everyone should own one good blade.

Like any self-respecting tool-using h.sapiens, I have a drawer full of good knives.  The one in the picture above is the knife that’s always clipped to the corner of my pocket whenever I’m dressed.  It’s a Kershaw Blur, the model with the torsion bar assisted opening feature.  I picked the red aluminum scales because it’s easier to find the knife on a desk or dresser in a pile of stuff, or after you put it down in the grass for some task that requires both hands.

A good knife is so essential a tool that it boggles my mind whenever I bump into people who not only don’t carry one, but are actively concerned and dismayed at the sight of someone else with a blade at their instant disposal.  Once upon a time, I worked as a network admin in northern Massachusetts, and I used to get variations of the following inquiry on an almost daily basis:

“Why does anyone need to carry a knife like that?”

Well, a knife is a terrific tool, that’s why.  You can use it to open boxes (something you have to do every day as a computer support monkey), snip cables, cut open those stubbornly glued plastic or foil bags…the list of possible tasks is practically endless.  The fact that it can be used as a weapon is a nice bonus, to be sure, but it’s not even the main reason I carry one.

Why would you make such a comment to the owner of that knife, anyway?  If you think that I shouldn’t have or carry it, you imply that you consider me a threat.  Isn’t that kind of insulting?  I handle screwdrivers and sharp-edged forty-pound computer cases around you all day–why would you be concerned about that knife in particular?

(The ultimate irony is that the same people who got uncomfortable at the sight of a knife in my pocket were invariably the ones who asked to use it–or more frequently, have me cut something for them–several times a week.)

Anyway, as you can see from the wear on the knife in the picture, it has been used daily for over half a decade, ever since I got it to replace my poor, lost Chris Reeve Sebenza.  In all honesty, this knife is better than the one it replaced.  The Sebenza is a marvelous piece of craftsmanship, and five times as expensive, but this knife is faster to open, more comfortable to hold, easier to sharpen well, and quicker to bring into action.  The blade is always at a shaving edge with the help of a set of ceramic sharpening rods.

I have other knives–some that are easier to carry around, some that are better suited for defense, and some that make better utility tools–but this one is my favorite.  From the blade shape to the spring-assisted opening feature to the way the knife sits in the hand, I’m more comfortable with it than with any other blade I’ve ever owned.  Using it no longer requires conscious effort of thought–it’s pretty much an extension of my hand at this point.  (On a side note: after using a torsion bar assisted opening knife for so long–Kershaw calls their system Speed Safe–switching to one that doesn’t have the feature feels like a handicap.)

The knife is humanity’s oldest tool, and after a few ten thousand years of bladecraft, the Kershaw Blur is evidence that we crafty humans have learned to make some really awesome ones.  The question in my mind is, “Why wouldn’t you want to carry a knife like that?”  I mean, my ancestors didn’t fight their way off the savannah so I’d have to try and open my bag of Rolos with my teeth like some frickin’ animal.

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36 thoughts on “everyone should own one good blade.

  1. BUFF_dragon says:

    I know that I carry a knife and flashlight with everything else. (I even have an Adventure Medical Trauma kit in my backpack)
    But when it comes to my blades, I’m a Mantis Man http://www.mantisknives.com/products.html
    I carry a Z’Mora when out and about, and a Chaos2 when around the farm.
    I’m getting ready to modify my Chaos to add a ‘gut hook’ to ease in cutting weedeater string and twine.

  2. alan says:

    I had a Sebenza too, until it went missing from my luggage one flight.

    Now I carry a Benchmade assisted opener and a few spares of various sorts in the bag.

    I still miss that Sebenza though.

  3. Tam says:

    Whoah with the blasphemy, now!

  4. Dan says:

    Kershaw’s “Leek” assisted-opener is the be-all, end-all as far as EDC knives go, for me. Wouldn’t take it camping, of course, but I don’t particularly like camping, so whatever.

  5. Rey B says:

    I’m with Dan,a Kershaw Leek resides in my pocket at all times. Not that I would turn down the Blur.

