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Thread: Pocket Knife recommendations?

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Central IL
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    211
    My son bought me an Albatross Damascus. It's a nice knife and if lost will not break the bank

    https://www.albatrossknife.com/products.html

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Tokyo, Japan
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    I find knives are tricky, because they're so personal.

    For example, I tend to hate modern super-steels. I want something that takes a keen edge and is easy to touch up. But then I'm not cutting through rope and cardboard all day.

    I also really like traditional knives. Even have a few non stainless carbon steel folders that I love.

    And as for SAKs... Everyone has their favorite, and even those who have their favorites can't decide which one to carry!

    So, it's really a hard question to answer.

    The Alox style SAKs look nice and can make a nice gift, though. I don't know if they fit your budget or quality expectations, but the Awl on the Farmer, Pioneer, and Farmer X is incredible.

    The Bantam(?) -- that super thin Alox Sak, is also interesting because you can slip it into your wallet or something -- a full sized SAK that takes up no space, essentially.

    Higonokami knives might be fun if you think he might like Japanese steel and a simple, traditional folder. Note that they're prone to rusting and so need somewhat better maintenance, but are really nice to have if your tastes are anything like mine.

    The other thing I'd personally love is to buy some really old vintage knives. There are a ton of great knives produced 70, 80, 90, 100 years ago that can still occasionally be found in good condition on ebay. Some people probably wouldn't like such things as gifts, but if your dad is like us rust-lovers, they could make a great gift.

    Anyway, some indication of your dad's preferences and what he generally uses the knife for might help us offer better suggestions!

    Outdoors? Carving/Woodworking? Farm work? Office? Handyman-stuff around the home? All of the above?

    One other little tip -- I like to gift knives with a small inexpensive sharpening stone. For those who don't know how to sharpen, it gives them a chance to learn. And for people who already know how to sharpen, well, who wouldn't appreciate a cool little inexpensive Arkansas pocket stone from Dan's or somewhere? It might be a nice way to add a bit of extra value and fun factor to your gift.
    Last edited by Luke Dupont; 02-26-2023 at 8:15 PM.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Riefer View Post
    Ö
    Do you have any brands/options that you would recommend?.
    When I saw this thread my 1st thought was ďthere will be a lot of suggestions!Ē. Everyone has their favorite.

    Iíve carried a lot of different knives over the last 60 years. My all-time personal favorite is the SOG Visionary I. (The Visionary II is bigger than I like.)

    I use a knife daily around the farm and house. I like this knife for several reasons.

    It is designed for one hand opening, so important when the other hand is busy. Slide it out from where itís clipped to the pocket and itís perfectly positioned in the hand to open with a quick thumb push on a raised stud on the side of the blade, positioned for immediate use. Iíve had some knives that needed two hands to open or needed to be repositioned in the hand before use. (may not have time for that that one time I need to cut the tie rope holding a seriously panicked horse!)

    Close by sliding a release stud back with the thumb and pivoting the blade back into the handle with the tip of the forefinger. The clip is positioned to quickly clip it back on the top of the pocket.

    I did a test to see how fast it can be ready. I removed it from my pocket, opened, closed, and reclipped it on the pocket 5 times in 5 seconds. Granted, there is rarely the need for such speed but it shows how seamlessly it fits into my day. Always one clipped to my pocket, all day, every day, feel naked without one!

    Slim, composite handle. The clip can be moved to the other side for lefties.

    It appears Iíve bought 11 of these (gave a few away). I keep two small boxes in a drawer, one for sharp and one for dull. When the Sharp box is emptied I get out the knife-sharpening machine and sharpen all the knives in the Dull box.

    All black, handle and blade - I like the look.
    Durable. I lost one in the mud while catching and wrestling an uncooperative peacock (those things can be a challenge, strong enough to break your jaw with a wing!) and I didnít find the knife until the next spring - perfect condition after cleaning.

    Iíve bought some of the other SOG knives and some other brands to try but donít use them. I particularly donít like those with spring assisted opening. Donít like a big knife either - the handle on these is about 4Ē long and the blade is just under 3Ē.

