Wednesday, March 30, 2016
The Best Knife
There is a truism that answers the age old question "What is the best all around knife to have." The answer is "the one you have with you." The thing is, it doesn't matter what knife you have, fancy or plain, expensive or not, if, when you really need it you aren't carrying it for whatever reason.
The one I rely on most is one like the one pictured above. An inexpensive Kamp King knife made by Imperial.
Please note, the one above is not my knife. I took the easy way out and filched a photo from online. It's a good pic, but somebody did a really bad job of sharpening that blade!
I'm not sure of the genealogy involved, but Imperial also made several types of Boy Scout and Cub Scout knives. This model is almost an exact copy of the official Cub Scout knife I once owned. The official Scout knives were a bit pricey for a poor country boy to own, but I did have a few. For some reason they were also easily lost. They were very good knives. Imperial sold the Kamp Kraft for a fairly low price at numerous outlets. I seem to remember this exact knife being offered at Walmart in a blister pack for around three dollars back in the '70s and beyond.
What I've found is that the cheaper knife compares favorably with the more expensive ones for everyday carry. And, at the cheap price, I didn't mind losing one so much, therefore, of course, I stopped losing them! There seems to be an inverse square law about these things. Those things you can least afford to lose you are more likely to, and vice versa. Nowadays, though, they have fallen into the range of "vintage" and go for a bit more when you find them. Not exactly rare, you can expect to pay five dollars and up for one on eBay.
The steel is good. It holds an edge well. For a handy person like myself, the few extra tools included are very welcome. The scales tend to break with age, and the joints get wobbly over time with mis-use. Used responsibly though, you can get a lot of mileage out of one. One of these resides in my work pants all the time. I tend to carry a smaller, sleeker more modern version of this in my "town" pants.
You must remember, I said above, "country boy". I suspect it's much the same now, but a country boy of my generation especially just did not ever go anywhere without some sort of pocket knife in his possession. It was a tool in constant use all day every day for uncountable chores. Therefore, whatever I'm doing I always have at least one pocket knife on me.
I'm retired now, but I usually wear some form of work attire. Bib overalls, jeans, coveralls or cargo pants, since I am often repairing things, doing woodwork, gardening or whatever. At this moment I'm sitting here in my bib overalls, my Kamp King knife in my pocket and a larger lock-back knife clipped into the long tool pocket on my leg.
I had a career once and worked in an office. Of course I had a small pocket knife, of the "penknife" variety in my pocket. A city bred co-worker who had been raised in Florida remarked seriously that I must be some sort of hoodlum, since I carried a pocket knife. I and others were quick to counter with the facts of life, Texas style.
Even in grade school, it was a sure bet that every male student, and some of the female ones, carried a pocket knife. It wasn't viewed as a weapon at all. As usual I saw many fights during my school days, but I don't remember anyone ever pulling out his knife. That was a serious breach of etiquette!
I like knives, I even collect them. My collection consists of pocket knives, lock-back knives, sheath knives, and even a couple of swords. I only collect inexpensive ones, though. I never paid more than twenty dollars for one, most fall in the "under five dollar" range. The few more expensive ones were gifts or inherited. I like the variety, and ingenuity of design. I even have at least three of the above mentioned Kamp King knives.
I have no official Scout pocket knives, though. Alas. I do also have an authentic Swiss Army Knife by Victorinox, and a couple of copies of same. I don't carry them. The copies aren't that good, and as for the actual Swiss? See the passage about always losing expensive knives above! I don't risk it. I can MacGyver just as well with my Kamp King.
If you ever wind up in a survival situation you can make almost everything you need to live with the aid of a good knife. If you don't have one, perish the thought, one of your first chores is to make a blade of some sort.
Don't leave home without it!