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Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Why an UL knife instead of scissors? on 03/20/2013 23:35:46 MDT Print View

Been doing some thinking, and I can't think of any situation where I'd prefer to have an UL knife over scissors. Barring those that run around with a large functional knife for woodcraft (not my thing), why would I want an UL knife instead of scissors? Based on my experiences in backpacking, everytime I've used an UL knife, a pair of scissors would have worked better, faster, safer.

Note that this is for strictly backpacking. I carry a multitool for technical or gear-intensive adventures.

And then, the next logical step... what's the lightest weight pair of super functional scissors? Something more functional than a pair taken from a Swiss Army Knife? Looking for something in the .2-.3oz range... anyone have good ones?

Edited by lindahlb on 03/21/2013 20:13:50 MDT.

Nelson Sherry
(nsherry61)

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Re: Why a knife instead of scissors? on 03/21/2013 00:09:48 MDT Print View

What about cutting cheese, spreading peanut butter,slicing bread, digging out slivers, defending yourself against aggressive marmots, or just making small fires in less than ideal conditions.

I think the swiss army scissors that come in their little credit card tools are awesome.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Re: Re: Why a knife instead of scissors? on 03/21/2013 00:36:51 MDT Print View

What Nelson said. I have also been short on stakes and have had to fashion my own.

For all these reasons, I like to carry a small, light fixed blade on my belt. I also consider it my fail safe. Not being attached to my pack, if my pack decided to commit suicide over a cliff or into a river, I know that I could survive with a decent knife and a firesteal or lighter. Never really learned how to rub sticks together though...

That being said, the oposite of your argument is also true. What can be done with a small pair of scissors can also be done with a small piece of razor blade. I don't think you can get a pair of scissors lighter than an exacto blade.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Why a knife instead of scissors? on 03/21/2013 01:44:57 MDT Print View

I like a Victorinox Classic or similar that has scissors and a small blade in the .75oz range. The Leatherman Micra or Style can foot the same bill. Scissors are handy for sewing, light repairs and grooming. But scissors won't do what a knife can.

I carry a pocket knife all the time, so I'm not leaving it behind while hiking.

From there, I like a folding pocket knife with a locking blade. For good CYA, one of the 111mm frame Victorinox knives with a saw makes a good paring with the little Classic. For a good single blade locking knife, the Benchmade Griptilian is excellent.

For fixed blades, there are the light paring knives like the Little Vickie at 1oz, or one of the mora knives that wander into the 4oz ranges.

I don't know why people object to having a useful tool with them when hiking. You don't need a big heavy knife, just something for food prep and general repairs, with an eye to fire making and other skills.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Why a knife instead of scissors? on 03/21/2013 03:48:11 MDT Print View

Sort'a like any other tool that has been around for a thousand years or more, there are things that are easier with a pair of scissors. I won't debate the redundency of having two blades. I will point out that you really only need one knife edge to do most chores. I have been using/carrying the Gerber LST for the past few years. It can do wound cleanouts far better than any pair of scissors. Splinters and slivers are a fact of life around a wood shop and it is far easier to slice to a splinter that attempting to simply yank it out leaving "feathers" in the wound.

The little thread nippers (like tiny sheap shears) are perhaps the best all-round scissors I have found. Two tiny blades in a plastic handle with spring work well and only weigh about .5oz. You can pare this down some. Fiskars makes some fair ones. You can remove the blades for sharpening/honing. I use them for tying fishing flies and they cut through everything up to 18ga brass wire as well as fabric, feathers and other things. They also have a little cap that slips over the end for safety.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Why a knife instead of scissors? on 03/21/2013 07:51:19 MDT Print View

http://www.amazon.com/Westcott-Sewing-Titanium-Bonded-Scissors/dp/B000YZARO0/ref=sr_1_1?s=arts-crafts&ie=UTF8&qid=1363873716&sr=1-1&keywords=westcott+titanium+scissors+2.5

can find these at walmart or craft stores too. super sharp and very light. I find them a lot more useful when cutting moleskin and stuff like that.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Re: Why a knife instead of scissors? on 03/21/2013 08:12:07 MDT Print View

Brian, I'd be curious specifically what tasks you used the knife for where scissors would be better. Off hand the only two I can think of are nail trimming and cutting moleskin.

My task list for the knife is pretty much the same as what Nelson listed and I don't think a pair of scissors is especially good at any of those tasks.

I have carried a little pair of scissors in the past and seldom used them. As a result I stopped carrying them.

Truth be told most of the time the plastic knife-spatula combo in my Guyote Designs Microbites does the majority of my knife tasks just fine, but I still carry a very small very sharp knife as well.

Josh Brock
(needsAbath)

Locale: Outside
knive on 03/21/2013 08:31:49 MDT Print View

Knife IMHO is way more useful especially if stuff goes side ways. I always carry a fixed blade just in case I have to build a shelter, start a fire, or god forbid remove a limb. My knife is a skeletonized fulltang fixed balde with a flint and an emergency whistle. heck i can even start my pocket rocket with the flint and the blade if I some how sose my lighter and back up water proof matches.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Knife, scissors, AND nail clipper on 03/21/2013 08:40:40 MDT Print View

I've found that the Swiss Army Clipper works really well for me. I usually use the scissors, but occasionally use the blade to open a food packet. I've found the clipper to be really handy and the tool really does everything I need in the woods.

Wenger Swiss Clipper

Mine weighs 1.3 ounces.

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
tent poles on 03/21/2013 08:59:22 MDT Print View

Only a real dope would forget the tent poles, but I have done that a few times. Having a Mora knife has allowed me to cut some willow or alder branches to make a decent substitute tent pole. Tough to do with a scissors or a Swiss Army Classic. The Mora is about 2.5 oz, and like any knife that size, pretty hand when you need it. I have nothing against carrying both, a small scissors, and a knife. For 2.5 oz, the versatility factor of a knife is too much for me to pass up.

Kyle Meyer
(kylemeyer) - M

Locale: Portland, OR
scissors. on 03/21/2013 08:59:51 MDT Print View

It's hard to split kindling with scissors.

Don Abernathey
(OldGuysRule) - F

Locale: PNW
Scissors just don't cut it on 03/21/2013 09:08:43 MDT Print View

A knife is multipurpose - scissors not so much. A little Leatherman PS4 will let you squeeze on split shot, clean a fish, tighten the reel, fix a nasty toenail, and open Micropur tablet packaging.