    JKJ

  4. #19
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    Mar 2016
    Location
    Millstone, NJ
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    I was at the NY knife show saturday and you definitely have to have a budget for this. Some of the customs there were 3-4k. I have a friend who makes custom so I have one of his but I wouldnt otherwise own something so expensive. I have a decent collection of the sub $300 range Zero Tolerence makes a good knife in that category. Benchmade is nice but doesnt hold any finish in my experience. One of my favorites is a new kershaw. I find myself sitting at my desk flicking this one more than any other knife I've ever owned. It is smooth out of the box and its $50 https://www.bladehq.com/item--Kersha...-Knife--178506

    My most carried is a milwaukee fastback, simple razor blade

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Riefer View Post
    Hi all,
    I hope to lurk more in this section of the forum as I learn more about hand tools (just starting that journey).

    In the meantime, I do have a question I thought you might have a take on...

    My 75 year old father is impossible to buy gifts for, the proverbial "guy that has it all", so I try to pick quality over quantity.

    He really likes to carry a pocket knife and has a couple sentimental and utility options, but nothing truly noteworthy. As such, I thought he would appreciate a very high quality pocket knife. Some quick searches turns up some beautiful options, but I am unsure how to determine which ones truly stand apart. I'm thinking something sophisticated, sleek, and useful for the small tasks he often uses his knives for (opening packages, odd/small tasks, general day-to-day usage).

    Do you have any brands/options that you would recommend?

    Thanks!

    Bob R.
    I don't carry a pocket knife on my person. Sort of frowned upon in Australia (in spite of Paul Hogan's famous line).

    But I do have one in my briefcase, which is a Japanese knife with a Damascus blade. It is quite wonderful ...



    Link: https://www.japanesetools.com.au/pro...ca54f0d4&_ss=r


    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
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    37
    I found myself in a similar position at the start of covid lockdowns and it started a knife making journey for me.
    I have found many excellent blade blanks are available at very reasonable prices. I recently put a walnut handle on a small blade for a friend's son. The wood came from his grandfathers childhood farm, so the gift held some meaning.

  7. #22
    Join Date
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    This thread has been so fun to watch and learn, thank you (and keep the ideas coming).

    In my case, my father has a couple sentimental, sleek, small folding knives (in the 3" long when folded range) that he sometimes carries - he seems to like that small size for opening boxes, small tasks, but the quality of those aren't great.

    He also often uses a mini "super tool" which works well but isn't the "sophisticated" look per se.

    So in this case, I'm going towards the small, sleek, folding, sophisticated look, quality blade side of the spectrum. Thinking in the $300 range or so (and some of the options above are in my research board now).
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  8. #23
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    Trevor - I like the blanks idea too. Is there any that you can particularly recommend?
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  9. #24
    I have carried one from National Pen Company for a number of years, kind of like a Swiss Army knife. One key feature is that it has a little ring that makes it possible to put on my key ring. It was free too. I bought some pens from them, and they sent me free samples for years after. I would like to replace it, but haven't found one similar, yet. Not particularly high grade steel, but since it is on my key ring, I have not been able to lose it....

    robo hippy

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Baltimore, Md
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    1,764
    I've always been partial to a schrade Old timer two blade pocket knife.
    "The element of competition has never worried me, because from the start, I suppose I realized wood contains so much inspiration and beauty and rhythm that if used properly it would result in an individual and unique object." - James Krenov


    What you do speaks so loud, I cannot hear what you say. -R. W. Emerson

  11. #26
    I have favored the boat anchor approach. This is the older one that stays in an at-home pocket- all there but a bit stiff.

    Probably doesn't weigh much more than one of those penis-enhancing folders sticking out of some guys' pockets 'tho...


    IMG_3967.jpeg

  12. #27
    I'm not a bladesmith but I do like assembling the kits and profiling the handles. Here is the first lock blade pocket knife I put together. The parts are tiny
    IMG_0340.jpgIMG_0338.jpg
    It came out bot too bad for my first try IMO. Next time I'll use nicer scales.
    If you like a fixed blade you can get a small skinner, this has a 2 1/4" blade, Woodcraft kit
    IMG_0165.jpg
    Just a suggestion

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    McKean, PA
    Posts
    15,030
    I, like my Father before me, carry Buck 303 Cadet pocket knife. They last a long time and hold an edge. I also have the one my Father carried fo much of his adult life.
    0303BKS-B.jpg

    Case knives are all made nearby in Bradford PA and are also very good knives.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA '71
    Go Navy!

