Steel and Carbon
According to Ken Weitjes, owner The Knife Shop in Jackson, Wyo., and a collector and seller of knives for 24 years, blade material is important. When selecting a good pocket knife, look for a blade that is either full stainless steel or a carbon steel amalgam. Carbon pumped into the steel aids in honing and holding an edge.
A good locking mechanism that won't fail when particulates lodge in the housing is a good safety feature to shop for in a knife. Having a mechanism that keeps the blade locked when in use prevents unwanted folding and injury.
Balance in a pocket knife is important. If selecting a blade only knife, hold it in your hand with the blade open. Keep it between the thumb and forefinger and see where the fulcrum balances. If it is almost even between blade and housing, this is a well-balanced knife.
Single-Blade or Multi-Tool Knife?
Although a single-blade knife is nice, having the assortment of features multi-tools offer can be a life saver. When looking for a multi-tool pocket knife, ask yourself how much weight you are willing to carry and what features you want.
Although function is the most important aspect of a pocket knife, having a sense of style and cosmetic attraction is nice, too. Many knife makers have anodized, polished or burnished steel and housings. You can also get your new purchase custom engraved so you know the knife is truly yours. And remember the old Mariner's legend. Never give someone a knife as it could "sever" the friendship. Make sure to get a quarter or dollar from the receiver if giving the knife as a gift.
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.