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folding, all-purpose knife?
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Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Sharpener. on 03/26/2014 00:18:42 MDT Print View

Well, everybody has strong opinions, including me. I disagree with at least half the above recommendations. So let me just say: If you're going to get a 420, 440A, AUS-6, AUS-8, or other soft steel knife, be sure to take a sharpener when you travel. The edge will roll with light use and you'll need to resharpen frequently.

Edited by Bolster on 03/26/2014 05:57:40 MDT.

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
Why? on 03/26/2014 05:32:00 MDT Print View

Not too long ago, 440C and AUS8 were considered super steels.

A dull knife will still cut, albeit poorly. The thinness of the edge proves very much in your favor. I used to carry a sharpener, but if it's really bad any rock will help.

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: Sharpener. on 03/26/2014 06:18:59 MDT Print View

I did a sharpener thread not long ago, and the 6 gram (w/slipcover) DMT shim sharpener I ended up getting carries safely in my wallet and is working quite well. Especially on the soft metal knives the guys at work bring to me to sharpen. I didn't know what a dull knife was until I saw some of the wrecks I've seen lately! Now that I have such an effective EDC sharpener, dull knives seem to appear our of nowhere.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
pushing the cap up to $40 on 03/26/2014 06:42:12 MDT Print View

I could double that cap up a bit to $40 as it seems that will buy me a much better and longer use knife which is what I want. The discussion so far has been quite informative. It would be better to get something that is rust resistant and that will hold an edge much longer.

I am really not trying to cont grams on this so it really doesn't matter for half an ounce more to get a much better knife.

Edited by bpeugh on 03/26/2014 06:44:12 MDT.

M Blick
(mattblick) - F

Locale: Ohio
that's not a knife on 03/26/2014 07:32:59 MDT Print View

The LST is a decent and reliable blade. I've got one that is 10+ years old. It dulls pretty quickly but also takes an edge again easily.

For something better in you sub $20 price range I would suggest getting on Sierra Trading Posts' mailing list and watching for a good coupon that applies to a knife. They get in Boker, CRKT, Kershaw and others. With a coupon code today the "Boker Plus Camo Defender" is $9.89 after coupon; retail is $30 and Amazon sells it for $22. There is also a CRKT M-16 for $27 after coupon today; listed MSRP is $90 and amazon has for $52.

I would also suggest that you seriously consider a non-folding knife, and look at a Morakniv Companion. The companion is $13 on amazon in either Stainless or Carbon Steel. You will be hard priced to find a better knife 3 times its price. Get the stainless one if you don't want to spend any time maintaining the steel. I prefer the carbon steel Moras, but I do have to put forth some minimal effort to prevent rust(dry off after use in the field and lightly oil once home).

Edited by mattblick on 03/26/2014 07:37:53 MDT.

Phillip Asby
(PGAsby) - M

Locale: North Carolina
Tough choices on 03/26/2014 09:21:28 MDT Print View

I agree with many comments and around the original price point of 20 I think the Ontario Rat 2 is an excellent choice - or consider a Victorinox SAK Alox Cadet which is a fine folder, light and thin. I have a Chris Reeve small Sebenza and still carry my Cadet from time to time depending on the circumstances.

At the $40 point you're still a bit under the Spyderco Delica/Benchmade Griptilian price point a bit, but you're squarely in the Spyderco Persistance or Tenacious knives which are fine blades and stand up to more expensive models.

You really can't go wrong with either of those Spydercos at the $40 price point - pick based on the blade size you want.

Ben H.
(bzhayes) - F

Locale: So. California
Re: folding, all-purpose knife? on 03/26/2014 10:14:53 MDT Print View

You could get 20 of these:

only 35 grams!

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
griptilian/delica on 03/26/2014 10:29:03 MDT Print View

For the Delica/Griptilian there are a lot of used ones on ebay but it is hard to tell how much wear is not worth the price. Are the Opinel carbons just okay?

J Her
(sailfast3r) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Ka-bar dozier on 03/26/2014 10:32:10 MDT Print View

Ka-Bar Dozier is 1.9oz (with clip removed), AUS-8 steel, 3" blade, lockback with thumbstud, and large enough that it fills your hand. I like the bright orange handle. $20

Ka-Bar MINI Dozier is even lighter 1.2oz with clip, AUS-8 steel, 2.25" blade, lockback, thumbstud, Same bright handle options. $20

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Re: griptilian/delica on 03/26/2014 10:50:07 MDT Print View

> For the Delica/Griptilian there are a lot of used ones on ebay but it is hard to tell how much wear is not worth the price. Are the Opinel carbons just okay?

