is worth at least twice that.
I also bought a custom Buck 110 from their web page. It has perfect grind lines, beautiful fit and a BG-42 blade. I paid 120 dollars for it, an I feel that's a bargain.
Now, my friends at my church think any knife over 20 bucks is over-priced.
April 11, 2004, 12:43 AM
Sure, you'll probably get what you pay for, to a degree, but will you really use that pearl-handled sissy pistol, or put it under glass someplace safe back home? Be honest.
OK, your knife guru said "nothing short of this steel, that lock is good enough for my students." Right. Most probably mean it, too. God Bless 'em, their hearts are in the right place, but I don't think that it's the same real world that the rest of us live in.
I'm awful sorry about stepping on any tootsies, but more folks carry cheap-o knockoffs that they bought at a gas station, if anything. Go tell them they need to spend the rent to open an occasional envelope. For that matter, 10 bucks more will getcha a good Swiss Army Knife, which may not be able to punch thru car doors, but will still cut a seatbelt if you need to, ya know?
Spend the remaining $130 on groceries or more training.
If you want a more expert opinion, go find "A Book of 5 Rings". There's a great line from this wise old Samurai dude, who literally lived and died by the sword, about not having any favourite blade. He said that it was better to be skilled enough to use whatcha got at the moment.
Bottom line: Only you know your situation. If 50 bucks is enough, good enough.
April 11, 2004, 12:58 AM
"Would I really be amazed...?"
I wasn't for years. Then one day I picked up a $300 knife that fit my hand and I was amazed. Now I own 2 of them and a $150 sheath knife. They really are good tools and I don't miss the money.
April 11, 2004, 10:57 AM
I carry knives at the 30-50 range and the 150 range. My 50 knives do everything I need as for cutting purpouses. My 150 dollar knives give me a greater pride of ownership, look nicer, open and close smoother, require less sharpening, can get sharper and are just all around fun to use and own. You can get some really great knives at 50 dollars. Stepping up to 100 gets you a awesome knive, and breaking the 150 dollar barrier is where truly incredible knives exist. Im drooling over a sebenza lately but will probalyl wait until after I graduate school to get one. If you apprecaite fine craftsmanship, the expensive knives are worth the money, if you just want a good tool, a 50 dollar knive will serve you well too.
April 11, 2004, 06:17 PM
nope....anything over $9.99 is money out the window...
:evil: :neener: :rolleyes:
April 11, 2004, 07:11 PM
It all depends on what you want the knife to do, doesn't it?
April 12, 2004, 11:54 AM
You bring up a good point, but what can you do about it from a practical standpoint?
I'm leaving the house today as I always do carrying the EDC in the next rotation. Today it's the SnG. I haven't the faintest idea what I wll cut.
My guess is that I'll cut the usual list of loose threads, envelopes and UPS boxes.
However, if I roll my truck, I might have to slice a seat belt. If I get invited to a bar-b-que, I might be cutting a T-bone steak.
In the majority of cases, a 4 dollar Opinel will fill the bill quite nicely. In fact, one time I carried a 4-inch Opinel as an EDC, with NO other knife with me, for an entire month to prove the point to my snobbish friends. (I cheated, the Opinel was sharpened on an Edge-Pro and touched up as necessary on a white-rouge strop. For the git-go, I had a sharper knife than they did!)
My Dad had one folder, a slip joint made from crappy steel, that he won at a county fair in the 1930s. He sharpened in on a soft Arkansas, and how he could match the factory bevel on the knife for 60 years was beyond me. The finish still shined.
After running the gamut from rookie, to excited knut and then to realist, I've come to the conclusion that we all own too many knives, most are purchased for their 'looks' and not their function and most of us would be better served by a good jackknife, not the latest tactical gizmo.
When I'm going to spend the day outdoors, I retire the Strider and revert back to the Buck 110, where I started. And the Buck cuts just like a 1,000 dollar custom.
April 12, 2004, 02:33 PM
Exactly. Every day I see people wanting the latest GO FASTER JUMP HIGHER knife that they honestly, don't really need. When people ask me what I'd suggest in various price ranges, it always boils down to what they are looking to get out of a knife.
The Kershaw Blur series is great in the $50 range. So is the Camillus HEAT (due out shortly).
In the $100 range, the Microtech Mini SOCOM Elite is hard to beat.
In the $125 range, you have to look at the Benchmade 520.
And in the $150 and up, the Camillus Dominator or the BU-172 Buck Mayo TNT are both fantastic.
Past that, you really start looking at diminishing returns or niche products that have something "special" about them, whether it's the superior fit & finish of the Chris Reeve Sebenza, or the OMGTACTICALOMG of certain other makers.
April 12, 2004, 04:03 PM
I find that concept of yours refreshingly honest. Thank you. After all, you sell knives.
I will add one point. Sometimes you find a dedicated, and rational, custom maker who listens when you speak. I believe there were four of them, but two of them have passed away.
With trips to South Dakota, I needed a good 'camp knife.' Not some ridiculous short-sword Bowie, but a knife for cooking, camp work, cutting 'fuzzy sticks' and other mundane chores.
One day I received a package from my friend and custom knife maker, Eric Chang. Inside the box was the exact knife.
