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Safety knife recommendations?


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I'm looking for recommendations for safety knives... having recently realized that the old knife that I had on my lifejacket is fine for "old tech" lines, but rather useless on dyneema/spectra/etc, I need to update.

I'm looking for two things... a small one that I can keep on my lifejacket (and give to the crew for presents), and something bigger that I can keep inside the companionway that will quickly take care of the dyneema shrouds, if it comes to that.

Doesn't have to be a knife, either... if the answer is shears or something else... that works too.

 

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Kershaw assisted opening knife. I like The Clash because of the composite grips, but they come in a lot of styles. Cut thru Spectra easily. Float just like the expensive knives ( not at all! ).  Use the pocket clip to always have handy.  

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either a Syderco or a Byrd, serrated , I always had my crew carry one , especially for distance night races, cut a few jammed up Kevlar halyards, cheaper then a new chute. 3-4" blades . one hand opening, with a clip

Try amazon, Walmart and of course west Marine   

Stainless Steel Serrated Rigging Knife

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Thanks for the input.  Any thoughts on which of these would best last in my typical use case, which is to leave it on my lifejacket, soaking unmaintained in salt water for a few years, before I pull it out and expect it to save my life?   (I mean, not that _I_ would treat a knife like that, but the crew... well... )

I had a leatherman, but it didn't do well... even though I tried to be nice to it, it didn't last (and the blade didn't hold an edge) very well on the boat... to many moving parts and nooks and crannies for salt and tarnish to accumulate.  Granted, it's likely I probably had a cheap one...

The Kershaw, Spyderco, Byrd, etc., look like what I'm looking for, but there are so many choices of the blade metal... I found the Kershaw page that has some info, but it doesn't really help choose... higher corrosion resistance, vs. edge keeping, vs cost... whaddaya all happy with?

And yeah, I did ask over on a knife site I found, but they had no experience about what would work best in a salt water environment, on a boat, etc... plenty of opinions, but no experience... (Some, but not all, of the Spydercos apparently have soft metal components in the handle that rather quickly corrode, it looks like?  Good blade, but overall knife not great for salt water exposure on a life jacket?)

 

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I'm personally not a fan of the "sheepsfoot" style of blade.  There are times when you want a point, and I haven't found a place where I said "gosh, I'm wish this knife wasn't pointed."

I am a big fan of Spyderco, and in particular their "combo" blade (half smooth, half serrated).  my every-day carry pocket-knife is a Spyderco Delica, one tucked in a zipper-pouch (with a keeper-cord) on my PFD/harness, plus a few spares tucked away in the took bin.  I also have a fixed-blade in a sheath just inside the companionway where it can be reached easily from the cockpit

I've found the spyderco to be good quality, keep a good edge, easy to open/close with one hand, and not so expensive that I feel like crying when I lose one

 

R.thumb.jpg.3a2cb0e65f4b35ffa0fac550130290fb.jpg

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I am not a fan of serrated blades. As far as I can tell, serrated blades were made specifically for people who can't sharpen a blade. I want a quality drop point knife of high carbon steel as opposed to stainless. If you can't hone an edge you can shave with, it's not a good knife.

For everyday carry, I use Opinel No.8 in carbon steel but it's unlocking/locking ring does not lend itself well to tactical situations. A fixed blade knife in a sheath strapped to the helm works...

opinel_no8.thumb.jpg.2193e9502befaa36062cc22a52e9878d.jpg

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I have a myerchin marine classic that has done a few years of racing and six months as a liveaboard. Hasn't rusted, and can be kept sharp enough (non serrated blade), certainly to cut dynema. I find I use the marlin spike as much as the blade. One complaint is that the spike doesn't lock open as well as the blade.

I swapped to sheepshead blades after I embedded a pointed blade into an index finger 30 mins before the start of a trip to Hobart one year. Superglue and gaffer tape makes sail handling a bit more difficult.

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8 minutes ago, Se7en said:

I have a myerchin marine classic that has done a few years of racing and six months as a liveaboard. Hasn't rusted, and can be kept sharp enough (non serrated blade), certainly to cut dynema. I find I use the marlin spike as much as the blade. One complaint is that the spike doesn't lock open as well as the blade.

I swapped to sheepshead blades after I embedded a pointed blade into an index finger 30 mins before the start of a trip to Hobart one year. Superglue and gaffer tape makes sail handling a bit more difficult.