Hi Brett. The two stainless knives you've mentioned are both popular quality knives from reputable companies. It takes an awful lot for a quality knife to "wear out." To wit, even though I own hundreds of knives (and have even addressed military audiences on knife steel selection--but that was a decade ago) I tend to carry one knife about 80% of the time. It's the knife that I bonded with, hard to say exactly why, a Spyderco Caly. Riding in my pocket for most days of the past 8 years, and getting frequent use, it still functions like a new knife. I'm confident that most competing quality brands would be just as durable. The wear-out factor is relatively low.

Opinel carbons, IMHO, are better than OK, they are good. A quality carbon steel gets wonderfully sharp and sharpens easily and even retains its edge well. Carbon steel will of course corrode/rust much faster than stainless, so takes more care. Some try to keep the blade oiled. Most folks I know who use a carbon steel blade seek to oxidize it as quickly as possible, either with a vinegar or mustard treatment, or farmer-style which is to thrust it into a raw potato overnight. The steel darkens, it no longer looks "new," and the oxidization protects the blade somewhat. Of course, micro-rusting on the edge will functionally dull the blade, but touchups are quick and easy, especially if you have a good ceramic stick (or other type of) sharpener. Touch-up before you go on a trip, and unless you're leaving your blade in the rain or fog, or exposed to the ocean, you'll likely be good for the trip. Remember to wipe your carbon blade dry after use, and give it a touch of oil or wax if you can.

If I were in your position, I'd select either an inexpensive carbon steel, or increase the fundage and look for a used quality stainless (or new if I could afford it). I'd skip right over the soft inexpensive stainless steels.

Edited by Bolster on 03/26/2014 10:57:39 MDT.

robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
Ooo! another knife thread! on 03/26/2014 12:39:40 MDT Print View

Now way I was gonna miss out on another knife thread!
I love these things.

Folks who are knife freaks will have endless and very particular opinions, and will obsess on and on about a 1/4 inch difference in blade length, profile, material and on and on. They typically have a drawer full of knives, and delight in carefully selecting The Knife of The Day.

I know I do :)

Folks who ain't knife freaks just find something sharp that works and roll with for decades. Like my wife.

My wife has used a Swiss Army Spartan for twenty years. It was her first ever decent pocket knife. It lives in her purse and of course goes along backpacking. Her first Spartan had the Marlboro logo printed on it and we got it free from a relative that smoked ( remember "get the gear"? ).

After ten years of use we gave that first Sparta to a brother in law when visiting because he told us a story of when he and my sister had headed out on a trip across the Australian outback, yes, in a Volkswagen bus!
Because of the heat and lack of ice or refrigeration they had packed mostly canned foods.
The first night they camped, the realized - That's right - They'd forgotten a can opener!
They traveled to an all night truck stop and purchased a ridiculously overpriced can opener that worked horribly.

But, because they had paid so much coin for it, they struggled with it for years before finally tossing that miserable can opener away.

My wife and I rolled with laughter when we heard this story, then my wife solemnly dug her Swiss Army Spartan out of her purse and gave it to my brother in law.

"Now you'll never be without a good can opener".

Or a cork screw
Or screw driver
Or an awl
Or a tweezers
Or toothpick
Or a big blade
Or a scalpel sharp small blade


Naturally we had to replace my wifes knife. I asked her what she wanted and of course expected her to "upgrade". What knife freak could pass up the opportunity?
All she wanted was another Spartan, so that's what she got!

Twenty dollars at Amazon, just within yer budget.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Adding tools on 03/26/2014 15:17:59 MDT Print View

I imagine Victorinox gets all kinds of input on the "perfect" selection of tools for a Swiss Army knife. Over the years, I've come to the conclusion that no single tool should hold you up too much.

For example, having a can opener is a good survival tool if you came across a stash of canned goods somewhere when lost or in a disaster like a hurricane or earthquake. If my favorite SAK doesn't have a can opener, it would be easy enough to supplement with a military style one known as a P-38 or the larger P-51. Likewise scissors or effective tweezers can be added without breaking the scale. Hemostats can fill in for the small pliers found on mini multi-tools.

Can openers

My favorite SAK is the One Handed Trekker because of the big robust LOCKING blade and saw. I would LOVE to see this model without the big flat screwdriver of Phillips head driver and a nice fat pair of scissors instead. I would keep the can opener if possible. My work-around is to carry a Leatherman Style CS, or SAK Classic or a pair of Westcott craft scissors. Note I said "or," not all.

