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Ideas on blade length.

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by The Tourist, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

    One thing that has happened to me over time is that the older I get, the shorter my knives become. This was proven to me, again, early this morning.

    One of my favorite knife companies is Graham Brothers. You probably know them for their flagship "Razel." I own one, and it's everything reported, and more.

    And while folks in Wisconsin are limited to contact weapons and pepper spray, carrying around a knife solely for defense is simply not realistic. Clearly, a knife must be strong enough and sufficiently sharp to change the mindset of an attacker, but most knives will languish their entire lives snipping loose threads and opening UPS boxes.

    To that end, I just had Josh make me a knife called a "Stubby."

    If you google the knife, you'll find that the blade is one and a half inches long. That is not a misprint, it is 1.5 inches in length. In truth, it could be shorter and I still wouldn't find that objectionable.

    We always opine that the first rule of gunfighting is to have a gun. I feel the same advice holds for knives. What good is a perfectly crafted knife if it sits on your dresser top or locked away in a glass case?

    Another aspect of knives like this is simply "the unknown." You cannot plan an emergency. You cannot run back to the house and get your BOB and fistful of spare batteries. Chances are you are carrying your emergency supplies with you right now.

    A Graham knife is tough, in fact, tougher than needed and probably fit for a soldier. I had mine made from S30V and I asked Josh to make sure the heat-treat run went to Paul Bos (as does most of their work.)

    With this particular 1.5 inch knife I can easily field dress game, cut or pry anything I can imagine, depend on edge retention, fend off an attacker and still carry the knife in just about any jacket or pants pocket.

    Another nice thing about Graham craftsmanship--I don't have to get out the waterstones and check their edges. They are sharp out of the box.

    If you look through the knives I use the most frequently you'll find Emersons and Grahams. Just like most implements, you reach a certain age and utility seems to be more important than showing off.

    My guess is that this summer you'll find me opening boxes, doing chores and slicing into a good steak with a knife less than half the size of yours.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2008
  2. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Well-Known Member

    What's this? No Photo??? :D

    I tend to concur with the age/size analysis. When I was a youngster, knives HAD to be on the large size. As I approach those "golden years" I find that a simple bird & trout knife performs 99.9% of my slicing/shearing needs. Weighs less too! While I do still keep my old Boy Scout days KaBar in my backpack for hunting and hiking, I tend to use my B&T or 4 blade BSA scout knife almost exclusively.
  3. sm

    sm member

    The Tourist,

    You can't fool me, you just want a short blade as the Professional Knife Sharpener charges by the inch and you are a cheapskate. *razz*

    That was too good of a set up, to pass up. *wink*

    I understand what you are sharing and I have shared similar, though most of my sharing is with traditional knives, folding, and non locking, and under various closed size and blade length.

    Some areas in the USA restrict knives, just as they do our friends in the UK and similar.

    Fixed - again I agree with you.

    Mentors and Elders often times had "whittlin' knives" or "wood carving" knives.
    Fixed blade, small blades and some not even a 1.5" long, shorter, much shorter.
    The handle was wood , longer, and contoured to fit hands. They often carried, both ladies and gents, one of these they called "general purpose" in a little sheath.

    Handiest darn thing one ever did see! Oh sure they may whittle a stick, sharpen a pencil, open a box...still that small whittlin' knife , so obscure, in a short pocket, back pocket, skirt pocket, purse...etc. was a real defensive tool.

    Lessons for instance they shared about using pens, pencils in a pocket, like a shirt pocket and being grabbed and where ones hands are. The ability to access a "tool" and get someone to "let go" was important then, as it is today.
    Those little knives were one such tool.

    A lady can have one in hand, it is not seen, as she has it right there if need ...such as in a restricted knife workplace and going to parking lot.

    Just what she uses to pry staples, open envelopes and boxes with...at work...
  4. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

    Sorry, guy, but the knife hasn't reached me yet. I have provided a link. I asked Josh to make mine without the ring to keep it small. I have a ring on the other Razel, already.