Now they come with little scissors - I guess a lot of folks want to trim nose hair, etc. to keep up their grooming on the trail :)

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Scissors just don't cut it on 03/21/2013 09:32:14 MDT Print View

Let's just cut to the chase. ;-)

I have never really "needed" a knife while hiking even though I always carry one' Rule #9.

That being said the old axiom, "Use the proper tool for the job", comes into play here.

As Bob and Kyle have said you just can't fashion tent poles or split kindling with a pair of scissors.

I much rather scissors or a DermaSafe in my FAK but they do have their limits.

A Mora is about as small as I would want to go if I'm going to be doing bushcraft shelters or batoning of firewood.

Party On,

Newton

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Scissors? on 03/21/2013 09:50:08 MDT Print View

There may have been a few times that a pair of scissors would have done the job, as in opening a bag of food, cutting a piece of moleskin etc. all and all, I would not chose scissors instead of a knife; too many things that scissors would not be good for. I carry a small Gerber knife with me at all times and I use it just about daily. I also loan it out all the time to someone less prepared.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Good Q. Scissors trump blades. But having both is easy. on 03/21/2013 10:01:18 MDT Print View

Interesting Q, Brian.

You predictably got flamed by the bushcrafters, etc. Even as some acknowledged never actually needing a knife.

For 30 years, on the job site, I always reach for the scissors and not the razor knife if I possibly can. I get kind of preachy about that with underlings as it greatly reduces trips to the ER (and therefore OSHA recordable incidents). So I have a nice selection of substantial shop shears and scissors in my garage and in my field tool box.

Vastly easier and safer with scissors:
cutting mole skin, Second-Skin, bandaids.
opening plastic food packaging.
trimming fabric or thread during field repairs.
trimming finger / toenails.
cleaning a razor clam.

Vastly easier with a blade:
splitting kindling, shaving tinder.
cutting salami / cheese.
filleting a fish. (but how many halibut or king salmon do any but me catch? Don't you cook a 10" rainbow whole?)
Spreading peanut butter. Although a spork or spork handle works better and is easier (and SAFER!) to lick clean.
Fabricating objects from wood - tent poles, replacement button, pack stay, Huck-Finn raft, etc.

I have rarely made a blade from chert or obsidian. I have never fabricated scissors on the trail. More usefully, I have often used a found stone as a file or sand paper to shape, smooth or thin a piece of wood or metal.

*IF* I was limited to one or the other and I don't use a wood stove, I think I would go with the scissors. But since a SAK Classic is 21 grams / 0.75 ounces and has scissors, blade, tweezers, and nail file, for me, that's the easy answer. The Classic also gives you a decent-sized handle for using the scissors and blade.

But I still go for the scissors if at all possible. Who among us has NOT cut themselves with a knife? Who HAS cut themselves badly with scissors? A sliced finger is bad enough in town. It could really suck 4 days out on the trail or a week into a remote rafting trip.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Scissors? on 03/21/2013 10:06:47 MDT Print View

i will always have my Opinel in my pack but my tiny scissors will probably get more use. I don't tend to carry food that needs a knife or make fires that would need a knife.

rowan .
(romonster) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
Knife and Scissors on 03/21/2013 10:08:53 MDT Print View

I carry a tiny Leatherman Style, which weighs about 0.7 ounces and has a knife, scissors, file and tweezers. I use both the scissors and the knife every day when backpacking. It lives in my pocket at home too, and I use the knife and scissors frequently.

If you want a small light pair of plain scissors, I found one in a Japanese "dollar" store (Daiso in San Francisco's Japantown) for 89 cents. It works very well.

Josh Brock
(needsAbath)

Locale: Outside
Re: Good Q. Scissors trump blades. But having both is easy. on 03/21/2013 10:30:25 MDT Print View

I think that you also need to look at the tasks performed with a knife as opposed to scissors. I dont know about you but I have never cut my self opening a bag of food, cutting mole skin or trimming fabric with a knife. I tend to cut my self while performing harder tasks such as chopping wood, opening a can, ect. Which im sure if you tried with a scissors would be even more dangerous due to the fact that its an insufficient tool for the job.

Ill take my knife over scissors anyday in the field.

Also, I have seen some one cut them selves trimming there toe nails with scissors. Hint its me.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Why a knife instead of scissors?" on 03/21/2013 10:32:35 MDT Print View

I haven't found anything I can do with scissors I can't do with a knife. There's plenty I do with a knife that scissors don't work well for. Food prep being a major one, as someone previously pointed out. So, I carry a knife. Oddly, I find that a lot of people I know who choose not to carry a knife...ask to use mine.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: Why a knife instead of scissors? on 03/21/2013 10:47:32 MDT Print View

"Oddly, I find that a lot of people I know who choose not to carry a knife...ask to use mine."

Good point, Dena! And too often the borrowed knife comes back to you with a ruined edge, or the borrower cuts themselves because they have never held/used a sharp knife. It makes me very leery of loaning my knife to folks who don't carry their own.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Knife and Scissors on 03/21/2013 10:48:08 MDT Print View

My EDC and hiking go to is the Leatherman Micra.

Micra

It has both options but it isn't a good choice for tasks that require a more sturdy and properly sized tool.

Knives are designed to cut. If someone mishandles a knife and cuts themselves it proves two things. Knives will do what they are designed to do and better training and practice are needed by the user.

I have never seen anyone use scissors to make a campfire in damp or rainy conditions where getting to the dry part of the wood was necessary to get and keep the campfire going.

Party On,

Newton

Tyler Miller
(FightingTheTide) - F

Locale: Southeast
Carry both on 03/21/2013 10:50:41 MDT Print View

I have both, in a 0.8oz multitool that cost $15. Of course, I have yet to actually use this on the trail, so I might bring a razor blade for backup.
http://www.rei.com/product/802325/leatherman-style-multitool

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Why a knife instead of scissors? on 03/21/2013 14:50:14 MDT Print View

Interesting how MOST of you ignored "barring those that run around with a large functional knife for woodcraft (not my thing)", which includes not needing firewood - especially since most of my camps are above or at treeline, and having campfires would be an unacceptable practice (LNT).

