What are 3 Important Factors in Buying a Knife?

A knife is a very personal purchase. It’s something I would never buy for another person.


Form Follows Function in Knives

Form Follows Function in Knives


If well-chosen, it becomes part of a person.  However, a poor knife choice soon joins others in the “junk drawer”  — never to see daylight  again.

“Cute-Ability” vs. Function

Before making your first decision — avoid making a knife choice on its “cute-ability” factor.  Impulse purchases, based on eye-appeal, are usually poor choices in the long-term.

Remember, that’s why manufacturers create so many styles and looks. If you choose by looks, you have eliminated choosing by function (what you need the knife to do).  Function is the basic reason you have decided to buy a knife.

What Do You Need a Knife to Do?

You may need a knife for several reasons. Make a list and decide which is the most important. For example: You may need a knife many times a day to help you repair things or cut twine, rope, etc. In another example, you might want a knife when you are fishing — to cut line or fillet fish.

In the first example, you will probably want a pocket knife, because you  need it available constantly. In the second example, a fixed-blade knife in your fishing toolbox may meet your needs.

By zeroing in on your most critical need, it helps you determine …

Fixed-Blade or Pocket Knife?

This is a significant decision — and not just because it eliminates looking at about 1/2 of the knives in a store.  What are you most comfortable with — something sheathed and attached to your belt or a smaller tool in your pocket?

Pick out several. Try walking and sitting  down with samples of each type.  If the sheath is uncomfortable, move it on the belt and/or  try another style.

Does the pocket knife feel comfortable? Is it easy to use?  Does it feel like a large rock in your pocket?  How about one of the newer clips that attach the knife to a front or back pocket?


I believe selecting a knife has gotten much harder in the last couple of decades.  We have literally gotten to the point where there are too many choices.

There are so many gorgeous items (attractive to the eye), that I have a hard time remembering why I’m looking at knives. Maybe you have that problem too?


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on February 18, 2009 at 10:03 pm  Comments (1)  
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Which one is Best – a Fixed-Blade or a Folding Knife?


Fixed Blade for Strength!

Fixed Blade for Strength!


I stopped selling knives a while back. However, this has been one of the most popular articles  on this site. The photos are not clickable.


Folding and fixed blade knives each have unique capabilities and weaknesses. Only you can decide which best fits your situation. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

The first consideration is: What do you want/need this knife to do? How will it be used? Once this is clear in your mind, it is easier to evaluate the knives available.

Fixed Knife: Pros and Cons

The advantages of these knives are clear: They can be made in very large sizes, their design is simple – yet they are known for their potential strength. Because the blade is all one piece, from handle to blade tip, there are no moving parts and the knife is sturdy and long-lasting. They are also easy to keep clean.

Generally speaking, a fixed blade is twice the length of a folder (folded blade knife). Most fixed blade knives are sheathed (covered), for safety. Some fixed blades now come with an interchangeable blade!

In many cities, states and countries, fixed blades are banned (with or without a sheath). In certain locales, mores dictate that fixed blades are “socially unacceptable” (Only farm workers are exempted from this ban)!

Folding Knives: Pros and Cons

Folders are more discrete, the blade folds into the handle when not in use. Most of these tools are known as “pocket knives” – indicating their mode of transport. Urbanites prefer these; the general population is unaware that ‘you’re carrying.’

Folders must be well-constructed to be as tough as fixed blades. The most vulnerable parts of any folder  are – the blade pivot (axis pin) and the lock spring. Quality tells here; this is where most folding knives fail.

The lock spring must keep the knife in an an open position, as long as you need it, and then release the blade to return into its holder. The longer bladed knives are more likely to have a problem – there’s more leverage on the axis pin, especially if using the flat side of the blade.

Thus, there’s a limit to the length of a blade. The longer the blade, the longer the handle must be to accommodate it.



Folding Knife = Convenience!

One other problem, rarely mentioned: Pocket knives are a bit harder to clean. Fur, wood slivers, whatever are more likely to gather inside the handle and need to be removed.

Back to Our Question

Fixed blades are long-lasting, easy to clean, tough and strong. Folding blades are convenient, discrete and versatile.

You will probably finish your shopping expedition with one of each – one for the big jobs (fixed) and another in your pocket – for 1001 little jobs each day!


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com