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Blades, Bows and Tools Discussion of non-firearm weapons and camping/survival tools.

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  #1  
Old 10-10-2013, 12:48 PM
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Default What makes a good knife?

During a recent trip I stopped in a knife outlet on I-40 outside Holbrook, Arizona. Knife City has rows and rows of folding knives, fixed knives, bayonets, axes, razors, and other cutting instruments or killing instruments.
Their selection of Benchmade are up to to $300 for a regular folding knife (non switchblade which they have). They say that Benchmark is the top of the line in these knives.

My question is this....what makes a knife so expensive? Is a $300 knife really that much better than a $100 knife? Or a $50 knife. Hell I bought some stuff at Kragen and they had a $8.99 folding knife that I just couldn't pass up. How long would it take me to wear out 30 of those knives?

I'm thinking about a gift for my son but may just hold off. Are their prices better than anywhere else? www.knifecityoutlet.com

I'm not an employee of the place...just trying to find out if this store out in the middle of nowhere is the place to save cash on this expensive toy.
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  #2  
Old 10-10-2013, 12:52 PM
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All depends on what you want. Benchmade makes good stuff, but i think their handles suck (had several break). I prefer CRKT as I feel I still get a quality product, made in the U.S. for a resaonable price. That said I wont knock some of the other makers out there either, just cant see paying their prices (except maybe some of the hand made one offs).
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Old 10-10-2013, 12:54 PM
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I have more knives than I can count and they range dramatically in price.

Honestly, my favorite knife nowadays is a knife that cost me less than $10.



It is an Opinel No 8. Mine has a carbon steel blade, which has developed a fantastic patina over the years. It is incredibly sharp, extremely easy to sharpen, feels great in my hand, has very few parts so hard to break and easy to repair, and holds an edge very well. It is my favorite knife because it is the one I use most often. If I'm camping or having a picnic, I'll use it to prepare most my meals and to eat with.

Last edited by adamy; 10-10-2013 at 12:55 PM.. Reason: resized image
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Old 10-10-2013, 2:10 PM
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What I like:
Knives that don't rust. Think spyderco police model or the H1 salt lines.
Knives that lock up solid and will not close in error / accident on your hand.
Knives with a good steel- one that holds and edge and cuts well.
Knives that are ergonomic or comfortable in the hand.
Knives with reversible clips so you can attach them as you like in your pocket

Knives with a reasonable texture so they don't slip in your hand and don't tear up you pant pocket.


You can get decent knives that work for $15 on sale at big 5

Good Spyderco and similar knives will bounce between $50-$150 at amazon and wholesale type prices.


I no longer buy serrated knives as I cannot sharpen them well myself.
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  #5  
Old 10-10-2013, 2:46 PM
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If you appreciate quality then you will enjoy a higher priced knife. I recently (within last year) became interested in knives. The design, workmanship and quality of materials, are factors to consider. Look on YouTube at the torture tests done on Benchmade and Spyderco knives, and you will see that they are built to withstand heavy use.
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Old 10-10-2013, 3:08 PM
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you can check also www.knifehog.com to compare prices on knives.
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Old 10-10-2013, 3:14 PM
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Depends on your use. You want to cut salami or bread for a sandwich? ,or section a buck?
I require as close to .25 thickness and full tang ,not over 4-5" bigger is not better in a body cavity.
showy, fantasy knives are for punks

Last edited by thomashoward; 10-10-2013 at 3:16 PM..
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Old 10-10-2013, 4:01 PM
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Knife City is way overpriced on any knife in the store. Its on I-40 for a reason. Tourist passing by,if they are into knives they will most stop and shop.
The shop is owned by a husband and wife team. He minds the store with a son of theirs while she does the gun shows. If you are ever at a gun show like Costa Mesa,the wife is short dark haired,low cut top, and has as many as 6 tables in a u-shaped corner. She runs those tables alone. I know her personally as I had a table next to her one year. Very nice lady and her prices are very retail, but she is well stocked in product.
Shop Amazon or Ebay for better prices. Not worth going to gun shows with parking and cost of getting in. Or you might try a good knife show. Good luck.
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Old 10-10-2013, 4:43 PM
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Think Craftsman vs Snapon. Both will get the job done. But some people can feel the difference between the two wrenches.

