Ryan over at Total Survivalist posted some great content shorty prior to his move and another today that got me thinking. I've done quite a few posts on different knives, but not a comparative assessment on the strengths of certain folder/EDC knives over others. Ryan posted this question about EDC knives. It's getting quite a few comments, as well as mine so I considered making a post about the EDC knives I use and for what situation.
Each person has different needs and ergonomics for their knives. A professional might open parcels and need a small knife for those simple tasks that come up, a shipping ninja might need a large box cutter or tool steel folder for long term use on cardboard or shipping tape. A range hand might use a fixed blade hunting blade. Construction professionals might need one of everything. When you consider the myriad of needs across the board, the choices can be daunting.
My life is fairly eclectic with my different hobbies. Those hobbies, as well as my occupation make the need for a pocket knife rather pressing. When I was a union electrician, the powers that be dictated that some companies had a zero tolerance policy for razor knives. They had been party to several accidents as a few companies, so those same places banned them. That meant that the employees needed to buy specialty stripping knives or that they bought a thin bladed pocket knife for sturdy wire stripping and general cutting tasks.
My newest skillset, 18th century woodsman survival, requires it's own set of specialty knives and tools. They are very simple tools with multiple uses, just like most survival equipment of today. If we look at our EDC knives the same way, we would be hard pressed to get a knife that would be perfect for any situation.
For 90% of the situations I run into, the HK Epidemic fits the bill. It's extremely hard D2 tool steel holds a great edge and it's one handed open/close action makes it ideal for work when I'm on a ladder or have one hand utilized. The single sided spear shaped blade lends itself to most cutting chores in an industrial/commercial/suburban setting. Opening boxes, splitting cable jackets, general cutting tasks, and many other daily chores are it's forte.
The 10% of the time I'm not in that environment, I'm usually in the woods. When I'm in the woods, I generally carry more than a single knife. If I'm with the scouts, it's normally a small folder that I keep in my backpack. It's the same knife my Grandfather carried while a carpenter in WWII on an aircraft carrier. It's pretty beat up, but it's a thin 1095 blade is perfectly suited for use while camping with scouts in a more controlled environment. It also has a blunt tip and single flat cutting surface, making it safer for use around kids. When I'm camping with my sons or by myself, I will carry the Cold Steel Spartan. It's perfect for rough use, and being a large folder that can be used to do pretty much anything a fixed blade can, it's extremely useful. I've batoned wood, chopped through dense briars, carved stakes and camp tolls as well as processed game with this knife. It isn't perfect for each task, but it will do them all in a pinch.
Woodsman knives are very specific, and each has an intended use. There are many out there with different ideas about the perfect knife for bushcraft uses, but in the end, it's the individual's right to choose what's best for them. I went against Pathfinder school doctrine and bought a thicker, bigger knife for general use, and a smaller, thinner knife for specialty work like cooking and processing game after skinning. A also chose to purchase a curved skinning knife that is stainless for use on hides and for scraping. It's a sacrificial knife for use with things that I wouldn't want to ruin a good knife's edge with. I'll do a full review of my kit and what it entails when it's complete.