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The Cutlery Shoppe


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Cutlery has been an interest of mine since I was around 14 and bought my first Victorinox Swiss Army Knife.

I'll post some info here from time to time with what I've learned, and will also give some personal opinions.

Let's start off easy shall we?

From my research I've found out that the only true stainless steel is surgical stainless steel. If it's not surgical stainless is should actually be considered stain-proof.

People tend to oversharpen their knives. If it wont make the hair on your arm pop, it's time to sharpen. That's just not the case. A good quality knife doesn't require sharpening all that often. Now of course if your knife comes under repeated heavy use, then sharpening IS needed.

Whether a knife is sharp is often indicated by how well it can shave hair. In alot of cases, this isn't what you want.

It's all about edge geometry.

Think of something that's meant to shave hair, a razor blade. Really thin piece of metal right? The edge geometry of a razor blade is fine for the thickness of the metal. But that's not what you want on your folder or fixed blade.

What's the thickness of your blade? A 16th thick? Maybe an 8th?

To have that thin of an edge on a fixed or a folder can can the edge to roll over under use.

I've found that a good edge is one that wont quite shave hair.

Look at it this way. Do you want the same thin edge on a hatchet that you want on a fillet knife?

Consider your surroundings and where your going to be using your knife the most.

If your going to be using your knife for hunting and might have to potentially dress out a deer, get yourself something with a good sturdy blade. Not too long or bulky. Also consider handle material. You may get sweaty and or bloody dressing out a deer. Do you really want a knife with a smooth wooden handle?

Wood, plastic and polymer handle material can be subject to changes in incliment weather. Cold can cause these types of handles to crack or split.

Don't use your knife for something which it wasn't intended. If it's not made for throwing, dont throw it. Don't use it for a screwdriver, get a screwdriver instead.

I've done a bunch of regrinds for people who have broken off the tips of blades either by throwing it or trying to tighten a screw with it. Always use the right tool for the job.

I think the above is good start for my repeated ramblings about cutlery. If you have any questions or comments feel free to post them.

One thing though. I don't normally recommend brands unless I've had the chance to play with them.

However, there are some tried and true brands that I would mention if you are in the market for a good quality knife.

S.O.G., Columbia River Knife and Tool, Gerber, Benchmade, Spyderco, Ka-Bar, and Emerson make some great pieces.

But do your research and see what fits you best for your application.

Stay sharp.....

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Hey good post!

I have about 15 folders and 7 fixed blades. I love the craftsmanship of a good knife.

I agree, a really big knife with a smooth hard handle is about as useless as **** on a bull for most applications. What you want is a nice 3-4 inch blade with a grippy handle, rubber or textured wood or polymer. This is overall the most useful size for most jobs.

My personal favorite right now is a Kershaw Blur. It has a 3&3/4 inch partially serrated tanto blade with a flat black finish. It's sharp enough to shave with. This knife also has an "assited opening" blade, which means it pops open with just a small shove from the user to get it started.

The next one I will probably get will be an SOG folder with a non-serrated sweep blade of some sort. I actually like non-serrated blades better. The serrations are a little gimmicky to me. They don't really serve much purpose. A quality blade of any kind will serve the purpose. If I want to saw something, I'll use a saw.

As far as quality steel, 440 will do, but it's a bit soft. 440C is harder, and will hold an edge better. AUS-40 is good steel, and popular, so a lot of blademakers use that. The really really hard steels are a lot more expensive and harder to sharpen, so I don't really care for them.

Edited by Robert2
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Dave I can't open that link here. I'm at work and the site is blocked due to it being related to knives, which my employer considers to be evil weapons of mass destruction.

I guess you could make that arguement, esp. in China.

Is it a ceramic rod type sharpener? That is what works best for me.

Edited by Robert2
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This is the type that I use. Its a diamond sharpener so it can handle just about any kind of blade steel.

Since sharpening a knife is all about the angle, here's a couple of tricks. To ensure that you are getting the correct angle for your blade, darken the edge with a sharpie magic marker. If you pass the edge over the stone and it removes the marker, youve found your angle.

To use the type of sharpener that I posted, or even any other type of flat stone, here's another trick.

Again, sharpening is all about the angle. Lay the stone flat on a table, then lay the blade flat on the stone. You'll notice a shadow where the very edge of the blade doesn't meet the stone. Raise the blade until that shadow disappears, thats your angle. Thats why I like a diamond sharpener, just a few passes and the blade is sharp. The shadow method works well with this type of sharpener.

Again, lay the blade flat, raise it until the shadow disappears and then pull the blade across the stone. Just repeat this 3 or 4 times on each side and you be able to sharpen your knife pretty well.

I've had a few different type of sharpeners over the years but I really wanted something that was easy to use, didn't require oil or any type of clamps or guides. Also, with that type of diamond sharpener, you can use it on basically anything with an edge. I use it on my axes and hatchet, my machete, even on some of the small woodworking tools that I have.

Works pretty good on fish hooks too.

Edited by DevouredbyVermn
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Kershaw knives was mentioned. They make some great pieces. They were one of the forerunners of cutlery companies that got involved with custom makers about 10 or 15 years ago. These days, most companies have designs inspired by or even designed by custom knife makers.