Beautiful ergo handle, tasteful hilt, functional rough finish on a blade of 1084, modest length and a durable edge of common-sense degree. It was a gift. He told me that if I could break it, he would repair it.
Most of my buddies refer to this knife as "my rough little Bowie." That is until they use it. Then they want to buy it.
And that is my point; what people claim they want is not necessarily a tool that actually enhances their lives. It is an easy trap to fall into, and I have a metric ton of 'drawer queens' to prove it.
April 12, 2004, 06:30 PM
Well, for starters my $400 knife can cut through your $50 knife. :)
That should amaze you a fair amount.
As with all things, its a matter of personal preference and it depends on your needs/wants.
If you are the type who scoffs at Rolls Royces, thinking that a Honda will get you where you need to go just as well and for a fraction of the cost, fine.
Many people like that just will not understand why some people buy Rolls Royces.
April 13, 2004, 02:29 AM
And some people will buy Rolls Royces or Hummers, even if they will never leave the garage or the highway. :rolleyes:
Again, it's what you want to get out of the knife. Some people like carrying boat anchors in their pockets. Others want a tiny gent's knife. Others just want something to cut with. It all depends on what they want to do.
I'd rather sell someone a knife that they can use and fits their needs, than a status symbol that doesn't meet their requirements or breaks their wallet. If you are happy with your knife, be happy - your money was well spent. Your mileage may vary.
April 13, 2004, 09:56 AM
The right tool for the right job, or maybe worst case scenario?
What is the purpose of your carrying a knife to begin with? Is it to cut boxes, string, the ocassional package delivered through UPS, clean your fingernails, etc? If that what you normally use your knife for and do not expect it to potentially serve as a life saving tool, then a 50.00 knife would certainly suffice.
If, on the other hand, you carry a folding knife as a tool with the idea of a potential emergency in my mind where you may need a tool that will stand up to some rough use or even abuse and get the job done, you may want to reconsider the 50.00 knife in lieu of something more substantial in materials and it's correspondingly substantial price.
I carry and choose an EDC folder for the worst case scenario I may find myself in. That may be self defense related or emergency related where I need a tool with me that can cut, pry a little, not break the point in doing so, and keep it's edge longer due to the better materials used in it's construction.
It's no different than carrying a firearm. If you can get by with a 50.00 knife, you can probably get by with a Jennings .25 or maybe a Raven .25
The 50.00 knife will cut materials, the Jennings will discharge a projectile. Both do what they are meant to do, but neither does them extremely well or has a reputation as being rugged enough to withstand "combat" as most understand it.
My EDC'd folders are for many things, not the least of which is to potentially save my Arse in a worst case scenario.
Lets ask the forum members this question----------
If you had a crystal ball and knew that the day would bring you adversity where you needed a tool to survive, would you prefer to take the Jennings .25 and $50.00 knife or would you choose to take a Glock/Sig/1911/HK/etc and that 3-500.00 folder that day.
Now lets assume for a minute that you don't know what the day will bring and what you may need in the way of equipment on your person that day [ like most of us ].
Do you trust that you WON'T need the better tools that day, any day for that matter? Do you trust fate not to deal you a bad hand that day as you only have the Jennings and that 50.00 folder on you?
I choose to carry the best equipment I can afford to buy in lieu of carrying something somewhat less than that. Now I understand this can and is very subjective as to what everyone may choose as the best for them.
On the other hand, I don't think we can say with any certainty that a 50.00 knife or that Jenningss is anyones "best equipment" at anytime.
I choose not to trust Murphy not to rear his ugly head and catch me with my pants down. What are the chances I'll be in a worst case scenario where I would need the better tools? I don't know, and there's the crux of the matter. It's because I DO NOT KNOW what is in store that day that I choose to carry the best equipment I can and not the prone to failure equipment which may be just fine for normal days in my life but will not withstand the abuse/hard use I may need to apply to the tool in a bad situation.
What were the chances the people in the towers on 9-11 were going to have a bad day. No one knows for sure when their time will come when their life may hang in the balance based on the equipment they have with them at the moment of truth.
It's why I carry an E2E Surfire EVERYDAY, without fail as well. I've only needed the light twice since it's been EDC'd and neither were an emergency situation where survival was in question. That doesn't mean it can't or won't happen that I need that light one day.
Carry what you think you'll need in a worst case scenario. If that happens to be a Jennings 25 or 50.00 folder, okay with me. Not my Arse thats on the line but yours.
Plan for the worst and hope for the best. Be a Boy Scout, heed their motto and you will have the better chance in a worst case scenario of your equipment getting you through a bad time where a lesser product would not have allowed the same results.
The life you save may be your own. I trust my equipment to get me through as it has been selected, not based on price point, but on reliability and toughness quotients.
OMMV-- we each make choices and we each may have to live or die with those very choices as well.
April 13, 2004, 11:06 AM
"Future gains are not based on past performance."
However, based on living for five decades, there is a very good possibility that the next thing I cut will be a UPS box. And there n lies the issue.
Just because something can happen, doesn't mean that it will. And the trouble with the knife industry is that, like Harley-Davidson, much of the mystique is 'the bad boy image.' We will never be Navy SEALs, but dad-gum, we MIGHT face the same dangers.
