Choosing a first pocket knife may sound simple at first, but when you start analyzing what you’ll be using it for and then trying to match your needs to the pocket knives on the market, it starts to get confusing pretty quick.
For starters, you shouldn’t run out and buy any ole pocket knife. Having the wrong pocket knife is like having the wrong tool for the job. You never seem to have the right tool for the right job plus it can be downright dangerous.
Things to know before buying a knife
Before buying a knife, try and imagine what you’ll be using it for. If you’ll be cleaning your nails, using it for small cutting jobs like cutting tags off of clothes or opening packages, then a small, one bladed pocket knife may be just the thing you need.
On the other hand, let’s say you plan on using your pocket knife as a tool to cut more sophisticated items during camping, that small one bladed knife will be insufficient. You’ll want a larger, multi-blade pocket knife like a Medium or Large Stockman.
Also, you’ll need to take into account the type of steel the knife will be made of. Carbon steel knives sharpen really well but they rust very quickly if not kept cleaned and oiled. Stainless steel can be a little harder to sharpen, but resist stains and rusting much better.
Oh, and just so you know, not all stainless steel is rust proof or stain proof. Some imported stainless steel isn’t much better than carbon steel!
One of the preference in pocket knives for most people is the Case Saddlehorn pocket knife with surgical stainless steel. Read on where I am talking more about this knife. These knives are made in the U.S.A. and are of the highest quality.
The surgical stainless steel holds an edge very well and its highly polished finish resists stains and rust better than any steel I’ve owned. You can’t do much better, if any, than a Case pocket knife.
How To Choose A Pocket Knife
Sadly, I don’t believe many people give too much thought about picking a pocket knife. Not only is that unfortunate, but it can be downright dangerous! The wrong pocket knife in the wrong hands doing the wrong job can end up in disaster.
I’ve got the scars to prove that picking the right pocket knife is important! I’m not attempting to review a specific knife in this article, so if you looking for pocket knife reviews on a particular knife, you’ll have to look elsewhere. This article is meant to help the beginner choose their first pocket knife.
Any specific use of the knife?
If you have a specific use you’re wanting a pocket knife for, then match the knife to the use. For example, if you’re just wanting to use the knife to cut tape or cellophane off of packages down at your job, then a small pocket knife with a clip blade may be just what you want. The same knife may be next to useless for an electrician who wants to strip electrical wires though!
You can find pocket knives with one, two, three or more blades. I prefer no more than three myself. The Swiss Army type knives are bulky and it’s hard to find a place for them. The smaller ones seem a little too flimsy for my taste.
Stockman pocket knife
A medium sized Stockman pocket knife is a good choice for all around use. This knife usually comes with three blades; a Clip blade, Spey blade, and Sheepsfoot blade. These three blades can handle just about anything you throw at them. Just don’t go out and abuse them because abused knives generally have a way of getting back at you!
Also, if you don’t like the idea of routine cleaning of your pocket knife and sharpening of the blade, then avoid carbon steel blades and look for stainless steel.
Be advised, not all stainless steel is created equal. I prefer the surgical stainless steel that Case uses in many of its pocket knives. They come highly polished and are razor sharp. You can’t go wrong choosing a Case pocket knife!
Safety Considerations for Fixed Blade Knives
Kids, hunters, fisherman, and most men alive love the feel of a good foldable or fixed blade knife. But what is best and is one really safer than the other? The answer is not as simple as it sounds in the beginning. The truth is, it that it depends.
If you want a knife to carry in your pocket and pick your fingernails with a folding pocket knife will probably be ok but if you need something that you can gut a moose with you might want a fixed blade knife.
As for safety, both have their ups and downs and the chances are that at some time you learned these lessons in a similar fashion to the way a baby only touches a hot stove once.
Folding knives can close on your fingers if you are not careful and fixed blade knives can slice a leg open if not carried properly. You must exercise caution when using either variety of knife and make sure that you are using the right knife for the job.
If you are planning to use a knife for anything more than light use a fixed blade knife is really the way to go. As handy and portable as pocket knives are they are simply not as sturdy and rigid as a fixed blade knife.
Things to Consider
So here are a couple of things to consider when purchasing a fixed blade knife.
I am going to assume that you have already determined the function you need to perform and it is ok if this is simply a general function. There are many very versatile knives out there.
You must consider the size of the knife. This can influence the legality, the portability and the function of the knife. Not to mention the safety aspects of having an oversized knife for an undersized function.
Look to see that the blade extends into the handle of the knife. This is one of the main benefits of a fixed blade knife and the reason that it is so much stronger than a folding knife.
Get a good sheath
The sheath can be as important as the knife itself because it will influence how accessible it is, how safely it is stored, how easy it will be to lose the knife, and whether or not the blade will be damaged during storage. Make sure that you are gettings sheath that matches the quality of your knife.
Slip guards or handguards are important. Normal use of a knife can cause your hand to slip onto the blade. This should be avoided and can be avoided with proper handguards that can keep your digits safe.
So, for hunting, fishing or any other activity that requires the use of a high-quality tactical knife, a fixed blade knife is the way to go.
