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Correlation between knife type, size, carry method and what we do

Discussion in 'Knives' started by aicolainen, Mar 15, 2021.

  1. aicolainen

    aicolainen Loaded Pockets

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    I don't want to be the marketing guy, trying to convince anyone to go serrated, but you kind of forced me :)
    I only dared to try serrations since about summer last year, and it's been an interesting experience.
    The sharpening part is so easy it's almost silly. And I'm no expert by any standards, so that should say something. I use the corner of my sharpmaker rods. Being quite a pronounced chisel grind, it's very easy to find the correct secondary angel by feel. As the knife is sharpened more, the serrations will be rounded off and become less pronounced in both dimensions, and for most applications this will increase cutting performance over time.
    You need sharpmaker rods or something similar, as you need the corners, but you don't need the rest of the sharpmaker system, so there is no reason you can't make it a portable solution and sharpen on the go.

    It's funny you should mention the part about having serrations all the way to the tip. My first serrated knife was the Spyderco Manbug Salt, and it has a small tooth at the very "tip" of the blade. This actually makes it an incredible package opening device. That tip just bites through packing tape so effortlessly and you can pull back with almost no downward force. It feels so much safer than other blade shapes I've tried, both your own safety (especially when tricky materials like blister packs etc) and also the safety of the package content. I don't need a lot of blade in my work situation and the Manbug has been my most carried blade since I got it.
    Now, the front serration on the Manbug might be nice for many things, but it's not the end all be all for serrated knives. For bigger knives that you want to use to actually separate matter and not only perforate packaging, you often need that plain edge tip to finish the cut. Let's say you're push cutting through something against a surface, e.g. food against a cutting board. The part that ends up in the "valleys" of the serrations won't be cut all the way through, so you finish it of with a slicing motion where you use the PE tip against the cutting board.

    Not the best picture in the world, but it was the only one I found with all three of my SE knives. F.t; Dragonfly 2 Salt, Pacific Salt 2 FFG LC200N, Manbug Salt.
    [​IMG]

    From what I've heard, FFG and high hollow grinds will give you the best SE performance, there are other factors at play too, but generally I think that's a pretty safe assumption to go by. The Dragonfly has a nice combination of thin blade stock and high hollow. The PS2 is the new FFG version in LC200N that I still haven't used a ton, but it looks very promising. The Manbug does not have the best blade geometry ever, but the size and that front tooth makes it a very efficient cutting tool still, although slightly limited in its applications.

    So are there any drawbacks? Of course not. They're perfect... or actually they're not.
    With a chisel grind being the primary shape of the edge, it can sometimes be hard to make straight cuts. I've also experienced sometimes when cutting very thin material, that the knife rips instead of cutting.
    Both of the above can make it a little demanding to make very precise cuts toward a specific destination. In addition to that, you're lacking some precision in the depth dimension. For instance I find it a little demanding to cut the to the specific depth of electrical cable insulation. As the edge is not a straight line, it's just harder to make the correct judgement on how far in your edge is, and it's very easy to make the cut a tad too shallow or too deep.
    There might be more, but I'm pretty new at this too
     
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  2. adnj

    adnj Loaded Pockets

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    Years ago, I bought a Spyderco ATR full serrated for boating. Lots of heavy nylon line in the water sometimes. I followed that up with the Aqua Salt and it became my backup diving knife for the same reason. Both were super simple to sharpen with a few passes on the edges of the Sharpmaker rod vertex as intended.

    For packages, I use a Fox Karambit folder. It is by far the best tool I have ever tried on any box, tape or blister pack.

    [​IMG]

    Sent from my LG-V520 using Tapatalk
     
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  3. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    @aicolainen
    Are you sure you're not a salesman? Now I have to get myself a serrated blade to try out.

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn SM-G973F met Tapatalk
     
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  4. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    Well, you got me convinced. I think I'm going for a Mora bushcraft serrated. (I'm a Mora fan, did you notice?) The thing I like about it is the serrations start about a half inch from the handle. That way you can still carve nicely.

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn SM-G973F met Tapatalk
     
  5. dmattaponi

    dmattaponi Loaded Pockets

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    I've had a few serrated Sypderco knives (2 Delica, an Endura, Cricket, Ladybug). Originally Spyderco marketed them as self-defense knives(same with the hawkbill), but like so much of the self-defense industry, what's popular today is hated later on and vice versa. In my experience they're alright, but unless you'tr cutting a lot of rope or something similar (and even then a sharp non-serrated knife would do just as well), I don't think they have any real advantage over the non-serrated versions (and are less useful for general purpose use). They don't cut as cleanly and can tear instead of cut material as the teeth get caught up in material. As for sharpening, there are alot of good references out there on how to sharpen and what sharpeners work and don't work. If you do go serrated, I think full serrated is the best choice, the half and half versions do neither very well.
     
    #25 dmattaponi, Mar 17, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2021
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  6. Sentinel-14

    Sentinel-14 Loaded Pockets

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    I work a small office job (5 people total) so I have pretty much no need for a knife: the occasional package that shows up can be opened with a pair of scissors that has a parcel-blade built in. That said, however, I've carried a knife since I was a child and my work circumstances don't much affect that, nor does my employer have any kind of knife policy. There's a "no weapons" policy but that gets ignored by everyone: we're a satellite office and the bigwigs are 3 states away so no one cares.

