Sunday, 3 April 2011

Pocket Knives I Own and Recommend

Since most folks interested in the outdoors are knife crazy, I figure I may as well put up some info on pocket knives I have owned and can recommend. I try not to buy things emotionally bcause this usually ends up in spending more than you can afford for a product you don't really need. I like to think about the task the knife will perform and then buy a knife that is QUALITY and best suited to the task. I have had quite a few pocket knives over the years but have only kept the quality ones. I did start off with a knife called a Mundial Squirrel which was a lovely little knife but some dolt of a flatmate lost it and I never saw it again. so I'll start at the start and write about the knives in order they were purchsed, starting with the oldest.

Victorinox Camper
After I purchased my Mundial Squirrel (the year was 1987), I was hooked. I had a birthday coming up and my mother asked me what I wanted. I had dreamed of a real Swiss Army Knife for ages, and so for my 11th birthday, she bought me a Victorinox Camper from the sporting section of K-Mart. This was a great little knife and unusually, it didn't possess the tooth pick and tweezers the regualr camper now does:

A quick look at mine shows that it has been around and seen use. Luckily, I have always been OCD with my knives and even for an 11 year old, I looked after it pretty well.

I found the combination of tools to suit me very well and used most of them a great deal... except of course for the cork screw. Maybe that was some French influence because for the life of me, I couldn't see the Swiss Army trecking across the Alps with a bottle of wine under one arm, and a baguette and wedge of cheese under the other. Regardless, if you ignore the useless corkscrew, it's a great little knife that takes and edge and resists rust quite well. Mine has survived 21 years and will end up going to my kids when they are old enough. This knife is great for youngsters learning about knives and would suit a kid in the Scouts or Royal Rangers without a problem.

Leatherman Charge Ti
When I was finally finishing my degree and had lined up a contract for work, I needed a multi tool. You see, as a sports and science teacher, I had a bit of equipment that needed maintaining and this knife had all the right equipment to do the job. Leatherman has made very similar knives to the Charge Ti like the Charge XT / TTi / AL / ALX/ XTi

I really didn't see the need for gut hooks and seatbelt cutters at the time so I went with the Charge Ti. It has been a great knife and I would have to say that of all the knives I own and have owned, the Leatherman has seen the most use. If I lost it, I would buy one again tomorrow.
So what makes it so great? It has a great combination of tools. The quality is high (at least on mine as I bought it in 2003, while they were still making everything in USA) and there is a wide selection of bits available for the bit holder. The bit holder IMO is a stroke of genius that elevated this knife from a gimmick to a real tool worthy of being called an Every Day Carry knife. I also must say that the fixed flat screw driver is an item that should not be underlooked. Having this fixed driver makes opening paint cans and prying a safer enedvour than using the changable bit holder.

The main blade also deserves some mention. I have found the 154 CM steel to be one of the best steel I have encountered. The heat treat on this knife blade is perfect as the blade takes an edge and holds it for a very long time.

This knife has served me extremely well and became an integral part of my kit when I changed careers and became a firefighter. It was used to maintain Holomatro Rescue equipment, pumps, BA and radio equipment and even used to cut up the much anticipated cakes we had on "fat Friday". They can be found second hand and should be snapped up if you see them with the older styled leather sheath (like the one pictured below) as this indicates the older models that were still using parts solely manufactured in the US.

Even though the Leatherman is not consider "bushcrafty", it should still seriously be considered when you are looking for a knife. It is sturdy, multi-purpose and with a 25 year guarantee it is also very good value.

Spyderco Salt H1

I usually shy away from serrated knives. I just find them impractical for the majority of tasks we tend to need a knife for. They only really excel at aggresive cutting needed for ropes or material where each serration acts as a seperate little knife blade, making short work of tough materials. This feature is what made this knife a benefit as part of my Road Accident Rescue kit when working as a fire fighter. The H1 steel is rust proof. I mean, we use some pretty nasty chemicals in firefighting foam that would rust most metals very quickly. This knife, despite riding around in my turn-out coat through chemicals and water, never developed a speck of rust. I had never once olide it or washed it under clean water and yet it stayed shiny and bright. The H1 metal keeps a very good edge, is quite easy to resharpen and resists chipping very well. Apparently the key is using Nitrogen to harden the steel instead of Carbon. Who would have thunk it eh? As it stands, these knives used to be made in Seki City, Japan, but like nearly everything else manufacturing was moved to China at a later date. I was lucky..

The Salt H1 can also be bought with a plain edge, which makes this knife PERFECT for people that spend their time near water.

Mine was so specialised that after I left the fireservice, it never saw much use again. I carry it in winter as the bright yellow makes it easy to find in my backpack and grip, large circular cut-out and shape make it easy to operate with heavy gloves. Again, I highly recommend this knife!

Fallkniven TK3
Every now and again I suffer from bouts of madness brought on by things I can consider beautiful. Ask my wife, she'll confirm this. When I first saw the Fallkniven TK3, I thought it was the most beautiful pocket knife I had seen. I was looking for a plain edge pocket knife to have on my belt as the Leatherman was a little too large and the Spyderco was too limited due to the serrations. I had read tales and legends of Fallkniven's G3 steel and decided I must have one. I promptly joined Knife Forums:

and became part of the Fallkniven sub-forum to learn what I could about this marvelous little knife. At this point a gentleman from Work Wear Canada:

contacted me and offered me a TK3 that had been slightly damaged that was his personal knife. I jumped at the chance and waited in anticipation for it to arrive in the mail. He had extreme knife OCD because what he considered damage was barely noticable so to say I was chuffed was an understatement.

The knife has cocobollo rosewood scales and locks up tighter than a retired basketballer's knee. Short of buying a custom handmade folder, you won't see this kind of quality from many other manufacturers. Here are the specs from Fallkniven:

This knife oozes quality but the sheath looks as appealing as boiled gonads. Although practical, the sheath is made of nylon and drops the ball when you compare it to the gentlemanly qualities of the TK3 it houses.

One thing needs to be said about exotic super steels though, they have their own personality. Harder to dull means harder to sharpen. This knife holds an edge like no other but it takes a fair effort to restore that edge if you let it go for too long. If you look closely at the picture above, you will notice a sutural line on the blade. This is present because the blade is constructed from laminated steel, with the 3G sandwitched between 2 slices of VG10. Despite the difficulty you may experience when resharpening this knife, if you want a good quality little folder, I highly recommend the TK3. There is a wide variety of scale materials to choose from so you can get one to suit your tastes.

It was never my intention to make this post a mini-novel, yet here we are. I hope you enjoyed the read. I will post my thoughts on various fixed blade knives I have owned soon.


  1. Good stuff, offers a nicely deatiled insight to your way of selecting tools.

    I myself of tk3 too,as well as various Vics and ive used loads of multools and ive tossed em away and now i have only few,and my most used ones are old super tool and vic swiss tool.

    I really hope this isnt the last gear topic from you .

  2. I plan on doing more reviews and gear talks. I have more equipment that needs talking about but alas the time factor is a problem! I am glad you enjoyed it.

  3. With love from Russia!!! #superpost

  4. Who doesn't love the Victorinox? This was my first "real, adult" knife given by my dad when I was a teen. We were camping enthusiasts back then (still are) and my parents love taking us kids to enjoy the outdoors, even in winter! My first knife made me feel important and a real veteran camper like my father and he gave me tasks equal to my abilities at that time. There are a lot of great pocket knives around, but nothing comes close to the nostalgia attached to my Victorinox. Here's a site that features the best knives around: