Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Sharp Thing Nirvana?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Sharp Thing Nirvana? on 06/18/2013 20:43:30 MDT Print View

I am too much of a klutz to ever carry just a razor blade as my sharp thing (sorry Mike!). In addition I worry that when I might most need it is exactly when I may be least able to handle it gracefully - in the dark, cold and wind with a big storm coming trying to cut extra guy lines. Performing an emergency branch-ectomy or wound cleaning after a fall or other accident. Defending myself from a bear or water cache thief. Plus I'm going to need to pack extra band-aids, if not a suture kit, if I try to cut moleskin very often with a razor blade - which offsets the weight savings!

So like a lot of people here I, over the last decade or more, have been carrying either the "Swiss Army Card" or more recently when I wore my second card out, the Victorinox Swiss Army Classic. (0.7 oz, $12.93 on Amazon).


swiss

But I have known for a long time there are only three tools on this I ever will use - in descending order of frequency, the scissors, the knife, and the tweezers. The scissors for most everything, especially for cutting moleskin and everything else (currently I support the scissor faction in the great scissor vs. knife debate), the knife because sometimes I want to stab something and the scissors aren't enough, and the tweezers because theoretically I might want to remove ticks or cactus thorns, and they weigh less than my scale can show, which I have officially defined as weightless. I usually have a small piece of sandpaper so the file, while useful, is redundant. Toothpick - Really? The card also has a pin made redundant by my sewing needle, and a ridiculous "pen", also useless in light of Nick's discovery of the ideal JMT pencil.

So I am tormented by finding the perfect solution, while still carrying scissors, knife and tweezers. The knife mostly so I can pass through checkpoints in knife-held territory, but also should I need to gut a trout. The tweezers because, as I have said, they are weightless. What has been bothering me about the Classic is the for some reason the scissors on this thing are crapola. The ones on the card are "good enough":

card

but I have been searching for scissor nirvana. I think I have found them with these Westcott Sewing Titanium Bonded Fine Cut Scissors(recommended by a BPL member, 0.2 oz, $5.47 on Amazon):

sc2

They do need to have a piece of tubing or straw used to cover the point, but no matter.

These are excellent scissors, equally excellent at cutting moleskin, thread and fingernails. Probably the most excellent I have ever taken in my pack. So nirvana. Now I lust after knife nirvana. I would put the knife on the classic (and the card for that matter) up at the passable level. But is there a knife I can really feel good about for the same weight. I think yes, it is this, Spyderco Bug SS Slip Joint Plain Edge Knife (0.3 oz, $12.45 on Amazon):

kn

This blade is as good as a razor blade, with a little less chance of accidentally slicing off a finger, and without that "psycho-of-the-woods" vibe. Frankly just holding in in my hand makes me want to gut a trout.

The tweezers get a pass in my kit because, I remind you, they are weightless. Canabalize them off your now-obsolete Classic.

So I'm replacing my Classic with these (total weight 0.6 oz, total cost on Amazon $17.92) :

s6

That 0.1 oz less for only $4.99 more, but in this case the quality is way up. The scissors always go next to the moleskin, and the tweezers in the first aid kit taped to something. I think I might hang my newly emancipated knife on the sting around my neck with the UL LED light - so I can gain some cred with the 10 essentials fanatics.

Anyway, your welcome!

Please critique my sharp things gear and tell me how to cut weight.

Here is a last look:ll

Edited by millonas on 06/18/2013 20:59:18 MDT.

K C
(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
RE: on 06/18/2013 22:14:09 MDT Print View

Scissors are a luxury, if your knife is sharp it can do the same thing. I would bring the lightest knife and bring the tweezers from your SAK

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Sharp Thing Nirvana? on 06/18/2013 22:33:05 MDT Print View

I like the scissors on the Victorinox Classic over the Wenger scissors with a serrated edge.

I have to try a pair of those Westcott scissors-- small and light, but fully functional with real handles.

Thumbs down on the tweezers. I tolerate the Victorinox tweezers as they come with the knife, but they lack precision and gripping strength. Uncle Bill's Silver Gripper Tweezers are the best :)

Speaking of scissors, I got a Victorinox Compact knife the other day. It has all the tools you expect in a Swiss Army knife and the scissors are huge-- as long as the knife blade. It even has a tiny pen tucked in like the toothpick and tweezers. 2.2oz. I like it!

