Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife?

Posted by: GeoEarthSensei

Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/10/08 03:24 PM

I am thinking of getting my son his first pocket knife for Christmas.

What do you recommend? Why?

Thanks!
Posted by: Kris

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/10/08 03:33 PM

SAK alox farmer... Never really was a SAK fan, well when i was kid in scouts I had one but in my 'older' years i went to more of a single blade knife. But this forum got me back to them and the farmer is one of the better SAK's out there IMHO.

The sharpen awl is good for scraping a ferrocerium rod, blade is a bit more sturdy then a regular SAK, saw works pretty well... a very good all around knife for a pocket or even a psk.
Posted by: CANOEDOGS

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/10/08 03:44 PM

fun question--i would say a Swiss Army Tinker if he's the type who like tools or a good fixed blade Mora with a hand guard if he's the outdoor type.or--just get a smaller Damascus blade and have a father and son winter project making one..sheath also.
opps--edit..i just looked at the question again..pocket knife--SAK in that case
Posted by: benjammin

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/10/08 04:00 PM

I recommend against a multi-tool, or a knife with more than one or two blades on it. As a learning event, the kid can best understand and appreciate what you keep simple. A locking blade would be preferable, and something with enough handle for his hand, but not too much so it becomes unwieldy. They don't need a big thick blade, but something slender and with a fairly fine point would help them learn blade control better I think. Case folders are special enough that the kid might have more respect for it than some $10 generic thing, and Case are well enough made that it will take some abuse.

I took great care of the little stockman that Grandad gave me. It was a great choice for me as a first knife. Grandad knew what he was doing.
Posted by: Paul810

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/10/08 07:07 PM

The Swiss Army knife idea is a good one. Along those lines I'd say get him a 3 1/4" (84 mm) Alox SAK, then have the back engraved with his name or initials to make it extra special.

For kids I always liked the smaller 3 1/4" size SAK, it's more proportional to their hands and pockets than the full size knives (3 1/2"-91mm). Target has been selling the 84mm Cadet Alox for ~$18.00 (pictured below), which is a good simple sturdy knife. Very similar to the original Soldier model, which is also similar to the old US military Demo knife or the traditional Boy Scout pocket knife. The difference is the smaller size, the pointed nail file instead of the awl (which can do most of what the awl could do, with the added benefit of the nail file) and a key ring, which is good for kids so they can tether it to themselves so they don't loose it.



If you want to go full size (91 mm), the Farmer is one of the best, and being Alox it also has a spot to be engraved. This one is, again, similar to the original Soldier, but with an awesome wood saw and the key ring.



Another knife I like is the Case Orange G10 Jr. Scout. Basic boy scout knife design, but with bright orange G10 handle scales so it's easier to find if dropped/lost. This one is a bit more expensive than the SAKs though, it's also not as easy to replace if lost (they're kind of tough to find).



If you prefer something with a lock (which is always nice to have), a simple small lockback is a good option as well. My father always got knives like these as gifts/promotional items, and he would give them to us. They're simple, durable, and with only one implement to worry about, the blade....they're pretty easy to teach how to use. Plus, once they're a bit older you can buy them a Buck 110. Basically the same knife on a larger scale, and is pretty much known as the classic American pocket knife.

Case makes small stainless lockbacks that are real nice and not too expensive, as does Buck and quite a few other manufacturers.



Otherwise, I would look into other classic style knives in different patterns. Case, Buck, Bear and Sons, Queen, Schatt and Morgan, Hen and Rooster, Boker, Schrade (now defunct), Camillus (now defunct), ect all made/make great knives in classic patterns; like the stockman, barlow, trapper, pen knife, ect. The price on these can be very low (like the Chinese made low-end Buck slip-joints) to very high, allowing you to pick out one you like at the price you like.