My CRKT M16 model folder was designed by Blackie Collins. Kershaw makes a great line of folders designed by Ken Onion. Benchmade makes a version of Ernest Emersons CQC-7 tactical folder. In case you didn't know, Emerson was one of the first to come along with tanto blades for folders in the US. Now everyone makes one it seems.

Blade steels have come a long way since the days of 440 A,B, and C. Back 25 or 30 years ago, it was rare to find a knife that wasn't made from those types of steel.

You have to give props to the custom knife makers for changing that.

In the search for a better blade, they started experimenting with tool steels, steel that were actually meant for use is machining, metal working, and the automotive industry.

A few years back ATS-34 was all the rage. It was a high carbon stainless tool steel developed by the Japanese for the auto manufacturing industry.

The varieties of AUS steels are basically an American version of ATS-34. With a Rockwell hardness of 55-60 and even higher, they make an incredibly tough, although tough to sharpen, blade that will really hold up. Get an AUS blade sharp, and it will hold an edge for a long time.

Here's a bit of history for you.

I sure anyone who owns a folder, has one either with a thumb stud or a hole thru the blade to make it easier to open one handed.

Know where that came from?

Back about 20 years ago, there was a gentleman who worked in a box factory, they made corrugated cardboard that was then used to make boxes.

He used a folding knife all day long and realized that being able to open his knife one handed would be, well, handy.

Turns out he did some machining work on the side. He took a standard folder of the day, I believe it was a Buck 110, and drilled and tapped a shallow hole in the blade.

He then took a simple machine screw and screwed it into place. Voila. The first one handed opening folder.

These days it's tough to find a folder that doesn't have a one handed opening feature.

Edited by DevouredbyVermn
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The Kershaw Blur as a really well made knife. The steel is one that you don't see that often, SANDVIK 14C28N, which is a Swedish steel that I have read only Kershaw uses. I don't know the Rockwell rating on it.

I also have a CRKT called the "Apache II" with a really hard steel blade, ATS34, Rockwell 61. That blade is TOUGH to sharpen, but it really doesn't need sharpening, as it never gets very dull, no matter how much I use it.

I need to get one or both of the two sharpeners you guys have suggested here. They look great!

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Welcome to the thread Robert. Yup, I own a CRKT folder and its great, carry it everyday when I'm not working.

I highly recommend CRKT to anyone thinking of buying a good quality folder for not alot of cash. I believe I paid around 40 or 50 bucks for my M16 model.

Its great that these days most makers make some great knives that wont break the bank. In years past, a cheap folder would be 440 A,B or C, have a mainly brass housing, and be rather poor as far as fit and finish goes.

These days, thats all changed.

Even lower end knives can be a quality piece.

That being said though, try and stay away from late night home shopping knives. It's like the saying goes "You get what you pay for." If you are buying a folder for 5 bucks, your not getting a quality piece.

One of the companies featured on those shows buys cast off lots of steel from other knife makers.

CRKT for example will get in a lot of AUS. They will test some of the pieces for correct heat treating and other specs. If they dont meet their standards, they sell off the lot to companies like the ones featured on late night tv.

A good quality knife is almost an investment. Buy a good brand with good parts and fit and finish, you should be able to keep it almost forever.

That Swiss Army Knife that I mentioned in my first post? I still have, and it still does the job.

I must admit there is something about buying a handmade, hand assembled folder though. If I had the cash, I would definately buy a high end folder. I just dont have an extra 250 or 300 bucks laying around.

Buy what you can afford, but buy the best you can get.

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I prefer a carbon steel over stainless. One of the best all around bushcraft knives you can get at a very reasonable price is one of the Frost Mora's. Not the Frost that you see on the TV Knife Show at 2 AM........ Frost of Sweden.

You can get them in stainless and carbon.

Here is a couple of links where you can get them:



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I have one of their original Classic Moras. It's a really strong thick blade.

The steel is different from most other knives I have seen. It's laminate steel, so it's apparently different layers fused together.

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Guest RedRatSnake

I was really into folders about 10 or so years back and was a member of the knife and blades forums, my favorite knife was a lefty Tom Mayo i had made for me, another one i always liked was the Mircotech LCC DA, here is my currant folder i made from a kit a few years back, it has been so long i forget the spec's but the hardness was right up there with any good quality blade, blade is 3 1/2 " and over all is 8" it is a smooth as any knife i have ever had and tight as can be, it's still scary sharp. i used a idle speed screw from a Kawasaki carburetor for the thumb screw and put a red piece of trimmer string in the middle to give it my own custom look



Edit : i found the site i got the kit from ~ My Knife

Edited by RedRatSnake
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Very nice Tim! I like the shape of that blade, with a little belly to it.

That edge looks razor sharp. Be careful. Don't cut yourself!

Here's my new Kershaw Blur.


I can literally shave with it.

Edited by Robert
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Guest RedRatSnake

Kershaw had a rep of being the sharpest out of the box a while back, i have been out of the game but i have seen some nice models from them on the Snap On tool truck, Ken Onion had a few really nice pieces

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