Is there Anybody Who Doesn't Like Folding Knives?
Knife is any cutting edge or blade, handheld or otherwise, with or without a handle. Knives were used at least two-and-a-half million years ago, as evidenced by the Oldowan tools.Originally made of rock, flint, and obsidian; knives have evolved in construction as technology has with blades being made from bronze, copper, iron, steel, ceramics, and titanium. Every culture has a unique version of the knife. A knife may be either a fixed-blade or a folding version with blade patterns and styles as varied as their makers and countries of origin.
Knife blades can be manufactured from a variety of materials, each of which has advantages and disadvantages. Carbon steel, an alloy of iron and carbon, can be very sharp, hold its edge well, and remain easy to sharpen, but is vulnerable to rust and stains.
Stainless steel is an alloy of iron, chromium, possibly nickel, and molybdenum, with only a small amount of carbon. It is not able to take quite as sharp an edge as carbon steel, but is highly resistant to corrosion. High carbon stainless steel is stainless steel with a higher amount of carbon, intended to incorporate the better attributes of carbon steel and stainless steel. High carbon stainless steel blades do not discolor or stain, and maintain a sharp edge.
Laminate blades use multiple metals to create a layered sandwich, combining the attributes of both. For example, a harder, more brittle steel may be sandwiched between an outer layer of softer, tougher, stainless steel to reduce vulnerability to corrosion. In this case, however, the part most affected by corrosion, the edge, is still vulnerable. Pattern-welding is similar to laminate construction. Layers of different steel types are welded together, but then the stock is manipulated to create patterns in the steel.
Titanium is metal that has a better strength-to-weight ratio, is more wear resistant, and more flexible than steel. Although less hard and unable to take as sharp an edge, carbides in the titanium alloy allow them to be heat-treated to a sufficient hardness. Ceramic blades are hard, brittle, and lightweight: they may maintain a sharp edge for years with no maintenance at all, but are as fragile as glass and will break if dropped on a hard surface.
They are immune to common corrosion, and can only be sharpened on silicon carbide sandpaper and some grinding wheels. Plastic blades are not especially sharp and typically serrated. They are often disposable.
No doubt there are many of us retailers who fantasize about what might have been if we had stocked up on Folding Knives before the current collecting boom began. People from all walks of life are building extensive knife collections, and no one is complaining about having too many, except for perhaps spouses of knife collectors. While collections can include ornate and fantastically designed swords, and even battle axes, most most are based around Folding Knives. People enjoy their craftsmanship, looks, feel and utilitarian origins.
Knives, of course, date back to prehistory. Backpackers, campers, hunters and fisherman have all discovered at some point that when there is a need for a good, sharp steel knife, there are very few acceptable substitutes. We all hope we will not need to use Folding Knives for purposes of self defense, but it's a secure feeling to know that we have that option. In the meantime, other practical needs met by these instruments include building a fire, cutting a rope, removing a fish hook and opening packaged foods.
People who work with horses, mules or donkeys should also carry Folding Knives, and many do. The reason is that sooner or later there will be a wreck, and the animal or person may become entangled in various pieces of leather rigging. This is a very dangerous situation, because the animal will soon panic and cause severe injury. Savvy equestrians are prepared to cut their way out, even though it means ruining some expensive tack. I have personally cut a horse out of a fence, because I was the only one present who was carrying a folding knife with wire cutter. The horse was very patient with my efforts, but he could not have remained so for much longer.
For these and many other reasons, Folding Knives purchased for actual use should be designed with locking blades that can be opened with one hand. Usually, when we realize we need a knife, we already have our hands full anyway. Another positive feature is a belt clip or sheath, so that we are not fumbling through pockets with the wrong hand when we suddenly have a pressing need for a good, sharp knife.