Knives are like guns too. They vary depending on materials, craftsmanship, how much of the work is done by hand, etc. The truly custom knives are much more like pieces of art and that is what you are paying for. The individual maker's design, hand fitting, etc.

In the end, only you can decide if the price is worth it to you or not. As for me, I have a couple of expensive knives (Strider and Chris Reeves). They are by no means custom knives and fairly expensive for "production" knives. I love them both for different reasons. However, I'm not sure they're worth the price I paid. But I like them. It's not always about price.
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Old 10-10-2013, 4:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamy View Post
I have more knives than I can count and they range dramatically in price.

Honestly, my favorite knife nowadays is a knife that cost me less than $10.

It is an Opinel No 8. Mine has a carbon steel blade, which has developed a fantastic patina over the years. It is incredibly sharp, extremely easy to sharpen, feels great in my hand, has very few parts so hard to break and easy to repair, and holds an edge very well. It is my favorite knife because it is the one I use most often. If I'm camping or having a picnic, I'll use it to prepare most my meals and to eat with.
... and if you screw up and forget to twist the lock, it does a real number on your hand as it closes. (Yes, user error!). I have the scar to remind me.

But I still have and use a couple Opinels. Many, *many* moons ago, I got this set.
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  #11  
Old 10-10-2013, 5:00 PM
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http://www.knifeworks.com/

I buy the majority of my bm's from here. good people, good prices. they've forged a very strong customer base among bm loyalists, myself included. if you're looking to save some scratch, while retaining quality, maybe look toward spyderco instead.
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  #12  
Old 10-10-2013, 5:07 PM
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I got into the Knife collecting hobby, I have a Randall # 19 Bushmaster but when I go outdoors I use a Buck 118, Bought new in 1971 for 13.00 $ or a Buck 110 that I bought new at 25.00$ , The Knives I bought for 300.00 are safe Queens . I have a SOG that came from a Swapmeet at 5.00$ ,It get used a lot. Big 5 had a CRKT with g10 17.00 on sale , It was a nice knife. Southern California Blades will have a show in Feb.
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Old 10-10-2013, 7:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyking13 View Post
My question is this....what makes a knife so expensive? Is a $300 knife really that much better than a $100 knife? Or a $50 knife. Hell I bought some stuff at Kragen and they had a $8.99 folding knife that I just couldn't pass up. How long would it take me to wear out 30 of those knives?
A $300 knife is NOT always better than a $50 knife... But sometimes the material costs do factor in to the overall price. If you are getting a very nice steel like an M390 or S35vn, XHP, M4, CPM 3V just to name a few... You are paying for incredible hardness and durability. You can make any steel hard but it can become brittle. You can virtually beat the hell out of these blades and you don't have to sharpen them very often. Also if the handles are made from Titanium, they are very light, corrosion resistant and won't break. For the Titanium and premium steel, $300 is just about the entry level... They go up from there. For around $75 to $120 both Spyderco and Benchmade have great offerings. If you can pony up $150 to $200, check out the Emerson line of knives. Hell for $30 check out the Ontario RAT folding blades... An outstanding knife at double the price. Kershaw also has some great offerings from $30 to $75. There's a guy whose always at the Ontario and Costa Mesa gun show who sells a ton of brand new Kershaws for very reasonable prices. I stay away from off brands, all of the makers i mentioned will warranty their blades and usually sharpen for the cost of shipping... Check out this site, you don't have to buy here but they do have a ton of nice blades at decent prices http://www.bladehq.com/
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Old 10-10-2013, 7:46 PM
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IMO
Fixed blade, is it functional? Baton wood etc.
Folder - Lock up, is it tight?
Blade sharpness, does it stay sharp reasonably well?

from inside the Jungle
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Old 10-10-2013, 8:14 PM
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I've started making knives and have been researching all kinds of steel and whatnot.

