KnifeCenter FAQ #120: Game Changing Pocket Knives
Hey everyone, David C. Andersen here coming at you from the KnifeCenter. And welcome to KniFAQ episode 120. We've done a lot of these. Yeah. This is the knife series where I answer all of your questions, whether they're sharp or dull. And this week, amongst other things, we're taking a look at some pocket knives that changed the industry. Let's check them out
(KniFAQ) alright, so if you're new to this series, welcome. And the deal is we pull questions from our comments section below these videos to feature. So if you have a question, and you would like a chance for it to be answered in a future episode, please drop it in the comments, and we appreciate it very much. First question today. And our kind of headline question for
today comes from Michael Duke. Hi, David L. I love this series. As I get deeper into the knife hobby, and becoming more interested in knife history, especially especially with regards to folders in your learned opinion. The DA, which knives changed the course of the knife industry by introducing a new innovation, or popularizing a new set of features or aesthetics. Also, is there a knife you predict will chart a new course over the coming months or years Thank you very much. Learned opinion? That's funny. Well, to go back like to
the word like one of the things that I've felt so blessed and so fortunate to have experienced in this whole knife, hobby and knife industry thing is meeting a lot of people who have shared so much with me so much knowledge. And that's part of why I enjoy this series too is I'm able to kind of spread that knowledge that I've gained as well. It's the knife circle of life, so to speak. And there have been there's some good historical stuff here I would like to talk about. And while I
may not have met any of these people, actually, now that I think of it, I know people that knew them and have a lot of respect for those people. And those people had a lot of respect for these people. So that's what we get to talk about today. It's just it's a pretty cool thing. What I'm going to do
here, we could all folding knives and then going back for centuries, really. But when we look at like the modern industry, to me at least right or wrong. The buck 110 is kind of the inflection point. Like everything before it was kind of
before it and everything. After the buck 110 feels of the modern knife industry, the way things are the way things work. Now the knife industry that you were I would recognize this feels like the start of it. Even if it wasn't technically the start of it. It's emblematic of a time a switch over where it feels right
in any case. But let's start with the buck 110 iconic knife for sure. This knife popularized the back lock mechanism. And just frankly, this knife is so iconic, we did an episode of our beat the icon series, which I encourage you to go check out try to leave a link in the corner here. Everything that
came after the buck 110 was living in the buck 110 Shadow even like to this day and even stuff that doesn't look like the buck 110. Still, you can if you look in just the right way you can see the influence of this knife through the years check out check out that episode for more about what I'm talking about. I could spend too much time talking about the whys of that. But just trust me on this one. It's there, check it out. Still to this day there about 65 bucks Made in America. So still relatively affordable workhorse knife and that was part of its appeal to buck really marketed this as sort of a knife a folding knife that could do the work of a fixed blade. They didn't call it a fixed a folding fixed blade but in a hard working knife that could do the work of a fixed blade 1964 For this knife, definitely a pivotal year in the industry. And
speaking of pivotal this, this homely little knife right here. We're going to jump to the early 1980s right here, which there's a few things right back to back we're going to look at like very kind of pivotal cluster of years in the early 80s 1981. For this knife here. This is the Spyderco worker. It was not only the first Spyderco knife it was also the first knife with a pocket clip, which can't throw a stick around here without hitting 20 knives with like everything comes with a pocket clip nowadays you know what I'm talking about. And it also has the one hand opening spider hole which one hand opening on a pocket knife was not really a thing before the 1980s there may have been some some custom stuff here or there that might have had something but Spyderco actually had a patent On this style of opening right here, whether a hole or just a depression in the blade, but you know, one hand opening and pocket clips together, I mean, that's like that's a mini minimum barrier of entry. And for a new pocket knife design nowadays essentially, kind of have to have those two things.
Pocket clips, that binder clips, your pocket clips that pocket clips, it's very confusing. Oh, you mean like my Oh, light that has the two way pocket clip? Yeah. I can see what you're talking about here. Obviously, there are there are new designs
that come out that are two hand opening and don't have pocket clips when you take my meaning like 99% of the new releases have those features and this was the knife that started that right. They're hard harder to find nowadays, they did a sprint run a few years ago as well. But if you want to get something similar, check out the modern Delica Here you go. This one still has this the nice protective plastic on the cover, as opposed to this old stainless steel worker right here has clearly seen some miles as you can see that the this version of the Delica is a little bit over 100 bucks. The stainless steel
handle construction here with no visible pins from the outside is not cheap to produce about a three inch blade VG 10 steel for position pocketclip The original this worker right here you can see only one position. But this will get you the vibes similar vibes to the worker and it's a little a little better looking. I think the head of the worker was as good of a worker as it was, was never a looker. Also early 80s say this was 19 this was either 80 or 81, you I didn't write the year down.
