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What are the most important attributes for your EDC blade?

Discussion in 'Knives' started by el_murdoque, Jan 16, 2019.

  1. el_murdoque

    el_murdoque Loaded Pockets

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    I've recently been pondering EDC Blades a lot.
    I am in the 'lucky' position that I find myself mostly in countries where some restrictions apply; like the UK and Germany. German laws prohibit Blades that are OHO AND locking, one of them is fine, while the UK allow blades under three inches that won't lock. I have a thing for smaller, not too aggressive or tactical blades anyhow, so I never worry about the three inches. But the fact that I can't have a locking and OHO blade limits my choices significantly.

    After one of my EDC choices disappeared from my checked luggage during a flight within Asia, I was in the market for a replacement and came into a shopping frenzy, leaving me with a choice of blades in different configurations. I tried to keep an open mind and used several different knives for longer periods of time to see how well they performed once I got used to them. After that period passed, I tried to sort out my thoughts on the different styles to formulate my personal preferences. Here's what I came up with:

    Laws & Legality:
    I have owned blades of the restricted kind, since only carrying them without due cause is prohibited.
    You could say that I'm on good terms with law enforcement and that it is quite unlikely that I have to expect to be strip searched by the police. But that also means that when that happens, the officer doing the searching must already bear some kind of grudge against me, be it justified or not, and it's best not to give him reasons to enforce further laws on me by carrying a knife that is prohibited.

    Opening & Locking:
    Since I can't have locking&OHO, I used locking THO, non locking OHO and non locking THO.
    What I found was this: OHO is a huge feature for me. The little blade in my trouser pocket is the one that comes out for cutting pieces of rope/string, ends of all kind of things that stick out, opening letters, and parcels.
    I find myself in a situation where I'm already holding the to-be-cut object in one hand more often than anticipated. OHO is very handy then, because I can apply the blade to the object in one swift movement, the blade coming out on the way from my pocket to the object. Putting down the object to get out the knife and deploying the blade somehow defeats my idea of having an EDC blade in those scenarios - I could be looking for a sharp object in close proximity instead. I ended up selling all knives without the OHO option but one. I've also used a non locking flipper for a very short period of time but judged that blade too dangerous for EDC. The OHO must have a slipjoint or something similar to prevent opening in the pocket.

    Size & Weight:
    This came a bit as a surprise, but weight actually does not really matter to me. It might be more of a factor once the blade length exceeds three inches, but for the small knives I use, I did not care at all if they were considered light or heavy. I could carry a 4oz knife just as well as a 1,7oz one and the difference did not bother me at all.
    The size is more of a factor. My size 10 Hands demand a knife big enough for a firm grip while my tight pockets demand a size that does not bulge and therefore advertise me as a knife carrier.
    A well executed deep carry clip can make all the difference between a knife that is too large to fit into the FR jeans pocket without bulging and one that sits there just fine. Since the knife spends the majority of its time with me inside my pocket, this is a factor that I'd have totally underestimated at first glance.
    The act of retrieving it from its place upon my person and putting it back there after use is at least just as important as the act of unfolding the blade, if not more so.
    A knife that fits my hand like a glove, has a superb blade and perfect OHO will nonetheless quickly drop out of my EDC rotation when it does not do a good job sitting in my pocket.

    Blade Steel & Cost:
    Starting from cheap Chinese 8CR13MOV, I've used lots of medium ranked steels like 420, 440c, D2 through better N690CO all the way up to S90V. The Chinese ones were a bit frustrating because their edge retention was miserable. I've gone through the pains of bringing a Byrd Tern all the way to a mirror edge only to find that two days of normal EDC usage took the razor sharpness off and a quick topping up with a medium and fine stone ruined the finish. I clearly draw the line when I spend more time sharpening a blade than using it.
    Better steel obviously makes a better knife, but also, usually a more expensive one.
    I find myself among the unlucky 95% of the world population that actually have to work to keep up the worn in habits of sleeping under a roof, eating multiple meals each day and staying hydrated. I'm not very likely to use a $200+ knife and a hammer to chisel down masonry because I'm too lazy to go to the garage and retrieve the actual chisel. The more expensive a knife gets, the more hesitant I get using it for tasks that put a lot of wear on it. In addition to that, I try and estimate how high the probability of coming home without the knife I pocketed might be - be it caused by loss, theft, carelessness or whatnot. Vanity might be a factor as well: When you can either use a plain ol' blade or a nice one, I prefer nice. I like the choice of having at least one knife that did not set me back by hundreds of bucks and can be replaced without shedding tears, but I'd like that to have at least D2/440c quality. If I was to have only one single knife, I'd rather pick a medium quality one than a handmade piece of pocket bling I can't bring myself to use properly for fear of ruining the pristine finish.

