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A must have tool

A knife is a must have for someone looking at self sufficiency or survival. You can never have too many. I must confess I like knives and I have several different types and use them for slightly different purposes.

First of all I have several big knives around the house as a just in case tool. In the utility cupboard, my bedroom and the kitchen. In my utility room I also have the bulk of my tools and there are several different knives there mainly Stanley knives and other type blades for home work. In the kitchen are also several sets of knives for cooking purposes and the preparation of meat.

In my car I have three knives, all in bags in the boot. The first is a large fixed blade knife, the second is an assisted opener while the third is a Swiss army knife. The Swiss army knife has several different blades, a screwdriver, scissors a corkscrew as well as a can and bottle opener.

In my pocket I also carry on my key ring an identical Swiss army knife. I used to carry an assisted opening folder as well but I was concerned that if I was pulled up by the Police the officer may get upset and call in SWAT to blow me away so I stopped carrying it. The disadvantage is that the Swiss army knife doesn’t have a locking blade and it has collapsed twice on me when I have been using it.

Now when I was looking for knives they had to meet certain criteria.
In the fixed blade, I was looking for a reasonable length in the fixed blade and a good grip in the handle.
A full tang.
Finger guard.
A good quality blade.
Ability to be sharpened to a razors edge.
This blade is going to be used in an emergency for cutting, chopping, skinning and carving. It needs to be strong, sharp and heavy enough to be used like a small axe whilst being something you can hold in one hand.

For the folder, I wanted something I could operate one handed and felt comfortable with.
A good quality blade.
Ability to be sharpened to a razors edge.

For the compact Swiss army knife I was looking at having one good blade, pair of scissors, can opener and screwdriver.
Ability to be sharpened to a razors edge.

Now knife blades are made with different types of steel, mainly stainless steel and carbon steel of differing carbon content. The more carbon the harder the steel.
The harder the steel the longer it will hold an edge but the downside is it is brittle and difficult to sharpen.
The softer it is the easier it is to sharpen and the less chance it has of breaking but it will dull easily.

I wanted a high carbon knife for the car as I envisaged that I would be using it for a while whilst not sharpening it. For the house I wanted a mixture of types, as I have sharpening gear if necessary, so I bought a few different and for my personal carry I bought a basic Swiss army knife.

Now, I’m not going to recommend any knifes here. I find that knives, like cars and women, are personal things. You have to hold a knife in your hand, heft it about a bit and, where applicable, open and close it a few times to get a feel for how it fits in your hand, can you operate it one handed, if that is important to you, and is the handle one you feel you have a good grip of, not too big or too small. It is of good quality and not likely to fall apart? It is a personal thing.

All knifes purchased that did not have sharp edges were sharpened with a knife sharpening kit before being stored away. I have several knife sharpening kits ranging from basic stone to an electric sharpener, which I don’t like using on softer steel in case it eats away too much before I notice. There are several books out there on sharpening knives, get one and practise on some old blades before you start work on your £200 folding knife.

Buy your knives, buy a sharpening stone or kit for each location and don’t use them as screwdrivers or for cutting wires unless it really is an emergency and you have to. Look after them, they could save your life.

1 comment to A must have tool

  • Toni

    Having had the misfortune of being taken for questioning once from my own property and being found to be carrying a pen knife with a locking blade which I had been using to cut bales of hay let me assure you it is not a pleasant experience.Although I wasn’t actually charged the knife was confiscated and I was left in no doubt I was lucky to have not been charged.
    Damn shame to as it had been my dads.
    It’s not just guns the boys in blue don’t like soon we will all be eating with spoons!

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