Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Obligatory Knife Post

I have been reading them; even wrote about what I carry in comments to one. But I haven't done so here.

A knife is a tool in my daily work, though it takes a sharp one to skin wire properly and I am likely to go get a fresh single-edge razor for a big job.
That said, I try to keep my Kershaw assisted-open knife sharp and clean for wire-stripping; I carry it in my right front pocket and it's my "go-to" knife for most tasks.

Backup to it is a flat, springless, Japanese carpenter's knife that hides in my right rear pocket. Either one can be opened and closed with one hand, a functionality I would not care to do without.

For rougher work and plier/screwdriver tasks, I carry a Leatherman Wave in a belt pouch. With straight and serrated blades, scissors, five different screwdrivers, a saw, a file and a diamond "stone," not only is it handy for little jobs, I can use it to sharpen most blades I carry.

...But not the fine combination knife and steel rule I keep in my tiny "toolbox," a hard-sided eyeglass case that also holds a very small Leatherman tool, an led flashlight, a "coin" screwdriver, two folding screwdriver/plier tools, a flat multi-wrench/prybar and an eyeglass screwdriver. (The little knife takes a keen edge with a superfine diamond stone and is rarely used. That way, if I need a very sharp knife, I'll have one).

Rounding out the edged and other tools, a Starrett 4" pocket driver lives with the fountain pens in my purse ("green tweaker" drivers are sooo everyday!); my home and car key ring carries a small single-blade folder and my work key ring includes tiny folding scissors, useful for assembling some kinds of coaxial connectors.

Counting each bladed multitool as one "knife," that's a total of six sharp things I'm carrying any time I leave the house. It may be excessive but I find it handy -- and darn it, I still manage to break my fingernails! It seems like a lot of them are banned in one state or another; and people wonder why I'm not fond of travel.


Linoge said...

I am a huge fan of both the Kershaw assisted-opening knives - the Speed Bump (a predecessor to your Needs Work, I believe) was my first introduction, and I currently carry around a RAM (not technically assisted, but its locking mechanism speeds up the process).

That said, I hate you for introducing me to that Garrett Wade store...

Robert McDonald said...

I have a Kershaw Needs Work as well. It gets used every day at work, and plenty of time around the house.

Roberta X said...

Linoge: Garrett Wade has a long history of producing centerfold-quality pictures of woodworking tools you already wanted anyway. Not the cheapest place in the world but they sell good stuff and have good customer service.

Robert M: I had never looked at the actual name of the model before today, despite having owned two. The label on the end of the box had me thinking I'd bought a factory second 'til I looked it up online!

Tam said...

Ken Onion's first knife for Kershaw with a Wharncliffe-pattern blade was called the "Random Task", so it only makes sense that the next one would be the "Needs Work". :)

(Ken Onion is Hawaii's most famous knifemaker, and has collaborated with fellow Aloha State knife guy Tom Mayo. Three guesses what their joint effort was called...)

Laura said...

echoing the Kershaw love. i carry a Leek with me all the time.

nk said...

I have spent forty years and thousands of dollars collecting knives, taking some apart to see how they work, making some from broken old ones and worn out files.

But if I could have only one knife it would be a $12.00 Forschner boning knife. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_BPfMsBhpr6o/SBCLFCIq2NI/AAAAAAAAAFc/ksy1BAcnHkg/s1600-h/forschner.jpg
Thirty years and I have only had to buy two. The second one is going strong after twelve years of being the only kitchen knife -- meat, vegetables, bread, everything.

aczarnowski said...

Nice rundown Roberta. Lots of nice things to look at past the standard folders. With all the blade posts all over recently I succumbed to the shiny and ordered a G10 Leek with the S30V blade. Always wanted to try that blade steel.

Looking at that Forschner, nk, I couldn't use it in the kitchen. I like a deep chef's knife so my knuckles aren't stopping each stroke before I'm through whatever needs slicing.

Justthisguy said...

Ma'am, you SO remind me of Raz's sister Cord in the Stephenson novel, "Anathem."

From page 88 of the hard-back edition:
"From one of her pockets she had drawn out a pair of purple wads which unfolded to gloves of some stretchy membranous stuff..."

And: "Some of Cord's pockets were narrow and tall and ranked in neat rows. From two of these she drew out blunt plugs of white fibrous stuff, about the size of her little finger, with strings trailing from them. "What on Earth are those?" Arsibalt wanted to know.

"Blood soaker-uppers, Cord said, "one for each nostril, if you would like."

nk said...

I've made a push dagger from 1095 that can punch through a 1/4 inch armor plate. I have not been able to make a sheath for it that it will not work its way through.

I am not impressed anymore with the fancy steels (I have worked with 1095, 1045, W-2, 0-2, and 440C). My rule now is, "can it be made sharp?" After that, geometry, the blade bevel, is really what's important.

Roberta X said...

True, NK; and one drawback of stainless steel is most sorts don't like to hold an edge. They have to be looked after

jed said...

It's been a few years since I've drooled over the Garret Wade catalog, or Lee Valley & Veritas. I still want a Veritas low-angle block plane. And only a few dozen other sundry tools from their catalog. Maybe for Christmas, I'll buy myself an odd job, though with my woodworking aspirations on hold, I don't know what I'd do other than look at it and say, "My, that's purty!"

Joseph said...

I have one of the original Leatherman tools. It resides in a drawer today (with occasional use) but when I was a paramedic it was on my belt every day.