Bull feathers. None of us is ever going to get into a knife-on-knife fight. The closest we will get is sitting in the front row of 'The West Side Story.'
Why am I so certain? Well, I like 4-wheeling. I have moved 1,200 pounds of lead during a move, I can off-road in South Dakota and I live in a state with long winters. I drive an F-150. However, in an AVERAGE year, I never leave the road. Some winters I have NEVER engaged 4-wheel drive.
There is a very good case that could be made for me to buy a smaller 4-wheel or AWD, and simply RENT heavier stuff if needed. I say this because the car industry's own figures show that 95% of the 4-wheelers and SUVs sold never leave the pavement.
Same with bikes. I rode with an area club, a club which has never had more than 150 members in its entire 30 year history. Can you imagine all of the black leather clad dentists and insurance salesmen I meet at the bike shop?
I stand on my position. You are better off with a jackknife than a tactical gizmo knife.
April 13, 2004, 11:44 AM
I like to think I'll never need the knife to defend as well. That in no way prevents me from being that Boy Scout and planning for a worst case scenario.
Knowing the odds of a knife fight with knife on knife scenario are extremely low, why do I then spend all the money in transporting my butt to and from ancross the country to get defensive knife training? Why train at all with a knife? If you base your decisions on "odds", you never will need the training to begin with. I base my decisions on possibilities in life, not odds.
I tested a 50.00 CRKT on our site that after a few ggod stabbings into soft pine, the tip broke off and the leading end of the knife "bent" effectively making it useless exceot for the edge of the blade.
You stated: "None of us is ever going to get into a knife-on-knife fight"
I don't have the same crystal ball and so I can not say that myself with any certainty. I carry a gun when I think I may need one [ the odds are better than average based on what the assignement is that day ]. What I should be doing is carrying everyday [ which I used to do for 20+ years ] no matter what I was planning on for work those days ].
You play the odds, the odds of getting into a knife on knife defensive scenario are low at best, not an absolute as you stated, in my opinion. Because it's low doesn't mean I should not be prepared as my training has shown often enough.
I cut the odds in my favor when I carry "better" gear rather than the least common denominator folder which will make paper, twine and foil twinge in fear.
I buy the best tires for my cars for the same reason. Hell, a tire is a tire is a tire right? Riding MC's, you know that you want the best rubber under you that you can get, not the cheapest. There's a reason for that as there's a reason to always carry the best equipment you can afford at all times if you are prudent.
If I get up in the morning and tell myself I won't get into a gun fight today as I'm only going to the PO, thats the day someone will go postal and I'm discovered to be defenseless and I chose the wrong path that morning.
I carry the flashlight as I may need it, not because I will need it. I could buy a cheapo light that would fail at the most inopportune time [ when I really need it ] or I can spend the extra money and get the E2E surefire which will not do anymore than the cheapo light with the exception of perhaps lasting longer, being able to drop it and not have it shatter, etc, etc.
I buy boots that are 250.00 when I could buy boots that are 50.00. Both will keep you dry and warm, the more expensive pair will do a better job longer at that though, under adverse conditions.
We don't know what the day will bring or we would only carry what we were going to need that day. I plan for the owrst scenario, not hope and pray I have an easy day and my equipment will not be tested to the limits and beyond.
As you carry a Strider SnG when you could carry a 50.00 folder instead, I suspect your opinion is that the strider will be the better tool in a worst case scenario not necessarily defensive oriented ]. You have thought about the possibilities and decided the Strider price and dependability cuts the odds in your favor over the 50.00 knife in some way or we would not hear you carry one.
If one can not afford the better tool, thats one thing. If one has the means to carry something better, it's prudent to do so IMO. Cut the odds whenever you can, plan ahead for the worst case scenario.
Forethought goes a long way.
Odds have nothing to do with it in reality. If that were the case, I wouldn't be found at a casino losing money, as knowing the odds, I would not be playing their game to begin with.
The USMC and boy scouts had a lot to do with my training and mindset. Both have stood the test of time over the 50 odd years here on earth as well. There were times I needed that equipment to not fail, these very times were unexpected events and I was prepared with the best equipment I could buy [ at that time ].
April 13, 2004, 01:41 PM
Yeah, you could be in a blizzard tomorrow too, so you'd better wear a parka everyday in Florida.
There is a point of diminishing returns on everything. If view everything through the lens of "I might need that extra .00001% so I better spend $300 more", you are not the typical person. Like I said, there are people who will buy Roll's or Hummers who see them as a status symbol. Then there are those who actually need them. It's up to the buyer to determine which profile they fit.
I will say this though, you should always use the right tool for the job. Pistols make horrible hammers. Knives make crummy prybars / screwdrivers. It's up to you to determine what you need. Some people are determined to carry fixed blade because folding knives, well, fold. Some people want Swiss Army functionality. Others want a status symbol. It's your money.
April 13, 2004, 02:42 PM
I don't carry a slipjoint folder like my grandad did, there are better folders on the market today.
A slipjoint folder would certainly do everything I want in a folder [ it has a pointy thing for stabbing and an sharp edge to slice things with ] , just not as well as the new genre of folders like framelocks, linerlocks, etc.
