Selecting the Perfect Knife for your Workplace and Hobbies.

One of the earliest tools in recorder history is the blade, a simple edge on a rock used for a variety of different reasons. Today the blade has evolved into an elegant and often controversial tool that is held in high regard by some and despised as a weapon no longer necessary, by others. I fall into the first camp. I love my knives, they are useful and have been part of my life as long as I can remember. I have found that there are two common reasons people feel the need to carry a knife as part of their everyday carry    

The first and most commonly and practical need for an Everyday carry knife is its usefulness as a tool, A good knife or multitool has great utility, and can assist is many everyday tasks such as opening letters and boxes to prying open paint can lids and tightening screws or scraping corrosion off a car battery. Depending on the sharpness, style and material of the blade different task may be easier than others. 

The second less common but just as practical reason people carry a knife is for a means of self-defense and security. For the majority of people that carry for this purpose alone, it is about peace of mind in what they feel to be a hostile environment. There are several people don’t feel comfortable with or are not permitted to carry a gun in their place of work, such as Postal workers, or teachers, so they do the next best thing and carry a blade as a means of self-defense. The truth is most that carry a blade for self-defense would not know what to do with it in a fight, they just use it as a visual deterrent, and sometimes that works.

There are knives that are versatile enough to fall into both the utility and the protection category. This will depend heavily on your work environment and the policies they have in place. I will never encourage someone to put their livelihood at risk just to carry what I believe to be the most useful tool you carry daily.

I have work several jobs in my lifetime, from jobsite construction worker, service repair man, Big Box store sales associate, assembly line worker and for the last ten years I have worked in a high-rise office building with professional white-collar co-workers. I have seen what works in each of the different environments and how the people in each of the different industries react when you brandish your tool that the outside world sees as a weapon. I have found the reaction of your co-workers and customers to be every bit as important as the functionality of the knife or multitool you are using. In the current environment we live in, everything that has a weapon sigma is a weapon to somebody and it is important for us, the majority, law abiding citizens, to not give the opposition a reason to push for the restriction or ban of the tools we hold in such high regard.   

Professional office type jobs and Retail or outside sales including general customer service positions typically don’t require a larger knife. I Have held these types of positions and have found a small one to three-inch maximum blade folding knife or small multitool is sufficient to get the bulk of the required task completed. In an office you will be opening letters, large envelopes or boxes and maybe cutting the wrappers off office supplies. In retail, you may cut open boxes for new stock for the shelves or scrape pricing sticker residue off product packaging. There are not many if any tIMG_2034ask that require a large blade or even a fixed blade knife in this or a similar line of work. I used to carry a Kershaw tactical folder every day, since I have evaluated my actual needs, my work week knife is the Leatherman style CS, with the scissors in place of the pliers. It is a great little utility knife for the daily task I have to complete in an office setting and does not make people around uncomfortable when I brandish it to open coffee filters or open packages.

 

When I was in construction or on the assembly line I carried my larger Kershaw folder and a Leatherman. For these industries you may need something with a little “heft” that can withstand a larger dose of daily use in a harsher environment. As a field worker I had more challenging task like striping electrical cables, clipping wires and cutting on denser materials. It is not uncommon to see these types of tools or blade on a construction site or as an in-home repair man and is not looked upon as a tool that is out of place. Typically, something with a two to four-inch maximum length blade is common for this type of application and will not draw attention and a larger folding knife is a good option for a self-defense application.

concealing a knife for personal defense is never a bad option, especially if your place of business is not on board with firearms in the workplace, or if you would for the federal government, you can be terminated or jailed for having a firearm on premises. I carry a medium size fixed blade for my weekly self defense option. Since I sit at a desk all day, I keep this in my computer backpack where it is both concealed and accessible from the exterior. Iimg_1970-e1523228672550.jpg went with a medium size fixed blade for a few reasons, first it is small enough to fit in my bag without drawing attention, second, it can be used in tight spaces. Really my biggest concern is when in my car or at a gas station, I travel in one of the top five major cities daily and there are people on every corner and at lost of gas stations panhandling. This issue is you can’t always distinguish between the true panhandlers and the crooks running a con that would rob you blind. Your personal defense weapon should be something that is job compliant or left in your personal car if you drive a work vehicle as many service industries require. Make sure it is something you are comfortable handling and can be concealed. My Wife and I both carry a Mora Companion in our cars or in our bags.