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Camarillo, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Schierer View Post
    I, like my Father before me, carry Buck 303 Cadet pocket knife. They last a long time and hold an edge. I also have the one my Father carried fo much of his adult life.
    0303BKS-B.jpg

    Case knives are all made nearby in Bradford PA and are also very good knives.
    That picture makes me think of my grandad! He did not pay attention to brands, so the one he carried might have been that exact knife or some copy, but he always carried one like it.

  15. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Riefer View Post
    This thread has been so fun to watch and learn, thank you (and keep the ideas coming).

    In my case, my father has a couple sentimental, sleek, small folding knives (in the 3" long when folded range) that he sometimes carries - he seems to like that small size for opening boxes, small tasks, but the quality of those aren't great.

    He also often uses a mini "super tool" which works well but isn't the "sophisticated" look per se.


    So in this case, I'm going towards the small, sleek, folding, sophisticated look, quality blade side of the spectrum. Thinking in the $300 range or so (and some of the options above are in my research board now).
    This has suddenly become very easy. Sounds like you are describing him as a traditional slipjoint kind of guy. This is the world in which I live! And with a $300 budget for a slippy, the answer is very simple: GEC. Done. For current factory production knives GEC is basically the holy grail and will run you right in that price range for most models. Just search ďGEC knifeĒ on youtube and youíll get a ton of collectors showing off their GEC knives (they have a number of brands, but just searching GEC will suffice). You will not be able to buy them directly most likely. Whenever they drop a new knife resellers buy them all up knowing they can flip them a day later for double (or triple) the price. Itís kind of nuts. You will have to go on ebay or dare to venture into the land of slipjoint knife forums. But thatís exactly what you want. Every guy wants to show off their GEC knives to their friends. Go on youtube and you will see exactly what Iím talking about.

    If you want to go used, the older case knives come up in mint condition all the time on ebay. They are the most collected brand. With rare exception, the newer ones are not the ones you want. Also, Schatt & Morgan in mint condition would be a good one. Many of the other classic knife companies have changed hands so many times and are often now owned by companies that make cheap (but very serviceable) knives. For example, an old mind Queen is worth a lot. The new Queens are made by SMKW and run $20. So you really have to know what you are doing going down that road.

    There are also a lot of boutique makers if you want to go new, but not GEC. Check out Ruple which probably start at the $300 mark.

    Only other thing to know is what pattern he will like. If he wants something to actually use (as opposed to ďlook atĒ), then stick with the common work knives. Barlow, stockman, and trapper are safe bets. A swell end jack (if you can find one, not too many made these days) used to be a very popular common work knife and is one of my favorite every day carries. A canoe is also a good one for someone that wants to use a knife plenty. If he likes to whittle, a split-back whittler is a good pattern Ė although I think a stockman actually works better.

    Good luck! But yeah, ask any slipjoint nut what to buy with $300 and they will automatically tell you GEC unless they are trying to be cute.

    BTW Ė avoid micarta handles Ė itís all the rage but not very traditional. I would also avoid celluloid (modern version is acrylic which is fine) as it has a habit of spontaneously off-gassing and rusting everything around it. Bone is always a safe bet. Stag is always a safe bet. Other ďhornĒ covers tend to have stability issues (all my knives with stability issues are types of horn). Delrin is great stuff, but usually not used on high end knives. Wood is (of course) also a good handle cover material. At $300 you can probably find a 100yr old ebony swell end or equal end jack knife in pretty much perfect condition. I always drool over those but cannot justify spending that kind of money on a knife. They do look sweeeeeet and they always command a pretty penny.

    Also, SAKs are technically slipjoints, but are considered a totally different category from traditional slipjoints (even though they've been around a long time). They are good utility knives, although I don't think they make anything I'd call high end or classy.

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