Upgrades and advances in materials and designs are just that, advances through technology, better heat treat and initial materials used which take the better heat treat and produce a better product [ mostly ].
None of the newer designs will do anything more than stab [ they have pointy tips ] and slash [ cut with the sharpened edge ] just like the slipjoint my grandad carried.
What they WILL do, however, is be able to hold that edge longer under harder cutting and stabbing chores than my granddads knife. It also is designed to give me some degree of protection from the blade collapsing onto my fingers if I slip with it during use over my grandads knife.
The tip is less likely to bend or break under abnormal use. The edge is less likely to chip ouit when it comes into contact with bone or another hard target than my grandads knife.
Are the knives I carry better than my grandads? You bet they are and that's why I don't carry a slipjoint like my grandad did. I'll take the advances in technology and put them to good use in my own ways. Ways that dear old grandad would never have imagined possible with his slipjoint. In fact, dear old gramps would be the first to buy the best folder he could, like me, thats why his slipjoints were not made in china or hong kong but here in the good old USA. Why? Because he wanted the best folder he could get his hands on in his heyday, just like me.
Imagine that, I have the same wants and needs as my grandpaw. To own the best I can afford. You can buy the least expensive product out there and then have to buy it over and over again, replacing them as they fail due to poor materials/heat treat or any other number of reasons. In the end you have spent the same amount of money, or more so, on the junk than if you had bit the bukllet and spent the money initially for the better product. It depends on your needs and how much you come to depend on your equipment.
If you buy the wrong equipment and then think you can depend on it when you really need it, you are only fooling yourself. If the paper, the foil and string won't know the difference, why should I buy a more expensive knife?
The simple answer, for me at least, is that one day I may need the folder to perform a function other than that which it is used for regularly [ string, foil and paper cutting ]. Those are the times when I'll want the better product.
This question could also be raised using different price points. I can buy an M-tek piece of crap for 5.00 over the 50.00 dollar knife. Why, if all I'm going to use it for is to cut twine and paper do I even need to spend 50.00? Thats sounds like an awful lot of money for sutting that sort of thing don't you think? The M-tek has a point thing at the front and an edge to slice things with. Do I need anything else really? Isn't there a diminishing return on money spent in spending 50.00 when a 5.00 knife will do the same thing?
It's all relative here folks. Some would never buy a Mercedes even if they could afford it. Others want the comfort and amenities the extra money spent will give them.
I own a Lincoln as I want the creature comforts. My wife drive a Jetta as she wants the better gas mileage and doesn't drive enough to worry about 2900 mile one way road trips [ to train in defensive knife like I do].
Do I need the Lincoln to drive 2900 miles? Naw, I don't think so. The Jetta would be just fine. Would I be as comfortable on the trip in the Jetta? Absolutely not.
Both are cars, have tires on the road, use gas just like the differences between a slipjoint folder and something more modern. They have the same features but one makes it easier to use more comfortably. The more expensive knife will have radiused corners that don't bite me [ as a rule ], will have better ergonomics [ as a rule ] whic hleads to less fatigue in use over an extended period of time.
If these attributes do not interest you, go buy the 5.00 china knockoff, it has the same features as the 50.00 knife. I have a hard time understanding those who profess a 50.00 knife will do everything a 500.00 knife will [ stan and slice materials ], yet would not buy or use a 5.00 knife over the 50.00 knife [ for obvious reasons ].
The analogy of a blizzard in Florida is not really germain to the issues here and a poor analogy at best. We don't all live in Florida, but I'm pretty confident all of us at one time or another will have an emergency where that 500.00 knife would perform admirably and the 50.00 knife will break in use, or fail and bite you itself. Now if we all lived in Florida, perhaps that comment might have some meaning to it, but alas, it doesn't as we that live north of the mason/dixon line could care less about a blizzard in Florida and consequently would not have to be prepared for it.
If you feel you'll never use your knife for anything but string and paper, save yourself 45.00 and buy the M-tek in lieu of the 50.00 CRKT [ or whatever ]. After you run through 8 M-teks, you could have purchased the 50.00 folder. Thats the same as buying a 50.00 knife, once, several times over the owners lifespan or buying one 500.00 folder that will outlast two or three generations after you are gone [ which means unless I lose the damned thing, I don't need to worry about having to buy another folder for the same purpose over an over again, ad nauseum.
I don't buy the best I can afford based on price point, I buy something that fits my needs, is made of materials that will last a lifetime of hard use if cared for properly, and fit my hand ergonomically. As well, the folder may be pressed into service to defend myself, even if that ocurring, is a low percentage money shot.
I don't buy things that are prone to fail easily. I buy a good wheelbarrow, not the cheapest. They both have wheels in the front [ like the point on a knife ]and they both have handles [ like the knives ], and they both have a place to put materials to be moved. One however is made with thinner, cheaper steel and will fall apart long before the more expensive better built will.
Any object, pick any object and the analogy can apply betwen whats acceptable and what is not based on ones potential personal needs where that tool is concerned.
I'm presently carrying a knife that cost me 103.00 dollars [ my cost ] and retails for about 160.00. The Tourist is carrying a 400.00 knife [ the SnG strider ].