Now that we have gone over the work place specific and often “workplace compliant” Everyday carry knives, lets discuss a few other situations you need to consider. As an avid fisherman and camper, I carry my personal defense knife camping, the Light my Fire Moraknives, it is a great blade for cutting bait and bush crafting chores while camping. I still carry my Kershaw spring open folding knife on the weekends as both my utility and protection blade, it is not a large knife, but it has great utility and serves my needs well for my activities on the weekends. You should evaluate what your hobbies and interest are and find the knife or multitool that is best suited for your needs. Kayaking and canoeing or fishing, a stainless-steel one-piece knife in a plastic sheath may be your best option. Hunters may use surgical steel curved blades for skinning deer, hogs or squirrels. Biking, skating or any other mechanical hobby may require a good multitool. Rock climbing, a good one handed folding knife may be your best bet. Really you should try out different options and see what is right for you.

Here are a few things to look for in a knife when selection for your EDC and Hobbies.

Blade Length – How long does you blade need to be? Yes, size matters! You don’t one something that is grossly oversized or undersized. Packages and boxes only require small blades while skinning a dear will require something much larger.

Blade type – Straight or Serrated or a blade with both?  A straight smooth blade is great for cutting paper, tape on boxes or breaking them down to go in the trash, carving wood, cutting string, slicing cheese, fruits and veggies. A serrated or a blade is good for cutting into meat like beef, pork and chicken, cutting foam inserts or insulation. I like it for cutting paracord or larger ropes, you can use a point to hold the rope or place it between the divots to hold the rope in place while you apply pressure.

Blade style – Drop point, Clip point, Spear, Tonto, Curved, Re-curved? There are so many options on blade style it is hard to go into the uses for all of them. Drop Point, clip point and spear are great for digging out holes in wood and carving. My experience is that Tonto makes the best improvised flat head screw driver and scraper, the curves and Re-curved are great for skinning and meat processing. Some of the smaller re-curved are good self-defense blades.

Blade Material – Carbon steel, stainless steel, surgical steel and even plastics? – Each of the steels are good for their own reasons, Carbon steel is easy to sharpen but does not hold and edge very long, this is by far the softest of the blades and is commonly found on many folding style knives. It is a dependable material however you may get what look to be rust spots on it after a few years if it is not well taken care of. Stainless is harder to sharpen but keeps an edge a little longer, this is your typical pocket knife or Multitool material. Note there are different grades of stainless steel and they are not all the same, be sure to get a good quality 420 or 440 is standard. Surgical steel is great for skinning animals but is by far the hardest to sharpen and is often the thinnest blade. These are typically reserved for fillet style knives and not common for Everyday carry or utility knives.           

Folding Liner lock, back lock or no lock at all?  Folding knives are great for the pocket, in a bag or purse and don’t require any other bade protection. When I say blade protection, I mean your hand protected from getting cut when going for the knife. Liner lock are great for one handed use, opening or closing and make for great ease of use when doing another task. I like mine for fishing, I can hold the rod while I cut the line after I get hung up on logs below the water. A back lock is good for focused task, these are not typically one-handed operations however you can close them one handed with practice. Knives without locks are not my favorite, they are commonly the swiss style multi-function knives and can come back on your fingers when used improperly, these should not be used by beginners.

Fixed blades – Full tang, Rat Tail or partial tang? Full tank means the blade material extends from the pommel to the tip of the blade, these are typically the strongest knives and most durable for heavy duty chores like chopping sticks or branches. The rat tail or partial tang tapers off into the handle typically between half to three fourths the way into it. These are your potato peelers, fruit and veggie choppers, wood carving bait cutters or light duty knives that don’t take a tremendous beating.        

I have several knives I have picked up over the years for different reasons and different situations. I will be totally transparent here and admit, some knives I have just because the look awesome! These are not part of my everyday carry rotation and are not particularly useful other than wall décor but are treasures no less than my functional ones. You have been armed with a good foundation on the most common, and earliest tool of man. This is where you need to find the knife that works best for you, everyone has their own style and it is reflected in the knife they select for their everyday carry and hobbies. Be sure to do your homework on personal situation, what you are permitted to carry in your workplace and the brand, style, material and overall utility of your knife selection before you make a purchase. Don’t waste your hard-earned cash on a cheap tool that may leave you in a bind, but don’t overspend on a show pony either, find a balance of value and utility.

The links above, where I have specified the knives or multitools I carry are for your reference on the products and specifications so that you may compare features and help you find the knife that is right for you.