I should have put UL in the title. This thread is really for the ULers, where you bring a 0.7oz Swiss Army Knife, or a Dermasafe Razor, not the ones that take a 2oz fixed blade. I'm looking to keep the same amount of weight as a Dermasafe Razor, but have something significantly more functional for common tasks such as opening water tab packages, first aid and gear repair.

I love all the comments about starting a fire for emergency warmth, creating a shelter, etc. Isn't that what your shelter and sleeping bag (and other insulation) is for? Think UL...

On day trips, when I'm not carrying a shelter or sufficient insulation, a knife comes along. I also bring one along for technical trips, such as climbing, or on car camping trips. But I'm talking strictly about backpacking here.

Like David Thomas said:

Vastly easier and safer with scissors:
cutting mole skin, Second-Skin, bandaids, gauze.
opening plastic food packaging.
trimming fabric or thread during field repairs.
trimming finger / toenails.

Sure, you can do all that stuff with a knife (except nail trimming), but it's hardly an easy task, compared to scissors. The big problem is having a leveraging force on the other side of the blade for fabric/tape/gauze, where you need to use your other hand in a dangerous way, only to get imprecise cuts.

Per Dave Thomas again:

Vastly easier with a blade:
splitting kindling, shaving tinder.
** I don't need either with proper insulation and a shelter.
cutting salami / cheese.
** I don't bring those, or cut before you leave the house.
filleting a fish.
** I don't fish.
Spreading peanut butter.
** a spoon handle works just as good
Fabricating objects from wood - tent poles, replacement button, pack stay, Huck-Finn raft, etc.
** No tent poles (tarp). If I lose a stake, I can use a big rock and an extra guyline. I definitely don't have a reason to make any of the other stuff.

> I don't know why people object to having a useful tool with them when hiking.

Because it's not as useful for real tasks, compared to scissors. A USEFUL knife is much more weight than a pair of scissors, which can weigh about the same as a Dermasafe Knife, so if you don't really need it, therefore, nix it, per principles.

> Splinters and slivers are a fact of life around a wood shop

Do you backpack in a woodshop? I get maybe one splinter a year, and a sanitized needle from my repair kit works great for that.

> too many things that scissors would not be good for.

Like...

> Oddly, I find that a lot of people I know who choose not to carry a knife...ask to use mine.

To do what?

I appreciate all the responses. I really want to be convinced that I should bring a knife, but most of the already-mentioned stuff I've already thought of:
shelter... I have one
fire... I don't ever need/want one, and often can't
food... useless for the food I (most ULers) take
making stuff... what would I make that I actually need?

At this point, I'd rather take scissors and make the real tasks easier to do, than take a knife that I don't actually need, and be annoyed with having to use it for the real tasks.

Edited by lindahlb on 03/21/2013 15:00:50 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Carry both on 03/21/2013 14:52:03 MDT Print View

I also carry both. 15 gram folding knife for camp chores, chopping salami etc... and a light pair of scissors. They both get lots of use! I also carry tweezers for pesky splinters. Guess I'm not UL!

Matt Jones
(mjones) - F
scissors for me on 03/21/2013 15:14:27 MDT Print View

Cutting rope, cutting freezer bags, and cutting moleskin are the only things I usually need a sharp edge for. That said, the small pair of scissors in the office supply closet or down the street at the WalMart are easily replaceable. They also mean one less specialty item.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Swiss Army Knife Scissors on 03/21/2013 15:21:54 MDT Print View

Out of curiosity, what do you object to with the Swiss Army scissors? The SAK classic is light enough that I don't feel the need to choose either/or; for me it's the perfect tool for trail hiking.

Someone mentioned this option earlier.

http://www.swissarmy.com/us/product/Swiss-Army-Knives/Category/Replacement-Parts/Replacement-Scissors-SwissCard/30521
30521

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Knife, scissors, AND nail clipper on 03/21/2013 15:24:05 MDT Print View

In principle you could use scissors (even knife + file) to do nails, but still a great idea (mine is missing the clipper) since there are several feet/nail issues that could become major problems. Again, you could use the knife only, but some of the application of the clipper could become "mission critical" so nice to have the best/safest tool.

Tiny tweezers also very useful for tic removal. Right about now they are approaching their peak around here. If you walk under a low hanging branch, even without tocuhing anything, you can hear then hitting your windshirt like rain as they dive bomb anything that moves. lol

Edited by millonas on 03/21/2013 15:25:43 MDT.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Why a knife instead of scissors? on 03/21/2013 16:27:06 MDT Print View

Don't know what the big deal is. Get the right tool for the job.
I've hiked with nothing but some folding scissors from the sewing box (JMT)
And I've hiked with a Mora and Fiskars folding saw (100 mile ME)
You don't need scissors or a knife, you can't tear open packaging and melt cord and break/nibble food.
I bring scissors when traveling because I like to only have a carryon. I take a knife if I plan on using my wood stove or go on a day hike where I'm not carrying shelter or sleep gear.
Tools make life easier and tasks less of a chore, if they don't do that for you leave em home. Only you can decide if carrying them is worth it.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Why a knife instead of scissors?" on 03/21/2013 17:40:41 MDT Print View

"I should have put UL in the title. This thread is really for the ULers"
-
So a bunch of people on a *UL forum* disagreed with you about whether a knife was handy to have, so you've decided none of us knife users qualify as UL? Why start a thread like this, if you have your mind made up and don't want to hear anyone else's opinion unless it's just like yours? Every post I saw in response to yours was respectful and simply offered that person's viewpoint on knife vs. scissors. Your response is kind of insulting, insinuating that knife users must therefore not qualify as UL.

Perhaps next time you should add to your OP that you only want to hear back from people who completely agree with you.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: "Why a knife instead of scissors?" on 03/21/2013 17:49:36 MDT Print View

What Dena Kelley said.

Tom Lyons
(towaly) - F

Locale: Smoky Mtns.
Re. on 03/21/2013 18:15:57 MDT Print View

The way I see it, a pair of scissors is just two knives bolted together at a pivot joint.

If you want to be UL, carrying scissors is carrying twice as much as necessary.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: Re: Why a knife instead of scissors? on 03/21/2013 18:36:52 MDT Print View

"I should have put UL in the title. This thread is really for the ULers, where you bring a 0.7oz Swiss Army Knife, or a Dermasafe Razor, not the ones that take a 2oz fixed blade."