Mine will not last as long or perform as well under severely adverse conditions as his. Mine is not a 50.00 knife, neither is his. If all he is going to cut is paper and foil, why spend the money when the M-tek will do the same thing for the materials he will be using it on?
In closing, there are degrees of acceptability. What I'm willing to accept as a bare minimum for my needs is not someone elses based on their own needs.
I'll take the best I can afford and like at the same time. If I'm convinced one will outlast another by a wide margin, I'll always take the better product [ Just like dear old grandad did ].
There is diminishing return after a certain point but that point is always changing based on whicj items are being discussed.
April 13, 2004, 03:38 PM
i can rarely afford to buy the best, but when it comes down to something that I might have to rely on, I spend what I can afford.
If you can only afford $50, buy the knife and move on. Same if you don't think spending $350 more will get you that much more. I do know the lock on my $55 Spyderco has failed twice now, so I don't carry it unless I'm going somewhere that my Microtech is not welcome. If I could do it all over, I would have bought an SMF from the getgo, but I digress.
I do know that if I worked on the 100th story of a building you can bet your bottom dollar I would have a parachute and some base jumping lessons under my belt. Having solid gear gives me piece of mind and to me that is important.
April 13, 2004, 04:23 PM
Brownie, you win the "Missed the point" award for this thread. You are advocating knives that, though super tough, are way above and beyond what a typical customer needs.
Nowhere did I mention M-tech - we don't even carry the brand because it's (quite frankly) garbage. However, if you think the difference between a Strider & a Chris Reeve & a Camillus Dominator in terms of blade steel & edge retention are great, I'd ask you to check again - they are all S30V. In levels of quality, I know which one ranks best. I also know which one is the best choice for the average consumer.
The "one day my folder may have to fly a plane" analogies are miniscule probabilities at best, and hype & sensationalism at worst - things I despise in sales tactics. If you buy your knives looking for the OMGWORSTCASE IT MUST CUT A TANK IN HALF situations, you'll have to pardon me if I feel you are not the typical customer. The typical customer wants a knife that will last them. One that is made from quality materials. One that holds an edge and uses solid designs. One that stands on it's own merits, not on marketing.
If you want to toss out red herrings, be my guest. Please don't act so shocked when called on it though - your parka might get warm in the summer.
April 13, 2004, 04:26 PM
Lets also try to keep in mind that a 50.00 knife costs the maker all of 12.00 to get to public sales. The jobber will take his cut, the distributor will take his cut and the retailer will take his cut, making the knife 50.00 to you.
$12.00 is not going to buy good steel, or other materials, let alone the manufacturing process. You'll get what you pay for here I'm afraid.
Take that 5.00 M-tek, what materials will they use at their price point to make it. Not something to be considered IMO.
Krept, good thought process there sir. By the best you can afford to begin with, even if it hurts a little longer on the credit card or bank account.
Doesn't have to be the best, just good enough for any worst case scenario you may find yourself interjected into one day.
April 13, 2004, 04:33 PM
I carry three blades on me daily. One's a $10 mini-Buck for the usual crap that dulls a blade (letter opening, string and box cutting, etc). The second is a Leatherman PST for all the odd things I do (minor field surgery, mechanical repair, etc) the third is a Spyderco Lil' Temperance. I got the Leatherman free, and the Spyderco was nearly $100. And it was worth it. It replaced a now retired Spyderco Delica ($30 at the time) which served me well for seven years, traveled around the world with me, and did all chores for me (box cutting, cleaning fish and game, cutting rope, and as a last ditch defensive weapon once.) The new Spyderco is better steel, stronger lock, more purpose built as a hard-use and defensive knife, and you know what? With my history of using knives hard, it was well worth the money. The Mini-Buck is for the little crap, the Leatherman is my utility tool. The Spyderco is my seat-belt-cutting car-roof-removing buffalo-skinning and holy-crap-i'm-pistol-less defensive weapon in an extreme emergency. I don't use it much, but it's nice to know it's always on me. I'd probably be happy with a Kershaw or other $40-50 knife, as I was with my Delica. But the extra $ was worth it to me.
April 13, 2004, 05:46 PM
Another pic of my Buck Mayo TNT (very reduced and compressed lo-res pic) .. below which is a real cheapo (it was a 'giveaway' in fact) .... Chinese ... 420 Stainless, probably cost around $2-5 .... and yet ... this lives in my pocket loose ... and is my ''rough stuff'' knife. I have to say ... it is remarkable, only needing freshening now and again. So I do know cheap [can be halfways OK, even tho it is small.
The Buck .. I still wonder why I spent so much, compared with another gun purchase ... and yet it is certainly at the top end ... and would be my ''seat belt'' cutter in an emergency, as well as SD knife .... it is pocket clipped in my right pocket at all times. Plus, I guess, it is a pleasure to own! Gotta assuage my guilt somehow! :D
Certainly, there are lots of low and mid-priced knives out there with bent or broken tips from prying or 'Bruce Lee' reditions. But do you know why? It's because of operator error, plain and simple. Knives are made for slicing.
If you get into one of those 'Navy SEAL operations' and trash your knife, it's hardly because the knife was pooprly made, it's because your plan brought the wrong tool.