    In years past I only carried a 3" to 3.25" folding blade, however one of my previous co-workers (no longer works with us) seemed skittish around such a knife whenever I'd open packages and mail. So, in an effort to not cause drama (because she would have, we didn't exactly get along) I started carrying a small slipjoint for general cutting tasks. First a cheap Imperial Barlow, then a Case Barlow, now an old Schrade 8OT stockman. I still carry a 3.25"-4" knife but mostly as a fidget toy, and one-hand-opening has it's uses from time to time.

    My slipjoint also serves as my food knife because restaurants don't provide proper sharp knives anymore, just serrated half-dulled saws that shred meat instead of slice it. This segues into the question about serrations: I hate them. They're a pain to sharpen and I have never needed to cut anything that a fine edge couldn't handle. I have a multi-tool with a serrated blade (gift, not bought) and a couple older folders with half-serrated blades that I bought before I learned better, but every new knife since does not have serrations nor will I buy a knife with serrations. To me it's wasted edge. Im sure there are environments/jobs where a serrated blade has it's uses, such as cutting thick fibrous material like rope or netting: I'm never such a situation so I dont need a knife to deal with that. I cut paracord and bankline just fine with a plain-edge blade.

    I dont know how guys can carry their wallet in a back pocket: sitting on that thing would bruise my glut muscle and throw my back out of whack worse than it already is. I carry my wallet RFP, along with my locking knife and a small pocket pen. LFP is keys and slipjoint. Phone goes in the back left pocket so no worries about damaging it, but only when moving from place to place. I rarely sit on it, usually only in my truck where the seat is padded such that I dont notice it.
     
  7. jackknife

    jackknife Loaded Pockets

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    To answer the serrated edge question; I hated them.

    A few years ago, it wondered if I were missing something. So I got a Victorinox recruit, the basic 4 blade/tool SAk, with a serrated main blade. It was okay at first, but as time went on, it was a :censored:. I ended up trying to use the small regular edge blade for everything because the serrations ripped too much instead of clean cuts. I ended up just giving the knife away to someone who admired it, and it was good riddance.

    I have a few of the Victorinox serrated paring knives in my kitchen, and for that, they are great. Slicng avacado, vegetables, and some limes for the vodka tonics, they work fine. But as an EDVC pocket knife, NO! I've ye to run into material that I can't cut with my normal SAK blade that I touch up now and then. I can even use the bottom of a coffee mug in a pinch to sharpen. A smooth stone from a creek. Top edge of the car window. A light stropping on a boot top. The serrated edge was at times a real :censored:!

    Give me a plain edge that I can touchup anywhere on near anything.
     
  8. aicolainen

    aicolainen Loaded Pockets

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    Yeah, I like Moras too. I've got Mora and Hultafors knives spread out all over the place. Mora has a nice line of woodworking knives, and the Mora Companion / Hultafors outdorknifes are great general purpose and backup knives.

    I do however not think the Mora Bushcraft serrated will be your best starting point for getting into serrations. No personal experience, so I could be wrong, but scandi grinds are probably not the ideal base grind for serrations.

    If I were you, I would go all in on a full serrated, much like @dmattaponi writes.
    Then there's the fact that not all serrations are created equal, and I do know that Spyderco's work. There are probably others, but it would be more of a gamble.
    Unfortunately Spydercos fixed blades are quite expensive (I would love to see a serrated version of the Bow River), but if you could consider a folder for the purpose of "science", one of their Chinese made folders like e.g. Tenacious, could be a good affordable test platform.

    Serrations is indeed a science. The edge becomes significantly more complex, and along with that follows a whole slew of options to improve cutting performance, but the flip side is of course a similar increase in possible pitfalls.
    It's not something I would advice for someone looking for instant gratification. It's something that pays off more with the time and effort you are willing to put into it.
    There's lots of good info on serrations on the Spyderco forum, this thread is a good place to start if you want to know more:
    https://forum.spyderco.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=84985&hilit=serrations+more+than+just
     
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  9. aicolainen

    aicolainen Loaded Pockets

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    This is basically why I was hesitant to advocate for serrations in the first place. It's like recommending Linux to somebody that's perfectly happy with Windows. Most people will be better served with PE, but if you're the curious kind, and willing to invest some time and effort to learn more about it, the knife universe suddenly becomes a larger and more interesting space. YMMV.
     
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  10. adnj

    adnj Loaded Pockets

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    I travel quite a bit (or did) and spent much time from office to home office to beach property to client... you get the idea.

    Plowing the streets in an Uber from the airport, anything bigger than a slim 3 inches is overkill for me. I don't like processing wood with a knife but a 7 or 8 inch knife is big to me in the US forests. Go to the tropics and everything is different. You really need something to cut through vines all the time. 10 inches is the minimum unless you're cutting a piece of fruit to eat.

    Regarding serrations on land, the preference around here is serrated for cutting fibrous plants like sorghum leaves and pineapple stalks. A shaving sharp plain edge still requires a chopping motion - which is likely impractical in the confined spaces.



