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Leveling up

Discussion in 'Knives' started by pathwinder14, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. pathwinder14

    pathwinder14 Loaded Pockets

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    I read an article/saw a video recently on EDC Knife upgrading. It was either at everydaycommentary, edgeobserver, or Jim Skelton on youtube. I can't remember which. Anyways, the gist of the article/video stated that instead of buying a nice knife (read upgrade) when one has the money, they should instead save that money for the knife they really want. If you want a Sebenza, don't buy a Paramilitary 2, then a ZT 0561, until you can afford the Sebeza, just save your money and wait for the Sebenza. I think of it as leveling up your equipment in video games/RPG's. How often do you skip that new set of armor/equipment in favor of waiting till you can afford the set you really want? You slog it out a couple more dungeon crawsl in your present set of armor/equipment till you have the gold. Leveling up our EDC in small increments actually wastes more money and time. If we instead save our pennies, we can have that knife we want. In essence, level up in large increments.

    However there is something else to be said about small increments. In skipping the small increments are we still longing for the knives we skip over? I was looking for a small folder for a while. I am a research hound. I check out every review I can to weigh my options. My money is precious. I was going to get a Spyderco Persistence. I had it tagged on my favorite website and was waiting to get it. I did more reasearch. I found that for a few dollars more I could get VG10 steel in the form of a Dragonfly II. Which did I choose? TheDragonfly II. I am pleased with it. I have a mental list of knives I want. However I am still wondering if I should get a persistence. Not because I need one, but because I can get one and people seem to like it. Do I miss it because I had my heart set on it? Will I always wonder if I should get one? Does this happen to you?
     
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  2. Tegan's Dad
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    Personally, I think of it as a learning experience. Going directly to a grail item without holding something in-between can leave you disappointed. Part of the "fun" for me is the experience of seeing what works and doesn't work for me first hand.

    Experiencing different aspects of the same "category" of gear (knives, lights, bags, etc.) allow me to see benefits I couldn't grasp before.

    My best analogy to this is the lumen ratings on lights. I don't need 3000 lumens to find my daughter's toy under the couch, and in a power outage, it wouldn't last long enough to get through the night. Experiencing several lights has brought me to the knowledge that I want multiple light levels, and even sevaral lights for different tasks. The same with knives. I don't want to cut off a hangnail with a machete, my SAK classic does great though!
     
  3. Curse The Sky

    Curse The Sky Loaded Pockets

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    It really depends on what you want the piece of gear for. If it's something that's going to sit in a drawer or safe and only be used to open mail or fiddle with when you're bored, then by all means save up and get what you really want the first time.

    On the other hand, if it's something that you're going to be using and abusing often, then I would buy whatever you can reasonably afford that looks like it would work, even if it means spending more money in the end. Often times, I've bought the "grail" item that I always wanted, only to find out that it wasn't practical for everyday use. Sometimes, I've even gone back to a lesser item that just happened to work better.
     
  4. Al Effendi

    Al Effendi Loaded Pockets

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    We all got GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), or we wouldn't be here!

    I used to just save up for the best version of what I wanted. Now, as I approach middle age, I find myself thinking out my purchases from a different mindset; instead of just going for the best possible item regardless of cost, I consider many factors, such as:
    - Is my money best spent on other things (like, say, taking my kids out?)?
    - The things that make the expensive item better than less expensive items--are they things that REALLY matter for this particular item? e.g. Is that $300 knife designed that much better, is it more ergonomic for my usage, is it safer to use, or will it last longer?
    - Anything can get lost or stolen; I must consider the cost of replacement.
    - It is not wrong to get something because I like the way it looks, but to what degree am I spending more money on status--especially when nobody but me and the one other dork out of a million who I may meet by chance are the only ones who care?

    I've been a guitar gear junkie for way longer than I've cared about my keychain. I can best explain using guitar gear as an example: For the first 25 years of my playing (including four years at one of the planet's finest music schools *end boast), I acquired what I considered to be the best guitars for my styles of playing. I played Mesa/Boogie tube amps, keeping in mind that this was before the days of boutique amps. I owned a large collection of boutique analog effects--no digital effects for me! That attitude was and is the prevailing taste of many professional guitarists.

    Then I got a gig playing every week for my kids' school assembly. I didn't want to haul my entire rig, so I built a new rig that fits on a 4-space pedalboard; the last thing in the chain is a digital effects/amp modeling pedal. I go from that into the PA. I got a $350 ESP/LTD a Strat clone, so that I wouldn't freak out when kids wants to play with it.