Shame on me. The Gerber LST may not look like much by today's standards. But my goodness was this revolutionary they sold millions of this knife. It was actually based on a another in house Gerber design. And by working with Blackie Collins
famous, extremely famous knife designer of his day, they created this kind of ultralight version of it. Now the knife the LST was based on originally had micarta handles more pieces in the pivot. But they were able with black keys help to bring this knife down to just six parts. The handle that looks like it's three pieces here, but it's actually a single piece injection molded handle that hadn't been done on a production knife before. You've got the backlog and the spring behind it. That's three, you've got these, the pin right here, the
pivot and the blade, six pieces. Very affordable to this day still made in the US $26 420 HC steel, I don't know what the original was, in fact, but this huge, huge influence, I mean, even Spyderco that we just talked about really embraced the injection molding as well to this day. In a way, they kind of talked about this at the time as being like the first ultralight pocket knife which you know, Opinel fans may disagree, but you can kind of think of this as almost the predecessor, the ancestor to the modern Benchmade. buggy and
controversial opinion perhaps, but 1.2 ounces for that knife, it's virtually nothing in the pocket. Also early 80s. The liner lock, Michael Walker was kind of refining the liner lock, which there were locking liner type of things before but they relied on like a slip joint back spring as part of it. But Michael Walker's new take on it eliminated that added stop pins and all sorts of stuff like that. All sorts of added stop pins and stuff that changed the way a liner lock wasn't actually got a trademark on the liner lock name. I think that didn't
come till about 10 years later. So but Spyderco is a great way to experience this, you could experience a line on pretty much anywhere but Spyderco makes a point of kind of crediting, where credit is due that sort of thing. And they call this the walker line or like on this sage one right here. In fact, the sage series was designed to kind of showcase different locking mechanisms and different technologies on the same pattern. The sage one started with the liner lock right there.
Very cool knife. This one right here is in Maxamet steel. So it's very expensive and $266 for this one right here. But there's other versions as well. The sage series, I don't think there's
any other Sage Ones currently in the lineup could be mistaken by that but definitely definitely worthy of consideration in the game changing knife history, so to speak. Next up, the evolution of the liner lock, you could say is the frame lock or the Reeve into integral lock as introduced by Chris Reeve knives on the Sebenza not this Sebenza This is a new Sebenza but that frame lock, which again Spyderco will call it the real integral lock when when they put it on their models. Everyone else just calls it a frame lock I mean Just proliferated everywhere. And the Sebenza is the knife that started at all. There you go,
that was what 1991. So it's interesting, we had kind of a 10 year jump between like 1980 and 81. to something like this, we're also gonna see another jump to the late 90s. Like I'm talking like 98, 99. For the next three things we're going to look at interesting decade, decades of progression, so to speak. Next big technological kind of milestone that I think about is assisted opening knives, which Blackie Collins again, who worked with, famously with Gerber, for so many years and across many other things, did have a mechanism kind of in the mid 90s. But it wasn't until 1998 That Kershaw released the
random task, which fortunately don't have right here, but I'm gonna hold up a different knife for a moment. So stick with me. It was the first production assisted opening mechanism, they called it SpeedSafe used a torsion bar system. It was designed by Ken Onion and it took the industry by storm, I mean, assists proliferated absolutely after that. This knife right here is the random leak, which is a Ken Onion design, the knife itself, the leak, has the blade reminiscent of the random task, hence the random leak. So this not only
gets you the blade shape of the original production assisted knife, it gets you a design by the designer of the original SpeedSafe system. And it just gets you a cool knife as well. And this one actually has the black washed finish which Kershaw did a lot to kind of popularize that finish as well. In fact, I think they have they still have the trademark on the name, black wash this knife right now. It's on sale as we're filming this, at least for about $77 Made in the USA. Can't can't
talk about knife history without talking about assists, one year later. So the random task was 1998 and 1999 CRKT came out with the M 16. This is not the original version. But what you see right here, that flipper tab was a new basically, there are historical examples of flipper tab like things being used, but it wasn't until the late Kit Carson and CRKT came out with this m 16 design that again took the world by storm, I mean how many framework flippers are out there nowadays, hundreds and 1000s basically, and they have tons of different versions available and CRKT's lineup this is one of the newer ones with their deadbolt lock, which is pretty cool. So if you're
looking for you know, other knife historical things, having a another locking mechanism is always a cool thing. This also has an assist. Also, interestingly, a torsion bar assist similar but not identical to the Kershaw system, which I'm actually not sure whether Ken Onion had anything to do with the design of this CRKT's system or not, but it wouldn't surprise me. But definitely an iconic knife and while it may not get the kind of headlines that it once did, I mean still has an indispensable place in folding knife history and in terms of the modern industry. And anyway, I mean for a while people were
calling this the Carson flipper, not just a generic flipper tab, that opening mechanism right this we got a Carson flipper on that knife. Iconic for sure game changing for sure. This one right here I'm just checking the price on it. You can get versions of it for less than your around 50 bucks, maybe even a little less. This one right here is about 125 most of that
