Advice - why do I need (another) knife?

SleepyInTheSun

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Need advice from y’all.


I like to be clear about needs vs wants. Last night I spent some time looking at the bark river site and decided I “need” an STS-7.5. But I need help figuring out why, because surely it can’t be a ‘want’ that I’ve confused with a ‘need’ :)


I like nice stuff, especially made by small / family shops, and appreciate balancing solid design with advanced techniques / technology. My flashlights are from HDS & McGizmo, my pack is from McHale, my car is from Germany, my radio is from Elecraft, etc. I’m not rich, but I deploy such disposable income as I have to buy fewer things & aim for the best when I do make a purchase.


Looking for ‘needs’... I spend some time in the backcountry, but I don’t go that far. If I’m in good enough shape to build a shelter with a knife I’m probably also able to walk out. If I can’t walk I can probably crawl the the top of a hill and hit the SOS button on my satellite beacon. I like to be low impact, so if I want a fire I’m going to use small branches already down I can break with my hands. I live in a nice neighbourhood with little in the way of random safety threats, and I’m under no illusions about my abilities - if I’m dealing with an armed intruder I don’t have the training / skills to gain advantage with a knife anyway and would use other strategies. If I’m hiking and encounter a predator intent on making me lunch bear spray is more likely effective. I work in an office so I’m not likely to EDC a 7”+ blade - and in any case I have a small spyderco folder in an unusual steel that is sufficient for chopping up an apple at lunchtime.

So... help, and thanks in advance :)

 

motigg

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Clearly you like quality stuff even when you don’t need it. So if you like the knife, get it. Sell it if you end up not liking it.
 

Modernflame

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Life is short, brother. Get your knife and enjoy it. I have a couple of Bark River fixed blades, even though I am a suburb dwelling office drone. I admit to myself that I probably don't need them, but I justify them by imagining a far fetched scenario in which I could need them. You know like a zombie apocalypse, Martian invasion, or teleportation into a parallel universe in which I am Crocodile Dundee. Yeah, they pretty much live in a drawer slathered in mineral oil, but just in case...
 

Random Dan

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I probably don't need a fixed blade most of the time either but it is reassuring to have one handy. For what Bark Rivers cost I'd rather buy from a smaller custom knifemaker but that's more of a personal preference thing. If you'll enjoy having and using it then go for it.
 

adamlau

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If HDS/McGizmo is your thing, then offerings from Carothers and Bussekin should be ahead of Bark River on your list of wants :)
 

ma tumba

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You may want to consider Big Chris’ knives (Chris Berry). He is a great maker and one of a few that are into high end steels. I have his nessmuk and very happy about it. Just be aware that his is a huge guy with huge hands so for someone with smaller hands his handles are a bit oversized
 

desmobob

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I always carried a high-quality folding knife and used a smallish fixed blade for field-dressing whitetails (if I remembered it and didn't use my folder). As I started doing more backpacking and camping, I found that a nice fixed blade knife was much preferred.

Funny thing... the guys out west seem to prefer much bigger blades than the guys back east. My favorite fixed blades for camping are a couple of inexpensive customs... a Brian Andrews Off the Map bushcraft knife and an original Dan Koster Bladeforums custom bushcraft knife.

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I have some larger blades in the range you're looking at but find them too heavy and bulky for comfortable carry and way more knife than I need. I have some Busse Combats, Blackjacks, an original Swap Rat Camp Tramp, Fallknivens, etc. I always seem to grab the Brian Andrews knife first. I prefer to carry a small but sturdy blade that can be used to baton through bigger stuff if needed rather than carrying a much larger blade capable of chopping.

Anyway, life's too short to have to justify every purchase. Especially knives, flashlights, shotguns, cameras/lenses, fly rods, etc. etc. etc. :eek:
 
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The Hawk

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I just bought myself a Cold Steel Warcraft Tanto. Did I need it? No. Did I want it? Yes. Can I afford it? Yes. Therefore, I now own it. Life is short. If you want another knife, get yourself one. By the way, I like my new knife. I hope you pull the trigger on yours as well.
 
