Wednesday, April 13, 2011

#11: K is for Knives

Knives are tools used to cut things. Handy things, to the extent that I've carried one regularly for probably 25 years now.

I don't remember my first knife terribly well. I think I got a rusty old two-blade knife used at some point. I started carrying one regularly by high school, and lost a couple when I worked for Ames. (Including one I really wish I still had, a boating knife which had my father's - and my - name on it.)

At some point I picked up a Bucklite, a very nice little plastic-handled knife by Buck which went on my keychain until the lanyard hole broke. In college, I got a Swiss Army knife, which also went on my keychain, sharing space with the Bucklite for a while. (Whatever other tools it provided, I liked the blade on the Bucklite more than the blades on the SAK.)

I stopped carrying the Bucklite and just kept the SAK for about 10 years, until wear-and-tear on the red plastic became problematic. The replacement came in the form of the newly-released Leatherman Juice S2, which added a decent pair of pliers to the mix. (The knife blade was still not as good - too thin - but better than the SAK's.)

The Juice was carried for 9 years or so, but time came for it too to be replaced. Not for wear this time - the anodized aluminum is definitely worn but not breaking like the plastic did - but just because its shortcoming finally annoyed me to the point of replacement. The knife blade had never pleased me much. The screwdrivers (other than the Phillips) were painful (literally) to take out. The lanyard ring made it hard to use the Phillips screwdriver, because the driver was next to the ring but removing the ring was frustrating.

So, time to upgrade again. Criteria: better knife, pliers, screwdrivers I didn't hate. I had to go up a bit in size for what I wanted, but I did find one I liked - the Skeletool CX. Very nice high-quality blade, pliers, a changeable-bit driver (with optional extender that takes normal bits, and optional set of 40 bits). And things I didn't even know I wanted - I've come to love the pocket clip. I wasn't expecting to like the carabiner/bottle opener, but it combines so well with the pocket clip to make it easy to switch my keys on and off it while the tool hangs from my pocket. I'm very, very pleased with it. The only thing I really lost in the upgrade was the scissors, and I'll take that as a cost. (At least for now. Next time I upgrade...)

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