Mildly OT: Suggestions for a new pocket knife

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Yeah, my trusty ol' Kershaw "Grant County" model 3100 lock knife with a 1-7/8" blade and black ABS handle:
http://www.thekershawstore.com/Kershaw_Grant_County_Plain_Knife_p/k3100.htm
has finally outlived its usefulness after 20 years of refusing to become lost like every other knife I've ever owned. The blade lock mechanism is completely worn out and no longer works, and I've had way too many close calls with that thing giving way and threatening to slice up my fingers. The cross-hatching on the handle is also worn completely smooth, and while I liked that when it was new, I'm not sure I'd go for that again.
What are your favorite candidates for a similar replacement? I like that style; a single blade lock knife with no frills. Nothing multi-blade or fancy for me. I could stand to go a little larger, but not by much; probably under 4" total closed length. I can't stand carrying too much junk in my pockets!
I think Kershaw is a fine brand and I've heard lots of good things about them, but I haven't been overly impressed by the blade's ability to keep an edge. I'd like to take the quality of the steel into consideration on this next purchase. Any thoughts or suggestions there?
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For about the same amount of time I have been carrying the 3115 Coral Creek Kershaw knife. A little larger than the one you referenced but looks exactly like it. Mine is 3.5" closed, big enough to wrap 3 of my fingers around when opened. Mine was made in Japan and I have been very happy with it however I noticed also that the one you referenced is Chinese. Mine has kept an edge better than any of my previous Bucks. Is your current one Chineese also?
Keep in mind also that my blade lock has been marginal at times, I found a build up of pocket lint to be the culprit, you might want to take a look into that.
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On 10/2/2010 9:54 AM, Leon wrote:

Nope, mine was made in Japan. Looks like the new Coral Creek models are made in China as well.

Yeah, pocket lint has caused that issue for me in the past, but I'm afraid at this point keeping the lock mechanism clean no longer does the trick.
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wrote:

There are as many different pocket knives out there as there are different people who like certain things about them. Highly personal. Mine was given to me a few years back and has lived in a lightweight Gortex pouch on my belt ever since. It's one-hand operated and has done everything I have wanted it to do. If I lost it, I'd want the same knife again. It's nothing fancy, well-made and matches the black that Festool uses. *smirk* http://tinyurl.com/34fqmo3
Your mileage WILL vary.
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I've always treated the lock on a knife like the safety on a gun. Extra security but don't rely on it.
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On 10/2/10 9:27 AM, Steve Turner wrote:

I don't know anything about knives, but if you're replacing one you've had for 20yrs, I'd suggest going as high end as you can. Seems to me, for guys like you, a pocket knife is the tool equivalent of the dog.
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The problem with getting a "good" knife is that you'll lose it. I've been in the OPs situation. The "OK" knife you can find and use is better than the "good" knife you can't find.
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On 10/2/2010 12:03 PM, Brad Bruce wrote:

Well I certainly appreciate owning and using tools of exceptional quality, and I try to do my homework and buy the best tools I can whenever I'm in the market, but there definitely IS that specter of "you're gonna lose that damn thing!" hanging over my head! Before I got the Kershaw I'd lost a zillion pocketknives, then I got this one and it all changed. I guess they're loss proof!
I was surprised that the prices on those Kershaws that Leon and I were talking about aren't very high; around $20. At that price losing one wouldn't be that big of a deal, but I'm still pretty keen on getting something with better quality and I have to wonder if the current "made in China" versions aren't a drop down from what I already have. I wouldn't be adverse to spending closer to $50 if the quality was significantly better. That's where I was hoping somebody here might have some suggestions.
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wrote in>

Hey you and I both like the Kershaw knife.... with the analogy of $20 is not much if you loose the knife, if the quality of the Chinese Kershaw is not what you expected, loose the knife.
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On 10/4/2010 8:14 AM, Leon wrote:

I do like the Kershaw knife, but I've been a little disappointed in its ability to hold an edge, and I'm really just ready for something different, a bit bigger, and with the best quality steel I can find. I'm still pretty sweet on that Boker knife, but I've been instructed not to buy such things for myself so close to Christmas. Perhaps it will show up in my stocking this year. :-)
I did also read the Kershaw warranty info (which HeyBub also posted here) and I am curious about whether they would honor it, but I don't think I'll send off my knife to find out until after Christmas. I don't want to be without a knife while I'm waiting for them to decide. :-)
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wrote:
Hey... SteveO...
Try to make sense of this post. I am on my second pot of coffee on a marathon of cleaning up paperwork and outstanding estimates that have to go out this week. Waaayy too much caffeine.