    Impact On Others & Office Compatibility:
    Needless to say that using a karambit in the office to open letters will raise eyebrows.
    Interestingly, I found that the quickness of the blade deployment plays a big factor in how dangerous and/or threatening people judge a knife. A knife with two handed opening will raise less suspicion even if it was bigger and more of a useful asset in a knife fight than a smaller OHO knife that unfolds in the blink of an eye. A black blade and camo handle also speak volumes. The more gentlemanly a knife comes across, the more likely the carrier is considered eccentric rather than a possible thread by people who do not really get down with the idea of others having a knife in their pocket.


    In conclusion, the knife that is the best fit for my personal EDC needs to pass the following criteria, sorted by importance:
    -both UK and Germany legal
    -has a deep carry clip and/or jeans-pocket-convenient dimensions
    -has one hand opening
    -sits in the medium price bracket, with at least halfway decent steel.
    -does its best not to scare the squeamish or easily offended

    I was surprised about how little I cared whether a knife was lightweight or not and even more surprised to find out how important it is to me how well it rides my jeans pocket.

    So these are my thoughts on how my EDC knife has to be. What are yours?
     
  2. adnj

    adnj Loaded Pockets

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    What springs to mind are the Spyderco Ping and UKPK.

    I have a couple of ~60 mm friction folders that I open one handed but I normally carry a big knife with around a 100mm blade. Douk Douk and Opinel are definite possibilities.

    Michael Morris has a following here and does some nice friction folders too.

    Sent from my LG-V520 using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Moose

    Moose Loaded Pockets

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    Bravo sir. Exceedingly well articulated. Thank you.

    Being a UK dweller myself, I absolutely agree with almost every word:
    Law compliant? check. OHO? check, Pocket friendly? check. Hand-filling size? check. People friendly? check. Weight a non-issue? check.
    Eye pleasing, flowing lines? check. Good quality, budget friendly steel?......Almost.

    It doesn't have to be swish, I agree; and I'm all for maximizing the 'bang to buck' ratio.
    But I've not found a UK edc that I'm completely happy with.. Until my current carry...

    Unfortunately although I'd prefer it if my edc were (my) budget friendly; mine wasn't, and I'd be gutted to lose it because it would be hard to replace.

    That said, I don't tend to treat my edc knife too wantonly (it spends more time being a fidget toy and a muse more than a anything else).

    Being obsessive about not leaving it anywhere I don't mind (too much) that it cost me an arm and a leg.

    So I'm 99.99% with you :twins: as expense is not a deal breaker.

    Oh.... And imho a good knife must have a plain edge and a usable point.

    I'm not a fan of the wharncliff and cleaver trend ruining perfectly good knife designs currently.

    For me the blade has got to have either a clip, spear or drop-point.

    What?

    Oh.....

    A Bestech Junzi ;)
     
    Last edited by Moose, Jan 16, 2019
    #3 Moose, Jan 16, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
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  4. huntnow

    huntnow Loaded Pockets

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    I’m lucky enough to be able to carry whatever I want. I’ve carried a Delica 4 and Manix 2 in the past. I wound up selling both of them. Right now, I have three ZT’s that get carried frequently, 0566, 0900, and 0562cf. I think ZT has a lot of bang for the buck. I like trying different steels too. As a left, I try to avoid liner locks but I like frame locks. I like the functionality of the Axis lock but BM seems way overpriced for what you get to me. Probably my biggest selling point in a folder is durability. I don’t typically use my knives for anything they were not designed to do but every now and then, I use them pretty hard. I don’t like delicate knives or thin blades. Just my .02.
     