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jabe1

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If it calls to you, and you can afford it; go for it. I always feel a bit better knowing that I have a sturdy fixed blade at hand. Just a "what if" kind of thing. I have a BK14 that suits me in most instances.
 

Owen

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So... help, and thanks in advance :)
Unless Bark River has a) changed ownership, and b) drastically improved the quality of their grinds, I wouldn't touch one with a 10ft pole, fanboys notwithstanding.
Regardless...the knife. 7.5" with a narrow 3/16" thick CPM-154 blade. It's thick for cutting, too light for chopping. It'd be fantastic for splitting, but is that what you get a knife in CPM-154 for? Just seems like a mass of contradictions to me, resulting in a knife that really isn't good at anything.
Since you've already established your total lack of need, and have nothing to use the knife for...excellent choice!:D
 

bigburly912

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Unless Bark River has a) changed ownership, and b) drastically improved the quality of their grinds, I wouldn't touch one with a 10ft pole, fanboys notwithstanding.
Regardless...the knife. 7.5" with a narrow 3/16" thick CPM-154 blade. It's thick for cutting, too light for chopping. It'd be fantastic for splitting, but is that what you get a knife in CPM-154 for? Just seems like a mass of contradictions to me, resulting in a knife that really isn't good at anything.
Since you've already established your total lack of need, and have nothing to use the knife for...excellent choice!:D

This was an old thread but I need to respond. No fanboy here i have knives from all walks of life.

I have a JX6 with an elmax steel blade I used this year to skin, butcher and process 2 deer back to back. I did one light touch up between the processing of the first deer and the skinning of the second.

I don’t know if you’ve ever processed game but that’s a good feat for a knife. I’ve got dedicated deboning knives but I really wanted to put the knife through it’s paces. It was used for every single step of the process on both deer.

I’m not saying the rest of the knives aren’t trash because I’ve never used any others but for my use for that day the JX6 gets an A+. To be able to skin, quarter, debone, trim fat, butcher with a knife that size should tell you that they aren’t all trash, I can take that knife without sharpening after the second deer and run it through paper. Just my humble experience.
 

Modernflame

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I admit I can be a snob when it comes to the thickness of a blade behind the edge. In fact, I completely reground a Hinderer Jurassic, which would be an act of heresy in some circles. With that said, I'm not much of an outdoors man. It takes a different sort of user to appreciate the convex zero grinds and overall more obtuse geometry of Bark River Knives. I'll add this. Bark River is a master of heat treatment. I've had several of their knives, usually with simple tool steels that perform like modern powdered steels.
 

xxo

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I agree on the thin grinds. Knives are for cutting and should be ground thin to cut well. If you need to chop or split wood get yourself a cheap machete, an axe and/or a saw.

You really don't need a big expensive super steel knife for field dressing and butchering game. Years ago a hunter and a guide used a pair of little Gerber LST folding knives to butcher an elephant, only using an axe to separate the joints on the large bones.

For normal camping/hiking you can get by just fine with a SAK or Leatherman with a saw. For hunting/fishing a thin ground 4” fixed blade or locking folder is all you need.

Personally, I am a big fan of full flat ground Spyderco knives because they cut so well and Spyderco really knows steel, heat treatments and ergonomics. I like Cold Steel a lot mostly for their lower cost items that are a lot of fun and built to last. And Victorinox and Leatherman are always very useful tools to have.
 

aginthelaw

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Looking forward to your next thread: Advice - why do I need (another) flashlight?