Its either high carbon steel or 420 or 440 stainless (Buck uses 425M). The magic is in the heat treating of the steel. If something is hand made you are going to pay for it but theres no reason a machine can't do as good of a job, all things being equal. The steel itself isn't that costly (save for maybe certain damascus) but some of the materials in the handles and fittings could add up.

I think "good" knife is subjective. My forged kitchen knives are awesome for slicing tomatoes but I don't think I'd skin a deer with them. For me, a knife is only as good as its steel and its tempering.
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Old 10-10-2013, 9:51 PM
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To answer the OP, what makes a good knife is whether or not it can perform the task it is being used for well. Someone who works in a vineyard will have a very different set of criteria than someone who works in a slaughterhouse. Beyond the utility of cutting, puncturing, and separating, it's all gravy. Gee whiz steel and rare materials drive the price up, but craftsmanship and price don't always have a direct relationship with each other.


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Old 10-14-2013, 9:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hermosabeach View Post
What I like:
Knives that don't rust. Think spyderco police model or the H1 salt lines.
Knives that lock up solid and will not close in error / accident on your hand.
Knives with a good steel- one that holds and edge and cuts well.
Knives that are ergonomic or comfortable in the hand.
Knives with reversible clips so you can attach them as you like in your pocket

I no longer buy serrated knives as I cannot sharpen them well myself.
This is pretty much everything I was going to say, but add that a folder should have smooth action.

I was bummed to find the thumb stud on my SOG Twitch XL was rusting, despite the TiNi finish. I've also returned a SOG Trident for loose lock up.

I've had my CRKT M16 for about 10 years with no problems at all.

I've had a handful of Kershaws from $30-$80 with no problems either.

I guess I'm a mid-range guy, with the CRKT being the only blade I've hit triple digits in price.
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Old 10-22-2013, 7:40 PM
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Try knives plus to compare prices. http://knivesplus.com

My favorite carry knife for the last few years is a Kershaw Blur non serrated. My favorite folder is a Cold Steel large Shinobu.
[IMG][/IMG]
I own more than these but these I carry.
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Old 10-23-2013, 3:49 AM
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I highly recommend Cold Steel knives. A lot of their products are uninfortunatley overpriced, although there is a decent selection of knives under $100. If your near Ventura, CA they have two annual parking lot sales.

About 2 years ago, I was able to pick up a XL Voyager folder for $50, which has a total length of about 10 inches when opened. The knife was made in Japan and features a bright stainless finish. I believe the blade is V-1 model they used. The knife is dicountinued but Cold Steel offers a lot of great knives that you can throw, hack with and enjoy for a long period of time before serious wear and tear.



Quote:
Originally Posted by skyking13 View Post
During a recent trip I stopped in a knife outlet on I-40 outside Holbrook, Arizona. Knife City has rows and rows of folding knives, fixed knives, bayonets, axes, razors, and other cutting instruments or killing instruments.
Their selection of Benchmade are up to to $300 for a regular folding knife (non switchblade which they have). They say that Benchmark is the top of the line in these knives.

My question is this....what makes a knife so expensive? Is a $300 knife really that much better than a $100 knife? Or a $50 knife. Hell I bought some stuff at Kragen and they had a $8.99 folding knife that I just couldn't pass up. How long would it take me to wear out 30 of those knives?

I'm thinking about a gift for my son but may just hold off. Are their prices better than anywhere else? www.knifecityoutlet.com

I'm not an employee of the place...just trying to find out if this store out in the middle of nowhere is the place to save cash on this expensive toy.
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Old 11-02-2013, 2:53 PM
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I know I am boring to tears on this subject, but years ago I gave away most of my collection and started over. The single most important characteristic of a knife, no matter my use, is a really deep choil.
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Old 11-12-2013, 8:17 AM
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I typically carry three knives on me. This is because there is no one knife that serves all the purposes I use a knife for on a nearly daily basis. Luckily two of the knives are less than 2" long.

None of them cost over $30.00.
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