The issue of gun rights and laws is becoming an increasingly hot topic with people on both sides of the aisle digging in for a long and contentious fight.
But what similar issue can get both sides of the political spectrum fighting together for a common cause? Knife rights and laws.
I’ve written about this dozens of times, but an old law banning “gravity knives” in New York City has been abused by law enforcement to apprehend and arrest thousands of New Yorkers.
This topic is intriguing and caught the interest of Vice, which shot a short video detailing the background of Doug Ritter of Knife Rights and the NYC knife laws.
Kershaw makes some mighty fine knives. But, like anything you buy, an issue may arise.
Fortunately, all Kershaw products are covered under a Limited Lifetime Warranty against manufacturing defects. This includes defects in material, construction, and workmanship. For example, if the lockup is not up to par or the blade centering is off, Kershaw will happily take care of it.
However, unless you have some of the timeless models like the Leek or Blur, chances are your Kershaw will one day be discontinued.
Ethan Becker is a savant whose knowledge and eye for design knows no bounds.
Becker, who underwent an extensive cooking apprenticeship early in life and later became the author of Joy of Cooking, founded Becker Knife & Tool in the early 1980s to create some of the best outdoor knives around. To say he succeeded undersells Becker’s achievement.
When he teamed up with KA-BAR to bring his knives to a wider public, people everywhere were able to experience the joy of Becker knives firsthand.
That’s the case with the KA-BAR BK11 Becker Necker.
If you were to ask most knife people what Cold Steel is best known for, they’d probably say those insane videos showing president Lynn C. Thompson and others cutting pieces of thick rope or chunks of meat with heavy metal playing in the background.
While Cold Steel has gone through quite a transformation over the years, bringing some of the strongest folding knives to the market and constantly trying to improve in every way, it will always be known for its over-the-top marketing.
According to legend, they started making the videos more than 30 years ago to prove just how strong their knives were. Cold Steel claims the videos “stunned the industry” with their graphic testing.
There is an old theory called the stepping-stone hypothesis that claims using mild drugs will lead to the usage of more potent and addictive drugs. This phenomenon became more widely known as the concept of the “gateway drug” in the 1970s.
I am not here to argue the merits of the claim, but the term “gateway” has now become a catchall for an introductory item that leads to a greater obsession.
I was curious to learn more about how people came to the obsession of knives, so I set out to find the most common “gateway knives” for every brand. These are the knives people first got that made them more interested in a brand, slowly consuming them until they had bought up as many knives from the brand as possible.
I thought I’d focus on the 20 top brands. I’ll include a secondary choice at the end.
Benchmade – Mini Griptilian
The first brand up is Benchmade. Benchmade is already a brand known for higher-end knives, so it’s not likely a person’s first knife will ever be a Benchmade. However, for those interested in trying out the brand before they make a long-term commitment to its more expensive offerings, there’s the Mini Griptilian.
This knife is an icon and still represents the best of Benchmade. The Mini Griptilian uses 154CM steel on its sub-3-inch blade and Noryl GTX scales. After this knife, you shouldn’t be surprised to see someone upgrade to the premium version of the Mini Griptilian and maybe even try out some other Benchies like the Barrage or Infidel.
Secondary Choice – Benchmade Griptilian
I was tempted to choose the Benchmade 940 as a secondary option, but it’s about $182. So the larger Griptilian seems like a better option.
Boker – Kalashnikov Automat 74
Of all the brands, I had the most trouble finding the perfect gateway knife that could get people hooked on Boker. The problem is that there are so many models — not to mention several different brands under the Boker umbrella. I ultimately decided on the Boker Plus Kalashnikov Automat 74.
A brawl is defined by chaos and conflict. With the Kershaw Brawler, you get something that’s strong and reliable even when things get rough and unpredictable.
The heart of the Brawler is its blade. At 3 inches, the black-coated blade is a perfect size for everyday carry and doesn’t take up much space in the pocket. Although the 8Cr13MoV stainless steel is a budget steel, it performs well while boasting excellent rust resistance.
The Brawler’s modified tanto point is exceptionally versatile. Unlike the standard American tanto which features an abrupt angle toward the point, the Brawler’s profile has a more subtle curve. This gives the user more edge to cut in one long pull.