While it may not be feasible since you want to give it as a Christmas present, it may be a good idea to let him look at or maybe try out different knives and pick out the one he likes (within reason of course). Either that, or start him out using your edc pocket knife, and then get him his own of the same knife once he has shown satisfactory ability/safety. Sometimes allowing them to pick out their own knife or giving them the same knife as daddy/grandpa/uncle/ect makes it more fun and memorable.
Posted by: KenK

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/10/08 08:01 PM

My thoughts on knives for Boy Scouts:
-They will get lost
-The knife needs to be low cost
-Scouts will accidentally fold them
-The knife blade needs to lock
-Scouts patrol gear includes can openers
-The knife doesn't need a can opener on their knife
-Scouts don't need a screwdriver while camping
-The knife doesn't need to have a screwdriver
-Scouts use saws to cut branches too large to break by hand
-Small knife-sized saws aren't much value

My advice is for parents to find a very low-cost simple locking blade knife. So far my son has almost lost both his basic knife and his Leatherman. I found them both times.

Since then, all of his knives have paracord lanyards attached. They are looped to a belt loop on one end and fastened to the knife's lanyard hole on the other (the LM's not well suited to the lanyard), and the cord is sized so if it drops it won't hit the ground. He just clips the knife inside his pocket and stuffs the lanyard into the same pocket.

The lanyard also helps prevent "borrowing" which in my view is the largest destroyer of knives out there. Nothing can be trashed as easily as someone else's knife.

My own choice - what I bought for my son & daughter - is the Kabar Dozier Folding Spear for about $20 online. Just about the best knife I've found for the money.

Did I mention that most Scout knives are lost amazingly quickly?
Posted by: SaucyRose

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/10/08 09:56 PM

I love my buck knife so much so all my sons got buck knives when they turned 10.
Posted by: ironraven

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/10/08 10:52 PM

How old is he?

I really like SAKs- locking blades are safer for rough work, but I remember I had a hard time with lock backs until I was about 9-10, and liner locks require a bit more finess.

I'd probably lean to the Climber or a similar model. Big blade, little/emergency/back up blade, can opener (not really needed but a good preparedness item), bottle opener (more and more sodas have pop tops), scissors (use mine daily), awl (so he doesn't break the tip off poking stuff) and the corkscrew to hold the glasses screwdriver (if not for his, for someone elses).

Or the Cadet, but I do think scissors are near critical.

In any case, a lanyard with a good clip. Over time add whistle, light, and ferro rod. smile

Ahhh... I saw your other thread. Six... Maybe the MiniChamp? Small hands need small knives, but the layers of this should make it big enough to get a grip on and it has useful tools but also enough gadgetty bits to be cool
Posted by: comms

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/11/08 02:29 AM

Wow. You can not go wrong with any of those choices. The Case is great because its not as ubiquitous as SAK but the loss factor comes into play.

Something must be said however that SAK keeps coming up and my wife has a small one for EDC, I have the Champ in regular rotation in my EDC.

I have given a lot of thought to my son's first knife. I have a ways to go, he's 5. I have narrowed it to a small SAK or an Old Timers knives. The Old Timers, (originals no longer made) are sold at Home Depot so they are easy to replace. The PAL is about $10 and a single blade. Its a nostalgic blade. Story's about its remarkable family past is usually highly exaggerated to create mystic. (wink wink)

Posted by: tomfaranda

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/11/08 02:54 AM

An excellent SAK with a locking blade is the Wenger traveller. And it's easy to unlock, has excellent scissors and a nice selection of other tools.

If you just want a knife with a single blade that locks, the kabar dozier knife that KenK mentioned is very, very, good value. Besides a spearpoint it comes in a drop point and a few other variations. Excellent lightweight knife with a lockback mechanism.
Posted by: LED

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/11/08 03:22 AM

Maybe a SAK Trekker? I love mine. Has a locking blade (screwdriver also locks).
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/11/08 03:59 AM

I would go for the SAK, as well, but at 6, perhaps the Bantam (seems appropriate, eh? <$20) with a solitare flashlight or squeeze lite attached so harder to lose, or a Swisslite (>$30)- small led, small blade, and a couple classic SAK gizmos.

Posted by: AROTC

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/11/08 06:18 AM

Highly recommend the SAK Bantam and Tinker. I like the bantam because its so basic. It has a blade and a screwdriver, bottle/can opener. Kids need screwdrivers because taking things apart is fun. They can also be used for very light prying in a way a blade never should. Very versatile and fits very comfortably in your pocket. Get the Alox version and you can have his initials engraved on it to make it more personal. The Tinker is a slightly souped up version of the Bantam, but still pretty compact. I wouldn't worry about getting too big of a Swiss Army knife though. Kids will carry knives no matter how big, because they're knives. My first one was the huntsman and it was in my pocket constantly. I got it when I was eight or nine.

I also wouldn't worry about a locking blade. While I cut myself constantly with my pocket knife as a kid, I don't think it was ever because of a blade closing prematurely. I was taught over and over that blades can close on your fingers and never had an issue. Cutting yourself with your pocket knife is a right of passage and a learning experience. As long as you're taught safe knife handling, none of them should ever be too serious.

I'll also disagree with the statement, "pocket sized saws are useless". The saw on my huntsman was used for all kinds of things as a kid. I cut through branches over an inch in diameter much safer then using the knife blade. Great for making spears and forts.

Remember to look at this purchase from your kids point of view as much as your own. How much he likes his knife will determine by and large how well he keeps it.

PS Don't forget to get a sharpening stone along with the knife. If its his, it'll make sharpening that much easier.
Posted by: SwampDonkey

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/11/08 12:26 PM

I must agree with everyone that recommended a SAK as a first knife. I like the Alox scales and prefer them in a bright colour so they are more visible and look less threatening in public.

There is a SAK called "My First Victorinox Plus" seen here The biggest difference of this model is that the main blade has a rounded point.

I also agree that a locking blade would be preferred but as it has already been said, we all used non-locking blades as kids and learned the limitations of them.

Concerning small pocketknife sized saws. I have had great success using a SAK or Leatherman saw in the field for cutting trees and branches 1 to 3 inches in dia. Last week I cut through the leg bones of a deer with a Leatherman TTi saw, it took about 30 seconds per leg.

Good topic, I think that at the right time the gift of a knife can develop responsibility and show trust in a growing child. My 3 kids all recieved there first knife around 10 years old, after careful instruction on use and safety.

Mike
Posted by: clearwater

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/11/08 02:30 PM

I had a large boy scout knife, but didn't like carrying it
cause it was so big, and i didn't need the tools.

This is one I like, fits in a pocket well and still can open
a can or bottle or take apart an MSR stove for cleaning.

http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Swiss-Bantam-Pocket-Knife/dp/B0007QCO4M
Posted by: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/11/08 03:03 PM


Or how about the British Army Locking Clasp Knife,

http://www.denverdiscountmart.com/KNIVES/KNIVES---FOLDERS/MOSH71830.html



2" Sheffield Stainless-Steel Blade, lambfoot (safer than SAK blade)
Closed length of 3.75"
Stainless-Steel handle
Includes useful accessories: Tin-opener, Phillips flat-head screwdriver, and keyring for safe attachment.

Only problem I can see with this knife is if you get it you may decide to keep it for yourself. Just like the very best train sets. laugh



Posted by: Tom_L

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/11/08 03:50 PM

Yup, that one is truly a proven design. Almost identical clasp knives have been around since the 19th c. at least, very practical and well thought out. Mostly used by sailors, travellers and soldiers. I'm not sure what kind of steel they use these days. But I'd imagine the modern stainless steel versions are pretty good, too.

Well yeah, I guess it would be a good first pocket knife. Especially for a boy who is into the military stuff. The blade is pretty safe, too.
Posted by: CANOEDOGS

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/11/08 03:53 PM


anyone know why they used the sheeps foot blade??..so it could work better as a rope knife or it could not be used as a weapon ?
Posted by: Tom_L

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/11/08 04:17 PM

Many of those clasp knives (especially the navy version) have a big Marlin spike as well, which was often preferred to the knife blade in fights or brawls according to some of the older folks and veterans I've talked to.

The sheepsfoot blade is supposed to be shaving sharp, at least the older versions were pretty well made. It's too short for a stabbing weapon (under 3") and it's meant primarily for utility purposes. If kept sharp it's still a wicked cutter, though.

