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Roger Hicks -- Author of The Rangefinder Book

Roger Hicks is a well known photographic writer, author of The Rangefinder Book, over three dozen other photographic books, and a frequent contributor to Shutterbug and Amateur Photographer. Unusually in today's photographic world, most of his camera reviews are film cameras, especially rangefinders. See www.rogerandfrances.com for further background (Frances is his wife Frances Schultz, acknowledged darkroom addict and fellow Shutterbug contributor) .


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Knife culture
Old 11-22-2016   #1
Roger Hicks
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Knife culture

Do you carry a pocket knife? How old were you when you got your first penknife? Have you ever deliberately stabbed anyone? If so, why? In the case of certain politicians, if not, why not? Have you ever taken any pictures of knives of which you are particularly fond (whether of the pictures or the knives)? These questions were prompted by a massive tray of knives for sale at a recent vide-grenier: you couldn't really call it a display.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 11-22-2016   #2
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I carry at least one blade every day. These days I'm carrying a benchmade griptillian. Depending on the amount of pockets I have I might also have a leatherman micra as well.

I don't carry for defense. It's more or less convenient to have a sharp knife for cutting stuff, prying stuff, etc. Stuff where fingernails arent enough.

Always make sure my knives are sharp. I frequently keep things razor sharp with touchups on various whetstones. Sharp knife is safer than a dull one. Also more enjoyable to use and I find sharpening and maintaining my knifes meditative.

You can see me using my knife in my latest video to retrieve a 120 spool from inside a pinhole camera.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0s-GpqW5A3o
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Old 11-22-2016   #3
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.. . I don't carry for defense. It's more or less convenient to have a sharp knife for cutting stuff, prying stuff, etc. Stuff where fingernails arent enough. . . .
Well, that was my point, really. How many people ever carry a knife as a weapon, whether offensive or defensive? Or ever did? Damn' few. compared with people like you and me (Swiss Army Champ, Leatherman Wave). The latter is illegal in the UK because the blade locks; as does the blade on the My First Opinel. The fact that this makes it safer to use is entirely lost on those who banned locking blades.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 11-22-2016   #4
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I started with a boy scout knife in the late 60's but since about 1972 I've carried a Swiss army knife as a tool, not a weapon. I have several depending on which would be more useful that day. The one with the scissors has cut many a leader for my IIIc. Joe
 

Old 11-22-2016   #5
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I carry at least one blade every day. These days I'm carrying a benchmade griptillian. Depending on the amount of pockets I have I might also have a leatherman micra as well.

I don't carry for defense. It's more or less convenient to have a sharp knife for cutting stuff, prying stuff, etc. Stuff where fingernails arent enough.

Always make sure my knives are sharp. I frequently keep things razor sharp with touchups on various whetstones. Sharp knife is safer than a dull one. Also more enjoyable to use and I find sharpening and maintaining my knifes meditative.

You can see me using my knife in my latest video to retrieve a 120 spool from inside a pinhole camera.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0s-GpqW5A3o
i carry a benchmade torrent...lovely knife.
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Old 11-22-2016   #6
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swiss army knife. and a mini version on my key ring.
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Old 11-22-2016   #7
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In the UK anything that locks is deemed illegal? That would be quite disappointing.

Everything I carry locks. In canada the knife laws arent as lax as they are in the US. We cant have any auto knives or spring assisted knives, or no gravity open.

With the griptillian I skirt very close to the law with the gravity open as the knife can be opened with gravity only in more than one way but the intended way to open is using the thumb hole with a thumb or finger.

Other than that my other knives are all flippers. In Canada switchblades or any knives that deploy with a button very quickly are illegal but flipper knives deploy just as fast and as just as intimidating but are pefectly legal.

I much prefer a knife that has one handed opening and closing. You never know when you only have one hand free and need to cut something, happens more frequently than you imagine.
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Opinel
Old 11-22-2016   #8
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Opinel

French Men, to be considered on respectably, use their Opinels to "cut the cheese!"

Depending on the neighborhoods I wander through at night, I carry an appropriately sized, wood handle Opinel with its unique twist lock metal system.

They come in sizes from #2 "cut the cheese, and drink wine" to, Wow, Is that Bigfoot, Lemme at him!

Best opinels are carbon steel blades which take a wicked edge.

http://www.opinel-usa.com/collection...outdoor-knives

How respected are they. Well, one night I was stopped by an Oregon State trooper who turned up and old warrant on me. He had me empty my pockets, and when I pulled out the Opinel, he grabbed it and wrapped it in duct tape so it would not open. He put the knife and wallet and other sundry pocket items in an evidence bag and "hauled my ass" in.