  6. You can now (legally) add the ultimate assisted opener to your collection, as long as you stay in NH. My son found me a Bradley Alias auto- it’s cool.
    Too nice to use for general homestead use though…

  7. mac says:

    I have a bunch of spydercos, a number of other lockblades, and a kershaw baby boa. I wore through the boa’s torsion bar in about six months of intermittent carry. I have yet to request a replacement bar from kershaw.

    Unless I’m in the office (once a week) or at a customer’s site, I carry fixed blades. I started a few years ago and now far prefer them to folders. For fixed blade carry, I’ve found that a good sheath setup is as important as the blade’s size and ergonomics. Fortunately, kydex sheaths are easy and inexpensive to make.

  8. Will says:

    In the late 80’s, I carried a Tekna Micro Knife in my shirt pocket (the pocket clip was designed for light duty shirts, not pants). Fixed blade with a spring powered retractable blade cover. People would jump when they saw it open, and accuse me of having a switchblade (felony here in Kali). I’d have to show them how it worked, but that noticeable “CLICK” when the cover snapped into the handle always got attention. Carried it until the release wore out to the point it takes two hands, or the edge of a desk, to make it work. Tekna got bought by some PC company, and they dropped it, IIRC.

  9. Jared says:

    I appreciate that you recognize the benefit of using the EDC defensive knife. I talk to a lot of guys that never use their knife so it will be factory sharp when needed. Never made sense to me. What good is sharpness if the tool is a foreign object in your hand. Opening boxes is good training for your hand.

    I prefer the wave opening knives from emerson. There’s nothing faster out of the pocket. I’ve got a 2000 Commander that’s been my constant companion since I bought it.

  10. Jeff says:

    I’ve carried a pocket knife of one kind or another for over 50 years. Grampa gave each grandson a pocket knife for his seventh birthday. I now carry 2 knives: a Swiss Army Tinker for general use and the small Swiss Army penkife size. Their blades come decently sharp and have easy to maintain edges. I modified the little one so the blade is suitable for whittling and the scissors are handy for my sometimes recalcitrant mustache. Not sexy or quick to deploy but they are very useful.

    When I need a frequent or fast blade, I prefer a fixed blade sheath knife: an old Case Arapaho hunting knife. The blade is just under 4 inches and the grip is smooth and comfortable. Like all Case knives, it takes a razor edge and holds it well.

    Don’t carry a knife for defense but if I did it would be an old Schrade Old Timer model 165 I got many years ago. It has a fixed, 5″ blade, a heavy brass guard and is heavy and strong enough to drive into someone’s skull without snapping. Hope I never have to put that to the test. With my big size and slow reflexes I would be better off with a baseball bat (or my Ruger SP101 .357).

    Jeff

  11. Mo says:

    I’ve had a folding knife of one sort or another residing in my pocket since at least the 3rd Grade (Cub Scout Knife). We used to whittle during recess. Sadly these days that sort of thing would put a school in lockdown and get the kid expelled. Used to fly on airplanes with it too, never once used to hurt anyone or commit any crimes.

    After carrying the newer plastic (Zytel?) handled incarnations for about two decades I’ve gone back to a traditional style folder. The space age knives worked great, lasted a long time and were lightweight but lacked “soul” and tradition.

    What sort of adventures would Huck Finn have had growing up in a world that denies him a tool as basic as a knife?

  12. aczarnowski says:

    I have a hard time resisting the shiny, so I’ll probably try some of the knives mentioned above, but I’ve recently started carrying an SOL. Good customer service from them too.

    I’m having trouble finding a spot for an EDC knife that doesn’t scratch the hell out of everything else in my pockets. I still really like my CRKT M21, and it’s still in the bag, but the SOL is small enough I can usually find a corner for it, or use the watch pocket.

    My next one will probably be their wrightknife though. I am really showing a tendency to spear point blades with a bit of belly.

    It’s certainly no defensive item, but I’ve got other tools for that chore.

  13. MaddMedic says:

    Benchmade.
    Always in my pocket.
    In fact as I think about it I have always had a pocket knife, jack knife of some sort. Even back in High School!!!
    Barlow, Swiss Army, Uncle Henry, Buck……Heh…
    Knives all useful for many things…
    Even slicing my bagel at the office and mortifying my socialist, Obama supporting administrative assistant!!

