Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Knife I Carry

Several blogs that I read recently posted on the knives that they carry and why. While I wouldn't ordinarily write about something as inanimate and cold as a knife, I thought about it and realized that I really like my knife and do so for a good reason. 

I come from a long line of knife carriers. My grandfather carried a pocket knife, as did my father. I never did until I started as a volunteer firefighter in the early eighties. I started with an ordinary three blade pocket knife, then moved up to a Buck 100, worn in a leather pouch on my belt. Neither were a good choice, the Buck was more of a fashion statement than anything, all of the experienced firefighters carried one.

At some point, I purchased a Spyderco Delica. I bought it from Pete, a man-toy dealer who used to come by the stations on a regular basis. Pete sold knives, hatchets, flashlights, crossbows etc. from a step van.

 Pete also sold the occasional gun from the step-van, a fact I discovered one day while digging through a milk-crate full of Russian night vision goggles. I pointed the Smith and Wesson revolver out to Pete, he told me to forget about it. My suspicions were confirmed a few years later, while I was in the arson unit. An ATF agent that we were partnered with, told me that Pete was under investigation for dealing guns. Apparently, Pete wasn't licensed to sell firearms nor was he real careful who he sold them to. I don't know what the result of the investigation was, though I heard that he did change his business model. I digress.

Buying the Spyderco was one of the best work-related purchases I ever made, though the first one I bought was on impulse, not on logic. The early models had a plastic belt clip which turned out to be a less than stellar design. I broke mine off in less than a year. Pete, always a customer service oriented vendor, simply replaced it with one equipped with a metal belt clip. I was so impressed with "new and improved" model, that I have been carrying one ever since.

I actually own three of these. The original "new and improved" model, which is equipped with a smooth blade, the unit above, with the half smooth / half serrated blade and a full serrated blade that I picked up somewhere. I like this knife because of it's light weight, it's ability to hold an edge, the durability of it's design and it's ergonomics. It's moderate price point is a bonus.

I really like the ergonomics. The metal belt clip can be moved from one side of the knife or the other. The positioning of the clip allows me to be able to draw the knife, open it and put it to work with one hand. The thumb hole greatly facilitates this process.

I have received other knives of similar quality as gifts, none have worked out as well as the Delica. I gave a Gerber away and have a few other "good" knives rat-holed away in a drawer somewhere.

When we deployed to New Orleans for the Katrina response, I screwed up and forgot to switch my knife from my jeans to my uniform pants. I went to the largest natural disater in U.S. history without my trusty knife. I was fortunate that one of our team members had a brother who works for the TSA. Apparently, the rules for disposing of confiscated items are not always followed. Our team member brought a bag full of confiscated knives that he allegedly received from his brother and I was able to get one of those. Frankly, the knives in the bag were all cheap Chinese imports and every time I used my loaner, it made me miss my Spyderco that much more.

Though I no longer need a knife for work, I still use my knife on a daily basis. Unless some new kind of "miracle knife" is developed, I will remain loyal to my Spyderco Delica. It's that good.

Thanks for reading,
A "sharp" Schmoe

The Fine Print: Joseph Schmoe nor any of the Report on Conditions staff have received any money, merchandise or any other compensation for the endorsement of this product.


  1. Nice! I've got a couple, and always one in my vehicle with the "truck broke down in the middle of no where" kit.

  2. Brigid - That's a good idea, maybe I should throw one of my "extras" in El Cheepo Jeepo The day I get in a jam might be the one day I forget my knife.

    Thanks for the comment