After I paid the old fine and was released, it took me an hour to get the duct tape off the knife. I call that respect! That and he couldn't figure out how to open it.
 

Old 11-22-2016   #9
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I'm pretty utilitarian about pocket knives, but I do like good quality: hence real Wenger and Leatherman, not knock-offs. A friend had a cheap knock-off of a Swiss Army knife made of such inferior metal that the corkscrew straightened out when I tried to remove a cork with it. I hadn't realized that anything other than solder could be soft enough to do that... And yet, it was just hard enough to screw into the cork. A triumph of Chinese metallurgy.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 11-22-2016   #10
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Like every schoolboy I bought an Opinel pocket knife (as well as bangers of biblical proportions) on my first France trip, so I would have been about eleven or twelve years old. Of course the whole lot was confiscated back in Blighty, even though my school had no objection to my folding billhook.

After that I went without until my gap year, when I took a Victorinox Explorer travelling with me. That went around the world (and through one dog and a bucket of bleach); after 25 years service I've finally retired it in favour of (dun dun dun!) the new-model Explorer, which accompanies me everywhere as long as I'm wearing something with a suitable pocket. I also have a couple of Leatherman tools (Crunch and Wave) but they have to stay at home (lockable blades and all that); and a Victorinox Signature on my keyring.

Never had occasion to stab anybody, but of course there were the chicken-related injuries to add spice to the school day.
 

Old 11-22-2016   #11
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The fact that this makes it safer to use is entirely lost on those who banned locking blades.
This ruined it for me. I always carry a Spyderco Ladybug Salt (it's Tiny, serrated, sharp and really useful) but because it locks, it could land me in prison! I once went up the Shard in London and they confiscated it from me there and said I was lucky not to have been in front of the police. At the time I was using it for eating an orange. So now I carry nothing, and always miss having a knife on me.

Mind you it stops me stabbing people, doesn't it.
 

Old 11-22-2016   #12
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i carry a benchmade torrent...lovely knife.
almost looks like the foray. One of these days I'll shell out for a Benchmade Foray.
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Old 11-22-2016   #13
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In the UK anything that locks is deemed illegal? . . .
To the best of my understanding, yes. Crazy, innit?

Cheers (not the right word),

R.
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Old 11-22-2016   #14
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Around ten or so I was allowed to have them. I used them to carve something simple from tree sticks and wood planks.
In 1995 I smuggled Swiss Army officer knife, not this red puke, but normal one with wood saw and big blade. I used it a lot as tool.
Now I have original leatherman utility knife (my daughter find it in the dust on the road) with broken blade (I broke it after last federal election) in my camera, wallet, phone everyday anywhere bag. Renaming blade stump is good for cutting of tape on parcels and it keeps me out from trouble in current Canada, which is infested by politicians and their supporters who brings us closer to soviet living style.
In the backpack for hikes, I have simple knife with fixing blade which my friend find in the creek (some poachers for salmon eggs dropped it).

Here is the Swiss knife pictures taken in 2009. They might be not visible in some browsers/devices due to google politics.



 

Old 11-22-2016   #15
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Untitled by John Carter, on Flickr

from 1965
 

Old 11-22-2016   #16
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Aaaargh! Forgot the link to the picture and text...

Cheers,

R.
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Old 11-22-2016   #17
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Untitled by John Carter, on Flickr

from 1965
Dear John,

Frances had a similar two-blade knife from the same maker, which had belonged to her father. Last time she saw her brother, she gave it to him. THAT'S generous.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 11-22-2016   #18
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To the best of my understanding, yes. Crazy, innit?

Cheers (not the right word),

R.
Its not quite that simple, anything over 3inches and a locking then you need a reason to carry it, but the complication is everyones reasons are different!

An example is I can carry a sgian-dubh while wearing a kilt as it part of national dress.
Knives a bit like cameras can get very expensive especially with 'GAS', another forum I'm a member of is britishblades have a look.
 

Old 11-22-2016   #19
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Just my regular Swiss Army Explorer Knife. Mostly as a tool for my cameras and my person (tootpick).
 

Old 11-22-2016   #20
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Swiss Army knife and a Spiderco Tashan Salt. Everyday.
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Old 11-22-2016   #21
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Loved knives when I was a kid (when I hung out in the woods a lot). Now I don't care anymore. I guess I don't see the need in NYC.
 

Old 11-22-2016   #22
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One of my last creations before work/family/photography became a better use of time.
13fbpiclatestone1 by f4saregreat!, on Flickr
 

Old 11-22-2016   #23
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I'm a recovering knife knut--AKA collector/acummlator. My grandfather gave me my first pocket knife at a very early age. We used to sit around and whittle on sticks to pass the time together. I have loved all types of sharp objects for a very long time.

Pretty much everyone--men and women--carried at least a small folding knife when I was growing up. I don't recall anyone ever using a knife as a weapon--knives were just tools we all used daily. Of course, anyone who had a knife could use it as a weapon if the need arose.

I carry a folding knife daily. Except when flying or going into restricted areas. These days it's likely to be one of several Benchmade, Spyderco, Emerson or other brand lock-blade knife. But I am also very fond of Case, Queen, Buck, Boker and other traditional slipjoint folders.
 

Old 11-22-2016   #24
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pretty much always carry one, unless im traveling somewhere they arent allowed.
i rotate between things like classic slipjoint, modern tacticool stuff, and everything in between, but I always come back to 1 knife that I enjoy carrying in my pocket more than any other;

Carter Cutlery, 179mm bird & trout with lignum vitae handles.
In the neck sheath he includes, it slips right in the pocket and is so thin and unobtrusive. It's perfect in the hand, gets ridiculously sharp with Rc ~63-64 white steel, and is easy to maintain. I also carry this when I go out fly fishing or camping on my neck as was intended.

Attached the original product photo I still happen to have. It has a lot more patina now on the white steel core of the laminated blade.
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File Type: jpg 179x68BirdLK__52398.1380741530.1280.1280.jpg (29.8 KB, 26 views)
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Old 11-22-2016   #25
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Now axes they get really interesting
14fbpicNorlund2 by f4saregreat!, on Flickr
 

Old 11-22-2016   #26
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Quote:
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Its not quite that simple, anything over 3inches and a locking then you need a reason to carry it, but the complication is everyones reasons are different!

An example is I can carry a sgian-dubh while wearing a kilt as it part of national dress.
Knives a bit like cameras can get very expensive especially with 'GAS', another forum I'm a member of is britishblades have a look.
Anything over 3" OR locking blade will require a good reason to carry. A small but important detail.

From the gov.uk site:
Quote:
It is illegal to carry a knife in public without good reason - unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62cm) or less.

.
.
.

Lock knives are not classed as folding knives and are illegal to carry in public without good reason.
 

Old 11-22-2016   #27
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Years ago I found a pristine Opinel 8 half buried in a field road. Was cycling and the blade shone, rescued it.

Despite having mushrooming culture in the family (Pyrenées), we never use them to cut while picking. I have grown in the coast and don't think about using pocket knives much.

Did have a picnic and the knife was really useful. Fantastic cutting cheese and bread, as well as opening nuts.

In Spain the limit is 11cm per blade and I think no restrictions over folding and locking; what is prohibited are the spring blades that click open.

But I do enjoy wielding large knives in the kitchen. Found that cutting and chopping vegetables was entretaining once I got the basics down. Since then I cringe at anyone using tiny knives to do the cutting.
 

Old 11-22-2016   #28
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Quote:
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Dear John,

Frances had a similar two-blade knife from the same maker, which had belonged to her father. Last time she saw her brother, she gave it to him. THAT'S generous.

Cheers,

R.
Very generous!!
 

Old 11-22-2016   #29
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I think I was the last generation of kids carrying "Higo" folding craft knives to elementary school back in Japan, before "what if they cut themselves or stab others" mindset took over and banned from schools. I remember I had to sharpen my pencils with Higo knife myself when I was 6 or 7.

I carry Chris Reeve small annual (2001) Sebenza left-hand version for the land. Spyderco Pacific Salt (H1 blade that really doesn't rust!) when I'm diving. I have a few others that I rotate, but I've been a fan of Spyderco and CRK for quite some time now. For motorcycle ride, glove compartment and camping, I'll have a multitool, usually the Victorinox SwissTool.
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Old 11-22-2016   #30
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L carry a swiss army fnife with the single thumb opening blade, (carried when fishing), a small bone handle pocket knife.
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Old 11-22-2016   #31
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I have a (now retired model) Leatherman S4 "Squirt" on my keychain. It has a tiny blade that's just right for opening packages and, much more useful, scissors, along with a couple screwdrivers, nail cleaner, and a tiny pair of tweezers that I have yet to lose! The scissors are the best part of this little tool, much more useful to me than pliers.

I suppose I could use the ~1.25"/3cm blade for self defense, but I think my keys would be more effective. I've had US army knives, various swiss army knives, and I have an Opinel as well. I don't carry the Leatherman on flights, thanks to the theater of security.

It looks like the "Micra" is the current Leatherman that's replaced my Squirt in functionality.
 

Old 11-22-2016   #32
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I have a collection of 50 or so pocket knives, mostly Victorinox, Case, Queen, and Buck. I always carry at least a Swiss army knife, but certainly not for defense.
 