goes into their proprietary deadlock system deadbolt deadbolt system. That's the grant Gavin Hawk OTF just two all right, I'll take D2 blade about the three and a half inch spear point size. There are smaller versions. There are larger versions there's tanto blades, there's partially serrated versions. There's rescue hook versions that have a top flipper tab here with a little belt cutter. Tons of different options because it's been so successful. Next up also from 1999 a little bit lesser known although it did win awards at the time the speed tech synergy there was only about 200 of them made but it one I think most innovative knife at blade show that year won something at blade show that that year was recently re released in 2019 by we knife company in different format so I'll be able to actually hold up a knife for you to take a look at the original synergy was a button lock knife, I believe non flipper actually and had a milled integral aluminum handle with some very complicated sculpting very complicated shape going on for a production style knife. And part
of that is the designer Jim O'Young designed the original synergy In completely in CAD or in SolidWorks, specifically, I think, and as far as I can tell, as far as I know, that was the first knife for a production knife company to be completely designed in a computer program like that. And nowadays that is the standard, like so many things are designed from the ground up in virtual space before it sees, you know, in a production environment, many of the, the Chinese OEMs, and the Chinese companies like we, I think do that quite a bit. So definitely signaled a shift in how things were done. The new version, like I said, the original was a button lock, the current versions offered by we and their budget brand subsidiary Civivi still maintain the original trailing point blade shape, but we've got integral titanium handles with a frame lock, as opposed to the milled aluminum, integral aluminum, but they're really cool shape. This is the mini right here. But the they maintain that original trailing point shape. Like I said, there's also a tanto and a drop
point available now which weren't available on the original synergy. But man, how cool is that coming back like that, but 300 bucks for this one, definitely more premium thing, because there's a lot of machine time in that handle construction handle shaping right there. Flip really good too. Yeah, very, very nice. That's kind of the highlights, I
want to say I got a few other kind of honorable mentions here, which are a little more recent, as far as newer things that I predict are kind of heading off in a new direction, it's kind of hard to say I, I after about the year 2000. There, I don't see the decade jump at the 10s or the 20s. After that really. Now that I think about which is kind of sad night, maybe we just haven't gotten foreign weigh enough. It's that could be a very well could be. But also I know that variable could be I do
have some honorable mentions here, the Kaiser Gemini, I mean, I just talked about we knife company and everyone nowadays knows recognizes they make a good product be for this knife right here, not this one. But the titanium framelock version of the Gemini specifically, which is a Ray Laconico design. This knife by Kizer kind of changed so many perceptions on what a Chinese company could offer. Like it or love it right wrong or indifferent. For there's definitely a different stigma associated with the quality of some products coming out of that country. But this knife broke down the doors for
all the other companies really that followed, like we like ArtisanCutlery All those guys that showed that they can make something world class. And it still holds up to this day for sure. This is actually a left handed version. I'm not sure why we grabbed this one. But they make a left handed version for some of you folks out there. Raise your noble handles on this
one too, which is also really cool. Definitely indicative of a sea change in the industry. A couple other locking mechanisms Benchmade's AXIS Lock, which is a crossbar locking mechanism recently come out of patents, some more companies are using those now we're seeing them start to proliferate. originally invented by McHenry and Williams, I'm forgetting the first names right now. But they collaborated with Benchmade to do the 710 folder, which is out of production. But you could check out the 940 as a possible alternative also has the blade here that was the first to be called a reverse Tanto opening up that whole can of worms. Keep your mouth shut, Mr. Thomas, I
love you and everything but no, just pipe down. And then maybe the only thing that might be able to say is kind of charting a new course, which we've kind of seen. The impact of already is this knife right here, the Malibu flipper from Pro tech, protect did not invent the button lock. But with this
knife, they absolutely reinvigorated the genre, this knife came out, and it was so so satisfying, in its operation, has this smoothness, this fidget ability, which is very of the moment right now to that once this knife became an absolute smash success, watch button lock, button lock knives pour out of other manufacturers in the next couple of years. So that definitely has had an immediate impact. But that's not even a prediction. Like we've seen that. So as far as a prediction goes, you'll know it when when we know it, I guess just digging that blade shape on the Malibu Yeah, no, it was like to reverse tanto it was right after the so this is this is where for those of you don't know about my bugaboo about the reverse tanto nomenclature, look at these two blades. They're very very different. I suppose you can have very different drop
points from another. But anyway, see, this is more like a clipped off sheep sheepsfoot to me, and modified sheep. So but we call it a reverse tanto and the industry calls it a reverse tanto and our website calls it a reverse tanto so who am I to say it's not To me that's it it's not doesn't matter. But anyway, I hope that helps. It was a lot of fun kind of thinking about
this this bit of knife history leading back to the 1960s At the very least pocketknife history specifically since that's what you asked about. I hope it was fun. And that's enough time spent on our full length question section. We're gonna jump right to the lightning round now. First one, Josh W. I currently keep my strop in the same drawer as my pocket knives. Each day after I select what I would like to
carry, I'd give it a few passes on the strap before placing it in my pocket for the day. Then when placing the knife back, I gave it a couple more Is there any benefit or contra indication for honing have played so frequently? Thanks, Josh. I think this is great. It's takes up no time. This is my Sebenza so don't worry about me putting it on the on the strop here.
