What you need to know to make the best choice of pocket knives you can!
If you are on the quest to find a new pocket knife, than it’s essential that you know your knives! There isn’t just one knife that’s better than all the rest, so understanding the different types of knives will help you to make an educated decisions and choose a knife that will serve your needs and remain with you for years to come. Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect pocket knife.
Decide which type of pocket knife you need first.
The basic types of pocket knives are the single blade, the multi-blade, or the multi-tool knife. If you are just looking for a small everyday knife to carry in your pocket for those times when you find yourself asking “does anybody have a knife?” – then either a small single blade or multi-blade knife will do the trick. Either a locking blade or a non-locking blade will be sufficient for small everyday uses, but if you will be using your knife for a heavier workload, you might want to consider a slightly larger locking blade pocket knife for safety. If you want a knife to take camping or use while fishing or other outdoor activities, you should consider either a multi-blade or a multi-tool knife.
Locking blades or not?
Some pocket knives have a mechanism in the handle that locks when the blade is unfolded. The purpose of this lock is to keep the blade from folding back into the handle while you are using the knife, thereby preventing you from getting your hand caught between the blade and the handle. If you are concerned with knife safety, a locking knife would probably be a good choice. Another way to decide if you should buy a locking blade or not is by looking at what you will be using the knife for. Lightweight everyday use might not require a locking blade but heavier tool use or using a knife for hunting will probably require a locking blade. The locking blade also adds a bit of strength to the knife while in use. In the end it comes down to what you will be using your pocket knife for and your personal preference.
Stick with well known knife brands.
In order to make sure that the knife you buy is of a reliable quality and the best pocket knife possible, it’s best to stick to the well known established pocket knife brands. Cheap knives are often made with cheap materials. The knives might look sharp and polished at first, but after a few uses you will start to notice the blade dulling and other deficiencies may quickly surface. By sticking with the well known brands such as Case, Buck Knives, Spiderco, Gerber, and others, you can be sure that you will be purchasing a high quality knife. Not only that but you can find a lot more information about the knifes manufactured by these companies. All of the pocket knives we review and the brands we recommend are well established reputable companies with long histories of quality craftsmanship and customer service.
Choose a knife with high quality blade material.
A great pocket knife blade is made out of either high grade stainless steel, carbon steel, high carbon stainless steel, or damascus steel. Each blade material has its own pros and cons so knowing a bit about the blade materials is key. As a general rule, stainless steel is easier to sharpen and better in wet conditions, carbon steel is harder and will hold an edge longer, but is harder to sharpen, high carbon stainless steel is a cross between these two providing a durable water resistant blade, and a damascus blade is similar to stainless steel but has a beautiful look adored by collectors worldwide. Samurai swords are made from damascus steel.
Why you should carry a pocket knife at all times!
Not convinced that you need a pocket knife? Here’s just a few reasons that you’ll wish you had one.
- Let’s start with the obvious, hand to claw combat, deep in the forest with a bear. Of course this is totally a situation you will probably find yourself in some day, so you definitely want a high quality extra sharp pocket knife – so you can later tell the tale of how you fought a bear and won with nothing but your small dull pocket knife, your cunning, and your lightning fast reflexes.
- Here’s a classic reason … opening the mail. How else would you open it? Your finger? That’s not too manly you know …
- Okay, I’m gonna rattle off a few here … opening boxes, peeling an apple, picking your teeth, cutting rope, carving your initials, whittling a statue, cutting tags out of your mattress, removing snags in your rug, picking a rock out of your tread, and carving soap all require a decent pocket knife.
- Gutting a fish or squirrel. I’m sure at least once in your life you will need to gut something … a pocket knife is all you’ll need!
- Camping. There are tons of different things you could use a pocket knife for while camping such as creating tinder, gutting a fish, cutting rope, and slicing up your shirt to make a sling when you slip off the edge of a hill while hiking and break your arm. You know that’s going to happen to somebody!
As you can see there is an almost endless amount of uses for a good pocket knife! We just scratched the surface, but I’m sure you can think of numerous times that you wished you had one in your pocket. Check out our Pocket Knife Buyer’s Guide and we’ll help you decide on what the best pocket knife is for you!
The Anatomy of a Pocket Knife
Another topic that can help you learn about pocket knives, and help you to make an educated decision when it comes time to shell over your hard earned cash for one, is the anatomy of a pocket knife. Learning the different parts of a knife will help you understand the differences between various models.
Pocket Knife Terminology
Do you want to look like a pocket knife expert to your friends? Or maybe impress a girl with your manliness? If so then learn these terms and you’ll sound smart!
|Back||The unsharpened back edge of the knife blade.|
|Belly||The curved part of the sharpened side of a knife blade.|
|Blade||The sharpened metal edge of the knife. Pocket knife blades come in many different shapes, sizes, and materials.|
|Bolster||The metal ends on both ends of the knife handle. The bolsters hold together the components of the knife handle and it’s inner workings.|
|Bolster Lining||These are the flat metal pieces that are found inside the handle and provide the “inner walls” and support within the handle.|
|Bone Handle||One of the most common materials used in the production of pocket knife handles. The bone is harvested from naturally deceased animals so no animals are harmed to produce these types of handles. Bone handles are both sturdy and beautiful.|
|Carbon||Found in many knife blades, adding carbon to the steel makes the metal easily sharpened, but can lead to corrosion quickly if carbon blades are not properly cared for.|
|Edge||The sharp part of the knife blade. The edge is what cuts and needs sharpened after using multiple times. Different blade materials have different levels of sharpness.|
|Folding Pocket Knife||A pocket knife where the blade folds down into the handle thereby making the piece smaller and safe to keep in your pocket.|
|Fixed Blade Knife||This is a knife that has a blade that does NOT fold into the handle, rather it is “fixed” into place and requires a sheath to cover up the blade. Fixed blade knifes are often not considered to be pocket knives but you can fit a small sheathed fixed blade knife in your pocket if you would like. Usually people attach the sheath to their belt or pants to carry this type of knife.|
|Handle||The part of the knife that you hold in your hand. Handles can be made out of many different materials, SOme of the most common materials are wood, bone, steel, and M10.|
|Lock||The lock on a pocket knife is used to “lock” the blade in its open position thereby strengthening the floding knife blade during heavy use and protecting the hand from accidental closures of the folding blade.|
|Pocket Knife||A small knife that fits in your pocket and is easy to carry around with you. Pocket knives are usually folding.|
|Point||The sharp tip of the knife blade.|
|Spine||The spine of a single edged knife blade is the flattened back side. The spine of a double edged blade is found in the middle of the flat part where the metal is the thickest.|
|Stainless Steel||Stainless steel is steel that is mixed with at least 10% chromium. The chromium oxide helps to prevent moisture and oxygen from forming rust on the metal. This is the most common material found in pocket knives today.|
|Stiletto||A very thin blade sharpened on both sides intended for stabbing.|
|Tang||The tang is the part of the blade that is not sharpened and sticks into the handle where it pivots. The tang sticks out from the handle a bit and pocket knife manufacturers often put their company information engraved into the metal here.|
Good Luck Choosing the Best Pocket Knife!
Hopefully our tutorial here and all of the other information on our website will help you to become educated about pocket knives, and help you to make an educated decision when buying your next pocket knife … the BEST pocket knife! Definitely check out our Pocket Knife Buyer’s Guide, our detailed pocket knife manufacturers pages, our pocket knife reviews, and our articles on everything related to pocket knives we can think to write about!