Case Saddlehorn Pocket Knife
I thought I’d do a review on one of my favorite pocket knives. It’s a Case Bermuda Green Pocket Worn Saddlehorn Pocket Knife. Say that three times without taking a breath!
Anyhow, I just love this pocket knife. I found it about a year ago at a Gun Show. The vendor said it was new, but it didn’t come with a box. That’s just as well, I’m not really a box collector.
I buy knives that catch my eye…for whatever reason. I will be honest with you and tell you that I love Case pocket knives. They’re one of the few knife makers still making them here in the U.S.A., and that means a great deal to me.
If memory serves me right, I paid around $60 to $65 for this knife. This Case Saddlehorn pocket knife comes with a Tru-Sharp surgical steel blade. The blade configurations are a Clip blade and a Skinner blade. Although the knife was sharp when I bought it, it wasn’t razor sharp. I can live with this!
A knife that is not sharp
My friend is buying a new knife and then finding out that it’s not sharp. There’s really no good excuse for it. I’ve heard that many manufacturers don’t sharpen their blades because of the fear of a lawsuit if someone cuts their self. I think it’s because it’s one less thing they have to do so they save a few cents in the manufacturing process. That equals a cheap knife in my book!
Anyhow, back to the Pocket Worn Bermuda Green Case Saddlehorn Pocket Knife. Even though it wouldn’t shave hair when I bought it, the blades were sharp enough to slice a piece of paper all the way through. Not too shabby, but a few strokes on my Razor’s Edge hone and the blade would shave a Grizzly.
The bolsters are nickel Silver as is the Case shield. The knife is about 3.5 inches long when closed and I find that it’s just the right size to ride in my pocket. I use this knife for my “dress up” situations. It just feels like it belongs in my slacks and I do not notice it unless I stick my hand in my pocket.
As you can tell, the knife fits perfectly in my hand. I have a rather large hand and like knives that fit snug. Not too long, not too short. It seems the folks over at Case Knives had me in mind when they made this knife!
I also like how the blades snap open. They’re not so stiff as to keep your fingernails from slipping off when trying to open them and no so easy as to come partially open by their self as some other pocket knives are known to do.
I’ve had the chance to use this pocket knife on many occasions and it hasn’t let me down once. From making emergency repairs on my Wife’s shoes to stripping some wire on a trailer wire harness, the blades stay sharp and it only takes a wipe of cloth to get them back to their mirror-like finish.
If you’re looking for a pocket knife that is great looking, reliable, durable and can take (and keep) a razor edge, look into one of the Case Saddlehorn pocket knives. They come in a variety of colors and if you’re like me, you’ll find the Clip and Skinner blades to be all you need for most knife cutting situations. I think the Pocket Worn Bermuda Green is one fine and unusual color and I look forward to buying other models in Bermuda Green!
Some Other Knives I Love
To date, I currently carry a Benchmade Bone Collector Model 15020 in D2 steel. I really like D2 steel. The total blade length of this guy is 3.36 inches which in most cases should satisfy a majority of the carry length laws in the U.S. today. The D2 steel is tempered at 60-62 Rockwell so it can be a bit difficult to sharpen if you are not that good at sharpening.
I like it also because it is not that heavy coming in at only a tad over 5.5 ounces and this guy is comfortable in the pocket! The blade is a nice beefy modified drop point style blade and when I say beefy, I mean beefy.
Strength and safety of the knife
There is a lot of cutting surface and power to this little blade at under 3.5 inches. I love it. Naturally, I am addicted to Benchmade knives because of the overall strength and safety of the Axis lock system and I have carried one since the model 710 first came out. I have been carried a Benchmade ever since the Brend Combat Talon. (How many of you guys remember that one?)
I have been a Benchmade junkie since then and then when the Axis lock system came out, I was like WOW! So I go between my Bone Collector and my Presidio 520 and I am good to go! In my humble opinion, there is no safer folding knife in the world than a knife with the Axis lock system on it! Period. One of these two Benchmade folders is always with me and even when I go to bed at night there is one of them on the nightstand right next to me.
I also carry with me another knife which is a Swiss Army Ranger model 53861. Since I got into the cutlery business back in 1980 I have always carried a Swiss Army Ranger because it has all the tools I need and none of the fluff that I think anyone needs
In a Swiss Army pocket knife like the fish scaler?
I mean what’s with that? If I want to scale a fish I have always used the plain edge of my SAK knife or the cap from a bottle of beer. Any of you out there ever use the cap from a bottle of beer to scale a fish? It’s cool and works and besides who goes fishing without beer?
Anyway, as I was saying I have been in the cutlery biz for 30yrs and I have carried just about any pocket knife you can think of from production folders to some custom folders and no matter which pocket knives I have carried I always have gone back to my swiss army knife and my Benchmade folders.
Let’s face it when it comes to a pocket knife a Swiss Army knife is the one that you would rather be with than without! I mean it is crazy, but one of my favorite things about my SAK is that I can trim my mustache on the go!
I have so many knives in my collection that I just put them all in my safe and the only three I keep out are my Case Saddlehorn, Benchmades, and my Swiss Army Ranger and that’s it! Well, there you have it guys and girls the first installment of “What’s In Your Pocket!”