4 Very Different Versions of the EDC Folder

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Top to bottom: Smith's Edgework-site Wharncliff, Medford Gentleman Jack, Pro-Tech Knives Malibu Wharncliff, and V Nives Killabite

Once upon a time a long time ago, my idea of the perfect everyday carry knife was a Randall Model 1. Most of the guys I worked with back then carried 16- to 18-inch pangas every day.

Times change. People change. I no longer carry a Randall in an inside waistband clip sheath every day, or at all, really. No doubt there are many folks today who strap on a 10-inch bowie or a USMC fighting/utility knife every morning before breakfast. To that you can add the legions who EDC a tactical folder.

There are, however, many folks who prefer to carry simple pocketknives. Almost every cowboy I know carries an old school Schrade or Case stockman in the watchpocket of his Wranglers. Many other folks, some constrained by knife laws, EDC more contemporary versions of the traditional pocketknife, the knife that at one time was in every schoolboy’s and every man’s pocket—for some, a gentleman’s folder.

My team and I recently did a field review of four very different contemporary versions of the EDC folder. If we were cowboys I reckon we could have trimmed hoofs, done minor surgery on cows and other cowboy things. But we’re not cowboys. So, we used them for the stuff we tend to do. We opened boxes and cut up cardboard. We did cut rope, which felt kind of cowboyish. We went for a hike and picked and sliced fresh rose hips for tea, peeled and sliced oranges for a trailside picnic, cut pine limbs and whittled fuzz sticks to start a lunchtime fire. Not exactly gentleman stuff either, but hey, everyone has his own EDC needs.

Four of the latest in EDC knives, counterclockwise from right: V Nives Killabite, Pro-Tech Knives Malibu Wharncliffe, Medford Knife & Tool Gentleman Jack and Smith’s Edgework-Site Wharncliffe Knife.

SLIM JACK: Medford Knife & Tool Gentleman Jack

Sleek, slim and lightweight, with a blade long enough to slice a watermelon without getting your hand wet, the Medford Knife & Tool Gentleman Jack is a gentleman’s folder in appearance, in feel and in fact. With little effort, its slim blade excelled at cutting nylon kernmantle rope, and at food preparation and slicing thin peels of bark for tinder. The slender handle looks as if it would be uncomfortable, but the edge was so sharp and the grind so slim that little force was required to cut stuff. Hence, the thin handle was not uncomfortable. The slenderness made it easy to carry—we all hardly knew we had a knife in our pocket when carrying it.

With little effort, the slim blade of the Medford Knife & Tool Gentleman Jack excelled at cutting nylon kernmantle rope.

Most folders in this size range tend to be tactical, with black blades and other features the uninformed consider fearsome. This folder, however, is so nice looking, so polished a piece of pocket jewelry, that it’s unlikely to alarm the clueless, which means you could use it in mixed company without getting weird looks.

SPECS: Medford Knife & Tool Gentleman Jack
Blade Length: 3.1”
Blade Steel: CPM S35V stainless
Blade Width: ¾”
Blade Thickness: .125”
Handle Material: Anodized titanium
Action: Slip joint
Closed Length: 4”
Country of Origin: USA
MSRP: $375

 

WORKADAY FOLDER: Smith’s Edgework-Site Wharncliffe Knife

The Smith’s Edgework-Site Wharncliffe Knife is a workaday folder that equals many high-priced limited-production knives in durability and function. Robust, with a very comfortable handle and a good edge grind, it was our preferred blade for getting up some wood for a fire. Press cuts with modest effort cut deep into, and through, wrist-thick pine branches. In fact, it was the most effective of all the review knives at cutting wood for the fire. Shaving bark and curls for tinder was a piece of cake.

According to the author, the Smith’s Wharncliffe is a workaday folder that equals many high-priced limited production knives in durability and function.
 

I am not a fan of wharncliffe blades, but the long straight edge and overall cutting efficiency might make me a convert. The edge was very welcome when cutting nylon rope laid across a tree stump, and cutting cardboard boxes into strips. Did I mention the handle? Clearly it is designed by someone who understands hard work, and for someone who must do a day’s work. This is a very good tool and, for the price, a great value.

The edge of the Smith’s Wharncliffe was very welcome when cutting nylon rope laid across a tree stump, and cutting cardboard boxes into strips.

