Sunday, March 1, 2009

a very long, non-baseball card releated project

Sorry, this isn't going to be about baseball cards. But I've got a little "project" in mind that I feel like writing about, so... deal with it. And I'm writing it because I can't find any Heritage.

An interesting topic came up on a knife forum that I frequent: How much knife do you need? That question really got my little brain whirring along.

I love knives, but I'm no knife collector, I'm a user and when I buy one it gets pocket time. I love playing with a knife, opening it and closing it, thumbing the edge, sharpening a knife, and using a knife. It's a matter of pride to use a knife that I've freshly sharpened. Sharpening knives is one of the most relaxing things I've ever found. It's akin to meditation in a lot of ways. Sharpening a knife allows, and in a way forces you to free your mind. The only thing that's important is the edge on the stone. When your mind is cluttered with too many thoughts you lose the angle and the stone is ineffective. When sharpening a knife, you're trying to find one point in infinity, one fraction of a minute of angle. If you miss that point you either cut off too much steel and dull the knife, or miss the edge all together.

Carrying a knife that I've lovingly cared for doesn't give me a feeling of strength, it's not a weapon. But it does give me a sense of comfort. Comfort in that I know if something goes wrong maybe I can help. Maybe I can cut someone out of a seatbelt if I have to... or hell, maybe I can open a pack of baseball cards for some knifeless person. It's a nice feeling to use a knife and feel it slide so effortlessly through what I'm cutting... I made that knife sharp, I did that.

A well designed knife is a thing of beautiy. Form and function meeting to make an efficient beautiful tool. My knoves range from traditional multibladed knives, to modern single bladed locking folders. Bone, stag wood and brass handles to space age materials like G-10 (the same stuff computer circuit boards are made from) to carbon fiber. No matter what the materials, if they're well thought out, they're beautiful.

So by this point it's obvious that I have a love for things sharp and pointy. And because of that, those of us who love knives probably tend to carry more than we need.

The most common talk in knife and gun circles is the everyday carry (EDC). If you visit just about any gun, knife or gadget forum, you're likely to find a thread with a title something close to "EDC - What's in your pockets?" Then follows hundreds of pages of pictures and lists of what people carry. It sure sounds silly, but it's interesting to see what we find so important that we need everyday. And in the end, it's no less silly than watching someone open a pack of baseball cards online.

So what do I EDC? Everyday when I leave my house the following things are in my pockets:

So what do we see in that picture? And yes, this goes in my pockets every day.

A Victorinox Soldier sits on the left side. Everyone has a Swiss Army Knife. This happens to be the actual knife issued to the Swiss Army (or at least it used to, starting in 2009 they're using a new model). Next to that is my trusty old second generation iPod Nano with my spiffy Skull Candy earphones (I got them really cheap on clearance... $12.99). That thing goes everywhere with me, best $200 I've ever spent. Then there's my cellphone. I hate phones, I don't want a phone... but you can't get away from them any more. My wallet and EDC pen is next. The tank of a knife next to the wallet is a Benchmade model 710. I lusted after that knife for years before I finally pulled the trigger on it and it's turned out to be the best $113 I've ever spent on steel in my life.

Below all that are my keys, with a supply of hair ties. Yes, I have long hair and yes I drive a Subaru, but no, I'm not a hippy. The carabiner that my keys are on will hold up to 6,000 pounds. I could tow my little Impreza with that thing, or dangle an elephant from my belt.

While we're here, I wanna say something about the pen too. I love writing implements. And I especially love Pilot pens and the G2 has long been a favorite of mine. When Pilot introduced the G2 mini, I was in pen geek heaven. They're the perfect length for wallet carry, but a bit too fat. So lately, I've been carrying that little pen, it's a Pilot High-Tec C with a very fine point (0.4). They're only available in stores in Japan, so when I decided to try it out I ordered three of them and a few refills. On days when I feel like I need a little classier writing tool, I carry my full size metal bodied G2.

But enough talk of pens and getting back to why we're reading this... if you're still reading this. I think this is the point where the crickets begin to chirp.

Do I really need the knives I carry?

Yes and no.

Yes in that the Soldier's blade is used exclusively for food preperation. If I need a knife for a meal and there's no knife around, I use it. The Benchmade cuts whatever needs cutting, but never touches food. It's a sanitary issue, and the Soldier has the usual Swiss Army Knife tools for whatever I may need them for (usually opening beer).

But do I really need two knives?

After giving that question some thought I concluded that I could easily get by with just the Soldier. My reasoning was it's a much smaller knife than the Benchmade, but still robust and sturdy enough to handle someheavy duty cutting. It will take a razor sharp edge, but it doesn't have the edge retention that the Benchmade has, but the Soldier will keep a useable edge for a long time. It has useful tools and is a very small package. In the event that I was stuck out in the woods somewhere and darkness was fast approaching I wouldn't want a much smaller knife because of the strength of the pivot... the last thing I'd want lost in the woods is a broken knife and a cut hand.

But I'm not too likely to be lost in the forest. So can I get by with less than the Soldier? Well, that's what we're going to find out.

For the next week, both the Benchmade and the Soldier are coming out of my pocket, to be replaced by a Victorinox Classic. This is the knife that everyone has somewhere in their house. The classic Swiss Army Knife... the one with red handles, tweezers and a toothpick. But I'm going to be a bit different and the one I've chosen to carry has glow in the dark handles.

Below is a comparison between the Classic's blade and the Benchmade that I'm used to carrying.

Stupid flash... the blade on the Benchmade isn't black... I HATE HATE HATE black coated baldes.

I have decided to throw a large, locking Spyderco in the car in the event that there's disaster and I need to cut myself out of a seatbelt.

So, how will it go? Will I be back to two knives after just one day? Or will I find that all you need is a knife with a one inch blade? Remember, it's not the size that matters, it's the shape of the tip.


Captain Canuck said...

wow. My only debate is usually do I carry my cash? Or my plastic?