Myself and a few of my friends worked in Madison at the old Decker Harley-Davidson. I still have the same ratchets, wrenches, breaker bars and drives that I bought then. None of them are trashed. The reason is simply that professional mechanics do not use a ratchet for a hammer or a fitted screwdriver to pry open paint cans.
We are not operators behind enemy lines. We are students, white collar workers and suburbanites. We always have time to go get the proper tool.
And BTW, there are bargains out there for people on a fixed budget. I bought a Buck mini-Alpha Hunter for a good price, certainly less than a Microtech or a custom. It is made out of ATS-34 steel and heat treated by Paul Bos.
As reasonable a price as that knife goes for, you cannot tell me that a knife so constructed is a poor choice, or will fail. In fact, I'll bet that this Buck will outlast most of the stuff the mall ninjas carry 'just in case.'
April 13, 2004, 07:05 PM
Lets also try to keep in mind that a 50.00 knife costs the maker all of 12.00 to get to public sales...
That has less to do with the quality of materials involved than it does with such factors as economy of scale. Big cutlery manufacturers buy steel tons at a time. They can also take advantage of mechanization in ways that the little guy can't.
I've owned bunches of knives, including some very, very expensive ones. There's a difference between a $50 knife and a $500 knife. At that price, there'd better be. IME, what you are paying that premium for is exquisite fit and finish (as opposed to adequate), exotic/choice of handle materials (instead of what the manufacturer decided to use), choice of steels (instead of what the manufacturer chose to use), pride of ownership (instead of having exactly the same knife a 1000's of other people), and other more-or-less intangible factors.
Frankly, I'm not buying into the "I might have to hack my way out of the heart of an asteroid" hype either. Since man first learned to work with metal, countless generations of people depended for their very survival on edged tools and weapons that by today's standards wouldn't be as good metalurgically as some of the junk cutlery from Pakistan. Buy what you want. Buy what you can afford. It's your money, after all, and your choice whose sales pitch you want to believe.
April 13, 2004, 07:43 PM
I agree it would be operator error if one broke a knife. BTW--Knives are not just for slicing, they have a point for stabbing as well.
That doesn't negate the fact that I'll be able to abuse that SnG a lot more before it fails [ if I have to one day ] than the 50.00 knife.
They both may be the wrong tool for the job, but I may not have a choice to carry a pipe wrench with me just in case everyday. Which one will perform longer and suffer less abuse if both are used in the same manner? The more expensive, better fit and materials knife I'm sure. Hence, the choice to cut the odds in my favor just a tad should I need the assistance one day.
Golgo: You don't have to buy into the hype at all. As stated earlier, I also carry an E2E surefire everyday in lieu of one of the cheaper lights. Is it hype to expect the people in NYC could have used that light when the power went out throughout the city and people were stuck in elevators and stairwells with no lighting to see their way down to the ground level? Hardly.
How about that guy who had to amutate his arm half way to the elbow with his very dull multi-tool after surviving stuck under the rock for a few days. He was interviewed afterwards and one of the first things he said he wished he had done was carry a more stout, sharp knife. Didn't think he needed it as well until he did one day.
There are those who will prepare for the worst and there are those who will insist it will never happen to them or the odds are that they'll never run into that situation where the difference between a cheap tool and a well made expensive tool is a moot point.
If it never happens to you, you beat the odds. If it does happen to you and you are one of the people who refused to believe they needed better equipment as it would not happen to you, you are in worst shape than you could have been.
It's not hype, it's a fact of life that people fnd themselves in situations all the time where a "field expediant" tool had to be used in a manner that it was not intended for.
I trust my butt to the best I can afford and find to carry. Anything less is, well, less than it could have been which may just translate to living or dying in a worst case scenario.
I may still die or suffer from not having the right tool, but then you can't carrry a mechanics tool chest around with you everyday on your back. Sometimes you have to make due with what you have, and if you have something less than you could have had it makes life tougher to get out the tight spot you find yourself in.
The Marines have a saying that goes like this: Improvise and survive. If I'm to believe that, and I do, then I'll carry the best I can get my hands on. Improvising with a knife when you need a crowbar is a two edged sword [ sorta speak ].
Though it's not the right tool usually when you improvise, the better made, more solid performer will do more longer than a similiar tool of lesser quality.
Cut the odds in your favor whenever you can, thats the name of the game here. Not whether it's the right tool for the job at hand or not.
Tourist carries a 400.00 Strider for a reason we haven't heard yet from him. There's a reason he carries that knife, bought that knife, spent the money in lieu of the 50.00 folding knife.
I don't carry a Jennings or Lorcin 25 acp to save my butt if and when I may need a gun even though it will probably never happen to most people anymore than I carry a 50.00 retail folder for the same reason. BTW--I've had to use a handgun to get out of several jams based on my prfoession. I suppose one could say I was unlucky in even having to work that type of scenario a few times as most carry a lifetime and never need it to defend themselves or their families.
Again, playing the odds, I had what I needed. Actually I should have had an assault rifle but I made due with a field expedient handgun of superior quality that went bang when I really needed it.
I don't trust my life to a Lorcin or Jennings should I need a handgun and I certainly do not trust my life to a 50.00 folder should I need it either.
No difference between the two in theory at all to my way of thinking.
April 13, 2004, 08:38 PM
I just want to add that I agree 100% with Brownie's first post and those are precisely my sentiments on the topic.
We have no way of knowing what life will throw our way.
As such, its nice knowing that my Glock can get really filthy and still fire.
It is very nice knowing that my Strider can very easily break glass to help me get (knock on wood) myself or someone else out of a wrecked car, and it can sure as heck slice their seatbelt.
It could also cut through a steering wheel and many other parts of a car.
Obviously, if I were anticipating a particular task, I'd bring the appropriate tool. In daily life, however, it isn't really practical to carry a full tool kit on your person wherever you go.
As such, I like knowing that my knife can take abuse and keep coming back for more.
April 13, 2004, 11:53 PM
That's fantastic for you. I'm glad you are happy with your purchase. When they are available for $150 I'm sure everyone and their brother will be carrying them. Until then, it's still not applicable to the original poster's questions, is it? I'm sure you feel it's appropriate to pay as much for your knife as you did for your sidearm, however, many many many would disagree with you. Many people would prefer a knife that is comfortable and lightweight instead of overbuilt to the extreme and oversized. And just like the $2000 full sized 1911, the big folder that gets left on the dresser because it's uncomfortable to carry is of no use whatsoever when you really need it.
Whatever your reasons are, if you are happy with your purchase, so be it. Your needs obviously differ from the rest of the knife buying public, so you don't need to make excuses for it.
April 14, 2004, 12:00 AM
The poster asked if more expensive knives are worth the extra money over their less expensive counterparts.
I told him that they most definitely are.
April 14, 2004, 12:08 AM
And my point is that there is a significant level of diminishing returns after you spend a certain level of money. Something certain people seem to be missing with their "my knife never cuts more than an envelope but I bought it because it can cut through a tank" rationale. Hint Hint. There is no magic in the common steels & materials. If you feel it's worth an extra $250 for maybe 2% of performance difference and an extra few ounces in blade steel, you made the right choice.
April 14, 2004, 12:20 AM
Apart from the fact that I just had to have it based on looks alone, the fact that I have a high level of respect for the men who make them, and the rock-solid, proven in the real world reputation of their products, I bought that knife as insurance.
As I said, I hope that I never have to use it to cut/pry/stab my way out of a wrecked car or building, but if I do, I have that option available.
If others do not feel that way, fine.
I never said that I am right and others are wrong on this topic. (Though I am. :) )
Again, the poster asked if more expensive knives are worth the extra cost over less expensive knives.
He asked, I gave my opinion.
April 14, 2004, 08:47 AM
How about that guy who had to amutate his arm half way to the elbow with his very dull multi-tool after surviving stuck under the rock for a few days. He was interviewed afterwards and one of the first things he said he wished he had done was carry a more stout, sharp knife. Didn't think he needed it as well until he did one day.
Near my home town, a guy got his leg crushed under a tree. He amputated it with a cheap chinese folder he bought at a flea market, then he drove a bulldozer to his truck, then he drove the (standard shift) truck to a farmer's house and politely asked for help. Both the incident you quote and the one I just described have everything to do with tough people and little or nothing to do with tough knives.
As I've said before, its your money and if it make you feel better to buy one product over another, please spend as you like. This is a capitalist society, after all.
April 14, 2004, 09:22 AM
Lot's of good advice. I think I have learned some of the more expensive knives are worth it if you have the need. Many opinions on the subject, almost as if I asked if the 9mm or 45 ACP is a better round! ;)
Carry on and thanks,
April 14, 2004, 09:48 AM
"There is no magic in the common steels & materials. If you feel it's worth an extra $250 for maybe 2% of performance difference and an extra few ounces in blade steel, you made the right choice."
If you believe what you wrote above that a 400.00 Strider only gives you 2% better performance over a 50.00 CRKT product [ maybe ], you haven't handled a Strider to understand the performance or you perhaps don't know how weak the CRKT line of knives is in reality.
I tested an m16 CRKT on our website at http://www.folders-r-us.org/full_tests.htm
As you'll note if you care to read the review, the CRKT m-16's tip did not survive stabbing it into soft pine after three repetitions. The tip bent on the first tip strength test, then broke it's tip off a few stabs later.
The test of the Chinook 1 on the same site by my contractor [ who broke several knives I gave him within weeks ] is still up and running with nary a nick, let alone a failure of any kind in the lock or blade under some very adverse conditions he runs them through in the course of a day.
The difference? The CRKT can be had for 36.00 on the internet and runs about 50.00 retail. The Chinook runs about 165.00 and can be had for 110.00 or thereabouts from the internet vendors [ I get them cheaper than that as a retailer ].
The CRKT lasted a few minutes under hard use. The Chinook is still running after more abuse than the CRKT could ever take. Which would you consider the better knife in overall performance? Which knife of the two would you want with you in an emergency where all you had would need to be used in a field expediant manner as a survival tool?
2% difference between them? Hardly, more like 2000% difference or more from actual testing of products in different price points in the market. This isn't theory here, but actual results from testing.
I can tell you that a Strider in various models or an Extrema Ratio folder will outperform the Chinook in either flavor [ the original or the Chinook 11 ].
