What's in your pocket?

I've seen it going around like a small bug. Several bloggers have gone through the lint in their pockets and sorted all the change. You have read about some of my neat pocket toys in the past, and now I am gonna tell you some specifics. It may shock you to know that I carry a pocket knife wherever I go. And yes, I have even carried one on a plane.

*waits for the shock to wear off...*

About two years ago, I was sent to San Antonio for a luncheon with the CEO of our bank. Considering that this was last minute, I really didn't have time to thoroughly go through my pockets before boarding the plane. I was pretty sure that my Spyderco Endura was in the center console of my truck, and that was the extent of my personal protection arsenal at the time. Little did I know the heart attack waiting for me.

I had my briefcase with me and was doing work on the plane and while waiting for the flight to leave. There were several of us going from Houston, and we were all doing paperwork. Hell, some were making calls to customers.

So we spent the day in San Antonio hob-knobbing with the CEO and other bankers from the state. Nice digs, great food, and a lot of fun. As much fun as it was, it was all too quickly over. Several of the Houston contingent grabbed a cab and hauled balls to the airport. Weather was coming in and they didn't know if we'd get a flight out or not. I was the last at the counter to get my flight switched and the others were sitting on the other side of security waiting for me to pass through. I run to meet them, hobbling when I took my boots off for the X-ray machine. Slapped my bag and boots on the conveyor and was quickly whisked through security. Whew! Made the flight.

It was pretty bumpy as we battled through a cold front to Houston. In fact, it was so bumpy, we had to forgo the cocktail service because the plane was being violently jolted by turbulence. After one hard jolt, the captain got on the PA and says, "Wow! That didn't feel right!" One banker tossed her Cobb salad at that statement.

Back on terra firma, I scoured my truck looking for the Spyderco. I knew I left it in the center console...or maybe I put it in the glove box. No joy anywhere. It was not until I got back to the house and emptied my briefcase that I found it sitting in the outer flap with some papers and a pen. How on Earth the TSA gate goons missed this big honking huge cleaver of a knife is beyond me. TWICE!

That monster Endura used to be my primary pocket knife. Now, I rotate back and forth between several different models. I wear slacks more, and feel that I need to be less obvious with my knife selection. Besides, I work in an office with women and only three other men. We are outnumbered and I don't want to freak the ladies out with something that looks like a machete in their eyes. Not to say they aren't thankful for a "typical male" of the species when things need cutting, but some of the ladies I've worked with in the past have been a little less than enthused when I come a cuttin'.

My pocket today carries a green handled Spyderco Delica. I picked this one up at a gun show about a year ago. It still fits in the hand like its bigger brother, yet is small enough to be less than intimidating. The edge has held up pretty well, and I am not afraid to use this blade. It is my all around poking, picking, prying blade. Speaking of prying, have you read my post on the PryBaby from Atwood Knives? If not, go down a bit and read it. I carry a PryBaby at all times. It is just a nifty piece of steel to have on hand.

I am a huge fan of the Columbia River Knife and Tool. I own several of their K.I.S.S. knives. I have lost several of them, too. That is why I keep spares. Heck, it's nothing more than a money clip for me. Pre-9/11, I used to carry it on a plane without question. Now, I pack it in the luggage on trips.

As far as folders go, I own a butt-load. I got my first knife in the second grade. I begged and begged my daddy to take me to the hardware store so I could get a pocket knife. He promised me my first knife before a trip to the mountains of Colorado that summer. I got a Buck 110 three blade folder. The guy at the hardware store was nice enough to throw in the leather belt pouch, too. I still have that knife to this day, and hope to pass it on to my son when the time comes.

The first knife I bought for myself is harder to trace. I've had quite a few gifted to me over the years, and cannot remember buying one until that first Spyderco. Actually, back that up a bit...My first real purchase was a Gerber Gator when I lived in Wisconsin. I bought it to compliment my Leatherman dad gave to me on my 21st birthday. The Spyderco Endura I picked up in Houston after using someone else's and falling in love with it. Paid a hefty price for it back then at about 70 bones. Yikes! They've come down in price since then and I have no problem picking one up if I lose my current one.