I have the Myerchin gen 2 and really like it, though it does have the same issue with the spike. I find that if I snap it open quickly and forcefully then the lock will engage well but anything short of that results in a less reliable lock. That said, the blade is fantastic and the knife is built like a tank. 

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I have the NRS pilot on my PFD, the lack of a sharp point seemed a plus since it is an inflatable. I figured if I have to use it in an emergency the reduced chance of an injury was worth it compared to the lack or utility from not having a sharp point. It is intuitive to unsheathe one handed with no folding mech to worry about.

The folding spiderco is kept in reach of the companionway for serious work.

 

 

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A knife is only as sharp as the tool sharpening it. Get a good diamond hone and practice until you can shave with it. Then buy a handful of $5 knives and distribute them everywhere. Any name brand $20 knife is better steel than you are a sharpener. I like the ones that have assisted opening. They’re fun to play with and kids think they’ve cool. I like a short pinky leash. 

3FFB1A68-E3D5-4104-B59F-3A79AF2A37C9.jpeg

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I'm carrying a folding ceramic blade now - I have seen so many of the sheathed serrated 'safety' knives, taped to vangs, stanchions etc that when you pull them out to use are rusty and absolutely fucking useless.

Tbh I don't know the brand of my ceramic one as it's a promo piece from a rigger mate but it goes through dyneema far quicker than any other knife I have. A quick Google search suggests there are plenty of options and many of which are cheap enough that can you buy a bunch to hand out to crew. 

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I currently have the NRS Co-Pilot and really like it.  Goes through the modern stuff very well. Had a NRS Pilot before it which I also really liked but with my new life jacket the Pilot was too big.  Actually have 2, my wife has one on her PFD.  I even had to use the Pilot in "anger" cutting a trapped kid out of a turtled Hartley 10.  It saved the day.  Had the Pilot on my PFD for 6 years, only issue was the rubber handle slowly melted to goo.  The co-pilot has been on the new PFD since May.  The Pilot is now aboard my keel boat.

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23 hours ago, steele said:

I have the NRS pilot on my PFD, the lack of a sharp point seemed a plus since it is an inflatable. I figured if I have to use it in an emergency the reduced chance of an injury was worth it compared to the lack or utility from not having a sharp point. It is intuitive to unsheathe one handed with no folding mech to worry about.

The folding spiderco is kept in reach of the companionway for serious work.

 

 

how do you attach to your pfd?   did you get the titanium one? if not, how's it holding up to the salt?

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I keep a Gerber river knife on my PFD.  Good shape and sheath but the steel is gooey. It'll go sharp but not keen.

When the shit hits the fan simplicity is king. Fixed blades are absolutely reliable.

resource_gerberamericas_30-000967.ashx?r

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On 7/30/2021 at 10:48 AM, RedHerring said:

Thanks for the input.  Any thoughts on which of these would best last in my typical use case, which is to leave it on my lifejacket, soaking unmaintained in salt water for a few years, before I pull it out and expect it to save my life?   (I mean, not that _I_ would treat a knife like that, but the crew... well... )

I had a leatherman, but it didn't do well... even though I tried to be nice to it, it didn't last (and the blade didn't hold an edge) very well on the boat... to many moving parts and nooks and crannies for salt and tarnish to accumulate.  Granted, it's likely I probably had a cheap one...

The Kershaw, Spyderco, Byrd, etc., look like what I'm looking for, but there are so many choices of the blade metal... I found the Kershaw page that has some info, but it doesn't really help choose... higher corrosion resistance, vs. edge keeping, vs cost... whaddaya all happy with?

And yeah, I did ask over on a knife site I found, but they had no experience about what would work best in a salt water environment, on a boat, etc... plenty of opinions, but no experience... (Some, but not all, of the Spydercos apparently have soft metal components in the handle that rather quickly corrode, it looks like?  Good blade, but overall knife not great for salt water exposure on a life jacket?)

 

 

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/164821487887?epid=25045878920&hash=item266020510f:g:AAcAAOSwrKBgfRo- Image 1 - Victorinox Steak Knife Folding Classic Paring Knife  Wavy Blade - Black Handle -

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/324650708814?hash=item4b96b0af4e:g:-WoAAOSwQjhd9ZG6&frcectupt=true

Image 1 - Victorinox Serrated Edge Steak Tomato Sausage Knife Classic 11cm Blue

The nonfolding one is what we used to use working on fish farms - make a sheath from 6" of garden hose, a couple of holes, and tie it to your vest. For less than $10, its as effective than any  solution I've seen - though obviously not a fashion statement! 

