Pocket knife introduction

When I was growing up I was rarely without my pocket knife. I carried it everywhere, even to school, and never thought twice about it because it was such a basic tool to have available. Of course, today, I would guess that schools take a dim view to kids carrying pocket knives, and do not even think of carrying one through the airport security check. It is unfortunate that such a useful tool is getting left out of people’s lives more often these days.

Because of this perhaps, I find fewer people with experience in using and selecting good pocket knives. The choices are overwhelming: there are so many kinds of blades and gizmos you can get; so many gimmicky kinds of things; and so many down-right impractical bits of advice. As I read around the web in preparation for writing this article I saw some bits of “wisdom” that really made me wonder. Some people suggested you might want your pocket knife to cut wire, or hack up tree limbs that fell in your back yard(!), neither of which I would recommend to say the least.

There are many uses for a good knife and thinking about how you are likely to use it will be a good indication of what to look for. Most everyday uses fall into the light-duty category, cutting tape on boxes, opening those ridiculously hard-to-open plastic product packages, cutting string, etc. Everyone should have a good general-use pocket knife for these uses. Many women carry them in their handbags; men often carry them in a pants pocket.

For almost all these uses you will not need a blade longer than about 2 inches. A 4 inch pocket knife is about the largest you would want to carry in my experience. Please avoid the “Rambo” temptation to get a large, nasty looking knife simply for the macho factor. That might be cool when you are 12, but most of those knives end up too heavy to carry and too big to be really useful in everyday life.

I have several knives that I routinely carry depending up my mood. The one I carry most I have clipped to my keys. It fits easily into my pocket and has a very effective blade of just 1.5 inches. This knife, made by Kershaw, has two blades. The main blade folds out like a typical knife—the second folds out with the sharp edge toward the first, turning both blades into a handy scissors. This little knife has kept its edge very sharp through lots of use, and I highly recommend it for most basic needs.

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