    Normally, I might agree, except I'm the professional sharpener in this case. Josh does just fine, I might add.

    There are precious few things that are worthy of the hype. For example, Ben Dale at Edge Pro is one of the most honest craftsman I know. My mechanic Ryan can make a Harley do things you'd swear required a magic wand. And the Graham Brothers make knives--yikes, do they make knives!

    I'll get pictures up in a few days.

    Here's my ringed Razel and the edge I polished.


  5. Mandirigma

    Mandirigma Well-Known Member

    Yes sir! I got a Midtech Razel (back when they stopped taking customs) that bit me the second week I carried it. I was carrying sob, and put my support hand on the sheath so I could guide the blade in.

    Got about a 1/4 inch deep cut before I even realized I'd been cut!

    It also nicked the skin above my buddies vein, when I offered it to him to handle. He automatically started to spin it and as I got the words "You might not want to do that" he cut himself. We both agreed that he was very damned lucky and that we wouldn't be spinning this knife.
  6. Macmac

    Macmac Well-Known Member

    LOL That ain't a knive, that's a chisel! Looks pretty good too. I sure would hate to be slashed wiith that. And no I agree that piece isn't hardly delicate.

    I read wrong, and i own a knife smaller than that, apx 1.5 inch over all.

    What it is, is a broken blade, that cracked in the quench to harden. I broke it off at the closest crack to the tip, and reforged a shepards hook grip, so this knife is about 3/4" blade and about 3/4" handle.

    A very small skeleton knife. I carry it concealed in the hem of a Scot balmora hat, and mainly use it to slice right thru 1/2" think Elk neck hides for making moc souls, and other sewwing related things, which tha hat also contains.

    I can't test rockwell, but since the steel was a file to begin life and the cracks happened in the first hardening, not being to sure what rockwell is when it is glass hard, all I can say is this blade takes and holds one heck of an edge.

    It is dainty compared to that wood chisel though, so you don't get the blue star for the smallest knife by a long shot! :neener:
  7. Brian Dale

    Brian Dale Well-Known Member

    If I'm reading this correctly, you anticipate using the Graham S30V Stubby for opening boxes, cutting into steaks and the many, routine tasks of daily life. I've read your mention of carrying an Emerson folder.

    You know a lot of people with a lot of knowledge, in addition to your own expertise. Apart from people like working chefs, what's the usual usage frequency that you see for various knives? For example, a person might reach for the Emerson 80 percent of the time and for a favorite chef's knife (at home) 15 per cent of the time, with the remaining 5 per cent of knife usage divided among other, possibly specialized knives.

    What share of the tasks do you expect to see for your Graham Stubby?
  8. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Well-Known Member

    I have yet to take the Razel plunge. I see them at the Blade Show and keep intending to drop by their shop. It is not far. Drove within half mile today in fact.

    Honestly speaking, I use a SAK more than any other knife; that means every single day. I like the Graham Bros Razel and intend to buy one.

    My long bladed knives stay at home except for the occasional trip to the woods. I would prefer to fight with a gun if I have to fight (even if I have to back up to shoot ;) ), but I'll probably make a fast exit if I can. Not interested in knife fights.
  9. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

    In the spirit of the idea of this forum, let's first comment on the idea of a Razel type knife in the guise of a weapon. (The name of this segment is Non-Firearm Weapons.)

    I can answer that part of the debate very succinctly. A Graham product is a near-custom, extremely well designed implement using superior metals, design and heat-treatment. In short, it ranks with Emerson HD-7's and Striders.

    In that debate as a weapon, it would be like facing a perfectly sharpened and almost indestructible Craftsman chisel coming at you with this artfully formed Japanese cutting edge. You would be cut, cleaved and ripped apart.

    Now, most of us don't fight for our lives everyday--and if you were honest you'd pray you'd never want to claw for your life. But we do carry and use tools. And for many of us, our jobs and tasks come at us without a uniform schedule.