  14. og says:

    I never could get used to the new shapes and “tactical” type knives, I’ve always been preferential to the “muskrat” knives made by Schrade or Case or buck. I don’t care if it looks cool, so long as it holds an edge and works.

    • Tam says:

      I like the knives I like because they have large, hand-filling, non-slip handles and big, sturdy locking blades that can double as a jack handle in a pinch. (Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but an Emerson or a big Benchmade will take a phenomenal amount of abuse…)

      I don’t know it they look cool to most people or not. My idea of a cool-looking knife would have a damascus blade and ivory scales…

      • abnormalist says:

        A few years ago I picked up a handmade damascus blade that I need to make into a knife. thinking ebony handle and black leather sheath.

        Got it for a crazy price too, like $10 if I recall correctly :)

        My EDC knife now is a Gerber Evo JR spear-point fine edge. Almost as fast as an assisted opener, but clips and carries how I want it to (clip is so discreet you cant tell if its a knife or a pen in my pocket, and the blade is point down (my preference)

        2.75″ so I’m under the michigan limit of 3″ for a concealed knife, and so light its easy to forget its there, if it wasnt ALWAYS there

      • og says:

        The little, traditional knives I use fill my hand perfectly, but I don’t have big hands. I use a Puma White Hunter when hunting, which is a plenty big knife, but I can dress a deer with my little muskrat. if I had humongous hands I’d want something bigger, but I’d still like something more like a canoe knife. I just don’t like the soullessness of the modern offerings.

  15. Matt G says:

    Tam, it’s not blasphemy if it’s true. Why don’t you list your Sebenza as your daily carry blade? Chances are the reason is, it’s too expensive and kinda big. (Wonderful, though.)

  16. abnormalist says:

    I told this story on http://www.defensivecarry.com in their knives and other weapons thread.

    Me, wifey and the oldest kid (at the time the only kid) were visiting a friend of the family down in Florida. We’re all from Michigan, and were down there to visit ratland, and hang with our friend.

    While we were down there our friend had a party for her youngest daughter’s birthday so my daughter could go as well. During the party our friend was opening one of those plastic blister packs for a toy, and turned to a friend of hers from Jacksonville FL and asked
    “Do you have a knife on you?”

    He gave her a disgusted look like she’d asked if he had sex with kittens before or after lighting them on fire, and replied in a snobby voice “Why on earth would I have a knife on me?”

    At this point I removed the CRKT KISS I kept clipped to my pocket, flipped it open and put the handle in her hand and replied “Because a man needs a knife in case a lady asks for one”

    She laughed and said “God I miss Michigan men”

    Side note on that, for her birthday we gave her a nice Benchmade knife and sharpener for her birthday later that year.

  17. Ken says:

    As I said over at Tam’s, I carry my late dad’s old folder. I have a nice Mora, but it doesn’t fold so I don’t carry it often. I broke the tip of my Schrade Old Timer (stoopid frozen tomatoes, stoopider operator) a couple of years ago, and I am not quite sure what happened to my rigging knife. I think it’s in the house somewhere….

  18. Firehand says:

    Way I used to put it is “The knife is the most basic, most personal and most generally useful of tools created by man.”

    I’ve had good luck with CRKT knives. Used to have a M16 spearpoint, and (yes, I’m still swearing) it got lost. Have one of the tanto-point ones now; pretty good knife but I effing HATE the Auto-Lawk they put on the damn things.

  19. [...] bring this up mainly because Marko and Tam have a couple discussions going on at their respective sites, and anything that gets more [...]

  20. Justthisguy says:

    I remember taking my brand-new stainless steel Boy Scout knife to school, to show it to the other kids and brag about it, when I was in the 5th Grade, I think. I betcha that these days, a kid could get hauled off to jail in handcuffs for that.

    P.s. I was waylaid and beaten up by a couple of kids from that school, once, but it did not occur to them, or to me, to wield a knife against a schoolmate.