Wenger does make a smaller frame knife with locking blade, saw and scissors, like the Evogrip S18. The pitfall with any of the SAK models is keeping the number of layers to a minimum.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Adding tools on 03/26/2014 15:25:02 MDT Print View

The good thing about a P-38 or P-51 that makes it better than a SAK is that you can use the short edge as a broad screwdriver to open some models of bear canisters. In other words, you don't have to carry the unnecessary weight of a SAK if all you need is a way to open the bear canister.


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: carbon steel on 03/26/2014 15:40:01 MDT Print View

Carbon steel blades have a lot of cache with the bushcraft crowd and you can get them shaving sharp, but they will rust if you don't keep up on the maintenance. Forget once and you'll see the results. They are totally a waste of time near salt water.

IMHO, a pocket knife should be stainless steel. I wouldn't worry too much about edge keeping qualities unless you plan to give the knife regular hard use. Swiss Army knives have relatively soft steel and they are used by millions with no complaints. They are also very easy to sharpen, so you can touch them up every trip in a minute. Mora blades are much the same. In fact the tool grade steel blades hold their edge well, but can be quite hard to sharpen.

Opinels will work, but they aren't very strong and they can swell to the point that you can't open one. They do make a number of stainless blades as well as carbon steel models. They do have a nice look and feel, but I would relegate them to the picnic basket.

I would lean to knives that have a locking blade with metal liners in the handle for maximum strength. The liner issue is the biggest weak point in the Gerber LST design-- the handle is two slabs of plastic with the metal pin to mount the blade. You could go a lifetime with no issues at all, but a model with metal liners will handle rougher use. I would indeed rather see you out there with the LST than no knife at all!

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: carbon steel on 03/26/2014 16:05:39 MDT Print View

I've seen too many cheap knife blades rust, so I made a knife out of a small strip of titanium foil folded over. All I really needed was something to open a food package, or maybe something to cut first aid tape. I didn't need to go hacking on tree branches.

So, I used a paper punch along the curved edge to make it serrated. It ended up at 2 grams.


David Olsen
( - M

Locale: Channeled Scablands
Titanium Foil on 03/28/2014 16:54:41 MDT Print View

"I've seen too many cheap knife blades rust, so I made a knife out of a small strip of titanium foil folded over. All I really needed was something to open a food package, or maybe something to cut first aid tape. I didn't need to go hacking on tree branches.

So, I used a paper punch along the curved edge to make it serrated. It ended up at 2 grams.


Ahhh but that isn't a folding knife.

If we are talking fixed blades, here is one at 1/2 gram from a broadhead. You can sharpen it too.broadhead

robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
all-purose? on 03/28/2014 17:48:15 MDT Print View

And those tiny prison shivs ain't multi-purpose knives.

With my humble Gerber LST ( a fantastic low cost every day and backpacking knife I have used very roughly for more than ten years!) I have opened many a can of food, done light batoning, peeled insulation off endless reams of heavy electrical cable, made fuzz sticks, spread peanut butter on bagels, cut up steaks, turned screws, and once dressed a deer.

I'd like to see you spread peanut butter with your half an arrow head!
No, I take that back. I don't want to see you try that :)

I think "all-purpose" kinda eliminates the lightest shivs, because they are very limited in what they can do.

Lets see -
The Swiss Army Classic is often held up as "everything you need for backpacking" and indeed is championed by famous long distance hikers like Ray Jardine.


Weight is less than an ounce and they sell for about ten bucks! Can't beat the price!
I used to put a P-38 can opener on the keyring of mine too. But, it was never enough knife for me. I'd put it in my backpack, but still keep my LST in my pocket.

The LST or similar knives are the smallest I think can be called all purpose and the smallest I'm comfortable with.

What is the smallest other folk think "All-Purpose" implies?

David Olsen
( - M

Locale: Channeled Scablands
spread peanut butter with a classic? on 03/29/2014 11:24:29 MDT Print View

What a gooey mess. I like to use my spork or a super long dong piton. for peanut butter.long dong

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Waterproof Opinel on 03/29/2014 18:22:20 MDT Print View

It'll cost you, but an Opinel model with synthetic handle and stainless blade.

J Mag
Re: Re: folding, all-purpose knife? on 03/29/2014 18:38:20 MDT Print View

"But a $20 budget for a knife is pretty limiting, just like any piece of gear. You could buy a Mora if you could compromise on a fixed blade. If you just want something for repairs and food prep, a Little Vickie will do the trick for an ounce and $10. "

This is basically what I would suggest. I have both of these (the mora being a craftline q) and they are great. I bring the mora when I am going with someone and might want to baton some small sticks or make some feathersticks. I love having a finger guard as well.

I used to be a folder only guy. Now I just fix them to my pack or belt with a small rubber band and forget they are even there :)