Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review: how much knife is too much knife?

As you might have guessed, I'm rather keen on my edged tools. There is something very satisfying about a well honed blade cutting smoothly, and even more so when having a blade on hand means that a task or obstacle is swiftly completed or overcome. I've covered a variety of knives here previously, but something prompted me to ask myself "how much knife is too much knife?"

First lets address some local laws that I live subject to:

New Weapons Laws
"Release date: Thu 3 June 2010
Last updated: Fri 13 August 2010
The Victorian Government has introduced new laws to target knife crime.
From 22 August 2010 you can be searched for knives in a public place anywhere, anytime, with and without notice.
If you are 16 and over and get caught carrying a controlled weapon such as a knife, you face an on the spot fine of $1,000, or you may have to go to court and face a fine of over $14,000 or one year imprisonment.
This penalty is doubled if you are inside or within 20 metres of a pub, club or bar."

and some further clarification and explanation:

Controlled Weapons

Controlled weapons are weapons that can be used for legitimate purposes but require regulation because of the possible danger they pose to the community. This category of weapon includes knives that while not considered prohibited weapons, still are a potential danger to the community.
A person must not possess, carry or use a controlled weapon without lawful excuse. Lawful excuse includes:
a) the pursuit of any lawful employment, duty or activity
b) participation in any lawful sport, recreation or entertainment, and
c) the legitimate collection, display or exhibition of weapon.

Lawful excuse does not include for the purpose of self-defence
. [Bold by author]

Now, as it happens, I hold an exemption to the Weapons Control Act, as a collector, and am also a member of several collector organizations, as well. I happen to carry a couple of knives on or around my person as part of my EDC, and I make damn sure that in doing so, I have good reasons quick to mind.

In making the choice to carry a knife on my person, I am aware of the risks, both legal and to health and safety. So, that being said, what do I carry, when, and why?

In the picture above is a small sample of my collection

  1. Victorinox Swiss Army Knife - I keep this in the sun-visor of my car, good for opening things, picking teeth, fixing small tasks and personal grooming. I have had one these little guys since I was 5. About as inoffensive as a knife can get.
  2. CRKT folding KISS - This is my every-day knife, I keep it in my Hazard 4 harness, and have used it for everything from cutting fruit and salami, to cables, opening boxes, cutting rope and picking splinters. Its my go-to utility knife for work cutting and first aid needs. Seeing as it sits well out of the public eye, and I have a variety of uses for it, I'm content with my ass-covering.
  3. SAR Globaltool OddJob - Just as the name says, I use this little knife for odd-jobs. I usually wear it on my belt when I know I will be needing to do a lot of little cuts, unpacking furniture or parcels, or when I know I'll need to make one or two little cuts, quickly. Makes a great camping / hiking knife, and I also wear it when I know I'll be on First-Aid or safety Officer duties at events. Unobtrusive but getting a little "technical" for street-wear.
  4. Schrade Army 10 - Totally a tactical knife. I've never actually used this other than during the review process, it falls out of my user-category. If I were an avid hunter or active duty Armed Forces, it might well fill I niche I would need, but as it stands, its too much knife for my little needs, and not enough for the bigger ones. There's nothing wrong with it at all, but it's "a soldier knife" and I have other needs and tools.
  5. HHA LFK01 - Tactical all the way, this blade I gave to my partner as a gift a couple of years ago, as she has a thing for back-swept blades, but neither she nor I would wear it out in public, unless society had fallen. It's a very effective, rugged and sharp tool, but it wants to be in combat, so it lives in the collection only.
  6. Hibben style throwers - I have several of these. They balance well, throw nicely and make for good box-openers, but don't believe what Under Siege teaches us, they don't actually make for good kitchen knives. Throwing knives are also listed as "prohibited items" in Victoria. Be advised.
  7. American Kami Super Colubris - My beloved combat kitchen knife, this is my go-to outdoors knife, whether it is camping, BBQ'ing (though sometimes I fall back on my MSM KA-Bar knife for the same task) or just kitchen and household cutting needs. This is weighty, long and sharp enough to tackle bigger tasks, but fine handling enough for delicate fileting and slicing. Again, I wouldn't wear it on the street, but it doesn't leave my hip when out bush.
  8. Boker 343 Scalpel folder - This interesting little blade lives in my bag, in a pen-slot, usually, or fitted in PLAS-MOLLE channels on my other gear, when I feel the need. It's long handle and thin, narrow and long blade make it an excellent precision slicer, and it is plenty pointy enough to make an excellent probing cut. It looks kind of scary, so it falls under my "first aid and technical precision tool" category, and rarely sees light of day. 
  9. MichaelJ Fechner utility-blade - This beast is a serious industrial tool. I've worn it as a camp-knife, but really, its primary function is almost agricultural. Chopping woody branches and cutting through heavy canvas, breaking up pallets and prying up boards. This is a knife that wouldn't look out of place in a tradesmans toolbox or on a pipe-hitters belt. As with the Super Colubris, I wouldn't wear it to the shops, but when I'm gloves and goggles on, doing work, its perfectly suited.
  10. KA-Bar Pestilence - Now, if I ever have to clear my way through some bad-assed bush I would be tempted to break out the Pestilence, there is a time and place for cane-knives and machetes. Any other time? You are showboating. It's a surprisingly spry blade in the hand, but unless I were needing to clear a field or lop some limbs, I wouldn't be going to this one.
So there you have it.  There certainly is occasion where the tool at hand may well me "too much knife" just as it might be "too little" but odds are, you can probably get away with less, in most settings, if you know what you are doing. This is why kitchen knife-blocks come with a variety, and all the knives have names and uses.

Be clever with your cutlery, be aware of any laws and legislation you are subject to, and always, always, be ready for anything!

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