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Old 01-11-2009, 04:56 PM   #1
Neil
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Why carry a knife?

I don't want to 'jack a good thread so here's a new one. Obviously some eyebrows will get raised when I mention that I never carry a knife. Never have in 30 years of bushwalking, winter camping, mountaineering (LOL Simon Yates), whatever.

But the other thread got me to thinking that a piece of gear like that could come in very handy one day. So, educate this city slicker. Why would it be a good idea for me to lug a half pound or more of hardware around in my pack? Ie. what are the 1000 and 1 uses of a blade? Also how much should I spend?
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:05 PM   #2
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I've used mine to cut cord for gear repairs and um, uhh, hmmmm. Guess that's about it. Oh, I've also used it to... nope, never mind.

How much should you spend? Not much. The one I carry was a "gift" from the NRA when I re-upped many many years ago. Weighs perhaps 2oz (just a guess, but it is tiny).
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:17 PM   #3
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There are a thousand and one uses. Off the top of my head this one instrument that can:

1) Create a spark from a ferrocerium rod
2) Take down branches and saplings to help make a shelter
3) Fashion wood for a trap, trigger or snare to catch a squirrel or other animal
4) Cut cord or rope
5) Fashion a branch into a spear for defense or hunting
6) Make shavings to start a fire
7) Skin an animal or gut a fish
8) Splitting wood or branches
9) Assist with equipment repairs
10) Ward off a two-legged varmit who might otherwise want to mess with you

Last edited by wiiawiwb; 01-11-2009 at 05:19 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:20 PM   #4
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I would not say a half pound.
I don't think my pocketknife, leatherman, folding saw and my fixed blade weigh a half pound combined.

A leatherman, comes in handy all the time.
I carry one at almost all time.
I had to fix my chair at work last week with it.

I find a knife to be one of those things that when you don't have it you need it.

Fixing loose bindings on skis, back of knife blade works on a flat screw.
As a steel striker for the flint for starting fires.
Lots of things, but can't think of anything specific that was not said in the other thread.
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:33 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input. In the meanwhile I used my head and look just look at the result.

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Old 01-11-2009, 06:04 PM   #6
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Rather have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.
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Old 01-11-2009, 06:17 PM   #7
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Tie it to a stick and you have a spear.
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Old 01-11-2009, 07:00 PM   #8
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what i carry depends on where i'm going. deeper in the woods, longer time, 'more' knife.

everyday knife-Swiss Army Knife Tinker (large and small blades, straight and phillips screwdrivers, awl (never used), and the famous toothpick and tweezers. i use the toothpick after every meal... i ground the tweezers down to a point, so they're a bit more usefull to me. about 2oz.

shortish backpacking trip, populated area (eg, great smokey mountains park)-SAK Classic (just a small blade, nail file, and the toothpick/tweezers). 1 oz.

longish backpacking trip, not too populated-SAK Huntsman-same as Tinker, but with the addition of a saw and some scissors. 2.5 oz.

canoe trip-SAK Champ. Gift from my dad, but heavy. 3.5-4oz?

As you can tell, i like my SAKs... stainless steel blade is a little soft and probably requires more sharpening than a harder blade, but i always feel like it's cleaner, especially when i'm using it to cook with.

The perfect knife for me would be a bigger hunting knife (http://www.barkriverknifetool.com/sk...ver/index.html) with a couple good 'utility' blades that folded out of the handle's other end (smaller blade, screwdriver, can opener, tweezers/toothpick, saw) like the SAK.

You can spend almost nothing, or a lot... the classic SAK is about $8 on sale, $12 everyday (also comes in cool colors, like pink, for my daughter). the others go for about $25-35, and the "Champ" was a bit more.

A simple 3 bladed Schrade pocketknife is around $30, iirc. The large custom skinning knife i linked to above is about $130. You can get a similar Buck knife for about half that.

As far as uses of a cutting implement, George Washington Sears (Nessmuk) preferred 3 tools (pocket knife for fine work, larger knife for skinning and butchering, and two-bitted hatchet for fine and coarse chopping). Others insist one large all-purpose knife is sufficient for them. And there will be shades of opinion all in-between.