takes no time at all to do that, you know few swipes in the morning, few swipes at night. help you maintain the sharpest edge possible in between sharpenings I think it's great. Theoretically, there could be a drawback, just by the virtue of the more times you perform an action, the more times you do a thing, the more opportunities there are to get it wrong to mess it up. Like if you come in with too much pressure and it's too high at an angle you could round off your your sharp edge. But it sounds like you know what you're doing? Like if you're getting good results with it, you're staying sharp. I like I
say it's good to go. Next up TM Biggs is there an OTF knife where the blade locks open and can be used for piercing. I like my trade but it can't poke through packing tape. That sounds like you might have a warranty issue on your hands because these trade assisted OTS the firing button here is or firing lever here, whatever we want to call it is actually attached to the blades. So it's more like a thumb stud than anything else. They lock open. So it shouldn't be like packing
tape shouldn't be hurting you there. Maybe contact the company for warranty. Or you could go with a full auto I really liked his new Counter Strike series. These are really cool. They're more expensive. I mean, that Schrade Viper right there. 50 bucks. This Hogue is not it's like $279. But it's awesome. And
pretty much any OTF. Like if it's not locking open, it's not doing what it supposed to be doing. So that'd be my feedback there. Next one street tough, why isn't behind the edge
thickness listed as a speck on the spec sheet? Well, part of that is it all depends on how that particular knife is sharpened. For instance, you know, if you sharpen whoever sharpening the knife goes a little bit higher than the behind the edge thickness is bigger than if they don't go quite as high. whereas all the other specs like blade thickness weights, everything stays pretty much the same. I will say if you're going for thin edges specifically, which aren't always the best thing on everything. Like I wouldn't want my heavy duty chopper to have a real thin edge. But if thin edges are what you're after. Certainly we knife company and
Civivi have a great reputation for very thin edges. Shirogorov is another one but that's way more expensive, of course. But yeah, that's that's a hard one to kind of list as a spec, because there is a little bit of kind of inherent variability right there. And now we come to our final question of the day, which is, of course, our most serious question of the day, which comes from KJ malice. I know I missed the episode that this question would have been best for. But what knife would you buy Bilbo Baggins for on his 100 and 11th birthday and esteemed habit of 11 D one would probably love something aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but it's adventure is hard, would undoubtedly want something functional too. And don't forget
the hobbit sized hands. I mean, is there a more obvious answer than the CRKT sting? It's appropriately sized. It's good for adventures in Middle Earth, I would say. And the advantage of CRKT's version right here, of course, is that it is black coated. Therefore, you don't have to worry so much about it
glowing blue, when there's goblins about giving away your position, you'll get little bits like on the edge itself, you might see a little bit of that light shining through. But the black coating will keep those reflections down which is perfect for the tactically inclined hobbits out there. Which Bilbo may not think he was but he's kind of thrust into that situation. Hope that helps. Yes, and but can you tell me I'm wrong? I don't think so. I took this question. Most seriously. Clearly. Yes. Well, that is all the time we have for today.
Folks, keep leaving your questions down in the comments. If you've got some alternate answers for folks here. Let me know we've got some other kind of what you think are game changing moments in pocket knife history. Let me know as well. always eager to learn more. That is why I love this series. If
you want to get your hands on any of these knives, check out Got the links in the description where we will point you to KnifeCenter.com. And don't forget about our knife rewards program as well because if you're going to be putting your money down on one of these products, you might as well earn some free money to spend on your excellent. I'm David C. Andersen from the KnifeCenter. That's Thomas behind the camera and we're signing off. See you next time.