  5. el_murdoque

    el_murdoque Loaded Pockets

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    I must admit that my current EDC is not keeping my rationalized budget limit. It's a Spyderco Urban which was modified by the good chaps of the Custom Scales Division (cuscadi), where the blade and back spacer recieved a stonewash and the scales have been replaced by coppershred carbon ones. The whole thing even cost me a tiny bit more than your beloved Bestech.
    That's why it was a Byrd Tern that got lost on the flight - I estimated the risk of loosing the Urban too big to take it travelling with me and chose the Tern instead for its lower monetary value.

    The other knife I kept is a Manly Wasp. The opening is very much of an issue as I don't like nail nicks on blades and the four stop slipjoint is a pain to operate, but the rest of that knife is so good, I can't part ways with it.

    So the gap that is torn into my EDC rotation needs to be filled. I must admit that steel snobbery stands firmly between me and the acquisition of another Tern. I think I will go UKPK this time. The drop point blade. It's basically the knife I described with all those words above.



    I realize I did not loose a word about blade shapes.
    I'm with you about the plain edge and usable point.
    Tanto blades have a certain appeal, albeit looking more like a weapon than a tool, but I'd imagine it'd be a pain to sharpen them.
    As for serrated edges, which are a pain to sharpen,which I learned when I bought a used 90's Leatherman Supertool which needed a run in the dish washer before anything else and then a thorough sharpening on both the plain and the serrated edge - I can see their use when you need to cut something in a hurry, but I have a far greater need for clean cuts than ragged ones.
    A slight curve to the blade towards the point allows for rocking and gives much better piercing ability.

    I also prefer a flat grind and a well balanced blade thickness that allows for both lighter prying jobs as well as cutting deeply into material.


    Thanks for answering the question before I could even ask ;-)
     
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  6. Lateck

    Lateck Loaded Pockets

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    @el_murdoque , I feel for you and all that live in restrictive countries, states and cities.
    I am fortunate to live in a state (Arizona, USA)has open and free knife (& gun) laws throughout the entire state. So, I can base my knife usage and carrying on my needs at the time.
    I like and agree on your "Impact on others & Office compatibility" statement. That is one area I do think about and consider.
     
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  7. landwire
    • In Omnia Paratus

    landwire Loaded Pockets

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    First and foremost is the legality of the knife itself. I don't have "Safe Queens" in my collection. With the exception of sentimental pieces, every knife will be used in some manner or at some point. If a knife is illegal, I don't want a part of it.

    Several factors are important to me:

    I'm a big fan of VG-10. There are better and there are certainly worse. VG-10 is where I draw the line...ish. If someone gifted me a Buck 110, I wouldn't reject. Their 420HC is some nice stuff.

    Overall build quality. I can tolerate some play and wiggle, if and only if,I loosened something. If there is play and wiggle due to bad craftsmanship and/or too much accumulated tolerances, it done and over. If the opening and closing action feels overly awkward, it gone.

    The edge is monumental. For the most part, I can not stand a combo serrated edge. If it part of a mutlt-tool, sure, why not. If it a single blade and half serrated; it has it purpose and place.... far far far away from me.

    Overall look and appearance is a huge factor. If something doesn't have that right look, even though it has a decent steel and great build quality, it rejected. As an example and at the risk of angering half the board here, I do not care for much of Spyderco. The Manix are okayish, but to me, a lot of the models have the appearance where the blade is way out of proportion to the handle. I want the blade to be proportionally in size with the handle. Otherwise it just looks... weird. I'll make an exception for something made from the shards of Narsil or the Excalibur.
     
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  8. Moose

    Moose Loaded Pockets

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    I definitely agree about blade thickness, belly and flat grind.

    I agree with Huntnow about durability being important. I'm not a fan of fragile blades, no matter how slicey.

    I also agree with Landwire; blade play is an absolute deal breaker for me too. Have been turned off far too many otherwise good knives (usually lock backs- so not good for edc anyway) just because they had blade play.