While I was exiled to Butt Pro Shop, I learned the fine art of knife sharpening. Lemme tell ya, the Lansky system is crap! Plunk down the bucks and buy yourself a decent bench grinder and buy some of those knife sharpening wheels advertised in some of the gun mags. For a time at BPS, I was king sh*& of turd mountain. I had chefs bring me their Hinkels, cops their expensive Emersons, and everyone in between brought out the best and worst of their collections. I could put an edge on anything and everything. I wanted a challenge one day, so I rummaged through my dad's tool shed until I found what I was looking for. He had a cir. 1945ish Imperial three blade folder that was rusted shut. Only the main blade was out and it was in dire straits. caked with rust, and the tip was broken and bent. I ran some Break Free through it and let it soak for an hour. I was able to open all three blades and figured it was salvageable from there. I was able to use a wire brush wheel to scrape the rust off the blades and all the shiny parts. From there, I ground out a new edge on the broken tip. After that, I sharpened all three edges stuck it in my pocket. That knife was my testament to the public that anything was possible with the sharpening wheels. Sold the most kits that way.

My dad was very impressed. This was a knife his father used on a daily basis that he picked up off the workbench in his garage in Pasadena shortly after my grandfather died. I never knew him, so this is one of the few links I have to my grandfather. I hope he's looking down on me and smiling for fixing that knife for him. I haven't used the blade much, just for show and the occasional nail cleaning. And the pits from the rust have left a nice textured look to the blades. Very antique and chic.

Since I have been at the range, I have also added to my tactical knife collection. My favorite purchases are the two Mel Pardue's from Benchmade that replaced the ones I have somehow lost (*note* I did find one of my original Mel Pardue knives in the saddle bag on my bicycle right before the MS150). I also have an Emerson Kerambit folder that has seen more blood drawn than my skinning blades. I have since learned to not carry that one while wearing jeans. It tends to catch and do bad things. I am the proud papa of a Camillus Cuda, too. I hear tell that they don't make them anymore. How sad.

You can see that I have an extensive collection. I need to post up some pics for you to get a sense of what I have in my bag. There are others by Buck, SOG, Spyderco and more that I can't think of. The intriguing nature of sharp pointy objects keeps knife collecting right up there with guns. If I could stop buying new knives long enough, I would add to the gun cabinet.

Let's hear from the rest of you. An open meme of your daily carry knife. As well, I want to know what the first knife give to you was, and the first knife you ever bought.



Anonymous said...

First knife was a "Boy Scout" knife I bought back in grade school. Big blade, can opener, bottle opener, and a thing for taking stones out of horses hooves. I conned an Aunt into taking me to the Army/Navy store and there purchased the aforementioned knife and a two-cell flashlight. I was ready for anything. Fifty years later, that knife still around here somewhere, although one side plate and the lanyard loop have disappeared.

I really don't remember the first knife gifted to me, although I have a folding pocket knife from the estate of each grandfather. Nowadays, my pocket piece varies between a Case three-blade folder (present from Pop) and a five-blade Swiss Army (present from a nephew). I keep a Leatherman and a mini-Maglite in the briefcase.

Anonymous said...

If someone is considering knife collecting as a hobby, there are a couple of decisions that need to be made early. First, what appeals to you about collecting knives? The answer to that question will provide you with some clues as to what direction to take with your collection. For example do you like old ones? If so, then you have just narrowed the field by at least half, by eliminating customs, current productions, etc. Do you like an particular brand or maker? If so, then a lot of collectors focus on brands and will collect any type of knife (patterns) that maker made. On the other hand, is there a particular type of knife/pattern that turns you on? If so, that helps your focus tremendously.
For the last 10 years, I have focused on a specific pattern. I do like old knives, particularly, pre-1940. The pattern I collect is called an elephant toenail or sunfish knife. It is a folding pocketknife that is one of the largest pocketknives. It was made for hard outdoor work. It is also one of the oddest pocketknives, it that its masterblade and handles are very large. I welcome you to come check them out.