So we see that the performance difference is not your [ 2% maybe ] as you stated and believe. It is well beyond 1000% difference at the very least. You may want to reconsider your opinions about the difference between 50.00 and 150.00-400.00 folders based on real testing and not hypothetical rhetoric which has no basis in fact in the real world.
There's a big difference in the quality of the steels used, their heat treat, workmanship, and overall performance as well, unlike your statement that there's no magic in common steels which seems to be invalid as well from actual testing.
I use an SAK hiker to cut string and boxes, it's carried everyday. I carry a high dollar [ if thats what 150.00 is to you ] defensive folder to be there in the event I need it to save the bacon or get me out of a tight spot where others would fail at the same task.
I may need an expediant field tool for extrication of myself or another. I like knowing the knives I carry are capable of performing what I may need them to do in an emergency under adverse conditions. You can't count on the CRKT knives to be able to handle those types of events without failure in quick order. In fact, if all I had was an m-16 CRKT [ or any of their models ] I would not attempt to use it as it would fail. Knowing that, why would I try to use it in the first place.
My defensive folder will stab through a car door with nary a sweat broken. That I know it can survive the rough use it may need to be used for one day gives me the confidence I require of my chosen equipment.
The man who amputated his arm to escape death from under the rock wished he had had a better knife than the cheapo multi-tool he had with him which made for one hellacious probelm cutting through bone. My chosen EDC's would not even be phased at the event. Big difference wouldn't you say?
He was supposed to be a pro and know the ropes. Here he is carryng a cheapo multi-tool and didn't understand that in an emergency he would need better equipment.
Penny wise and pound foolish. Now lets ask you a question in a hypothetical here.
You need to extricate yourself or a loved one from a burning vehicle. I can hand you the 400.00 "tank" or the 50.00 CRKT to perform the extrication to bring yourself or your loved ones out of the car. Am I now to understand from your previous posts you would take the 50.00 knife? I doubt it very much, and you'll more than likely pick the better, more robust tool right?
So if you would pick the better tool for obvious reasons, why do you have a hard time picking the same tool before an event happens where you need it.
Forethought----It goes a long way in this world we live in. Some people are destined to make mistakes/wrong choices even though they have the advantage of others mistakes before them.
I'll not be one of them when ever I have the choices to make. YMMV, of course.
So, the answer to the posters question is a BIG yes, there is a very big difference in performance and materials used. Thats from real world testing and not posturing a reply based on assumptions and personal opinions.
Golgo: Because he used a cheap china knockoff does not negate the fact a better knife would have made the job easier and stayed sharper longer while doing the cutting, especially through bone. One knife might make a clean cut and the cheapo china knife would not have been ideal for going through bone. In times like that, the faster you get through the hard work, the better.
The guy I mentioned trapped has cited he wished he had a better knife for the task that was at hand that day. Lessons learned from real world experience. I suppose we should listen tothose who have gone before us and made mistakes but still found a way to survive it all.
April 14, 2004, 11:08 AM
Whatever. Your money, your life, spend both however you please.
April 14, 2004, 12:16 PM
I guess my point boils down to what advice I would give a younger guy on his purchase. And trust me, my errors figure in to that equation.
And you point out one of them; how can a 50 year old man get caught up in hype like a kid? Very easily, I'm afraid. The 'amputation' stories mentioned made national news because they happen so rarely. However, the knife guys use these events to justify their over-the-top purchases.
Here's another angle that must be mentioned. My disposable income as a middle-aged white-collar worker is dramatically greater than a younger man just starting out. I happened across a Buck 110 (the best knife in that era) and the $9.00 I paid for it at Berg-Pearson's in 1968 wiped out my whole wallet.
Fast forward to 2003. I yell into the kitchen, "Hey, honey, I want to buy a Strider. Is there room on the card?" She yells back, "Go for it, I just paid the monthly statement."
Of course we all like nice things. There's a $27K 95-inch Soft-Tail down at Capital that would look great in my garage. Not a chance. The elder in my church, or his son, might contemplate it as successful men who own their own company.
And, BTW, speaking of real-deal experiences and church members, the son of one our deacons just left for military duty a few weeks ago. He didn't have a knife, and probably couldn't afford a good one anyway. Additionally, he knew nothing about knives. I gave him a black/black CRKT M-1 and wished him well.
My guess is that this knife will be unrecognizable upon return. My focus here is getting him back in one piece, and that entails good equipment that he can take care of with other things on his mind. It was the right choice.
Maybe that's the answer. Forget the hype, focus on the real work.
April 14, 2004, 12:49 PM
As I said at the beginning of the thread, there are diminishing returns. I don't fault anyone for buying a more expensive knife because they value fine fitting, higher quality materials, and better steel. I rarely fault anyone for buying an inexpensive blade, unless it performs poorly and/or is dangerous.
Only the individual user can make the determination as to whether the extra cost is "worth" it, and for that person, his decision is as valid as another's.
I would tend to pay attention to expert opinions before making my own choices, though.
Spark, one of these days- when I'm back in the real world, and not a starving student- I reckon I'll have to pick up a Chinook from you.
I reckon this thread is done. Y'all start another if you feel the need.
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