The Kershaw knife you have has a blade made from AUS6, which was a good standard at the time. It is pretty much relegated to less expensive knives these days, or knives that are hard to sharpen due to their size or shapes.
Good news: AUS6 doesn't rust unless abused. Blades don't break because the steel is only hardened to about RC 55 or a couple of points less. Easy to sharpen.
Bad news: Needs frequent sharpening
I'm still pretty sweet on>

I love a guilt free purchase like that.

Kershaw's customer service is legendary. Sure, they don't make everyone happy, but their batting average seems to be really good. Additionally, if you want, if his email is still active I can put you in touch with the head executive in charge of customer service.
You can read all about their service here since they have re-enabled the search function for non members:
http://www.bladeforums.com
I regularly participate there and have for some time. I am not a Kershaw addict, but love their knives. (I am midnight flyer if you search for my own small contributions)
I don't like to carry a knife in a sheath or belt holster as I my duties take me from a jobsite to estimates on more refined homes. Besides catching on things, I just don't like the holsters. And the Buck 110s (and your Kershaw version of the Buck) were always too big for me to carry in my pocket since they had to ride under my nail bags. The bags ground the knife into my leg, and they ground off the denim on my pants.
I was really surprised the first time I got a knife with a pocket clip on it. They ride right down the seam of my jeans and I literally can't feel the knife at all when I have it clipped. Thanks to the Bladeforums crew, I found this extremely affordable knife which is my favorite work knife:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/26njpgm
Go down to the plain edged, satin finished model. I absolutely love this knife, and Tom at Chestnut has the best prices anywhere (great guy, too!). This is a few steps up on the steel, and has proven to be a real winner for me as a slicer and sadly, sometimes as a beater. The G10 on the handle is not too aggressive, but it holds on to your hand quite well and doesn't wear down like the FRN on your Kershaw.
It locks up like a tank, and is just as secure as it was when I started carrying it a year+ ago. If you call, ask for Tom and tell him you would like for him to take one out of the package to check for fit and finish before he ships. He did it for me, and I am sure he will do it for you.
AUS8 is pretty good steel, great for a work knife. Easy to sharpen and maintain, and if you get too aggressive it still won't break or chip. I couple of passes on my diamond rod and it is back up to duty standards. It comes with a sharp edged spine, and I keep that sharp (90 degrees) as well and use the spine as a makeshift scraper.
When I know it won't get too abused, and I am doing all woodwork, this is by far and away my favorite work knife to pack around:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/d29tvp
The sandwiched steel is a kick. No, there are no recorded cases of delamination! If you are an experienced sharpener, the D2 on the edge is no problem at all to sharpen. And it will get *screaming* sharp and stay that way.
Roger over at Knifeworks is great to work with, and I have bought several Kershaws from him, including a couple of "super steel knives" like S110V. (Not worth the dough!)
Both of those guys have the prices and service I like.
As a sidebar, there have been a lot of questions about the Kershaw lines that have moved to China. You knife in particular was brought into question a few months ago, and the consensus was that the Chinese models are as good or better than the Japanese models made by Seki.
Like any other manufacturer, Kershaw has their clinkers, but the consensus is that they will stand by their product, barring abuse.
Robert
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On 10/4/2010 1:40 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Well it's good to hear a sensible explanation as to why I was always thinking "How come this damn thing ain't sharp? Didn't I just hone it last week?"
<reluctantly snipping a bunch of great stuff>

<more snips>

Nice knives, but those dudes are just a WEE bit bigger than what I had in mind. Even the Boker I've been looking at, which clocks in with a close length of 4-1/4" is bigger than I really want to carry around in my cushy office job... :-)

Sounds good. I probably will see if I can get this one taken care of under warranty service; it just might be a while before I will do it and find out how it goes.
As usual Robert, thanks for the in-depth and helpful response!
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wrote:

OK, you have to know I am laughing my ass off at myself. Remind me to wear my glasses when I look at small things on the monitor. The little knife you posted as your current knife has a big brother, a near copy of the venerated Buck 110 folder.
But... yours is less than 3" closed, and this one is more than 4" closed and a helluva lot heavier. But in profile, and in appearance, they look the same.
Hey.. I told you I had too much caffeine! A few too many cups of coffee and I think I can read without my spectacles!
OK... one last shot though.
Check this guy out:
http://www.collectorknives.net/queen-knives.html
He has all kinds of good brand names, including CASE, Boker, Queen, etc. Right now I am partial to Queen because I love that D2 steel. Excellent stuff. It is stain resistant so it doesn't rust easily, but has enough carbon to really hold an edge.
I live the bone handles on these knives, and Queen does a great job. I have the Stockman, the Dan Burke Barlow, the medium Stockman, the Gunstock, the Dan Burke half whittler, and the Country Cousin from this line, all bought at Mike's shop. Great guy, too. I bought a knife for a gift that wasn't 100%, and he had a new one in the mail before I got the other one packed to send back.
The medium Stockman would do what you wanted, as would the Copperlock or Canoe. All three of those are considered medium duty work knives.
Personally, I keep my work knives around and use them hard, but my real love of pocket knives is the old patterns and materials. I take pretty good care of them, even if they were designed for hard work.
I am understanding now that you want more of a gentleman's knife.
But still, you should buy that RAT1 as your knock around knife. ;^)
Never too many knives....
Hope you post what you decide.
Robert
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On 10/2/2010 8:27 AM, Steve Turner wrote:

Amazon.com is a good place to research most products. Do a search on "pocket knife" or "lock knife" or whatever, pick a category, and sort on "average customer review." Then go in and read the actual reviews. Odds are very good you'll find just the knife you're looking for, and it will likely also be at (or close to) the best price you are going to find. For example, I did this and found these knives among lots of others:
Gerber 22-41052 Stag Lock-Back Double Bolster Fine Edge Pocket Knife

(Amazon.com product link shortened)86049720&sr=1-6
Smith & Wesson SW2001 Swat Baby Liner Lock Knife

(Amazon.com product link shortened)86050451&sr=1-52
Buck 505 Knight Lockback Folding Knife

(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Timber Wolf Folding Knife Damascus Captain

(Amazon.com product link shortened)86050641&sr=1-22
I often research tools the same way. For example, that's how I found my Triton router, which I mounted as a table router and simply love the result.

(Amazon.com product link shortened)86051320&sr=8-2
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http://www.hammacher.com/publish/74670.asp?source=FindGift&keywordt670&cm_ven=NewGate&cm_cat=FindGift&cm_pla=HOME%20SOLUTIONS&cm_itet670 #
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On 10/2/2010 4:25 PM, KIMOSABE wrote:

http://www.hammacher.com/publish/74670.asp?source=FindGift&keywordt670&cm_ven=NewGate&cm_cat=FindGift&cm_pla=HOME%20SOLUTIONS&cm_itet670 #
What, no drum key?
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On 10/2/10 8:08 PM, Steve Turner wrote:

I think I saw a tuning fork, though. :-)
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On 10/2/2010 3:31 PM, Just Wondering wrote:

Wow, I didn't know Smith & Wesson made knives. Interesting; I'll have to investigate further.

I had a knife very similar to this one. Bought it in 1988 and lost it about a month later. That was one of my favorites... <sniff>

Yes, I do the same thing. Some good pointers; thanks.
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They don't. They contract them out and have their name on them. Last one I saw was made in Japan. This was years ago so it wouldn't surprise me if they are now made in China. Winchester and Remington do/ have done the same.

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On 10/2/2010 8:46 PM, CW wrote:

Yeah, I looked at some sites that had a whole host of "Smith & Wesson" knives. I was suitably underwhelmed.
However, I think I may have just found the knife of my dreams:
http://www.worldknives.com/products/boker-tree-brand-thuya-lockback-knife-bo2002th-1536.html
German-made, Solingen steel, exotic hardwood handle (whatever "Thuya" wood is...), single blade lock knife with a nice conservative design, one that doesn't look like something out of a dang science fiction movie. Very nice! Now if I can just get past the cost: $155! I did find it for around $115 on eBay, and that got me kinda fingering the "Buy It Now" button, but then my wife had to walk in and quiz me about what I was doing. She gave me that "over the top of the reading glasses, with raised eyebrows" look, so that kinda took the wind out of my sails... :-)
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