So you can't be UL and carry a fixed blade knife? I carry a small fixed blade to save wight. I use it to carve a few stakes for my tarp and I use it to create fires in wet weather to cook with (save weight on fuel) and keep warm (save weight in camp clothing). Right there I can save almost a pound with my 2 oz knife by putting in a little more effort to camp tasks which I enjoy doing. This is just what I sometimes do, if it doesn't interest you then that's perfectly fine. You seem to have a very narrow view on ultralight backpacker gear and techniques. Either way, 2 ounces is nothing to lose sleep over and if you really think it is, then you are being an armchair backpacker.

Edited by justin_baker on 03/21/2013 18:42:11 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.wordpress.com
Leathermen. on 03/21/2013 18:38:46 MDT Print View

Leatherman Micra here. Great little tool; spring-loaded scizzors, all the screwdrivers for my headlamp, mini-light, and camera, a regular knife, and a bottle opener. I have used the ruler tick-marks on several occasions, though I can't remember now. Weighs a couple of ounces.

When I bike tour ultralight, I don't skimp. Next tour I'll be carrying a Leatherman Wave with hex-bits for the screwdriver. Having to improvise from stripped bolts or a lost wrench was a nightmare last tour.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
What you can't do with scissors on 03/21/2013 19:05:01 MDT Print View

I don't really do "bushcraft" but I've found lots of uses for my knife that scissors would not do
-Sharpening sticks to use on slippery snow (didn't have trekking poles, didn't expect hard packed snow)
-Fixing up a broken stick into a trekking pole for an injured friend
-Improvised tent pegs
-Splitting wet wood for a fire
-Spreading Nutella
-Carving up the apple I brought for the first day
-Carving up summer sausage
-Sharpening a stick to cook the summer sausage on (great way to have hot food without a cook kit)

None of these were life and death issues but the knife was nice to have. I've had one or two situations where people were really cold and I felt like getting a fire going was really important. In those case I'll take a couple ounces in my pocket to know if I really have to I can split up wet wood and start a fire.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: "Why a knife instead of scissors?" on 03/21/2013 19:27:51 MDT Print View

> So a bunch of people on a *UL forum* disagreed with you about
> whether a knife was handy to have, so you've decided
> none of us knife users qualify as UL? Why start a thread like
> this, if you have your mind made up and don't want to hear
> anyone else's opinion unless it's just like yours? Every
> post I saw in response to yours was respectful and simply offered
> that person's viewpoint on knife vs. scissors. Your response
> is kind of insulting, insinuating that knife users must therefore
> not qualify as UL.

I chose to not bring a real knife because it is unnecessary weight, not because a forum told me to.

I think you misunderstood. You decide to bring a real knife as a luxury item, that's fine. You can still adhere to UL principles and bring luxury items. I bring a camera as a luxury item, but I wouldn't call bringing a camera adhering to UL principles - it's unnecessary weight. I believe my wording was misleading. I should have written:

"I should have put UL in the title. This thread is really for the ULers WHO BRING a 0.7oz Swiss Army Knife, or a Dermasafe Razor, not the ones that take a 2oz fixed blade."

... as you can see, especially by the last sentence, "not the ones [ULers] that take a 2oz fixed blade". And... "I should have put UL in the title" means "Why an UL knife instead of scissors?".

What I really want to know is: Why should I bring a UL knife or razor instead of UL scissors?
NOT: Why should I bring a big knife instead of scissors?

I already know you can do woodcraft with a big knife, that's pretty obvious isn't it? Start a fire and make stuff - neither of which I want to spend time doing when I'm backpacking. To me, that's wasted time that I'd rather spend photographing scenery or climbing a nearby ridgeline. And, being often above treeline, it's downright impossible many times. But to you, that's not wasted time at all. HYOH and all that.

Edited by lindahlb on 03/21/2013 20:16:29 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: Re: "Why a knife instead of scissors?" on 03/21/2013 20:06:30 MDT Print View

"I think you misunderstood. You decide to bring a real knife as a luxury item, that's fine. You can still adhere to UL principles and bring luxury items."

"adhere to UL principles"

Brian, you sound like an ultralight nazi. There is no such thing as ultralight "principles" that you need to adhere to. Ultralight is a having a light pack. Whichever way you get your pack light is your choice. If you don't mind getting a little bushcrafty, a small knife can actually save you some weight. Calling it a luxury item in all situations is just ridiculous.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: "Why a knife instead of scissors?" on 03/21/2013 20:13:12 MDT Print View

Of course I sound like an ultralight nazi. The principle of UL is to religiously cut weight wherever possible - is it not? Look at everything you have, and cut weight wherever you can. The word 'Ultra' is in there for a reason - and not because it sounds cool, but because it's going many steps beyond lightweight backpacking.

Eh, just my opinion. I don't think we need to argue semantics anymore, that wasn't the point of my post. The point of my post is... why an UL knife instead of scissors? I'd change the subject line if the forum allowed me to.

Edited by lindahlb on 03/21/2013 20:14:35 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.wordpress.com
Bite, Bite, Pass on 03/21/2013 20:18:55 MDT Print View

Two things you can't bring up on BPL without getting a million off-topic posts:

Guns and Knives.

If you're expecting everyone to shape up, you're in for a disappointment.



I did glean one thing from this thread, though. You guys are addicted to Salami.

It brings back visions of making wraps on my bike tour with my two buddies. We were sharing a block of white cheddar by taking bites off it and then dropping the cheese from our mouth onto the wrap. Bite, Bite, Pass, like mother birds...

My salami knife is my incisor.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Bite, Bite, Pass on 03/21/2013 20:21:26 MDT Print View

> It brings back visions of making wraps on my bike tour
> with my two buddies. We were sharing a block of white
> cheddar by taking bites off it

Ahh, kindered spirits! I remember sharing a 2lb block of cheddar using that same... technique last summer on a ski tour trip with a buddy. I was a bit shocked when he pulled the brick out of his pack! But hey, if you offer me food, I'm not turning it down! (he really just wanted to get rid of as much weight as he could - hah)

Edited by lindahlb on 03/21/2013 20:37:31 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.wordpress.com
I still wouldn't eat it, though. on 03/21/2013 20:25:18 MDT Print View

Haha, we bought too much cheese once. Jim had a block of sharp in his bike pannier. After one day of heating up under the summer sun, we (perhaps unnecessarily) assumed it was bad but he kept it in there. Twenty-five days later, we finished the tour. Three MONTHS later he gives me my panniers back so I can repair them, and the cheese was still in there... looked fine!