    I remember seeing your Urban in another thread. Such a lovely knife, I can see why you'd not want to risk losing it.
    My last edc was an Urban in Elmax and green frn. As good as it was (and it's definately a keeper) like you I thought it needed better scales than frn to make it truly special.

    I also like the look of the Manly Wasp but am not keen on the colours on offer (I'm sick and tired of black G10- when they make one in brown then it will go on my 'must have' list like the upcoming brown Spyderco Urban- my Junzi is in bronze titanium, which sealed the deal for me).

    I feel you on the Tern. Never owned one but looks like a good (but unexciting) knife on a budget.

    One of the reasons I like the Urban is the full length back-spring providing a firm 'lock-up'. That's one of the things I liked about the G10 drop-point UKPK I used to have many years ago (moved it on eventually as I just felt it drew a little too much attention in public).

    Bestech got the spring tension perfect on the Junzi. (A firm 'lock-up' is another important requirement for me).
    I've heard varrying reports about the tension on the forked back-spring of the frn UKPK..
    Newer ones are meant to be good. Would love to hear your view if you do end up getting one.
     
    Last edited by Moose, Jan 17, 2019
    #8 Moose, Jan 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
  9. LNR_LOC

    LNR_LOC Empty Pockets

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    Comfort, craftsmanship, strength, efficiency, grip, strong lock. Edge retention is great although a blade that sharpens easily has its advantages.
    Was aware of the gun laws for you guys and gals in the UK, although was not aware of the restrictive knife laws.
     
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  10. el_murdoque

    el_murdoque Loaded Pockets

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    Well, I actually had these attributes down as something you need not mention. Here, among the people that care enough about EDC to join a forum dedicated to the topic and discussing it with others, I thought that some minimal standards apply.
    But I can see from my limited experience with locking bladed knives that blade play can be an issue. The slipjoints I used never had any issues with that, though.

    Durability, however is a thing. Both in terms of edge retention and of how much a knife can take before it gives in.
    I already said that I draw a line when I spend more time with the sharpening stones than I spent cutting, like with 8CR13 steel.
    I don't think I need a blade that'll cut two score cardboard boxes during the day and be able to slice the thinnest of newspapers in the evening,
    but a blade that becomes dull during a hard day of usage is not strong enough.
    And a knife that's too fragile to take much of the typical EDC work is not EDC worthy as well, for sure.

    Yes, it is a thing of beauty, although I was hesitant at first because spending more on the mods than the knife itself costs felt a bit weird. Those doubts evaporated when I took it out of the bag, though.

    Luckily, I really dig the green color and I'm a fan of G10 scales. I basically have zero experience with FRN but in my line of business I have a lot of contact with G10. When I visited a knife shop and the only color they had the Wasp in was green, I took it as a sign.
    This knife is, IMO, the ideal modern take on a classical pocket knife. It has all the features of an old design but comes with modern materials and the size is just perfect. A knife needs to be outstandingly good for me to put up with the opening being this hard.

    The Tern was my first EDC blade. I bought something inexpensive to find out whether or not EDCing a knife is a thing for me.
    The day Spyderco decides to make a sprint run of the Byrd with halfway decent steel, would be the day they receive my order for one.
    It feels like they measured my hands when designing that one. It is just a perfect fit.
    What I especially prefer on the Tern in comparison to the UKPK and the Urban is that the jimping on the edge side sticks out of the handle upon closing, so you can keep your index finger there to guide it past the half-stop. It took a while to get used to the Urban not having that feature.

    I've had both the S110 and the standard UKPK in my hands recently and must say that they felt good. I'd rather not use a slipjoint for work where you can close the blade on your fingers by accident (like using the rear to de-bark a stick of wood or strike a tinder), except maybe the Wasp because it is so strong and has four stops. When holding those small Spyderco slipits, the index finger and thumb usually provide enough force and control over the blade to keep it in check.
    In essence, the Tern is like a Chinese budget version of both Urban and UKPK, being in their middle in terms of size and blade length.
    All three knives are not especially exciting, but have a strong 'form follows funciton' approach to them. Which has me a bit excited to try out how the unmodified standard FRN UKPK will perform.
    I have some ads up in my local used knife places, still selling one last Boker I own and looking for a used UKPK but if nothing comes up, I'll pull the trigger on a sale model I found online in the next few days.
     