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Gear review – Leatherman Surge Multitool

Gear review – Leatherman Surge Multi-tool
I love the Leatherman line of products, they are made in the USA and have a well-deserved steller reputation. I have had my surge for about a year and have used it on more occasions than I thought I might. It is a solid piece of gear that will compliment any EDC, camping, fishing, hunting, bugout, emergency or disaster gear you already own. Below I have my list of Pros and Cons on the Leatherman Surge multi-tool

Leatherman Surge -1

Product Pros:

This is a BEAST of a Multi-tool with a Sturdy design that really has not been rivaled. It has no “Flop” in it, the pliers, blades and tools are in place for the log haul and so far there have no issues with the structural integrity of the product
Your daily use items are on the exterior of the multi-tool, making them much easier to access. The 2 knife blades are one had open with a liner lock design that makes then a one handed close as well. Scissors and saw blade can be done with one had if you practice but are still simple to get to. This feature makes this an EDC worthy pocket knife.

The Pliers are your standard needle nose design with a larger opening for nuts and bolts toward the back of the assembly. They work well for the standard sizes most commonly used on automotive and household needs. The wire cutters work just fine for metal coat hangers, electrical wire and just about any standard household wires you may deal with. I would also like to note that they are replaceable, but I don’t use them enough to warrant it.
The interior tools, Awl, can opener, small and large flat head screwdriver and the bit driver that comes with a Phillips and flat head all work as expected. The surge has a locking mechanism for these tools as well to keep them from moving on you while in use.

Leatherman Surge Multitool - Blade

There are 2 distinctly different blades for your use, a straight and a serrated edge. I have been told on many occasions that a knife, unless used for cutting meet is to be a straight edge, if it has serrations it should just be a saw. I don’t agree with this logic, I personally believe the serrated blades come in the handiest cutting rope, or a small piece of wood, really anything that can fit in the divits between the peaks of the blades.

Leatherman Surge Multitool Saw file
The saw blade can be swapped out for the file they provide in the factory package. It is an easy exchange between the 2, also note you can order replacement saws and files from the Leatherman website. I had to replace my saw after it was chewed up by some concrete rock board I cut during my shower remodel project.

You have read all the good up to this point, now let me tell you a few of the things I don’t really care for.

Product Cons:

At 14.4 ounces, it is a heavy tool, if you wear it on your belt in the sheath they provided it is not too bad to carry, if it is in your pocket, be sure to have a belt on to keep your britches up! This is definitely a better pack item in my opinion.
This is a Multitool not just a pocket knife, so keep that in when you are using it as one. The next statement holds true for the vast majority of multitools, so I don’t hold it against Leatherman. When using the blades the bulk of the tool can get in the way of what you are trying to cut, especially if you are in a tight space or up against another object. It can make it more difficult than it needs to be and this is when you just want to go with a standard pocket or utility knife.

Leatherman Surge Multitool open

Here is my big complaint, the bit driver is proprietary, yes you have to buy your bits from Leatherman. I understand because of the design and function of the tool you were cutting down on the thickness of the bit driver and bits, but this really limits the size of hex or star heads you can use in the driver.

In Conclusion:

All in all, I like my Surge enough if it were ever stolen or lost I would replace it. The cons on this do not outweigh the pros by a longshot. This piece of gear has traveled with me on several campouts, fishing trips and has never failed me. I have used it camp cooking, getting the hook out of fish and even wrapping gifts at Christmas (Yes, I used the scissors, not the knife). For the foreseeable future the Leatherman Surge Multitool will have a place in my Everyday Carry bag.

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Everyday Carry (EDC) Part 3

A good Pen is priceless, no not a $300 pen that an executive would have, just a solid ball point or gel pen that is dependable. Great for everyday use and has replicable ink. I like the Zebra stainless steel series, it is solid and has easy to find ink refills. For those that don’t know, this is often your first best self defense weapon!

Now we come to what may be to some a very sensitive subject. To some this could can be perceived as a weapon, for others it is just another tool, the pocket knife! If you can carry one do so. First of all this is not a plea to get you to carry a self-defense weapon, this is a box/letter opener, cutting tags off clothes, and general use tool. You are welcome to carry 2 if you so choose. I do! My basic tool is the Leatherman Style SC. Super small with scissors, tweezers, file, screwdriver, bottle opener and knife blade. Roughly the size of my index finger closed. It is perfect for cutting oranges and apples, snipping wild hairs, quick wrapping gifts and pulling splinters. I also carry a Kershaw folding knife with a 3-1/2″ blade, I carry it for peace of mind and larger task that the little one wont handle. Feel free to select any knife you would like, just make sure it is appropriate for the daily life you live and conforms to your state and local laws.