    Two years down the road, and this is now my main live rig. I have hundreds of more tones available to me with the digital modeling, I carry two pounds of gear instead of 100 (if needed, I bring a 30 lb. powered speaker), and the only person who notices the infinitesimal difference in sound quality--when there even is one--is me. The only person who cares about that difference is NO ONE. What pedals do most pros use on-stage? They use Boss--no matter what they claim in ads for other, fancier manufacturers. Not because Boss pedals produce the richest, most organic tones, but because they sound more than good enough, they're built like tanks, they're a relative bargain, and they have proven themselves over decades of use by millions of musicians.

    I have written before that I try not to buy a knife or tool that I'm not going to use. I am not a rich man by any means. I'm just barely middle class, and I pay for my toys mostly by selling other toys. I cannot think of any legitimate reason why I personally would need a $300 folder when a $60 Persistence is an excellent choice, and whatever is better about the more expensive knife is not going to make one bit of difference for all the jobs I do.

    Sorry for the rant.
     
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  5. MangeD700
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    MangeD700 EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I bought my grail from the start, Fällkniven TK3 with cocobolo scales, it´s the most expensive knife i´ll ever buy - if i want my marriage to last.... Now i´m more into Victorinox, Leatherman and such "tools", since they are real "users" for me.
     
  6. DannyX

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    +1 Couldn't agree more with your post. More often than not I go through the same thought process and end up buying a cheaper item with higher value.
    Like: "Hey, this multitool is for construction work. It's gonna be laying in dirt, might get lost and used very roughly. If I'd take a 100 dollar tool, I'm not going to use it or think twice about it every time." Same thing with all the equipment.
     
  7. pathwinder14

    pathwinder14 Loaded Pockets

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    I have been bushcrafting for years. I have all sorts of gear and have a developed mindset that I will never pay a certain amount of money for a certain peice of gear. For example, I'll never spend over $100 on a fixed blade knife. With the Old Hickory 7 inch butcher, Cold Steel Bushman, Ontario RBS 7, or even a good kukri, there is no reason to ever, ever spend that much. I want to use it, not look at it in a safe. I look at the rest of my gear the same way.

    With my folders I want good quality with some price but will never spend over $150. I just cannot bring myself to spend that kind of $$ on a folding knife. So for me, a "grail" knife is of utility only....enter the Delica 4, Paramilitary 2, and ZT 0350. These are my "Grail of utility" knives. No hinderer's here. No War Toads. No Tanics, no Tighe, no Curtiss F3, etc.

    As I acquire my "Grail of utility" knives, I will be skipping others. Why get a tenacious when a Delica 4 is better? But that leaves me asking questions, were those skipped steps worth it? I think they will be. I am very smart with my "mad" money. I just wondered if anyone else skipped those steps to better conserve dollars? Do you long for those skipped steps?
     
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  8. farnorthdan
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    I use to compromise when buying higher dollar items and been disappointed to many times by doing this. Now I buy once/cry once. Get what you really like/want, life is too short to compromise and if you don't have the money to buy what you want, be patient save your money.
     
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  9. deusvult

    deusvult Loaded Pockets

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    I like knives. Almost all knives. Have I bought some knives that I didn't care for? Sure. There are some knives out there that I love the looks of, but will never purchase due to the price. I collect knives, but am not a collector (if that makes any sense at all). All of my knives are like my guns. I have no safe queens. I won't buy a knife I am afraid to use because of how much it costs. There are some fantastic artisans out there who make wonderful blades for EDC. My budget does not allow me to go that route (and my wife would bury said knife in my chest if I bought it).

    I tend to like some of the more mass produced knives (Kershaw, SOG, CRKT, Spyderco, Schrade, etc.). While I admire some of the really nice work done in the blade world, I just can't bring myself to shell out that kind of dough. I have the same problem with Wilson Combat 1911s, Kimbers, etc.
     
  10. amacman
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    The article is complete rubbish. Everyone knows that you buy the first knife, put it in a drawer and buy the next one, and then put it in a drawer when you buy the Sebenza.
     
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  11. Cujobob

    Cujobob Loaded Pockets

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    It makes sense to do it this way and I often do skip over lesser items to buy the best, but if you really enjoy a hobby, knives specifically, you will appreciate your best knife more after having lesser knives. You don't know what you'll fall in love with, either. I'm selling my Sebenza 25 and keeping my Techno. Never know unless you try.
     
