Affordable Knives To Help Start Your Own Knife Collection
Knife collecting is one of my favorite hobbies. Whenever I come across a new knife I've never seen or don't own, I feel a level of excitement I can't put into words. Previously, before I started collecting knives, I never understood hobbies comprised of gathering items, whether it be coins, postages, antique items, etc. I had never seen myself starting a collection of my own for fun until I stumbled upon my first knife. When I purchased my first pocket knife from a local flea market, I immediately knew I wasn't going to use it, although that was my intention when I brought it. I knew I had to keep it in pristine condition, and store it away in a safe place immediately. This is when I first realized my enthusiasm for gathering knives, and every since I have been seeking and accumulating hundreds of knives of all varieties.
I cannot pinpoint the exact reasoning for my love of all things knife related, however there is something about growing your own assortment of something you...
I make it a point to always bring a knife and multitool even when I go abroad, I always want to be sure that I'm ready for whatever life throws my way. However, not all counties look kindly to travelers with blades and I've heard many horror stories of knives getting confiscated abroad. When travelling, I take my CRKT Drifter, a small cagey little knife with nestled stainless liners and a coated blade measuring less than 3 inches. Its robust design makes it light to carry and easy to clean even after a day in Mui Ne's beautiful sand dunes 😎 (Nha Trang, Vietnam)
I'm looking for a knife for the car console that is US made, has a glass breaker, and is in the 3in blade length range. I'd prefer a flipper over a thumb stud, and either a button or axis lock over a frame lock, but would settle for a flipper with a frame lock.
Or maybe your Bug-Out-Bag, or Gear Bag, or maybe even a Photo Bag--or whatever you got. Here's a few of mine to get things rolling...
This Voodoo Tactical is my primary gear bag for travel. Holds a ton of stuff, easy to organize and access and was dirt cheap. I'm on my second one.
This Maxpedition bag is built like a tank but isn't as easy to get into as the Voodoo bag. It also has a big waist strap that can be hidden when carrying over the shoulder, but it adds bulk. As you ca see from the tag, I haven't found a good use for it yet...
This ThinkTank bag is my favorite camera bag (and I've got a few). It will easily hold three good size lenses, a full-frame body and a 15" laptop--with room to spare for accessories!
This is something I got into a while ago because I kinda like the idea of personalizing my knives and I like how certain colors look in the light. It's turned into a hobby. I don't know that there's a deeper meaning to it than that - I try to do things I like :)
There's lots of resources available if you want to learn about dyeing things online, and considerably fewer out there about dyeing knife scales. There's walkthroughs for doing this on the stove, and you can try that if you want. Some of the methods I have seen are... well, dangerous, and not in a good way. Others work but have little room for error. so I ended up experimenting and drawing on background information a bit to come up with a process to do it. I use a microwave! In a lot of ways, it's much easier, and you aren't staining up a metal cookpot, and especially once you get used to it, it's a lot easier to get just the effect you want, no darker or lighter.
The first and arguably most important step is the...
wherein I braze a rat.
Specifically a RAT 1 in D2 and G-10 from Ontario Knives. The RAT is Ontario's best known collaboration with Randall's Adventure and Training (hence the RAT name), an outfit better known for their association with ESEE and for teaching people how to evade capture and survive in the jungle. The RAT Model 1 (and its slightly smaller brother the RAT Model 2) are fairly well known, very good budget knives. Fast flip, good ergos including a bit of thumb ramp, strong liner lock. No wiggle, no nonsense. The standard models come with AUS-8 -- with a good heat treat AUS 8 can be ok steel, but I wanted to go a little better for the Copper Rat. So I grabbed a D2 version with some light colored scales that I might customize later for some other project (light scales are a lot more interesting to dye.)
So I have my threadlocker, my Torx T6 and T8, some lanyard stuff, and a pair of aftermarket copper scales from Flytanium. And a nearby pair of needlenose...
Before During and After: Spyderco Endura Breakdown and Rebuild
Enduring Renewal.... or, for those of you who never played the Ice Age MTG set, wherein I take the Endura I got from Drop and add some aftermarket goodness to it.
Here it is as it came to me:
This Endura was made in Seki City. VG-10, blue fiberglass handle, $90-100 retail. The Endura's claim to fame is that it, like the Delica and the Endela in-betweener, have aggressive back locks but can be easily flipped open one handed. That and the standard Spyderco build quality has proven a strong combo -- it get a lot of buyers. Fidgeters may prefer a flipper or an axis type lock or a compression lock, but there are a whole lot of people who feel like the back lock is the only one they trust. So it's one of Spyderco's budget knives but toward the top end of their budget tier.
To take one apart, you need a T6 Torx wrench and a T8 Torx wrench. The pivot takes T8, everything else is T6. Sets of Torx wrenches, drivers, bits, whichever you prefer, are easy to find online -- and...