    I might be cutting a sandwich, and then the UPS guy shows up.

    But here's how I intend to handle this Stubby and why.

    First, I live in Wisconsin, and within a month or two the weather will warm up. I enjoy riding, and while my bike is designed and built to be bulletproof, I'll need some rudimentary tools and eating utensils.

    While I dearly love my HD-7, it often digs into the top of my right thigh on long trips. I'll carry a shorter knife in my jacket or use the traditional Buck 110 style knife on a belt sheath.

    But let's face it, I need a tool. And I don't whittle.

    In my life, I cut food, open boxes, scrape or pry, get caught in intense downpours and perhaps go days between thorough cleanings. I might be a professional sharpener in life, but like most of us when I'm on vacation I'm a bum. I change my oil before I leave, and then leave with a sharp knife.

    This is the long way of answering your question. However, without any doubt in my mind, if I had only one knife, I could do 100% of the things in my life with a Graham product and not want for more.

    The Stubby gives me the flexibility to get that same performance in a smaller package for the limited room I have on a bike. I'd carry the knife to Sturgis.
  10. Brian Dale

    Brian Dale Well-Known Member

    My apologies to you and to the group. I'll stay on topic in future.

    Got it. Thank you.
  11. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

    It wasn't a criticism. To my way of thinking, we ought to have a knife segment here at THR that deals with knives the way most of us consider them--as tools.

    But let's face it, it's getting to be a wild world. What you and I might consider to be a very handy tool might be pressed into service as a makeshift weapon.

    I also forgot to add one thing, and that's my view based upon age.

    When I consider a new tool (firearm, bike, anything) I look for the utility and not price. I can sharpen a cheap knife, and get good service. But if the knife fails when I'm away from a store the inconvenience of the thing bothers me more than the cost.

    I'm sure paying 250 bucks for one-inch knife might cause some members here to shake their heads--and as a younger man I might have joined you. But I have had my share of stuff that failed in my life, and all too often those things were hand tools when I was trying to repair something else.

    Yes, a Razel can be a weapon--and to be fair to the forum we should stay on topic. However, this is an excellent tool, and we should be able to discuss that, as well.
  12. sm

    sm member

    The Tourist,

    Yes I know you are the professional sharpener, hence my poor attempt at being funny. My apologies.

    Being serious, I have had to use knife in a defensive situation. Not my choice of how to defend, still the situation dictated a knife. I was under age 15 both times and had I not been using a gall-durned holster for the gun I carried concealed , I could have accessed the gun instead.
    No "permission papers" to carry a gun back them, still raised as I was and what industry, I carried concealed starting at age 8.

    My knives were not fixed, nor were they locking.

    Now I do not do knife fights, I don't carry a knife for the reason to defend with one.
    I was mentored about "newspaper knives" and other things.

    Now the folks that I was mentored by, were some pretty serious folks, and if one had to to use a "edge" the preferred tool was a screwdriver.
    This might explain why Beat Cops had a screwdriver back in the day, while it came in handy getting a stuck penny out of a machine for a kid...

    Retention drills were taught using a screwdriver to retain that gun someone might try to take off an officer.
    Undercover Police, were taught the screwdriver, as the cons, and street folks used screwdrivers.

    Now some mentors were in LEO, and Military, and even back then, "blending in" was stressed.
    Not just in the USA, as some had experiences in other countries, where there were checkpoints and restrictions on person's travel.

    Ex-Cons, and Trusties shared some tips on how to blend in on the streets...

    The screwdriver is blending in and disposable. It does not close on the user, nor does it cut the user when the user's hand slips off the handle. It is open and ready for use, and much faster than any assisted opening knife.
    Use it, toss it in the water, down a sewer and done.
    If...a screwdriver is found at the scene...it is only a screwdriver, and juries see a screwdriver.

    Don't sharpen the thing, it needs to look like the tool it is...blending in is the key...

    I know what a pocket knife will do to someone, as I have done it - more than once.
    I know what a 19 cent screwdriver will do to a person, I have been in on the Surgeries, and the Organ Harvests, more than once.