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Knives and Fires on 03/21/2013 20:45:32 MDT Print View

In fairness I believe Ryan Jordan leaves the knife at home unless he's fishing. Andrew Skurka carries a tiny little swiss army knife.

As I mentioned I feel more secure knowing I can carve up a stick for a fire if need be. I'm not talking about bow drill fires, etc. just splitting a few wet sticks to get at the dry inner wood. Now remember I often hike without a stove. If I had alcohol, ebsit tabs, or a canister stove I could use those in an emergency to help get a fire started.

If you want a really lightweight knife I think the 0.5 oz Buck Ultralight would be hard to beat. Its tiny but it would take more abuse then a little key chain swiss army knife. You could carry that for cutting and break the scissors off a swiss army classic and keep them in your first aid kid for trimming nails.

Of course I normally don't bring any clippers on shorter trips. I just trim my nails before I leave.

Edited by Cameron on 03/21/2013 20:46:41 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Knives on 03/21/2013 20:56:40 MDT Print View

I seldom have any need for a serious knife since I only open food packages and cut some first aid tape. As a result, I make my own knives out of thin aluminum or titanium sheet. My favorite is thin aluminum with a serrated edge, and it weighs in at a hefty 1.8 grams.

--B.G.--

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Re: Why an UL knife instead of scissors? on 03/21/2013 21:09:55 MDT Print View

Wenger Esquire fan here. At .7 oz I have not come across anything else as versitie in the knives/tools department. Could I find a pair of scissors lighter, perhaps. But for the negligable weight it does so much. Mine is not so standard as it is equipped with a serrated blade, and an eyeglass screwdriver instead of a nail file. If I leave the split ring off the little nub that it goes on is the perfect too; for disengaging the locks on my Bareboxer Contender.

So for .7 oz I get a screwdriver, knife, tweezers, toothpick, bear canister tool, and scissors. All in an easily purchasable, immediately recognizable, inexspensive package Adhering to the UL mantra. I believe this is a great example of multiuse.

I really have not felt the need to look for something else.


What scissors should I be looking at? Or should I?

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Why an UL knife instead of scissors? on 03/21/2013 22:03:20 MDT Print View

So a guy has an UL pack weighting 5lbs with a .7 oz derma safe
But then he switches to a 2.oz Mora instead
and now he is no longer an ultra lite hiker with a pack weight of 5lbs and 1.4 oz

You don't need scissors or a razor, like I said open your packages with your hand melt cord to size, break food apart with your hands. Scissors and razor blades are unnecessary luxuries that you can do without just like any other knife.

Edited by MAYNARD76 on 03/21/2013 22:05:24 MDT.

A W
(lost_01)
to summarize on 03/21/2013 23:06:42 MDT Print View

To review, the Leatherman Style (0.8oz) vs Swiss Army Classic (0.8oz) (same price, same functionality)

However, there is one tool that (can) be lighter, and have more functionality.

card
*remove the pin, screwdriver(s) and pen = probably lighter than the 'classic'.

Bonus: has light and a magnifying glass as a backup firestarter


*I may pick up the Leatherman Style CS (1.4oz) - just because it's sexy

Paul Mountford
(Sparticus) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic Canada
Re: Re: Re: Why an UL knife instead of scissors? on 03/22/2013 04:54:07 MDT Print View

“So a bunch of people on a *UL forum* disagreed with you about whether a knife was handy to have, so you've decided none of us knife users qualify as UL?”

“So a guy has an UL pack weighting 5lbs with a .7 oz derma safe But then he switches to a 2.oz Mora instead and now he is no longer an ultra lite hiker with a pack weight of 5lbs and 1.4 oz”

Are we talking about skin out or pack weight?

If the 2 oz Mora is carried with your clothing and not in your pack (talking pack weight here) then your sub 5lbs would still make you SUL. Likewise if your pack is less than 10 pounds with your knife then you qualify as UL.

Silly distinctions anyway!

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Re: Re: Why an UL knife instead of scissors? on 03/22/2013 08:44:53 MDT Print View

"If the 2 oz Mora is carried with your clothing and not in your pack (talking pack weight here) then your sub 5lbs would still make you SUL. Likewise if your pack is less than 10 pounds with your knife then you qualify as UL. "

My post was sarcastic, I was try to point out how silly the concept was.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
.. on 03/22/2013 08:56:46 MDT Print View

This thread is doomed. If you don't "need" a knife you certainly don't "need'" scissors. You don't need a n thing. You don't even need to go out backpacking and leave your poop with or without TP. You are best for the environment if you just stay home.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Re: Why a knife instead of scissors? on 03/22/2013 08:59:03 MDT Print View

This looks like the "I don't get it" thread gone terribly wrong.

It's really just a difference in styles and probably locations.

Like a lot of others, I carry the Swiss Army Knife Classic. I use the scissors a lot more that the knife. I can't recall when I did last use the knife. But I don't cut meat and cheese on the trail. If for some reason, I left my trekking poles or stakes (I did do this once) at home, I'd hang my shelter from a tree and use rocks for stakes. It's pretty dry out here so I've never had a problem finding twigs dry enough to use with my wood stove. I find them the same place I go to in a heavy rain, under a large, full tree. I mostly go solo but I leave my itinerary and when I'll be out, and carry a SPOT, so I don't think I'll have to saw off a limb.

So for me, and only me, I could leave the knife behind and not miss it. But I always carry a SAK on a daily basis and the Classic is light enough that I carry it anyway when backpacking.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: .. on 03/22/2013 10:15:25 MDT Print View

> This thread is doomed. If you don't "need" a knife you
> certainly don't "need'" scissors. You don't need a n
> thing. You don't even need to go out backpacking and
> leave your poop with or without TP. You are best for the
> environment if you just stay home.

It's doomed because SOME of these knife enthusiasts are having trouble understanding that I'm not interested in hearing about woodcraft, when I explicitly said so in the very first post. I don't know how you could interpret that in any other way?

I know you can make all sorts of cool stuff with a knife and some wood - that's obvious. However, I don't care - for a backpacking trip, I'VE never had to, never want to, most of the time can't or shouldn't, and will never need to.

I was asking, why bring an UL knife (razor, SAK classic, Dermasafe, etc.) instead of UL scissors? The reason why, is because EVERY single backpacking trip I'VE ever had, I would have been better off with UL scissors instead.