 

SPECS: Smith’s Edgework-Site Wharncliffe Knife
Blade Length: 2.95”
Blade Steel: 400 series stainless
Blade Pattern: Wharncliffe
BLADE OPENER: Thumb stud
Handle: Glass-filled textured synthetic w/pocket clip
Lock: Framelock
Closed length: 4”
MSRP: $24.99

 

ROCKETKNIFE: Pro-Tech Malibu Wharncliffe

The Pro-Tech Knives Malibu Wharncliffe is handsome, modern in appearance and detail, and resembles a 21st-century knife designed to be carried by an astronaut. In fact, the knife looks a little like a rocket—and has a high-tech lock to boot.

The Pro-Tech Malibu Wharncliffe easily and cleanly crunched through nylon rope and kept its edge cutting cardboard.

It also performs well. The overall blade design with its flat grind, fine edge and up-tipped point was terrifically efficient at all slicing tasks. At first glance I thought the point design might inhibit penetration, and it did. But something in the geometry that eludes me made it very efficient at all cutting and slicing tasks. It easily and cleanly crunched through nylon rope, kept its edge cutting cardboard, and was just the thing for slicing rose hips for tea. It did very delicate cuts cleanly and with precision. With its modestly sized blade, brilliant blue handle and overall polished appearance, it qualifies as a large gentleman’s folder, albeit one with more function than the usual run of that type of knife.

Something in the geometry that eluded the author made the Pro-Tech Malibu Wharncliffe very efficient at all cutting and slicing tasks. He uses it here to collect pine sap to help start a fire.

SPECS: Pro-Tech Knives Malibu Wharncliffe
Blade Length: 3.25”
Blade Steel: CPM 20CV stainless
Blade Thickness: .125”
Blade Style: Modified wharncliffe
Blade Finish: Stonewash
Blade Grind: Flat
Blade Opener: Flipper
Lock: Plunge lock
Closed length: 4.25”
Country of Origin: USA
MSRP: $270

 

MUST-WORK MINI: V Knives Killabite

Can we say the V Nives Killabite is cute?

I don’t usually use that word when discussing knives, but, truth be told, this little puppy is cute. High-tech, too. The damascus blade, carbon fiber handle and framelock all say dress tactical folder. Miniature, yeah, but still pretty tactical.

Don’t let little knives fool you, though—they are useful. I’ve been beating the drum for tiny blades for years ever since I learned a little bit about flintknapping and worked with some experimental archaeologists. (One of the latter was the lithic expert who consulted on Otzi the Iceman, the 5,000-year-old mummy discovered in the Alps who had a complete tool kit with him, including his flint knife with a 1.5-inch blade.) I’ve taught survival classes during which I use a folder with a 2-inch blade to make a tool kit consisting of a spear, bow and arrows, haft for a stone axe, and more. I wouldn’t hesitate to do the same with the Killabite.

The V Nives Killabite peeled and sectioned an orange with aplomb. The handle has a nice curved profile and is comfortable as such a small handle can be, comfortable enough for the kind of work that you would do with the knife.

The trailing point design and smooth edge with no ricasso or other fripperies makes the most of the short blade. The edge is just a tad thicker than I prefer, which makes it strong at the cost of a little slicing ability, but allowed it to bite deep into wrist-thick pine with no trouble. For long term use I might reprofile the edge—or maybe not. I like the notion of such a small blade being so strong.

The V Nives Killabite vanquished pine pieces for firewood. It bit deep into wrist-thick pine with no trouble.

The handle has a nice curved profile and is comfortable as such a small handle can be, comfortable enough for the kind of work that you would do with the knife. Keep in mind, too, a surgeon’s scalpel is only 1.5 inches long. Must work gets done with small blades. A keeper this one is.

The trailing point design and smooth edge with no ricasso or other fripperies makes the most of the Killabite’s short blade.

SPECS: V Nives Killabite
Blade Length: 1.4”
Blade Steel: Stainless damascus
Blade Thickness: .097”
Blade Style: Trailing Point
Blade Opener: Flipper
Blade Grind: Flat
Handle Material: Carbon fiber
Handle Thickness: .35”
Pocket Clip: Tip-up
Lock: Framelock
Weight: 1 oz.
Closed Length: 2.25”
Countries of Origin: USA and offshore
MSRP: $95.95

ONLY YOU KNOW

Which would be the best EDC? There’s no such thing, really. The right question is, which is the best EDC for you?

Only you will know the answer.

 

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