The White Whale For Many A Knife Owner Is A High-Quality EDC At An Affordable Price. This Quartet Of Knives Are Great Pieces At Great Prices.
An everyday carry knife means convenience. The knife is ready when you are, effortlessly moving from pocket to hand and easily deployed. Innovation is a prime mover in the EDC world, and the latest in the more affordable factory offerings of the workingman’s edged tool provide the necessary toughness, accessibility, and good looks—all for around $50 or less.
KA-BAR Becker BK40
At KA-BAR, the Becker BK40—the first-ever folder in the KA-BAR/Becker Knife & Tool line—was put through its paces before reaching the shelves of the nearest hardware or cutlery store. Thoroughly once-overed by designer Ethan Becker, the linerlock folder stands up to the challenges of EDC in spades.
“The BK40 was tested by Ethan Becker in Montana* during every step of its creation,” related Joe Bradley, KA-BAR sales and marketing manager. “We also tested the knife here [at KA-BAR], with several staff members carrying and using it during hunting season, as well as day-to-day use in our warehouse.”
The knife is intended to complement other popular models designed by the prolific Becker and brought to market through KA-BAR.
“We look at the BK40 as a portable and compact extension of the Becker fixed blades,” Bradley explained. “You can’t always carry a BK2 Campanion but you can have the BK40 with you to do tasks around the campsite, job site or any other miscellaneous cutting task you may encounter. The BK40 captures many of the things that make Ethan’s fixed blades so popular. Its tough and straightforward design won’t break the bank. It’s comfortable to carry and backed up by our lifetime warranty.”
At .138 inch at its thickest, the AUS 8A stainless steel blade is middle-of-the-road thickness for a KA-BAR knife, and the intent is to allow for flexibility to perform a variety of routine tasks. The Becker line has a reputation for standing up to hard use and the BK40 walks a fine line between being compact and fast while simultaneously strong and robust. The handle is based on those of the hearty Becker fixed-blade designs, and the handy pocket clip provides the best combination of strength and limited weight.
Cold Steel Kiridashi
The Cold Steel Kiridashi is an example of a “great EDC knife, sharp, light, tough, compact and easy to maneuver,” said Keith Beam, Cold Steel director of product innovation. “A great EDC knife has to fit your hand perfectly. It should clip in your pocket and be easy to deploy.”
According to Beam, the original kiridashi, an ancient fixed blade designed long ago in Japan, was configured to be nimble enough to teach children the art of whittling and making fine cuts. With an ambidextrous nylon pocket clip that helps deploy the knife without tearing garments and a resilient nylon Griv Ex grip built to never rot, warp or crack, the folding Cold Steel Kiridashi not only is nimble but meant to take plenty of punishment as well.
It stands up to challenges that include the locked knife supporting the weight of a hanging engine block to test the lock’s strength, and also stabbing, whittling and other cutting chores. “My knife is used for everything from cutting boxes open to trimming axe handles to fit the heads,” Keith commented. “Wire, tape, wood, cardboard, no problem. I’ve even it used to crease-cut drywall.”
The Kiridashi utilizes the Andrew Demko Triad lock system for super strength, and the 4034 stainless steel blade, .118 inch thick at the thickest, is tough yet easy to resharpen.
Joyce Laituri, head of marketing, communications, and public relations at Spyderco, said the Flight in the company’s Byrd line of knives is “a mid-sized, all-stainless steel folder with an ergonomic handle and twin finger grooves that fill the palm. Its hollow-ground blade converges with an unsharpened swedge, creating an acute-pointed fine tip that is well-suited to detailed cutting chores.” The Flight comes in a choice of a PlainEdge or CombinationEdge (plain and serrated) blade.
For Joyce, the definition of a great EDC knife means getting up every morning and “putting on” what you know will be comfortable, reliable, and necessary for chores during the day ahead. “It’s something you feel at ease using in any situation, except maybe lending it to a friend for a minute,” she laughed.
The Flight is intended for the budget-conscious knife user. The Byrd line was directly inspired by some of the most popular Spyderco models, offering the same function and versatility but at an affordable price.
Byrd knives feature the trademarked “Comet Hole” blade design for immediate one-hand opening, phosphor bronze washers, screw-together construction, 8Cr13MoV stainless blade steel, a multi-position pocket clip, and a mid-range blade thickness of .118 inch.
“These features combine to make the Flight an easy, functional, ready-to-carry folder,” Laituri said. “Spyderco also performs rigorous testing on all of our knives, including the Byrd line. We have an in-house testing facility and a specialized crew running the shop. I wish I could tell you what we use for testing, but much of that is proprietary and has been developed specifically by and for our testing needs.”
The Flight pocket clip is right-handed and adjusted for blade-tip-up or tip-down carry by manipulating three screws. The handle’s sequence of ergonomic curves fit the palm for comfort and fatigue-free control while cutting. For additional safety, a portion of the lock release is ground away. Called the Boye Dent, this is an add-on conceived by custom knifemaker David Boye designed to eliminate gripping the knife so tightly as to unintentionally release the lock.
“It’s said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” commented Sam Dodge, senior brand manager of Camillus Knives, “and I think the same goes for an EDC knife. The knife needs to suit the everyday needs of the user. If you have a lot of one-handed tasks, easy open and close is a must. If you need something that gets significant rugged use, either being able to retain an edge or quickly sharpen it is key.”
For Dodge, the Camillus Bolt fills the bill as an outstanding and affordable EDC knife. “We opted to use a modified sheepsfoot blade on this knife,” he explained. “As a result, it doesn’t have the sharp fine point you find with most drop-point blades. It’s made for slicing, cutting and chopping.”
The Bolt blade is fashioned from 440 stainless steel bonded with a Carbonitride Titanium finish to provide solid edge retention, and, according to Dodge, after substantial use will take a renewed edge easily. At its thickest the blade spine measures .118 inch and tapers down to the hollow-ground edge. The grind was chosen for razor sharpness and to provide a nice platform to restore the edge during sharpening.
“We run our knives through their paces and torture test them,” Dodge added. “Drop them, open them thousands of times, and make sure that the locking mechanism is rock solid. I carry each one of our new knives in my pocket for at least a month and make sure they are used day in and day out for just about everything we can throw at them.”
The Bolt employs the Camillus CUDA lock, a sliding lock technology that has been a company mainstay for years. The handle is glass-filled nylon with a crosshatch diamond pattern to provide solid grip assurance. The deep-carry pocket clip is a malleable steel to stand up to abuse while allowing the knife to ride low rather than protruding from the pocket.
*Ethan lives in a most beautiful area of northwest Montana, where he tests knives in the Becker Knife & Tool line, including the BK40.
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