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  11. FilthyJ24

    FilthyJ24 Loaded Pockets

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    Cutting performance/sharpness/edge retention, ergonomics, ease/speed of deployment and aesthetics in no particular order.

    Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk
     
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  12. Moose

    Moose Loaded Pockets

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    I would definately go for the green out of the colours available. I prefer G10 to nylon too. The Wasp design does look good.

    I do hope they bring one out in brown G10 (or stabilised wood for the complete 'modern classic' look!)

    That was a very cool way to test the waters . (I'd probably get one too if it was in OD green or brown or such..)

    That's what I loved about the UKPK. The Urban is just a smidge compromised for me in this respect (when compared). The Junzi gives me that hand in glove feel again.

    Interesting..

    Yes I love Spydies more for their function then their form too.

    My wanting firm spring tension is a hangover from my days of youthful folly, drilling holes into things with a SAK one too many times and being bitten (cut halfway through a tendon in my index finger)..

    The UKPK was the first slippy I owned that felt safe in that regard (not that I have a habit of drilling holes in things, mind).

    The 50/50 choil on the Spydies/Byrd/Bestech are a genius way of eradicating the risk of closure.

    Although I'd be very happy if we in Blighty were able to edc (safer) locking knives, I don't feel too hard done to since the advent of the 'finger choil'. I'm not looking to hammer nails with the spine of my edc, nor need it to be my sole knife as I sail down the Zambizi river on safari.

    Warm regards.
     
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  13. ace19636

    ace19636 Loaded Pockets

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    Right now the most important aspect is that I can open it. I have a nerve issue making my dominant hand numb at all times. Ever have your hand fall asleep? That's how my hand feels 24/7 and it makes opening knives one handed difficult. Especially if I am not looking at the knife then its basically impossible. I tried flippers but it's hard to find the flipper when you cant feel it and then with assisted knives I can never find they thumb stud and push the blade out reliably. I have switched to Autos for this reason, when I pull my current auto (Boker Kalashnikov) out of my pocket my thumb is always in line with the button so I just slide my thumb up till the blade clicks out. Its not perfect but I get it open 99% of the time so it works.

    As for other requirements I like
    -Plain Edge
    -Coated blade (normally black)
    -finger grooves
    -Deep carry clip
    -Decent jimping on the spine
    -3-4 inch blade


    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
     
  14. Moose

    Moose Loaded Pockets

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    May I ask if it's the aesthetic of a coated blade you like? Or is there a practical consideration.
     
  15. Elmiro Dungfoot

    Elmiro Dungfoot Loaded Pockets

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    To me; a knife should bridge the spectrum effectively between a 'tool', and a 'weapon'. Most blades usually accomplish one, or the other with more aplomb. Therefore, I usually opt for a 'heavy-folder' and augment with Swiss Army, or 'multi' of some type. My philosophy would be, you don't need a 'machete', when a 'scalpel' is what's called for. That being said: "big, bad, and burly" also have their time, and place. All this is dictated by your lifestyle, occupation, home country, and your local statutes regarding carry options. If you stay with proven designs, and classic-quality; most 'normal situations' can be addressed with your chosen kit. My personal-preference is for 'assisted-openers', and 'full-autos'.
     
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  16. ace19636

    ace19636 Loaded Pockets

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    That is purely for aesthetics, if I am gona carry it I have to like the look of it. I mean my current EDC knife comes in a bunch of colors but I had to get the one that looked like this. You can say I am big in to aesthetics lol. I wont give up function for it but it's still high on my list. [​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
     