Victorinox Compact knife

Edited by dwambaugh on 06/18/2013 22:36:48 MDT.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Sharp Thing Nirvana? on 06/18/2013 22:39:38 MDT Print View

"I tolerate the Victorinox tweezers as they come with the knife, but they lack precision and gripping strength. Uncle Bill's Silver Gripper Tweezers are the best :)"

Oh no! You didn't just harsh my sharp thing nirvana buzz!

Oh, well, guess I have to google them now. Knew it would happen someday soon... but not this soon. Anyway, I DID ask for it. :-(

Actually the screwdriver on your "good grief, It monstrous" pocket knife looks good. One thing that is actually *likely* to happen is my sunglasses will come apart!

Edited by millonas on 06/18/2013 22:47:51 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Sharp Thing Nirvana? on 06/18/2013 22:48:26 MDT Print View

The scissors in the Classic SAK work well, except for trimming the nails on my big toes. Tweezers are marginal -- held too tight they break a cactus spine and too loose they slip. The tweezers take lots of practice and with the associated practiced tweezer skill can work quite well -best used by a proffessional driver on a closed course -- do not try at home. SAK Classic Knife blade not as good as a razor.

Big question....

How are you going to sharpen your JMT pencil with your new Sharp Nirvana kit?

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Sharp Thing Nirvana? on 06/18/2013 22:53:06 MDT Print View

I sharpen my blackwing 602 pencil with a kelly black raven 5lb double bit felling axe.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Sharp Thing Nirvana? on 06/18/2013 23:16:49 MDT Print View

Oh, I was just going to leave the pencil at home and leave audio memos on my iPhone special agent Cooper style - "Diane, it 7:38 a.m., Just went over Donohue pass in the Sierra. There's a scent of Lodgepole pine and mule droppings in the air. Had coffee this morning in camp. Just like I like it - black as midnight on a moonless night."

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Sharp Thing Nirvana? on 06/18/2013 23:48:35 MDT Print View

Didn't mean to be a buzz kill-- there's no end to tool lust :)

Lest you think the Compact is not (compact), this should give a better idea of scale:
Victorinox Compact knife

A hiking knife should be good for repairs to clothing and gear, grooming, first aid, basic food prep, and shaving wood for fire starting. With all the Swiss Army knives made, I still want a different combination than they offer.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: scissors a luxury? on 06/19/2013 01:04:03 MDT Print View

"Scissors are a luxury, if your knife is sharp it can do the same thing"

They are handy small tools in my book and small ones are so light that I wouldn't want to go without. Much more precise for close in trimming and very much part of my sewing tools.

Joel Benford
(Morte66) - F - M

Locale: Surrey flatlands, England
Stabbing on 06/19/2013 12:54:06 MDT Print View

"the knife because sometimes I want to stab something"

What do you stab?

We have shortage of bears, marmots and water cache thieves around here. I can't think what I would want to stab with a sub 2 inch blade rather than cut with scissors. The closest I can get is blisters, but the sewing needle can handle that.

Hmm, tyres of cyclists who aren't meant to be on the footpath maybe?

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Sharp Thing Nirvana? on 06/19/2013 16:51:05 MDT Print View

Mark:

A very thorough (and humorous) write-up. Thank you. Food for thought.

I'm with you on the scissors over blade. I've never taken someone from the job site to the ER because of a scissor incident. Razor knives and pocket knives, OTOH. . . .

The Westcott Sewing Titanium Bonded Fine Cut Scissors and the Spyderco Bug SS Slip Joint Plain Edge Knife are great to know about. Thanks. I'll pick up one of each to play with.

My hesitation to switch from the SAK Classic is having some container or storage pouch for the smaller scissors, knife and tweezers. The Classic, with no exposed sharp points, that can have a small string on it, seems harder to lose or get stabbed by.