Old 11-22-2016   #33
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These days I have either the Case Tiny Trapper or the small buck knife in my pocket.
[IMG]DSC08170 [/IMG]
When I need a bit more knife I carry this:
[IMG]swiss army giant [/IMG]
 

Old 11-22-2016   #34
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Quote:
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I carry at least one blade every day. These days I'm carrying a benchmade griptilian. Depending on the amount of pockets I have I might also have a leatherman micra as well.
I used to, but most are illegal where I live. Any knife that can be "gravity opened" is "possibly" illegal, even if one must hold the blade to open it. At 3.45 inches the Griplilain is not too long, but probably can be opened with one hand. Gravity knives account for more than two-thirds of arrests, about 10,000 a year.

I used to carry the classic Buck 110 Folding Hunter, but at 4 7/8" it is just asking for trouble. My 102 Buck Woodsman one would think, no -- but hunting knives are legal -- even open carry.

Crazy eh?
 

Old 11-22-2016   #35
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First one was a French copy of a Victorinox with metal sides. I still have it. Then came a German fixed blade hunting knife.
Quite many knives at home I'm afraid, folding, locking, hunting, Swiss , German, French, Swedish, Norwegian, American...
All types and sizes of Opinel and another similar type, the Nontron, with engraved boxtree handles of various shapes, and a swivelling lock.
Plus I inherited my father's and uncle's.
I carry one at weekends and during holidays. I used to have a Laguiole handy in class to cut paper sheets if needed. But that was quite some time ago...
There's a Leatherman in my car glove box at all times as well.
I've even carried my Kershaw 1050 in England undetected several times. Well you don't get checked by the law when you hike in the North York Moors..
I remember having to haggle hard with a police officer to get the Opinel of one of my students after he was caught rolling a joint in St James Park.
Quite a lot of the lads must have carried some sort of blade in the group back in the 80's. I did let them know about British law before the trip but didn't check the gear they packed.
But I eventually retrieved it. The perk was a good cup of tea in the cop shop and a friendly chat while the boy was locked up in a cell with a partner and worrying about his near future...
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Old 11-22-2016   #36
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I think I was 8 when my Grandfather gave me my first pocket knife, a bone handled antique folder with a 1.5" blade. Back then nobody batted an eye when a young kid pulled out his pocket knife to cut something.

I've had various knives since then and currently carry a 2" Case with locking blade, I use it all the time at work for opening packages.
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Old 11-22-2016   #37
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I suppose I am relatively knife-conscious, generally owning the appropriate knife for every task I engage in. But I rarely kill, mutilate or dismember while I frequently eat. Hence, the one knife usually in my pocket is a pocket picknick knife. When photographing, I also carry a Leatherman, when cycling, a cyclists multitool. Outdoors, I usually carry another pocket knife or two to cater for the kids (which usually forget or misplace theirs).
 

Old 11-22-2016   #38
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When I was still working, I had an Emerson CQC-7 Tanto blade clipped in the neckline of my ballistic vest as a "just in case". Learned how to open it using a flick of the wrist.
 

Old 11-22-2016   #39
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I'm from East Kentucky where they issue pocket knives to each baby boy when freshly born. We grew up whittling and trading knives. The only times I've never had one in my pocket was when on an airplane.
About 12 years ago a dear friend made me a gift of a Benchmade #330S Gentleman's Knife. I carried it every day until last spring when I was in Ireland and needed to fish a hair out of the inside of my wife's camera. After I got it out I laid the knife down to put the camera back together and forgot it. I was really down about this as my friend had passed not long after he gave me the knife. It was, of curse, long discontinued and nearly impossible to find. After several months of searching I was able to buy one and now it's back in my pocket.
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Old 11-22-2016   #40
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Quote:
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I used to, but most are illegal where I live. Any knife that can be "gravity opened" is "possibly" illegal, even if one must hold the blade to open it. At 3.45 inches the Griplilain is not too long, but probably can be opened with one hand. Gravity knives account for more than two-thirds of arrests, about 10,000 a year.

I used to carry the classic Buck 110 Folding Hunter, but at 4 7/8" it is just asking for trouble. My 102 Buck Woodsman one would think, no -- but hunting knives are legal -- even open carry.

Crazy eh?
I do think that the griptillian is one of those grey area knives, at least in Canada. I still wanted one though and managed to get one with no problems.

I seem to favour the middle finger flick which is perfectly legal and very fast to deploy. But when playing with it I'll gravity open either by doing a spider drop, or releasing the lock and flicking the knife open with a wrist.

As mentioned though any of my flipper knives, like my CRKT M16-10KZ can look and deploy just as fast as any switchblades or any absolutely illegal knives in canada, yet remain perfectly legal with no grey area at all.
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