    I know what a chisel will do a carpenter uses , and knows how to sharpen as well...if pressed into defensive use.

    No Jokes, dead serious.
  13. eliphalet

    eliphalet Well-Known Member

    I reckon blade length depends on what a guy is gonna use it for.
    If it's the stockman in my pocket a 2 to 3 inch large blade is plenty.
    If gutting a deer or elk a old Buck 110 is my choice but the stockman can do it.
    The knives i use skinning him with range from 6 to 8.
    I will use a 5 or 6 inch Forchner to bone him with but the first couple of inches of that will do most of the work, and maybe a 12 incher to cut some hind quarter steaks but probably grab a 8 or 10 incher to butterfly the back strap's etc.
    If I wanna chop wood I would use a machete if it was a knife but have a nice hand ax that works better.

    I don't think of knives as a defense weapon for people much and only once in 59 years have I used one that way and that was over 30 years ago. It happen to be a razor sharp 8 inch fish fillet knife and that was because it was the first thing I got a hold of and it seemed to work just fine. Tactical or not it in my hand it was enough to allow me to get away without bloodshed. There may have been a broken bone or two I donno as my primary concern was to leave from the begining and I did't go back ever.

    The question this thread has raised for me is, Why on earth would some one want a mammoth ivory handle on a chisel? on a fine custom knife, or pistola grips, I get it, but a chisel? I guess it's over my head or well past me monetarily.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2008
  14. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

    sm and eliphalet,

    My intent here was not to suggest that a Razel product was a replacement for traditional tools, but rather a remarkingly well designed addition.

    As for an edge, this is always something that the client defines as uniquely for himself. Some like a 'toothy edge,' some prefer the finest polish they can get. In this case, a knife made from the alloy S30V benefits from this mirror finish.

    Eliphalet points out the fancy handles available through Graham Brothers. Yes, many are offered. I choose ones a bit more average, although I have a Tussey pistol with Ajax ivory grips. I probably have a bit too much chrome on my bike. This is one of those "to each his own" ideas and it doesn't diminish the function of a great knife.

    Knives are very diverse and they give the owner a chance to pick the correct tool. Today I was fighting a bad cold, thick ice was melting, I felt whoozy and frankly I needed a folding ice-pick for the day I was handed. I chose a little mini-Emerson, clipped it to my jeans and never looked back. The little Stubby would have been a great companion had it arrived.

    It's nice to see you guys are thinking and questioning the traditional concepts of knives and edged tools. It's not just a business, but it's been a great hobby and a fine addition to my collection of firearms.
  15. eliphalet

    eliphalet Well-Known Member

    Fancy on grips or fine knives or chrome on my Harley don't count as an over done addition. Well on second thought I have seem chrome over done maybe but just maybe,, Naaaa I saw a scooter at Sturgis one year that was completely chrome. Tanks, fenders, frame, motor, I think every piece was chrome except the lights, looked great.
  16. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

    Lots of my clients like sambar stag grips and brass furniture on their knives. I happen to like the feeling of micarta or ivory.
  17. sm

    sm member


    The Tourist,
    We are on the same page.

    Internet is a interesting medium and folks get wrapped around the axle and confused in so many ways. It is like whatever they read is an "absolute", and we know there is no "absolute" in anything, including tools in the toolbox.

    My role if you will, is more traditional and practical to reach that audience that means something to me. The ladies, kids, elderly and physically limited , and some others and those new THR and "all this" on a budget.

    Hence the reason I posted a similar thread in regard to how much blade does one really use?
    Parallels this thread.
    I am sharing production knives like a Case, under 3" closed to meet restrictive environments and for example a Case Peanut with CV blades , for about $30 and suggesting folks can learn to free hand sharpen.

    Blending in, tools in the tool box and not restricting one's self by "absolutes", and that means they are not going to be receptive and therefore get more tools in the tool box.