The other thoughts about the "Compact" SAK are also nice to hear. Not for my truly UL efforts, but there are family trips that I still have a full-sized SAK along (partly for my wife) and that seems like a great compromise. Most of the blade length and versatility, with far less than half the weight.

-David

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Stabbing on 06/19/2013 17:44:54 MDT Print View

"What do you stab? We have shortage of bears, marmots and water cache thieves around here. I can't think what I would want to stab with a sub 2 inch blade rather than cut with scissors. The closest I can get is blisters, but the sewing needle can handle that."

Gosh, people just don't think of the various things they might encounter in the wild, do they.

Okay, you're hiking along cheerfully in one of your favorite, and most beautiful, backpacking areas and suddenly you come upon some dude who's chopping down a live tree to build a lean to, and he's defecated on the side of the trail without digging a cathole and there's used toilet paper all over the place.

You NEED both scissors and knife. A knife to cut the sack cleanly. Scissors to cut the vas deferens. Gonna need a needle and some good thread too, and lots of whiskey to make him pass out first.....

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Sharp Thing Nirvana on 06/19/2013 18:07:45 MDT Print View

I've got a similar kit.

I use a Spyderco Ladybug (half straight edge/half serrated edge). It lives in the hip belt pocket on my pack and is used for most day-to-day cutting duties on the trail.

I carry a pair of the scissors and tweezers from the SAK Card in my first aid/repair kit. I don't use either of them frequently and therefore like them to be as small and light as possible. I do however find the scissors handy for certain duties like cutting repair tape or trimming nails.

The little SAK tweezers aren't great, but like you said, they're weightless and I haven't bothered to look around for a better pair yet.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: RE: on 06/19/2013 18:41:32 MDT Print View

Woo.. those scissors rock :) and yes a knife can cut moleskin and other things but not always as well and with precision. making much more of a square of moleskin with a knife becomes a project when nice rounded corners help keep it from peeling up.

Opinel #6 and Westcott scissors for me. safety pin works well for splinters and can hang wet stuff on your pack.

Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - M

Locale: Western Washington
Twin Peaks rocks! on 06/19/2013 20:14:43 MDT Print View

Mark, had any cherry pie lately ? =p

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Stabbing on 06/19/2013 20:21:25 MDT Print View

>"A knife to cut the sack cleanly. Scissors to cut the vas deferens. "

Oh, Doug, this brings back memories!

I did get complimented on my shaving job.

I figured if I didn't do it well, someone else would.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Stabbing on 06/19/2013 20:25:32 MDT Print View

"I figured if I didn't do it well, someone else would."

Ah David, we've missed you on the forums! Glad you're back!

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Twin Peaks rocks! on 06/19/2013 20:27:22 MDT Print View

"Mark, had any cherry pie lately ? =p"

So glad someone got that reference :-)

Special Agent Cooper is my role model!

Edited by millonas on 06/19/2013 20:28:53 MDT.

Jon Hancock
(bigjackbrass)

Locale: Northwest England
Re: Re: Sharp Thing Nirvana? on 06/20/2013 04:56:11 MDT Print View

"Thumbs down on the tweezers. I tolerate the Victorinox tweezers as they come with the knife, but they lack precision and gripping strength. Uncle Bill's Silver Gripper Tweezers are the best :)"

I agree completely with Dale here, aside from tolerating the tweezers: if you choose the Alox version of the Victorinox Classic knife (which is also lighter than the standard version at about 15 grammes) then it doesn't come with tweezers, so I don't see a reason for being stuck with the feeble things. A pair of Uncle Bill's are far more useful and usable, one of those cases where saving a tiny amount of weight simply isn't worth the compromise.

The Alox knife is also available in a nicely visible shade of orange, handy for something so small.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Sharp Thing Nirvana? on 06/20/2013 10:30:47 MDT Print View

"A pair of Uncle Bill's are far more useful and usable, one of those cases where saving a tiny amount of weight simply isn't worth the compromise."

I think your are right. I actually ordered them back when Dale first mentioned them. They are the thing you may not use very much (or what may seem like *ever*), but when you really want them you want them to work, and not just remind you of how much you wish you had some real tweezers. Hard to get at splinters and cactus spines are to that I have experience with. I'll just put it in the first aid kit.