There is no right way to carry a knife — unless you ask the millions of people who carry knives. Some will insist that the only true way to carry a knife is clipped to the pocket so that the blade tip is pointing up.
A smaller but still vocal minority say that’s preposterous and that one should carry a knife in the pocket with the blade pointed down.
The truth is that it’s simply a matter of preference.
According a survey in Knife News, 64 percent prefers tip up and 19 percent prefers tip down while 15 percent don’t care and another 2 percent prefer no clip.
This post isn’t to persuade anyone to carry a knife a certain way but to enlighten those who don’t carry their knives tip down.
So if you can’t understand why anyone would carry a knife tip down, here are a few reasons.
Better Positioning for Larger Knives
One of the main advantages of carrying a knife with the tip up is that you can slid your thumb into your pocket, pull out the knife, and already be in the natural position to open it. This is true… for most knives.
Larger knives — like those with blades longer than 4 inches — are a bit trickier.
When you slide a larger knife like the Spyderco Resilience out of the pocket when it’s tip up, you won’t be in a natural position to open it. You’d end up need to adjust the grip a little to open it effectively.
Picking the handle material that appeals to you the most depends on a ton of factors, including looks, purpose, durability, and more.
If you want something that’s durable and won’t warp, opt for a synthetic material. If you want something that’s probably the first handle material ever, go for bone. If you want something sleek and strong, pick a knife with a metal handle.
But, if you want a knife that’s downright good-looking and feels good in the handle, it’s hard to beat good old-fashioned wood.
Pros and Cons of Wood
I won’t go until detail about the pros and cons of wood because you probably already know, so I’ll boil it down. The Good: Comfortable, beautiful, varied, durable, potentially inexpensive. The Bad: Unstable at times, prone to warpage, requires more maintenance, potentially expensive.
The fact that there are so many types of wood out there means you can get the look and durability you desire while maintaining that natural looks.
There are some stabilized laminates on par with plywood in this list, including Dymondwood. If that doesn’t jibe with you, then I apologize in advance.
Without further ado, here’s a look at 15 excellent folding knives with wooden handles.
1. Boker Magnum Backpacker (Soft Wood)
I wanted to start off with the Backpacker. This is a really handsome knife with a simple yet solid construction. It has a 3.4-inch drop point blade made from 440 stainless steel. It opens via a thumb stud and locks with a liner.
Boker has released hundreds if not thousands of models over the past hundred years, but few have seen the success or critical acclaim as the Boker Plus Exskelibur line.
The Boker Plus Exskelibur I is a gentleman’s folder that pulls out all the stops. Along with using the best materials on the market, the knife features a simple design you wouldn’t be afraid to take to an office party or use out at the construction site.
The knife — designed by South African knifemaker Mike Skellern — boasts a long 3.5-inch blade made from high-quality CPM-S35VN stainless steel, an alloy known for its wear resistance, toughness, and increased ease of sharpening. The blade profile is a straightforward drop point design that performs well in nearly every way.
Adding to the intrigue of the folder is the unobtrusive front flipper. It takes a second to get used to it, but you’ll be wishing the flipper was so placed on every knife. A framelock mechanism keeps the blade securely engaged.
The great thing about knives is just how many minor changes and innovations there are. Sure, we know about the biggies like creation of the pocket clip by Spyderco’s Sal Glesser or the Reeve Integral Lock, but what about the smaller things?
For example, if you’ve bought a Spyderco with a lockback mechanism in the past few years, you’ve undoubtedly used something called the Boye Dent.
But just what is the Boye Dent?
Here it is.
The Boye Dent is a very minor addition that’s infiltrated modern lockback knives from Spyderco. It is essentially a scallop-shaped recess in the release bar of the lockback or mid lock.
What is the Purpose of the Boye Dent?
The Boye Dent was pioneered by knifemaker David Boye, who is now known for designing boating knives. On his site, it says that the dent is for “preventing accidental disengagement of the blade when the handle is gripped tightly.”
Blue Whale Folder by Boye Knives
Essentially, when you put the palm of your hand against the release bar, there is less material there to accidentally disengage the knife.