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  17. thatotherguy

    thatotherguy EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I have to have the following attributes in a blade I carry, else I won't carry it:
    1. A functional blade shape. It has to be useful in daily life and daily cutting chores without getting in its own way. I don't need a double recurve or a wavey Tracker type blade. I don't want something I have to actually think about to sharpen, either. A simple drop point, spear, clip, leaf, wharncliffe, or sheepsfoot works best for me.
    2. A handle long enough to comfortably fit my hand in a typical grip I would take in use. It can be a two finger, three finger, or full grip, I prefer a roomy full grip but I'll take any of them. If it's not comfortable to use, I have no use for it.
    3. A thin enough edge that it actually cuts. I don't need my knife to be a sharpened prybar. I need it to cut.
    4. Small enough to fit in my pocket.
    5. Not an absolute nightmare to sharpen. If that means I give up edge retention, so be it.
    6. High enough quality that I won't trash or break it quickly. I'm hard on my gear, but if the quality is passable, nothing I commonly do will come close to exceeding the tool's limits.

    The best knives that fit these criteria tend to be in the 3.5-4 inch handle range with 3-3.5 inch blades. The RAT 1 and Piranha P1 are good examples. An ESEE Izula or similar is a near perfect EDC fixed blade for me.
     
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  18. thegrouch314

    thegrouch314 Loaded Pockets

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    I'm also in the UK so my first thought is always legality. I'm not going to tangle with the cops over a pocket knife.

    Secondly, I always want something that is durable enough to take some reasonably hard beating for a good few years without any issues. I'm not using a knife as a pry bar or anything, but it should be able to handle cutting anything I need it to.

    Good edge retention is nice, but not a deal breaker.

    I'm not a fan of a tanto blade. I find that they're more trouble than they're worth for general tasks and they look more aggressive than other blade styles. There's times and situations where I can see that being beneficial for some but not for me.

    I also prefer a smaller knife. I want something that sits nicely in my pocket and also feels good and secure in my (rather small) hands.

    At some point, I'll probably pick up a UKPK so try out but to be honest, I've not found anything better than a SAK, preferably the cadet or the spartan.
    I'm currently carrying the spartan with walnut scales. It fits great in the hand, holds up will and if I pull it out in public, most people aren't unnerved by it.
     
  19. OhCanada

    OhCanada Loaded Pockets

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    One hand opening and clip, comfortable handle that is not overly texturized to the point of tearing up the pocket, a decent steel (doesn't have to be top notch because my EDC blade tends to get used as a scrapper and what not) and a drop point tip or slightly pointed tip but no clip point.
     
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  20. dgaddis

    dgaddis Loaded Pockets

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    I work in an office and my pocket knife sees light duty use. Opening packages, cutting strings, opening letters, that sort of thing. I don't use it for food prep, I've got kitchen knives for that, and I don't really clean my pocket knife other than wiping the blade off here and there. If I were going camping or something I'd take something more substantial.

    So, with that use in mind, in order of importance, for me ::
    1 - Low volume - I don't want the knife taking up much room in my pocket. I don't want to feel it.
    2 - Thin blade - I like a nice thin blade. I mean, my paring knives are WAY thinner than most any pocket knife and they're more than stout enough for what I use the knife for.
    3 - Deep carry clip - I'm not trying to advertise my knife, so if it's more hidden, that's a good thing. I've been turned around at the movie theater a few times because the kid taking tickets noticed my knife and said "we don't allow weapons". So I had to go put my knife in the car. I mean, I get it, but it's a tool not a weapon as far as I'm concerned, I'd rather not have to worry about someone spotting it.

    I've got two I carry. A Kershaw Leek with an aftermarket deep carry clip and a Benchmade Bugout. Both have a 0.09" thick blade, overall thickness is 0.35"-0.40". I like the all-metal construction of the Leek...but it's not as fast to close and put away, and I'm not in love with the blade shape. The Bugout has a better (for me) blade shape, a little longer blade, and I really like the Axis lock (so fast and easy to deploy and then put away the blade!) but, I don't like the plastic handles. I don't care about the little bit of flex, I mean they're functionally fine, and really light, but I don't care much about weight, and the plastic handles just feel cheap. I love the knife, and it's what I carry most of the time, but I'm gonna swap out the handle for something else...probably carbon fiber. But with both of these knives, when I reach into my pocket, the knife takes up so little space I usually don't even bump it, they're literally invisible.

    Bugout
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    Leek
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