 

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Another interesting topic.  Also, once more - the right tool for the job.
Sometimes that 'job' means being readily available around the mast and in the cockpit, easily lost overboard, etc.  A fixed blade in a sheath definitely works best?

Reasoning: Go cheap here, they will disappear over time and there it is highly unlikely you will find time to maintain them along with the rest of the 'boat list'.  CLP spring and fall, maybe a few years.  At most you are looking at like $20.


Another time is the regular old sailor pocket knife, with a marlin spike of course that goes out opposite of the blade, which of course is pointed.  Generally useful on the boat all the time and also helpful for comfort if you are accidentally invited to the wild hills of Humboldt County?

Reasoning: Always be prepared.

Meanwhile, for a 'go to' knife, that you need to survive whether swept off the deck and whether you need to cut dyneema or something else - one of these proved it's worth one time in the past for me and there are commercial models (they include an easy to use safety switch that is big enough) and it works when a little panicked underwater).  Definitely not something you want to be sawing through dyneema or small wires with every day unless you are REALLY good with re-sharpening serrated blades.  Your mileage may vary within state regulations.

https://www.spyderco.com/catalog/details.php?product=990

Reasoning: When it gets rough, you want something that works and will always works and requires little maintenance.  Although expensive treat this as a 'one time' use knife and spend the extra bucks.

Whatever you carry on the boat with your PFD, put it on about a 2-3 foot piece of 1/16" shock cord so you do not lose it when you need it most?  And always keep it in the same place so you never need to look for it even if you are a little bit disoriented?

 

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On 7/30/2021 at 1:14 AM, Kenny Dumas said:

A knife is only as sharp as the tool sharpening it. Get a good diamond hone and practice until you can shave with it. Then buy a handful of $5 knives and distribute them everywhere. Any name brand $20 knife is better steel than you are a sharpener. I like the ones that have assisted opening. They’re fun to play with and kids think they’ve cool. I like a short pinky leash. 

3FFB1A68-E3D5-4104-B59F-3A79AF2A37C9.jpeg

I have a Garmin Gator which is similar to that. Great knife. Also good if I have to wrestle any gators.

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Lanyards. Sometimes you need to strike a balance between having them on critical stuff and creating potential tangle traps. This seems to be more of an issue on kayaks and small boats though.

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This seems to be quite good solution. Floating available with serrated blade. Cost 7,99€ which is less than 10 dollars. Made by toolfish that is familiar to all of us.

 

These puukko type knives are common as safety knives here in Finland. Not carried with PFD though, I guess they are too large for that.

 

Bahco-1446-02.jpg

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10 hours ago, Pertsa said:

This seems to be quite good solution. Floating available with serrated blade. Cost 7,99€ which is less than 10 dollars. Made by toolfish that is familiar to all of us.

 

These puukko type knives are common as safety knives here in Finland. Not carried with PFD though, I guess they are too large for that.

 

Bahco-1446-02.jpg

maybe it's me, but I have a problem when the company has a picture of their knife with a crappy looking edge...

 

untitled.jpg

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also, i get the idea of a single handed assisted opening folder,   I carry a leek,  but for something attached to a pfd I want to use in an emergency, i prefer a shortish fixed blade,  I don't want to have to think about having to open the blade..  i want to be able to pull it out of it's location and start hacking away at whatever i want to cut...  i don't like serrated edges that most possibilities come with,  but with a little effort they can be maintained to be sharp..

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3 hours ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

maybe it's me, but I have a problem when the company has a picture of their knife with a crappy looking edge...

 

untitled.jpg

That was first good picture I found of it from web. Seems like someone cropped photo badly. I have never seen such blade in even cheapest mora knife. 

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6 hours ago, daan62 said:

got this one and happy with it! (can open it with one hand (thumb move...)):

Gill Marine Tool Knife – Mc Hale Marine

I like this knife. . . it is important to have a shroud cutter and be able to use it with one hand.

We were beside the yacht at PNW Race Week last month where a sailor was lost.  If he had a knife, he probably could not get to it while being towed feet first tangled in lines while they were still powered by their spinnaker.  We had a Navy seal onboard (with a shroud cutter) who was preparing to enter the water to assist but it was probably too late.  I'm changing my 2-handed knife that I keep around my neck.

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