I've never not had a knife. My first was won by my father at some sort of ethnic festival in Syracuse in the late 60s. I was 4 or 5. Camillus used to sell their 'seconds' to non-profit groups as game prizes. You bought 3 large rings for whatever price. The knives were stuck into 2x4s arranged like bleachers, X distance from a throw line. If your ring landed over one, it was yours, sort of like the ping pong ball in the goldfish bowl game. Used to be able to carry it to school, probably up into the late 70s. You've managed 30 years without, so maybe you don't 'need' one.
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:06 PM   #9
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I am with you Neil. I carry a Leatherman, which has a lil saw that works fine in a pinch, and a small Opinel single blade. When I am on the sleds(OMG), I carry a small folding pruning type saw, handy to get a ski unstuck from a shrubbery.If I were doing an extended hiking /canoeing trip I would bring the pruning saw along too.
Using a stove takes the need away of cutting firewood,and not truly being in any wilderness makes carrying a hardware store seem foolish.
I wind up using the Opinel for skinning, gutting,cooking, cleaning my finger nails,and slicing up pepperoni and cheese.
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:19 PM   #10
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Why carry a knife?... Why wear clothes?

I'd feel just as naked without either. Often, too often, I'll walk out of the house in the morning without my wallet or car keys, but my pocketknife is in its place. Every pair of jeans I own has that familiar, white-ish, faded, silouhette in the right front pocket.

My knife gets used more each day than just about any other tool I've ever owned.

Time was a boy not carrying a pocketknife was looked at with a firm eye. "What? No pocketknife?.. You aint from 'round here, are ya?"


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Old 01-11-2009, 08:30 PM   #11
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I should point out that in winter I always carry one of -THESE_.
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:46 PM   #12
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Neil

If you do decide to get a knife get a good one a well known brand, You don't have to get a big one, But get something that will hold a edge, There is nothing more frustrating then to use one and have to sharpen it every time you use it.
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cold River Bob View Post
If you do decide to get a knife get a good one a well known brand, You don't have to get a big one, But get something that will hold a edge, There is nothing more frustrating then to use one and have to sharpen it every time you use it.
Sage advice there, Bob!

A dull knife is dangerous. It sounds counter-intuitive, but people respect sharp knives and work waaay too hard trying to make a dull one do anything. Almost any knife can be made sharp. Only the better steels stay sharp after a bit of use.

An old hunting buddy of mine used to have a saying, "A dull knive is useless, and an empty gun is a club."


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Old 01-11-2009, 10:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil View Post
I should point out that in winter I always carry one of -THESE_.
Well thats a start.
I would not want to fillet a fish with it but thats better then nothing.

LOL
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:37 PM   #15
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I bought a Leatherman after going on a kayaking trip with my brother, and the cable on his rudder broke while out off the coast of Maine. He had a Leatherman which we used to unscrew where the foot pedals attach to the boat, and then tried to crimp the cable back in place with the pliers.

It didn't work for long, and we ended up having to go to a hardware store in the nearest town anyway. But it was enough to convince me of the tool's usefulness, even if it didn't prove terribly useful on that particular occasion.
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiiawiwb View Post
There are a thousand and one uses. Off the top of my head this one instrument that can:

1) Create a spark from a ferrocerium rod
2) Take down branches and saplings to help make a shelter
3) Fashion wood for a trap, trigger or snare to catch a squirrel or other animal
4) Cut cord or rope
5) Fashion a branch into a spear for defense or hunting
6) Make shavings to start a fire
7) Skin an animal or gut a fish
8) Splitting wood or branches
9) Assist with equipment repairs
10) Ward off a two-legged varmit who might otherwise want to mess with you
Well, I don't do any of those things, so I don't need a knife either!
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:16 PM   #17
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I carry a knife primarily for two reasons.

Firstly, you can't play mumbly-peg without one.

Secondly, I strap it to my left side to counterbalance the weight of the pistol strapped on my right side.
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:44 PM   #18
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I have a little Leatherman Squirt S4. I've been meaning to get a bigger one for a while but this has suited me fine for a while.

I have used them for cutting bandages, cutting food, gutting fish, making wood shavings to start a fire, cutting rope and making small repairs on various gear. The scissors and file are useful for fixing those annoying broken nails that seem to get caught on everything. I've used the tweezers for pulling out splinters and for pulling out cactus needle from someone's finger. I once used a larger Leatherman to get a fishhook out of a dog's leg.

The knife if also useful for scraping "P's" off of trail signs. (if anyone gets that I am kidding)
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Old 01-12-2009, 03:49 AM   #19
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When working for a wilderness therapy program, I also did not carry a knife in the woods. The risks (if the knife somehow got into one of the kids hands) far out weighed the potential benefits. Of course, we also carried radios, extensive first aid kids, food for a week, etc. so survival situations were something we were pretty adequately prepared for even without a knife.

For personal trips, though I would recommend carrying both a leatherman and a hunting knife whose blade extends through the handle completey- these are a lot more durable and less likely to break.
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Old 01-12-2009, 05:55 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuchov View Post
Rather have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.
ditto
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