    Oh I suggest fine knives, and getting them professionally sharpened, I really do, most times in private and not on public forum.
    You and others can do that role and I do mine.

    Blending in means one might be best with a ivory handled, stubby bladed tool that costs a bit of money. That tool is best left to a professional to sharpen if the person that owns it cannot sharpen it.

    On the same note I might have those down on the back forty , on a trip in a hotel room, at the college dorm, or in a work restrictive workplace, that can freehand sharpen a Case Peanut.
    Same folks may also have a cane, 20 oz bottle of water , screwdriver they use to "pull staples" , "mess with IT equip racks" and the like.

    Firearms are the same way. I have dealt with ladies beaten, battered and rape victims, me and mine did our thing and perhaps a good used Model 10 police trade it was the best tool for them.

    Other ladies may choose to carry a custom 1911 platform in 9x23 with a gold bead front sight. Some actually do, and some guys do, I have and recommend this for a serious carry gun.

    I sometimes feel Internet being a fast communication means, actually is a negative thing. Folks used to have to wait to get a reply, or looking up information at the library took longer, allowing folks time to think for themselves and listen to gut feelings and investigate and verify.

    Folks seem to "react" instead of think, and get this sense of impeding doom they are going to mess up if they do not have the "absolute" , or "ultimate" tool.

    Re: Ice
    *grin* Mom & Pop hardware store got in some more old fashioned ice picks with the wood handle.

    Then again I still like to bust bags of ice on a concrete step and bang on it with a inexpensive screw driver...
    Heck of a tool, I can bust ice, pry off lids, use as a chisel, play mumbley peg, and by golly! That sucker will actually work to remove/put in screws.

    Who'd a Thunk it? *wink*

    It is all good...
  18. 12GA00buck

    12GA00buck Well-Known Member

    Well Sm,

    You took the thoughts out of my head and put them elegantly and concisely into words. You learn allot more sitting down with an old book and your own thoughts than starring at a monitor looking for the perfect solution.

    Well put sir.
  19. Brian Dale

    Brian Dale Well-Known Member

    Frequently. In a few areas, though, you guys have saved me ten years of trial and error.
  20. sm

    sm member

    It is I that thanks you folks.

    Everyone has talents and gifts, the reality is, nobody knows everything about everything.
    Life is a journey and one never stops learning along the journey.

    Ideas on blade length.
    How much blade do you really use?

    Go watch a butcher and see which knife they use for tasks, and how they use that knife. Some sharpen knives themselves, and this is educational and fascinating.

    Japanese Restaurants, now it has been sometime since I have been, still the whole experience is great!
    Chefs put on a show, and they have nice knives, sharp knives and watch how they use the knife.
    I like the way they can flip food onto a plate, and I had one Chef was really funny, he had deal with the waitress, and would flip a shrimp tail into a empty drink glass.
    They had a funny banter about that little deal they had practiced on.

    Interesting was, this chef took note of a pen knife I had. I had it out getting a loose thread cut for a lady.
    He asked to see it, and made some funny comments, compared it to his and started doing some moves.
    He looked at me as if to ask permission, very respectful, and I nodded approval.

    Showmanship and he was doing shrimp with my little pen knife and flipping shrimp onto plates.
    Everyone was having a good time.

    He and other Chefs are "craftsman" and they have earned the right to get paid what they do and customers pay the price of a meal.

    It is the user of a tool, not the tool itself.
    Craftsman, whether it is the Chef, a butcher , the Professional knife sharpener, the wood worker, whittler, whomever, earned being "craftsman" by putting in the time and effort.

    The butcher can cut meat with any knife, he /she has talent, just like the Japanese Chef used my Peanut that night.

    A wood carver has his nice wood carving or whittling knife, they can do the same things with a SAK or a Peanut.

    I have no doubt I could toss The Tourist a 3" stone I often use, and he could free hand sharpen a knife in no time.

    Internet users need to understand one has to investigate, verify and put in the time to learn something.

    One cannot buy skill and targets.

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