I personally carry a very small True Utility Lighter – I don’t smoke, so you are thinking why carry one? I carry one for emergencies only. We do lots of camping, have birthday parties with candles that need lighting, sometimes the stove wont lite with the built in ignition or I need to fuse the end of a rope or straw for a project. There are many uses for a lighter, this is something you need to decide for yourself.

if you enjoy this series be sure to subscribe! And leave a comment with your thoughts on the EDC items we have discussed here today!

Thanks, and remember, it’s your life, prepare for it!

Your Everyday Carry (EDC) Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of our pocket carry needs that help us Men prepare for our day. The Flash Light, Smart Phone and Ear Buds are all a mans best friend!

small Pocket Flashlight is never a bad thing to carry, I carry the Browning Microblast ANSI 72L. Why? Because it gets dark! Drive home at night, porch light is out… it’s dark, looking under the couch for the remote, it’s dark, in the trunk of your car, in your garage, your attic, under the desk, you guessed it… it’s dark. If you have kids it is just a bonus to shine it at them from the dark chair in the corner when they come home after curfew. It also has good self-preservation benefits!

 

Browning MicroBlast ANSI 72LThe majority of us carry a Smart Phone with all the bells and whistles and they can be a great tool and entertainment device. First of all, keep it charged! I typically don’t endorse any one program on any platform but if you are married and have a BUSY life I highly recommend using Google Calendar (create an e-mail address (Example: Family name calendar@Gmail.com) and log into the Calendar only on all family devices and make it the default. This way when you add something everyone that is in the family can see it and knows something is going on. It also keeps you from double booking a time. If you are single, the Operating System calendar you have on your phone is just fine. Just remember to set notification reminders. Program all numbers with the persons first and or last name. Don’t put Mom, Dad or any relational clues, this may be used by scammers if they get your phone. Al the other fun stuff on the phone you can figure out!

Use Ear Buds, So you don’t bother others  and to keep others from bothering you. But know when to take them out. Survey your area, if you are at home or at the office everything is good. If you just went shopping, and have bags in hand walking to the car, take them out and pay attention to your surroundings, don’t let someone take advantage of you because you were bee-bopping to your favorite jam from the store to the car or from your car to your front door. The song can wait. If you are talking on the phone, ask the other person to hang on and keep one in until you are in the place you were going. Ear buds are great but undesirable people may try to take advantage of you if they know you are distracted.

if you enjoy this series be sure to subscribe! And leave a comment with your thoughts on the EDC items we have discussed here today!

Thanks, and remember, it’s your life, prepare for it!

Your Everyday Carry (EDC) Part 1

First and foremost, you need a Wallet / ID holder (RFID) – every day I carry my wallet, it has the most important things you need throughout your day. In it you should have a state issued ID. By law in all 50 states you need to have this on your person at all times. Next is your medical insurance card ( if you have a family, you should have a card for every member with you) if you own a car have your vehicle insurance card with you at all times. It is ok to keep a copy in your car as well. Try to carry emergency Cash, $10 can get you home from the gas station or a meal or drinks if needed in a pinch, keep your Bank Card in there as well for your everyday needs. If you have credit cards, just keep one with you ( not all of them) Below is the Fossil 2 in 1 Slider Wallet

Next is a Watch. It can be a smart watch, digital watch or a standard watch. It needs to have the date and time on the face if it is a digital watch. Your phone has a clock but it also has distractions so get a watch! Here’s why when you pull out your phone to look at the time it is not discrete, it is obvious especially when talking with someone and you may come off as uninterested or distracted and it looks bad on you. Your watch is a tool to make sure you are on time for the events you have planned for the day. Keep up with your I phone on the Apple Series 3 Smart Watch

Your Keys, If you drive or have a home you have keys. Keep them on you at all times when you are away from home. If you carry a back pack you can put them in there when you get settled where you are going. You don’t want to spend extra time digging them out and have a distracted moment where someone can take advantage of you. Do not put them in your wallet! If someone takes your wallet they take your keys. Shown below Niteize Bigfoot Key Locker

Every Day Carry (EDC) Wallet Watch and Keys

if you enjoy this series be sure to subscribe! And leave a comment with your thoughts on the EDC items we have discussed here today!

Thanks, and remember, it’s your life, prepare for it!

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