Somehow, I think I became a knife collector. Maybe not? All I know is that I like knives. I use knives all the time, and have taken an interest in exploring different brands, designs, and styles.
It’s not just me! EDC, or everyday carry, communities are centered around increased attention and interest in everyday personal use items, including keychains, pocket tool kits, knives, flashlights, bags, and all sorts of other similar items.
Years ago, I bought 2 Gerber knives from Walmart, and they were simply okay. I guess they were my first “real” knives, outside of keychain knives, kitchen knives, and utility knives.
Then came a couple of multi-tools, with their built-in one-handed-opening knives.
And then I bought a Kershaw Leek knife, which I reviewed here. Later, I bought a serrated version of the same knife, for different applications and because it was on sale during a holiday season.
I bought more knives since then, and have received a number of review samples.
There are other knives I’ve bought, tested, and used, but have not reviewed yet. You can see the knife I did review, here.
My current “budget” recommendation is the Kershaw Dividend, 2nd from the bottom in the above photo. It’s made in the USA and sells for ~$42.
I own or have used knives ranging in price from $10 to $200, and some cost even more. I splurged on one or two pricier knives for learning and review purposes, and will likely eventually sell them.
I hear it all the time when I talk about pricier knives – “I don’t see how that’s better than my $10/$20/$30/$50 knife.”
Well, I can tell you this – you get more for your money, up to a certain point. After that, you will see diminishing functional benefits, but greater attention to aesthetics.
Think about pens. Or wallets. Belts. Smartphone cases. Entry-level pricing gets you entry-level features and looks. Spend a little more, and everything gets better. Spend even more, and you get even more. Spend a lot more, and you might not see proportional bump-up in quality, features, functions, or other aspects.
Cheap knives and better ones might do the same job, but will provide for very different user experiences.
I have always been weirdly particular about personal-use tools, accessories, supplies, and other items. My father will use whatever pen is closest to reach. That’s okay. Me? I have my favorites, and like different pens and pencils for different tasks. But I’ll also use whatever pen is in front of me. In the kitchen, I have a box of generic Staples-branded pens. In my office, I have a couple of specific disposables, one not-very-pricey refillable Pilot G2 pen, a few mechanical pencils, and 2 fountain pens that I have been too lazy about refilling. Plus a bunch that don’t see regular use.
I think that at some point I got my father to admit that he liked Pilot G2 gel pens better than the ballpoint retractable pens he tends to keep around.
Starting with school supplies, then tools, and even now with knives, I like to find the best one for me.
Does it really matter? No.
But just like any watch can tell time, any jacket will keep you warm, any shoes will keep your feet dry, any knife can do what you need it to, and that’s to cut things.
Do you have a particular preference when it comes to screwdrivers? How did you come about learning that preference? Exposure.
ToolGuyd allows and enables me to explore this part of my personality. With knives, I can’t even tell you if ToolGuyd is the cause or simply an enabler.
Wanting to be able to tell you the differences in knife-opening mechanisms, such as between a thumb hole, thumb stud, or flipper tab – is that an exploration done for ToolGuyd coverage, or ToolGuyd coverage prompted by exploration?
In other words, I can’t tell you if I started liking knives because of ToolGuyd, or if I would have liked knives to the same extent anyway.
ToolGuyd has been a part of my life for quite some time now – 9 years. I don’t even know how to describe how integrated it has become, and how these experiences have helped to steer my adult life.
Somehow along the way, I took up an interest in knives, and from an outside standpoint, I suppose I have become a collector.
If you were to ask “which knife should I buy?,” I can probably answer that.
Yesterday, I briefly posted about the Spyderco Para 3. This is a ~$120 knife with a darned-good design, made from quality materials. Is it better than say… the Kershaw Dividend that I recommend at 1/3 the price? Yes. At the least, its blade is made from more premium steel. But I wouldn’t use better to describe it, it’s simply different.
Why would someone choose the Spyderco Para 3 over the Kershaw Dividend, with both being fine knives? Maybe you don’t want a flipper, or an assisted-opening mechanism. Or you want better knife blade steel. Or you prefer textured G-10 over the Kershaw’s anodized aluminum handle.
The Para 3 has a “compression lock” locking mechanism that I haven’t explored before, so that’s something I’ve been paying close attention to. Maybe you would rather that, over the Kershaw’s liner lock.
Whether for ToolGuyd, or enabled by ToolGuyd, I like to look at all these little things, and even finer ones.
I remember getting annoyed by popular magazines that featured reviews and product guides that only included items waaaaaay above my budget. $700 shoes?!!! And so even though I have gradually been bumping-up into higher-priced knife territory, I continue to look at inexpensive knives. There are a few waiting to be reviewed.
If you’re stepping up from a very inexpensive knife, chances are that an affordable good-quality knife, like the Dividend, will be a better fit than say a Para 3. But after you’ve used that knife for a few years, and maybe fiddled with a different knife or two at a knife shop or sporting goods store, you might be curious about something in the next price range.
I and ToolGuyd will be here for you, whether your budget is $15, $50, or $150.
If your budget is $150+, I will have some reviews for you, over time, but ToolGuyd’s not going to budget for more than a few premium knife review samples, and certainly not any custom knives.
One of these days I hope to be able to answer the question “why do you like knives?” The truth is, I don’t know. I like to think that I like having personal connections with the items I must use on a daily basis. With quality, functionality, user comfort, and price being the same, I’d choose the knife that “speaks to me.” One that I find a little more visually appealing than the next.
Some people are into watches, others into belts. Why might someone buy blue socks or boxer shorts instead of pale green ones that are $1 cheaper?
I’m saying all this because some people don’t “get it,” – and that’s okay. A lot of people have material interests that those that don’t simply won’t understand. Comments here are typically polite and moderate, but I’ve seen comments on social media where criticisms can get personal and even mean.
I am always open to requests, and always open to questions. While I enjoy testing and using different knives, it’s for a purpose.
In a few weeks, I’ll be ramping my full-photo review schedule back up to where it used to be. There are several knives in my review queue, and with the new New Year comes a new tool sample budget.
What do you want to see reviewed, explored, talked about, or otherwise covered here, knife-related?
If you have requests or questions about other product categories, feel free to email me! I’ve started to catch up on my emails, and have been better about responding more promptly.