A sharp cutting tool is pretty damn useful to have for normal activities like first aid, gear repair, and especially for opening those tablet packages - near impossible without one. And unless you woodcraft or bring foods that need to be cut (in the field), from the sounds of it there's absolutely no good reason to bring a knife over scissors - scissors perform these tasks better, safer, and easier.

If you know of a task (NOT woodcraft) that a knife would have performed better than scissors, I want to hear about it. That's what I created this thread for. Thanks!

Edited by lindahlb on 03/22/2013 10:19:03 MDT.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Re on 03/22/2013 10:52:09 MDT Print View

A nice is pretty much a requirement for saftey and survival outdoors.

Anyone telling you otherwise thinks an extra 1 oz is a sin.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Why a knife instead of scissors?" on 03/22/2013 11:00:44 MDT Print View

I think it's doomed because you started a thread with a preexisting bias and didn't like the responses and then you got snarky and judgmental about it. Yes, some people brought up bushcraft when you explicitly excluded it. And many others, such as myself, brought up food prep which you did *not* exclude. Others brought up improvisation which you are including as bushcraft, when it's not. Since many UL folks here use Bushbuddy's and the like, firecraft should not be lumped into bushcraft either. You have a myopic view of what UL is and is not, and a bias against knives. No one is trying to convince you to carry a knife. But the way I see it, since you had a bias to start with and didn't actually want to know "why a knife instead of scissors?" then you shouldn't have asked the question. Then you wouldn't be annoyed will all us "knife enthusiasts" that don't fit into your narrow definition of UL.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: not "woodcraft" on 03/22/2013 11:01:54 MDT Print View

Since your definition of "woodcraft" seems to be anything not having to do with your kit and what you've brought with you, and you have crafted your kit ("kitcraft"?) to avoid the use of a knife, it seems there is nothing left for you to use a knife on. Congratulations! You've answered your own question!

May you never experience something unexpected in the bush where a small but sturdy blade would have made the difference for you. HYOH.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Why a knife instead of scissors? on 03/22/2013 11:08:22 MDT Print View

This thread is crazy.

When I take a Classic SAK, I use the scissors most of the time. When I take a plain knife, DermaSafe, or razor blade I use the blade. For most daily tasks either a knife or scissors will work.

Go buy the knife or scissors you want. Don't ask for permission from BPL.

I could care less about what Ryan Jordan, Andrew Skukra, Ray Jardine, etc. carry. They are not gods.

If you constantly find yourself in survival situations where you need a knife to survive you are probably doing something wrong.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: This thread is crazy on 03/22/2013 11:14:44 MDT Print View

A voice of reason crying out from the wilderness.

Thank you Nick!

Party On,

Newton

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: "Why a knife instead of scissors?" on 03/22/2013 11:22:26 MDT Print View

I thought it was pretty obvious that woodcraft is anything to do with wood (firewood, making stuff, improvising, etc). I guess not?

> Others brought up improvisation which you are including
> as bushcraft, when it's not.

I never said anything about bushcraft in my original post. I very clearly stated I wanted to exclude woodcraft and people who carry large functional knives.

> But the way I see it, since you had a bias to start with
> and didn't actually want to know "why a knife instead of
> scissors?" then you shouldn't have asked the question.
> Then you wouldn't be annoyed will all us "knife
> enthusiasts" that don't fit into your narrow definition
> of UL.

I don't have a bias against knives. I carry a "large" functional one on day hikes to improvise in emergencies. It stays with my space blanket, headlamp and emergency firestarter. When I backpack, I have a backpack full of other stuff that covers my arse in emergencies, and thus, don't need a large functional knife.

I'm not annoyed with you because you have a different point of view. I'm annoyed with you (and a few other special folks) because you are completely ignoring the whole point of this thread, which is VERY clearly stated in the original post.

> Go buy the knife or scissors you want. Don't ask for
> permission from BPL.

I'm not asking for permission. I'm wondering if there's common daily tasks (NOT related to wood) where knives work better than scissors. I'd like to bring scissors, but I'd like to know about people who have experience bringing them or both scissors and knives - and what tasks (NOT related to wood) they use for each on a regular basis.

Edited by lindahlb on 03/22/2013 11:40:38 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Knife vs scissors on 03/22/2013 11:23:36 MDT Print View

Scissors are good for precise trimming and grooming and probably at a par with a small knife for opening a food package. If too small, the utility suffers, so having small scissors as part of a small knife provides a handle with options. 0.75oz

A small knife, like a light paring knife, is better for food prep. 1oz with sheath

Medium sized Swiss Army knives can cover both functions in the 2-3oz range. In researching this discussion, I found the Victorinox Compact model that has scissors and blade plus a few more functions and 2.3oz. I think that is a fair compromise.

I'm not much for woodcraft, but one of the major reasons I carry a pocket knife is for aiding fire building in an emergency. That doesn't require a big knife, but a locking blade is stronger and safer I think.

IMHO, cutting tools like the Dermasafe aren't very useful. I have included a single edge razor blade in my emergency supplies and they are lighter, cheaper and still as useful as a Dermasafe. I used clear shipping tape as a "sheath."

I see that the Swisscard scissors can be purchased seperately: http://www.swissarmy.com/us/app/product/Swiss-Army-Knives/Replacement-Scissors-SwissCard/30521

Embroidery scissors can be very light and provide far better utility than the tiny ones on a Swiss Army knife.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Another Way to Carry a Blade on 03/22/2013 11:23:38 MDT Print View

How about carrying a blade like this guy did -- and for three whole years!?!

Jan S
(karl-ton)
Re: Re: "Why a knife instead of scissors?" on 03/22/2013 11:42:26 MDT Print View

"I'm not asking for permission. I'm wondering if there's common daily tasks (NOT related to wood) where knives work better than scissors. I'd like to bring scissors"

Cutting food. If you don't need or want to do that, then no.

And judging from your initial post you already had the question answered for yourself and should probably just have asked for some lightweight scissors. But the way you asked is – in my opinion – a great starting point for a flame war about personal style

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Safety on 03/22/2013 12:10:53 MDT Print View

Seems like a lot has been made out of this point (safety). Do you need a knife to be safe. I want one myself, but that is because that is what I prefer to use. Regardless of what one takes with them into the wilderness, you should have the ability to start a fire in an emergency. Even though you have plenty of insulating stuff with you as it all can be compromised in an accident. To make a fire I want a knife larger than a swiss army classic, but that's me.

As far as the OT, I find that I use the knife blade way more often than the scissors, even when they will both do the job. For me the knife blade is faster and easier. And since I do sometimes do food prep it works better for that also. I always have both, but rarely use the scissors. Others of course rarely use the blade. It appears that it all comes down to personal preference. Both a knife blade and scissors can do the job, it just depends on which one you prefer to use.

Oh yeah, BTW, I've cut myself worse with scissors than a knife. Trying to open a box with scissors, and using it like a knife.

Edited by Hitech on 03/22/2013 12:12:24 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.wordpress.com
I like this thread. on 03/22/2013 12:15:20 MDT Print View

There's something familiar about this debate. Can't put my finger on it...

Deja Vu!

Josh Brock
(needsAbath)

Locale: Outside
GICH on 03/22/2013 12:30:45 MDT Print View

LOL just use your scissors and pray that nothing fatal happens to your shelter or sleeping bag. (cause that never happens to any one.)

cutting mole skin, Second-Skin, bandaids, gauze.
opening plastic food packaging.
trimming fabric or thread during field repairs.
trimming finger / toenails.

All that can be handled with teeth or cut ahead of time. So in your narrow veiw of your very specific scenario in your perfect world I would bring neither.

GICH!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: I like this thread. on 03/22/2013 12:32:56 MDT Print View

"There's something familiar about this debate. Can't put my finger on it..."

Max, when I started backpacking there was no Internet, no backpacking books, and no backpacking magazines. We bought gear, went out and hiked, and figured things our for ourselves. Heck, I backpacked for years and didn't know there was such a thing as a backpacking stove. Our gear source was Army/Navy surplus stores, swap meets, and department stores for the most part. And most of us figured out how to go light on our own and what gear/equipment worked best.

Josh Brock
(needsAbath)

Locale: Outside
^^90 on 03/22/2013 12:37:05 MDT Print View

^^^oldest backpacker ever

James Byrnes
(backfeets1) - M

Locale: Midwest.... Missouri
Re: Why an UL knife instead of scissors? on 03/22/2013 12:38:16 MDT Print View

I found myself in a situation where I had forgotten to install the plastic tips on tent poles I had cut to a custom length. I carved new wooden tips from the inner wood of a pine branch. First attempt with the Swiss classic failed , very flimsy. I also carried a small folder (BUCK .65 oz), worked very well. Can't always plan for the unexpected.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Scissors on 03/22/2013 12:39:34 MDT Print View

Just wanted to check that scissors and knives aren't in someway a euphemism in this thread for ending world hunger or finding a cure for AIDS.

Of course I'm a trolling hypocrite who spent half of yesterday taking about the finer aspects of pooping.

Carry on.

Josh Brock
(needsAbath)

Locale: Outside
Re: Re: Why an UL knife instead of scissors? on 03/22/2013 12:41:03 MDT Print View

James that will NEVER happen to him. he already stated his gear will never fail.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: .. on 03/22/2013 12:43:57 MDT Print View

"If you know of a task (NOT woodcraft) that a knife would have performed better than scissors, I want to hear about it. That's what I created this thread for. Thanks!"

Cutting a piece of cheese, a piece of bread. Taking out a splinter. Scissors work better ( a little) for opening wrapped food and maybe cutting off that damn hair that one other guy thinks women should not have ;)
Flaming and kidding aside, it does seem that you already have the answer for yourself. A minimal blade, a minimal set of scissors, whatever works for you does not mean it is better for everyone else.
I am all about tools and efficiency. Daily I carry a small knife, a small ViseGrip and a pen. Yes, I can survive without, but they all come in handy very regularly.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Why an UL knife instead of scissors? on 03/22/2013 12:48:39 MDT Print View

One thing I don't hear a lot about is the fact that as nice as razor blades are, they cannot be resharpened. You throw them out and buy more. If they go dull or break on the trail your sh!t outa luck.
That's where a knife is better IMHO if you take care of it , it will last a lifetime and can be resharpened anywhere with some improv or sandpaper.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Why an UL knife instead of scissors? on 03/22/2013 12:53:25 MDT Print View

"That's where a knife is better IMHO if you take care of it , it will last a lifetime and can be resharpened anywhere with some improv or sandpaper"

True. My Classic SAK is about 30 years old and I have never sharpened the blade. Hopefully I won't die because the blade isn't sharp enough :)

Josh Brock
(needsAbath)

Locale: Outside
Troll on 03/22/2013 13:05:19 MDT Print View

I like to take a file and sharpen my thumb nail before I leave. It's 0 grams so it completely follows the rules of UL backpacking. Then i dont have to bring my luxury knife or scissors.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Back at you, Troll on 03/22/2013 13:14:14 MDT Print View

Josh: I glue epoxy garnet powder to the surface of my other thumbnail so I can touch up the edge on my knife/thumbnail.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Troll on 03/22/2013 13:16:59 MDT Print View

If you sharpen your fingernail it's actually negative weight since you're removing some of the weight of your fingernail

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Re: razor blade on 03/22/2013 13:23:40 MDT Print View

Wait, why can't a razor blade be resharpened? I must have missed something.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a fixed blade guy all the way, but if it is made of metal, it can be resharpened.

Personally, I don't mind seeing these threads come up more than once. It's good to see what works for other people, and why. Not everyone sees every thread, and there are constantly new people joining the forum. Personally, I've learned a lot on here and have changed my mind/opinion on a lot of things by reading why someone chooses one approach over another.

Just because I don't want to rely on a single exacto blade, doesn't mean I think less of those that do, or think they are wrong. I would assume it works the other way around, but it seems some people get really defensive about there choices? Same with the poop thread, some people kinda get hostel when people do things a different way than them...
What happened to HYOH?

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Resharpening razor blades. on 03/22/2013 13:25:10 MDT Print View

>"One thing I don't hear a lot about is the fact that as nice as razor blades are, they cannot be resharpened."

oh, but they can be resharpened.

Try this on a shaving razor in a handle. It could be a $0.19 Bic or a Sensor 3-bladed model.

When it's gotten noticeably dull through use, hone the blade (stropping, really) on leather. Not full-grain leather, but on the back side or on suede. The back side of a leather belt works really well. Push the razor backwards - at exactly shaving angle, but in the reverse direction (you're honing the blade, not shaving the leather). Use moderate pressure. Repeat about 20 times. It takes about 10 seconds with practice.

