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Help me choose a knife

Discussion in 'Knives' started by araziza, Jun 12, 2020.

  1. araziza

    araziza Loaded Pockets

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    I should start this off with a disclaimer: I'm not a knife hobbyist. I'm just a guy who enjoys having/using high quality, well made tools every day. A few years ago, after some housework that involved many, many boxes and lots of packaging, I decided I wanted to buy a pocket knife to carry around. I always research these things, and after a few weeks of reading and forums, I would really like a Benchmade Mini-Grip, but as I wasn't certain how much I'd end up using it, I couldn't just drop that much $ on a knife. I decided to buy something decent, and eventually upgrade if I found I used it a lot. I went with the CRKT Drifter.

    Four years later, I'm ready to upgrade. I've come to really depend on my little CRKT, and use it a ton, but ideally I'd like something with a much higher edge retention. I started research again and realized, I'm not 100% sure the mini-grip is the best choice for the $. As I'm not an afficionado, I want to keep under or around $150CAD (around $110usd). I've narrowed my search to the following options:

    1) Benchmade mini-grip (approx 140CAD) : still in the running, love the size, shape, decent blade steel (S30V).
    2) Benchmade mini-bugout: similar to the above, but lighter, and more likely to fit in my 5th pocket in my jeans, where I usually carry my Drifter.
    3) Spyderco Chaparral (131 CAD): CTS-XHP steel (which might be ideal for me with the edge- retention/ maintainability balance), good size, weight, really well reviewed
    4) Spyderco Dragonfly ZDP (130 CAD): High end blade steel, nice form factor, well reviewed, worried it would be too small, as it's blade is 2.125, which is a decent step down in size from the Drifter.
    5) Spyderco UK PenKnife S110V (133 CAD): Top end blade steel , nice form factor, perfect blade size, worried it won't fit in 5th pocket, no locking mechanism
    6) Ferrum Forge Gent (around 160CAD): Decent blade steel, perfect size/form factor, extremely well reviewed, but pricier than I'm really comfortable with and very hard to get ahold of in Canada (especially now)

    I looked at some other knives, I liked the para3, but it's a bit pricey in comparison, the CR Mnandi is beautiful, but way too expensive. I'm welcome to some left field/ well informed alternatives, but I'd really appreciate people weighing in on my list above. Let me know where you'd suggest I go. My preferences are as follows (but I can always be swayed by the details).
    - around 3" blade, close to what I have with my drifter. I'd prefer not to go over this, but I'd rather avoid 'too small'
    - Fits in a jeans 5th pocket. Not the be all end all, but I like how this works now and not eager to change it.
    - Not overtly tactical. I'm just not that guy.
    - Forgiving. I'm happy to buy a decent sharpener (I'm either going to get the sharpmaker or just buy a Ken Onion Work Sharp that will do a good job on my kitchen knives as well)and I have the diligence to use it often enough if necessary, but I'm probably not going to put the time into becoming a sharpening expert, so I'd rather not require stones. I'm also probably not going to spend hours sharpening. 15/ 20 minutes is probably my max

    Let me know what you think!


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  2. captain69

    captain69 Empty Pockets

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    Get a handful of Kershaw Atmos knives, and a sharpener that you can and will use. I like the VSharp Classic II for braindead stupid easy sharpening.


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    #2 captain69, Jun 12, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2020
  3. timcyms
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    timcyms Loaded Pockets

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    I only have experience with the Mini Grip and Dragonfly.

    The MiniGrip is great, but I don't like the plastic like feel of the scales. If you're willing to spend a little more outside of your comfort level, consider the Hogue Ritter Mini RSK-Mk2-G1 available exclusively through Knife works. For a little more ($140 USD) you get 20CV with G10 scales and a great lock in Hogue's version of the Axis lock, the ABLE lock. I like the RSK blade shape more than the MiniGrip.

    The Dragonfly is a great little knife and fits very easily into the 5th pocket. I have the Salt version as well as the G10 version in VG10 blade steel. The ergonomics of the knife make it fit great in hand and it feels like it can do just about any task larger (3inch range) knives can do.

    Good luck with your decision!

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  4. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    Thought about a fixed blade? Or a custom box cutter?

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  5. addylo

    addylo Loaded Pockets

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    To get a good recommendation we probably need to know more about your plans for the knife. You mentioned boxes and packaging but are you just opening them or carving them up for the recycle bin? What else might you use it for? Any kitchen work, etc?

    I own well over 100 knives, from $5 Rough Riders to Chris Reeve and customs. Although I rotate many of them for EDC I almost ALWAY have a GEC traditional in my pocket and seem to use it more than any modern folder I'm carrying at the time. GEC arguably makes some of the best traditionals in the business, and most are priced well within your target budget. There are few knives more useful than a simple two-blade Jack or boy's knife. But I would not recommend them for heavy duty use (i.e. breaking down large boxes).

    Regarding Benchmades, although I'm not a huge fan of the brand I own both a Grip and a mini Grip and much prefer the mini. The Grip is a decent knife but I agree with timcyms, the scales just feel cheap to me. I also find it too bulky for my pocket. The mini fits my hand better and feels a bit less cheap (even though it is similar material).

    One of my favorite modern folders for EDCs would be the Spyderco Sage 1 CF. A very easy to carry knife. The Spydie Para series are also great knives and worth the money IMO. It would be great for breaking down packages.
     
  6. araziza

    araziza Loaded Pockets

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    Naw, not really interested by either... carry it in my pocket, 5th jeans pocket if possible, and in almost every scenario, so fixed blade just isn’t right for me, and I’m just not interested at all in box cutter.


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  7. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    Well, there are some awesome box cutters out there. Not the generic kind. But, if you're after a small folder listen to @addylo. Or just get a vic.

