Since childhood I have had a strong affinity for certain objects, such as rocks, coins, model cars, flashlights, and knives. I’ve owned countless knives over the years, as well as machetes, an incredibly sharp katana, and various hatchets and multi-tools. I gave up some in trade for other things, and recently sold off several cheaper ones as I improved my collection with higher-quality and more interesting knives.
These first two knives are the main ones I use for everyday cutting tasks. The larger is a Kershaw Leek, and the smaller is the Scallion. Both were designed by Ken Onion and made in the USA, so they’re at the high end of Kershaw’s wide range of quality. One of their most attractive features is the spring-assisted opening, which snaps them open in an instant. I’ve had the Scallion with a plain blade for many years, but recently I bought a second one with a Damascus blade and a stainless steel handle. I then swapped the blades and sold the all-stainless one, because I prefer the thicker plastic grip. It also doesn’t show tiny scratches as easily as the steel does.
I have three knives from Columbia River Knife and Tool, a Portland-area company that makes a lot of unique and excellent cutting tools. The first folds out the side, using a curved piece of metal as a lever to spread the prongs of the handle apart and let the blade rotate freely. This design eliminates any chance of the blade closing on your fingers while in use. It is a little awkward when opening, however.
The second is one of my favorite knives ever, another design by Ken Onion. It opens as easily as the Kershaw models above, but without a spring. In addition to having the smoothest movement I’ve ever experienced in a folding knife, it also comes apart into three simple pieces which makes it really easy to clean without any tools.
The third is pretty weird. It’s called the Fulcrum, and to open it you have to push the two sides of the handle in opposite directions, which swings the blade out halfway, then snap them back together to lock it open.
When I was younger, I would get Cold Steel catalogs and look at everything in them, making note of the knives I most wanted. I’ve had quite a few of their products in the past, but the three I own now are specially selected from my absolute favorites.
At the top is a karambit, which is an excellent self-defense knife. Put your index finger through the loop and make a fist with the blade pointing the same direction as your knuckles, and you’ve basically become a human velociraptor. It can’t be easily turned back on you thanks to the curved blade, and the handle design makes it very difficult for someone to knock it out of your hand.
The one in the middle is the most ridiculous monster of a folding knife that I’ve owned, with a six-inch blade and enormous aluminum handle. It isn’t very practical, but it is impressive. Finally, the fixed-blade OSS is incredibly sharp on both edges, a serious fighting knife that I’m not likely to use.
The first knife I ever owned was a standard little Swiss Army knife, and the one I keep on my keychain is a slightly thicker version with a tiny ballpoint pen instead of a toothpick. I use these all the time for anything from trimming fingernails to opening beer bottles and taking apart electronics with tiny little screws. I have to keep a good supply of replacement scissor springs on hand because I use them so much.
I got my Gerber multi-tool pretty cheap from a garage sale, and recently bought a small Leatherman to keep in my truck. The file on the Gerber has been especially useful for trimming and shaping cast pewter objects.
Several years ago I knew a guy who got into knifemaking, and the two in the middle of this picture show some of the improvement he made with a couple years of experience. The white handle is Corian, a tough countertop material we use at work. The filet knife is a handmade model from Finland with an awesome leather sheath, and I just recently used it for the first time. I need more filet practice.
The rest of my collection is a random assortment of souvenirs, old knives from my childhood, and a few that are mainly for looks. I only have these three because I got them at significant discounts. At the top is a nice special-edition folder from Browning with a dazzling diamond pattern on the blade and carbon fiber on the handle. In the middle is a legitimate handmade Damascus knife with abalone shell inserts. On the bottom is one of the smallest functional folding knives available, the Spyderco Bug.
These are a few of my childhood and souvenir knives. The Swiss Army knife was my first, the black Gerber my second, the wooden-handled one came from Bryce Canyon in Utah, and the overly patriotic folding knife with a cheap box came from a store by Lake Michigan in Wisconsin, where I lived for a few months when I was thirteen. I also have some others that I obtained over the years, like a medieval-style dagger and a normal Kershaw folding knife I got as a birthday gift more than a decade ago.
I’ll probably be selling a few of these knives this weekend at my yard sale in North Bonneville, along with several cheaper knives and a ton of other interesting stuff. If you’re in the area, feel free to drop by. We have a festival called Gorge Days going on Friday and Saturday, the 7th and 8th, and dozens of people across town are participating in the annual city-wide garage sale, with maps and everything. Other attractions include a beer and wine garden, live music, a car show, and vendors with delicious food and handmade items.