Back in my Boy Scout days, I'd always finish any knife sharpening job by stropping the edge until I could shave with it (by wetting arm hairs with spit and checking). Nowadays, I'll do it in a pinch, like when I'm on a business trip and my shaving razor is a bit dull, I can get back close to new.

Edited because Nick and I cross-posted: Yeah, and if the razor blade had a perceptible nick in it, you could use a fine whetstone or the UL version: a patch of fine emery cloth on a flat surface. For coarser work: 2-3 inches of 1-inch wide plumbers sandpaper on a flat surface. Cloth-backed, water-proof, designed to sand metal.

Yes, HYOH, CYOBlade (or not). I'm cool with you carrying a fixed blade, I doubt I ever will. I have some admiration for those who go all the way to a single-edge razor blade. I'm happy in the middle with my SAK Classic.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 03/22/2013 13:31:39 MDT.

Jan S
(karl-ton)
Re: Re: razor blade on 03/22/2013 13:28:57 MDT Print View

"What happened to HYOH?"

Okay, I suck at those acronyms. What's HYOH?

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Acronyms on 03/22/2013 13:32:16 MDT Print View

Hike your own hike.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Safety on 03/22/2013 13:32:17 MDT Print View

> As far as the OT, I find that I use the knife blade way
> more often than the scissors, even when they will both
> do the job. For me the knife blade is faster and easier.

Yes, but WHAT/WHY are you using it? The whole point of the thread is so that I can understand WHAT people are using their UL knives for (outside of woodcraft), and why they prefer them.

I don't care WHAT your preferences are, what I DO care about, is WHY...

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Resharpening razor blades. on 03/22/2013 14:06:35 MDT Print View

I've sharpened a razor before but it's very hard to get it "razor" sharp again. The metal is paper thin and wears down quickly. And dulls quickly with use.
Most people do not resharpen razor blades it's to easy to just buy a pack of them and dispose of them. Even if you resharpened it I doubt it will last long especially since they are prone to snapping and breaking if you are not very careful. An UL knife will easily outlast it and be far easier to hand sharpen.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Resharpening razor blades. on 03/22/2013 14:19:26 MDT Print View

Brian: I'm with you on that. I don't resharpen razor blades to save weight or money. But in a pinch, if it has gotten dull, you can touch it up. Not to factory-new, but noticeably better.

Daniel Fish
(daniel@fishfamilypdx.com)

Locale: PDX
... on 03/22/2013 14:34:05 MDT Print View

...

Edited by daniel@fishfamilypdx.com on 06/11/2013 12:55:20 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
My two cents. Literally. on 03/22/2013 14:41:12 MDT Print View

The cheap version of Daniel's most excellent $11.15 blade-angle guide above is to masking tape a dime/penny/nickel/washer (depends on blade width) to each side of the blade at the back. You then maintain a constant angle on both sides of the blade.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Why an UL knife instead of scissors? on 03/22/2013 15:00:44 MDT Print View

"James that will NEVER happen to him. he already stated his gear will never fail."

Who stated that? Not the OP.

James didn't say his gear failed. He forgot to fix something before he left. Big difference. I don't carry tent poles but if I had run into that situation, some Gorilla tape from my repair kit would have worked fine. Nothing wrong with the way James did it, but a knife wasn't the only way.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Why an UL knife instead of scissors? on 03/22/2013 15:49:02 MDT Print View

Quite true. There are many ways to improvise. A knife isn't the only one. As the saying goes, when you have a hammer, a lot of things look like nails ;)

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Re: Safety on 03/22/2013 16:11:58 MDT Print View

Why? Because it is easier and faster for me. Opening a meal pouch, one quick swipe of the blade and its open. With scissors its cut, cut, cut, etc. Basically, most cutting requires one cut with a blade and several cuts with the scissors. Additionally the blade is easier and faster to "deploy". By the time I can get the scissors out and ready to use I could have already finished with the blade. There certainly are things that are easier with scissors. Nail trimming comes to mind.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Safety on 03/22/2013 16:22:56 MDT Print View

Thanks Larry. What other tasks have you found easier and faster with a knife?

I assume a knife is faster to deploy because you carry it on your belt, or in a pocket? I would think you could open scissors about as fast as you could flip a knife open?

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
skin a pig on 03/22/2013 16:42:27 MDT Print View

"Now just how are you going to blaze a tree, split firewood,
cut stout tent pegs, kill and skin a pig, make stretcher poles, fell a tree to cross a deep chasm, fight off a
griz, or peel a potato, with just a razor blade?" (or scissors).


Old thread

What knife do you carry backpacking?

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=16134&skip_to_post=127324

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
re:Why on 03/22/2013 16:50:51 MDT Print View

Its hard to think of all the things that come up. When its more like camping much more comes up. The scissors I carry are part of a multitool that is carried on my belt. So it takes two hands to pull the scissors out and then you have to move one lever back to use them. With the blade I can open the blade with one hand. Also simply opening a meal package is many cuts with little scissors and one with any size blade.

But a lot of this is just what one is used to. Never had scissors when camping so I got used to using a knife blade for my cutting tasks. So that is what I am comfortable with.

Edited by Hitech on 03/22/2013 16:53:01 MDT.

Daniel Fish
(daniel@fishfamilypdx.com)

Locale: PDX
... on 03/22/2013 16:51:21 MDT Print View

...

Edited by daniel@fishfamilypdx.com on 06/23/2013 11:48:05 MDT.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Safety around ropes on 03/22/2013 16:57:22 MDT Print View

Instructors around ropes courses and climbing sites often use EMT snips instead of a knife for rigging and emergencies.
A sharp knife will cut a loaded rope in a moment, maybe the wrong rope, while you have to be more deliberate with the EMT scissors.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: masking tape + washer method of sharpening on 03/22/2013 17:16:45 MDT Print View

Daniel: Yeah, I think of the masking tape and coins as a quick-n-dirty, touch-up technique.

For a lot of blades or a lot of work on one blade, that DMT aligner would be much better.

I just wanted to put a improvisational tip into people's heads.

But practice, practice, practice. Eventually, you can hold a constant angle without any aids. Rather like someone who burns 7 cords of wood every winter for a few decades can sharp a chainsaw by eye better than I can with a jig.