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  8. araziza

    araziza Loaded Pockets

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    I do use them for breaking down large boxes. The sage definitely looks interesting, what are the advantages over the chap?


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  9. captain69

    captain69 Empty Pockets

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    Get a Kershaw Atmos and use it for a week. If you don’t like it, I’ll buy it from you. $29.57 on amazon.
     
  10. Willy

    Willy Loaded Pockets

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    I am retired now so don't use/need a knife as much as I have in the past so my SAK Executive serves me well.
    When I did use my knives more, I loved the Dragonfly(s). If I got another one it would be the Pakkawood version. I think it is stunning.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. addylo

    addylo Loaded Pockets

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    For me the biggest advantage is one of personal preference. I simply prefer a liner lock to a lockback. It is much easier for me to close one-handed. The Sage also has a slightly longer blade. I don't (yet) own a Chap but I wouldn't mind one in carbon fiber although that does bump up the price. I'm just not an FRN fan. My name for it is "plastic". And G-10 chews up a pocket quick. I do love the look of Raffir Noble acrylic but I don't own one yet.

    That said, neither the Sage or Chap are what I would call "rugged-duty" knives. They are perfect for EDC and normal duty such as the occasional box but if you are breaking down lots of packages I would switch to a box cutter for that task. I've used an Endura to chop up a bunch of cardboard on several occasions and it is amazing how fast the blade will dull.

    It's really a question of the right tool for the job.
     
  12. timcyms
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    timcyms Loaded Pockets

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    Here's a comparison of the Dragonfly and MiniGrip with the Hogue Mini RSK thrown in.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

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  13. araziza

    araziza Loaded Pockets

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    Wow. That’s a pretty significant size difference.


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  14. timcyms
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    timcyms Loaded Pockets

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    Hope it's useful for decision making.

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  15. garza

    garza Loaded Pockets

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    Have you looked at the Ontario I or II? Blades are available in AUS8 and D2. Either knife can withstand some rough use and custom scales are available as well as replacement parts.
     
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  16. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I know you dont want FRN but any choice that does not include the Delica is short sighted to me too!

    I seem to cut myself with shorter blades for some idiotic reason and the Delica is a pretty amazing light and not too pricey choice that I could be content with if I had to carry just one knife for eternity!
    You can also get aftermarket Scales for a Delica which I am sure would take it to another level of sturdy feeling but my favorite feature of them is really just how it can handle many things but then disappears in the pocket too!

    I also have and love the Chappy in CF and it is great but the Delica feels tougher to me and the extra length is handy for me too.

    I have several Grips and a few Minis and they are just too small for me honestly but are terrific knives if thats the size you need.

    I also use a Sharpmaker and it is the easiest and most reliable sharpener that I have tried by far.

    Endura
    PM2
    Delica

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Reidar Chr. L. Guttormsen

    Reidar Chr. L. Guttormsen Loaded Pockets

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    Well you have plenty of options. Out of these I prefer the Chaparral for myself. It is a great slicer with a great steel. For your needs you might want to have a look at the native 5. Not all that larger but with a thicker sturdier blade. Available from $105 Here are some pictures for size comparison. Regular Bugout is my second most favourite and is on the pictures. Have not handled the mini Bugout.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    from my S-A-M-S-U-N-G S9+ via T-A-P-A-T-A-L-K
     
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  18. araziza

    araziza Loaded Pockets

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    Actually, I don’t mind the FRN. No real drive for different scales. But not interested in the RAT. If I was considering that I’d just stock with my Drifter. And I think the Delica is in the running for me.


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  19. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    This has been a real workhorse for me but also slim and light!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


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  20. Moshe ben David

    Moshe ben David Loaded Pockets

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    You've been given a lot of excellent choices above. Not too surprising considering this community!

    I'm also not at all surprised that you've 'homed on' to the extent you have on Spyderco; they offer a splendid array of knives in the size and budget ranges you're interested in. I'll add my support regarding the Sage series (several variations based on lock types and scales), Dragonfly, and Chaparral. All eminently useful knives, quite slicey and easy to carry. And well in budget.

    Couple more thoughts (you knew that was coming didn't you?)

    > regarding the Spyderco Para3. Take a look at the lightweight version. Handle is of course the FRN. Lock is the fantastic compression lock. Blade steel is CTS-BD1N, which has great wear performance plus is one of the highly corrosion resistant steels (the 'N' in the name) which like H1 steel and LC200N just laugh at salt water and moisture in general. Currently a bit higher than the price range (~ $112) you are talking, but with that steel and the compression lock, you're getting value.

    > at the other end of the cost range, I'm a fan of the Cold Steel Tuff Lite knives. True Wharncliffe design; steel is a dependable AUS-8A which is easy to sharpen and coming from Cold Steel, performs better than you'd think; CS do a great job with heat treat. It is a lock back design, but with the Cold Steel Tri-Ad lock, which is considered a bit more robust. For most of us, not really a factor, but it's there. Blades are 2.5", come as either plain edge or serrated edge; sometimes the SE is useful for cutting fibrous materials. Yes, another sort of plastic handle. These are solid value at $29 +/-. I like these enough that I give them as gifts, even to contractors on my house when I see the 'gas station' knives some of them carry! ;)

    > I see you are also considering the Spyderco UKPK. Good choice. Been around for quite a few years. Interesting enough, one of the premier (IMNSHO) reviewers, Nick Shabazz, just did a 're-review' of this knife; he had reviewed it years ago. He labels it a 'real gem'. Here's the link if you've not seen the new review:

    Welcome to our mutual addiction! :)

    Am Yisrael Chai

    Moshe ben David
     
    #20 Moshe ben David, Jun 14, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2020