I see your point about wanting to travel light and not using a tool when your hands will do. I never needed a Dremel tool until this year when I found I’m using my drill for more intricate work. I never needed more than a pocket knife until I spent more time in the woods. I never needed a thrower until my spotlight died and kept missing people sneaking around the properties I guarded. You’ll need another knife when your universe calls for it. Of course that’s when I figured out I needed the knife I didn’t have yet.
 

bigburly912

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I agree on the thin grinds. Knives are for cutting and should be ground thin to cut well. If you need to chop or split wood get yourself a cheap machete, an axe and/or a saw.

You really don't need a big expensive super steel knife for field dressing and butchering game. Years ago a hunter and a guide used a pair of little Gerber LST folding knives to butcher an elephant, only using an axe to separate the joints on the large bones.

That’s a lot of cutting with a 2.5” blade. Kudos to them. I love my Gerber LST! Used it to field dress many a deer.
 

cadjak

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Here is the process:
1. Bored, restless, just looking at some knives online
2. That knife wants me to own it. I just need to come up with a rationalization to think it's okay to spend $x for it
3. If I don't like it, I can always sell it.(dream on)
4. I buy it.
5. I fondle it for a day, a week, a month...
6. I put it away with all the other knives that I own.
7. Repeat as often as "needed"
 

Lumen83

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Knives are for cutting and should be ground thin to cut well. If you need to chop or split wood get yourself a cheap machete, an axe and/or a saw.

A lot of us have expanded our use for knives to include many more tasks than what a thin ground knife will do well. You are right that machetes, axes, saws, etc. are better at their designed task than any knife is. However, there are a lot of us that aren't wanting to pack in an axe, a saw, and a machete in addition to our knife if we are spending our time in the backcountry with just what we can carry on our person. So, there are a great deal of knives on the market that can cover some basic chopping, splitting, bushcrafting, and game processing all in one tool. You're going to need a thicker blade and many will also prefer a flat grind to do all of that. In doing so, you won't have the best knife for finesse work. But it will do it all in one tool. The industry has responded in recent years to people who want exactly that. And there are tons of knives on the market that will do it all with just one tool.

I agree that it still won't be as capable as having all of the the speciffic tools like axes and saws. But the all-in-one knife design does have its place, especially with folks that spend a lot of time in the backcountry and are trying to keep their pack weight to a reasonable number.
 

Modernflame

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I agree that it still won't be as capable as having all of the the speciffic tools like axes and saws. But the all-in-one knife design does have its place, especially with folks that spend a lot of time in the backcountry and are trying to keep their pack weight to a reasonable number.

This is very true. There are certain tasks that a thinly ground knife may not perform well, or indeed, even survive. However, one of may complaints about the knife industry today is that it is difficult to find knives thinly ground for cutting. When I say this, I don't mean that everything should be a kitchen knife, but thick, blocky geometry is ubiquitous in modern folders. I suspect this has less to do with use case and more to do with avoiding warranty claims. The result is a long menu of knives that could stab a car door, but I just want to cut up an apple at lunch time.
 

Lumen83

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I suspect this has less to do with use case and more to do with avoiding warranty claims. The result is a long menu of knives that could stab a car door, but I just want to cut up an apple at lunch time.

Good point. Too many people are watching youtube videos of knife reviews with knives being subjected to abuse that the knives weren't engineered for, and then going out and breaking the blade and submitting warranty claims. There are many knives that you can baton with in a 5 minute video that just wont hold up to that type of regular usage over time. And thats not the manufacturer's fault.

I don't focus much on folders these days. I'm always carrying a Delica or a Stretch 2, but most of what I use knives for is outdoor activities and those are all fixed blades. Speaking of knives that are thinner ground and aren't designed to stab a car door with, one knife that I've really started to like is the Spyderco Bow River. Its a thinner flat grind fixed blade that I can do just about everything I need to for 3-seasons worth of duties up here in the mountains. And its light, which I love. Come winter, if I'm backpacking I prefer something beefier to baton with. But the bow river is great for everything from making tinder and kindling, to filleting trout and skinning deer.
 
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