  12. A144
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    I live by the philosophy to buy the best I can afford. If I have to save up to buy the knife I really want (this week) then I do. But I don't necessarily skip anything. My last three knife purchases were sort of a reversal of "leveling up." First was the Brous Bionic, then a ZT0700, and then a Kershaw Thermite. The last is just a cool knife.

    So I'm not against saving up to get what you want or not compromising, and I try to not buy "stepping stone" items any more. But if there's a cheaper knife that I like, I'll buy it (the Thermite).
     
  13. Sriracha

    Sriracha Loaded Pockets

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    Always obey the law of diminishing return. The grail knife is probably overpriced because the maker knows that there is a demand for it. The next level down is just as capable, but not as rare. You can get a srm710 that will do 90% of what a $500 Sebenza will do. I have found that the Spyderco/Benchmade line is where where my tastes reside. Grails are sacred, leave them to the superstitious crowd.
     
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  14. bpeezer

    bpeezer Loaded Pockets

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    I bought dozens of knives, all pretty good quality production knives ($150-$250 Spydies, ZT's, Benchmades, Microtechs, etc.) and always found myself looking for the next knife. I recently bought a full ti Hinderer and a Curtiss F3, and I can happily say that I am not searching for the next knife anymore. I spent $3k on production knives last year, with little satisfaction to show for it.
     
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  15. Darth_Firebolt

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    gonna sell my car so i can ride my bike to work until i can afford that TVR...
    j/k. i'm going to drive the car i have that's 95% as fun as a TVR at 10% of the price. is the TVR faster, more powerful, more responsive, and sexy as all getout? of course. if i want to go really fast, i take my sportbike to a track day. best of everything!

    ^that's my philosophy about that. there will ALWAYS be something nicer, more expensive, more exotic, etc. i have stuff i can afford to replace that is still relatively nice. the compromise point is different for everyone.
     
  16. Nevada

    Nevada Loaded Pockets

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    "the compromise point sweet spot is different for everyone." :cool:
     
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  17. comis

    comis Loaded Pockets

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    Swamped with all the internet discussions, herd mentality and conformation bias, I do feel it could be difficult to think clearly on what one really need/want when making a knife/tool purchase. And for the exact reason, I am slowly believing that there is no ultimate or grail knife/tool for me.

    To me, grail knife is almost like a chicken/egg problem. How do we know so-and-so type of steel is 'perfect' of our use without even using one? Or the blade/handle geometry is perfect for out hands even without holding onto it? How do we appraise those material/workmanship, or are we paying just for market hype?

    I am a sucker/collector for certain type of MT/knife, and I often think it is a balance between want/need/budget. I know full well that I probably will never reach an equilibrium(at least not for a while), but I do have a lot of respect to those who can overlook "want"/"budget" and will just stick with what they "need". That I probably call enlightment.
     
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  18. wrath0r
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    wrath0r EDC Junkie!!!

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    The thing about grail knives is we don't always know what we're looking for. Only experience can teach us what feels good in our hand, what locking mechanism we prefer, what blade shape fits our style. I more liken it to buying a house. I've been through two so far. In both I thought I was getting everything I wanted, but living in them identified new requirements.

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
     
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  19. Dilla

    Dilla Loaded Pockets

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    My main problem is finding the knife to handle before I buy it. I have had many grail fails after wrapping a hand around the actual knife. With mail order, it is trial and error...but shipping costs do add up if you return what does not feel good. One thing I have found is that the new stuff does not feel as good as the old stuff. I have had to leave Cold Steel altogether because their knives went to sumo camp. These hands like it little.
     
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  20. MedusaOblongata

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    If you know exactly what you want, you should save up and hold out for what you want. If you don't know what you want, you'll want to try out different things as you figure it out. If you need something now (like, you just discovered the forum and suddenly realized that you own neither a flashlight nor multi-tool), then you should get what you can afford now while you try it out, and upgrade later if necessary. If you want a bunch of different things, then you'll have to decide whether to save up longer to get the most expensive one first, or get the more affordable one first and wait much longer for the expensive one. In the long run, a piece of gear isn't very expensive, it's the large collections that are. For the most part, I feel like I can get by with the $100 rule: knife, flashlight, bag, multi-tool - budget $100 for each and you'll get functional quality (and, if you buy a cheaper flashlight, you can get a more expensive knife). Spending much more than that is optional, but not necessary. If what you really want is that Sebenza/Saddleback/Elzetta/Custom/Tri-V, then you won't be satisfied with something similar but cheaper, so save your energy for what you really want.
     
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