  21. Jake says:

    I’ve got a leatherman multitool – one tool of which is a blade that’s apparently long enough to be banned in Michigan. (3 1/2 inches)

    When going to Canada a few months back, their customs asked if I had any weapons on me so I took that out. They promptly found all the sharp tools and said “no, we mean weapons!”

    So much for socialist Canuckistan!

  22. Wild Deuce says:

    … not to mention, Kershaw will fix, sharpen, replace the blade or the whole knife (if the need arises) with no questions asked … another good reason to feel ok about using it often. Even though I have a few knives from Cold Steel, Tops and even an Ayoob Razorback … it’s my Kershaw Whirlwind that’s always there.

  23. Steve Skubinna says:

    Likewise, I don’t understand people who don’t carry a knife, least of all the ones who ask nervously why I would carry one. And as in your experience, those are usually the people who need to borrow mine, or at least have me open the bubble package or whatever has stymied them. Being a mariner, I carry a knife on the job – because a seaman without a knife isn’t really a seaman.

    My street knife is a Kershaw Leek, small enough to be nonthreatening and handy for nearly every task that requires a knife in daily life. But when home, I generally carry a sheath knife because I live in rural America, where a big knife is a necessary outdoor accessory.

  24. john maldaner says:

    I also have a Sebenza. It sleeps in the gun safe while my Spyderco Sage partners up with me as my EDC. As a horseman, I consider a knife to be a required piece of equipment any time I’m around a horse. Lots of ways horse, ropes and people can get mixed up. Horsemen and women that don’t carry a knife worry me.

  25. Robert says:

    I’ve been EDCing a Spyderco Native for…I think five or so years now. It’s a handy little thing; just big enough to be usefull for most tasks, and small and slim enough to disappear into my pockets.

    I even carried it and used it at work. Luckily, my workplace didn’t have a no-knife policy.

  26. Mopar says:

    I’m another huge fan of the Kershaw Leek for EDC. It is ALWAYS clipped in my pocket. About the only complaints I could have about it are very minor nitpicking. First is for some reason the default location of the pocket clip is mounted on the same end as the spring assist. That means after taking it out of your pocket you need to turn the knife around to open it. Easy enough to move the clip to the other end so you can remove the knife from your pocket and open it all with one hand, but I don’t know why that’s not the default since the whole point of their speedsafe knives is fast one-handed opening. The other is that little slide safety lock on the end. Every once in a while it would get moved over to lock in my pocket and the knife wouldn’t open when I expected it to. I “fixed” that problem by breaking off the tip of the blade. (Stoopid operator error) A little reshaping with the grinder and a file and back in my pocket it went, slightly shorter.
    I know Kershaws have a lifetime warranty (technically they even cover the edge; when it gets dull they will resharpen in no charge if you ship it to them), but I would never consider having them cover the blade due to my abuse.

  27. [...] All the cool kids are doing it. [...]

  28. [...] It seems to be the bloggy thing to write about right now, so… [...]

  29. Mark B. says:

    I’ve carried a Benchmade Eclipse every day for over seven years now and don’t leave home without it. I have two; the one with the nitrided blade goes in my pocket and the one with the blade in the white lives in the console of the Avalanche. I bought my first one because I thought it’d be the appropriate accessory for my Kimber Eclipse — and I wasn’t wrong.

    I’m the schmuck who never gets the unbelievable deal but I did on these and I don’t have $50.00 total in the both of ‘em.

    ‘Berg

  30. kris says:

    I thought a rock and/or a pointy stick was humanity’s oldest tool(s)….

    • Peter says:

      I must also commend the Leek as a spectacular knife, with a blade shape I find particularly pleasing. However, I recently replaced the Leek with the new Shallot as my EDC.

      The Shallot is bigger and heavier, with an option for a partially serrated blade. I still like the Leek for light duty, but the Shallot size and heft fit my big hands better.

      I agree with Mopar that the “safety” on the Leek is annoying, as is the orientation of the pocket clip. The “safety” problem is easily solved–it’s held in place by a screw. The pocket clip issue is more problematic. When I reversed my clip to orient the knife correctly, it results in too much knife above the clip. I’m convinced I lost a Leek this way, either catching on something or because the excess weight above the clip point allowed the knife to slide out while I was sitting.

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