    Sent from my LG-V520 using Tapatalk
     
    #30 adnj, Mar 17, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2021
  11. Water-Rat

    Water-Rat Loaded Pockets

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    My main job involves working in a school, so no blades at work that aren't scissors or seatbelt cutters.

    I do perform as a musician whenever I can. It helps having a knife with tools onboard, so the SAK Cadet, Pioneer X, and Compact are some of my usual carries. I like that they're still quite thin, but have some useful basic tools.

    I do like to have 1 plain edge knife and 1 serrated edge knife with me. I'm not a fan of combo blades as they seem to always have too little of either type of edge. My main combo is the SAK Cadet and a Spyderco Ladybug serrated hawkbill in a leather pocket slip. I live in a state where the knife laws are ambiguous, so I prefer smaller knives when I'm out in public. The Cadet and ladybug are the perfect combo. The Cadet takes care of food prep and other detail tasks and any issues requiring light screw turning/prying while the ladybug's serrations are perfect for ripping through boxes and plastic packaging.

    When I'm getting stuff done at home or walking in the backyard/woods, I tend to carry folders with 3 in. blades. I have a couple Kershaws with assisted opening, the Agile and Cryo, that are great for when you only have one hand free. My Cold Steel Tuff Lite is great for when I need to get stuff done away from home as it's a heavy overbuilt knife with a short sheepsfoot blade. However, my favorite knife for any dirty chore is my Byrd hawkbill. I bought it because I was considering a Spyderco Tasman, but didn't want to spend the money. I decided that serrated hawkbills like the Tasman were too scary for public use and the Byrd hawkbill would more than handle my backyard chores. For those of you asking about serrated knives, Byrd knives are a great place to start as they are the same basic designs as Spydercos, but have cheaper steel and are typically around $20-$50. My Byrd hawkbill is perfect for ripping up cardboard for recycling and I love having it handy when doing landscaping. It does a great job at ripping through cordage, landscaping fabric (ugh... hate the stuff) and can easily rip through thinner roots and branches if need be.

    I've been carrying my lighter duty folders around the house more often these days, mainly my Spyderco Dragonfly and Clipitool (plain edge and serrated blades). The Dragonfly is probably the only knife I carry as much as my Cadet and Ladybug. It's small and handy, but has enough size for most chores and the ergonomics are wonderful. Both the Dragonfly and Clipitool are good for clipping into the pockets or waistband of my sweatpants as they are light and take up little space.

    I do like traditional folders as well, but I haven't been carrying them as much lately because of not going to church and not as many public functions due to COVID.

    I have a couple fixed blades, but I rarely carry them as I like the small size factor of folders. I do like my CRKT minimalist and carry it in my pocket often when working in the backyard. I just haven't found the perfect way to carry it yet as inside the pocket means I need two hands to put it away and belt carry and fifth pocket carry means the handle sometimes jabs me when I bend over.
     
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  12. Crash_Fistfight

    Crash_Fistfight Loaded Pockets

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    I carry an old Benchmade assisted opening spear-point knife everyday, everywhere.
    It holds an edge well and cuts most everything I need it too.
    One of the best knives I've ever owned.
     
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  13. RoadWizard

    RoadWizard Loaded Pockets

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    My dad used to say “serrated knives are for people who don’t know how to sharpen a knife”
     
  14. thegrouch314

    thegrouch314 Loaded Pockets

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    I'm an office worker right now. Before this I was a student and before uni I was a bartender.

    I've never worked a manual job and I've never needed a million tools on me at any time so I've always carried a SAK, usually a cadet or a spartan. I'm carrying the spartan with walnut scales these days and most people who see it think it's a gentleman's tool, not a weapon. Those same people might look at a typical folder as a weapon rather than a tool. In day to day life I don't much care but at work I am mindful of what others think. I'm usually the only one with a knife so I choose an innocuous one for work.

    Outside work I tend to carry a small MT, currently the sog powerlitre because if I'm needing tools, I'm doing a specific job and I have the specific tools with me.

    When I go out hiking or camping I'll take a fixed blade because that's when I need it.

    I think a person's job definitely impacts their edc. Even when I'm not working I tend towards a smaller tool because it's more innocuous
     
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  15. Lateck

    Lateck Loaded Pockets

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    I'm a Voc Instructor and HVAC/R tech. I work in a small community college. I carry a full size MT and at least 2 folders on me all the time. (Most folks know I'm carrying). My main knife is always a 3.5~4" blade. I do like and often carry partly serrated blades. Thay are great for nylon straps & ties.

    I agree on what someone said earlier that it is more likely that one's location that dictates why and what one will carry.
    I do also believe in the old Norse saying "A knifeless man is a lifeless man". (Or at least I have heard it was a Norse saying). Even in a urban setting.
     
  16. HungryMelon

    HungryMelon Empty Pockets

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    I'm an office worker and just carry a kershaw skyline. Great for me, since I'm not really needing anything heavy duty.

    If I'm out in the city at night, I carry a bigger fixed blade on my hip for self defense in addition to a smaller pocket knife.