During WWII the British actually taught some hand-to-hand techniques with the clasp knife as well. It was only considered a last resort weapon - firearms or the Fairbairn-Sykes dagger being preferable in all situations. But in an emergency the British soldiers were trained to use the clasp knife as a cutting weapon, a bit like a straight razor. Look into the combatives system developed by Fairbairn and Sykes for more information.
Posted by: tomfaranda

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/11/08 05:55 PM

At an advertised discounted price of $33, that British knife is pretty pricey.
Posted by: LED

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/11/08 06:29 PM

Elegant in its simplicity and all work design. Straight blade might be easier for a beginner to sharpen? Thats a really nice looking knife.
Posted by: Tom_L

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/11/08 07:02 PM

That is a good price, they cost 20-22 (that's in British pounds, equivalent to about $30) if you buy from the source:
http://www.sheffieldknives.co.uk/acatalog/Folding_Knives.html

These knives are so tough even buying second-hand might be a viable option. I've seen surplus clasp knives sold at pretty low price, many in excellent, barely used condition.

$30 is not dirt cheap but IMHO well worth the money. Keep in mind it's the real deal, made in Sheffield - once the cutlery capital of the world, still known for superb blades. These are built to last many decades of serious use. I've seen heavily worn examples that have been in nearly constant use/abuse since WWII and are still going strong. A SAK may have more functions but the Brit clasp knife is going to be just as practical and more durable if the quality is anywhere near what it used to be.
Posted by: tomfaranda

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/12/08 03:40 AM

My comment on the cost of the British knife: it's going to be given to a child who could easily lose it.
Posted by: LED

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/12/08 07:19 AM

Originally Posted By: tomfaranda
My comment on the cost of the British knife: it's going to be given to a child who could easily lose it.


True, and thats a valid point but IMO it really depends on the child and how they're raised. A first pocket knife can really be something special to a kid. In a way it can symbolize responsibility, maturity, exploration, etc, etc. FWIW, I know plenty of adults who are way more careless with their things than children.
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/12/08 03:16 PM

Generally, for a child that age, anything over $10 is a waste.

Have you considered an Opinel? Locks open, has a thin blade that cuts with little effort, and is disposable. You could file the blade into a sheepfoot for safety and spray-paint the handle red.

A first knife is indeed magical to a kid. But that doesn't mean they're ready for unsupervised carry. I think its primary purpose should be learning respect and responsibility under adult supervision. I borrowed and repeated the 'tools not toys' speech to my nephew until he repeated it back to me every time his knife came out.

FWIW, my nephew's first knife was one I modified from a broken butcher knife. I rounded the entire thing with a grinder. Then I added a cutting notch close to the handle, about 1" wide and inset about 1/2". You could fall on this and likely not hurt yourself. Yet it cut bark, grass, and rope, and made kindling quite effectively. I added a sheath made with olive drab canvas and black duct tape, and he loved it.
Posted by: Tom_L

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/12/08 04:30 PM

I don't know about that line of thinking. The first knife my dad gave me was something of a family heirloom. Not necessarily in the sense of $ but it certainly had sentimental value. My dad got it as a present himself when he was about 10 from his aunt who travelled in Scandinavia at the time. Just one more reason why I felt even more responsibility to look after it. I remember I nearly lost that knife one day and it seemed like the end of the world. Considering how a lot of adults tend to "misplace" their belongings I would say many kids are less likely to lose a pocket knife.
Posted by: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/12/08 04:47 PM



I've never lost my one since I aquired it many years ago and my father never lost it either when he was given it as a boy. I actually found it in my grand fathers old wooden tool box in his shed. I was pretty happy when my grand father said I could have the knife saying that my dad didn't appear to need it any more. grin

BTW the knife is the older non locking version and is probably over 50 years old or older.




Posted by: Tom_L

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/12/08 05:33 PM

Ha, good old "oil the joints!"... wink

If you look at the markings (military broad arrow mark in the mid-right portion of the handle scale) the year of manufacture seems to be 1953 if my eyes serve me right. So that would make your knife over 50 years old indeed.

A wonderful piece of kit! Well, this thread has just given me a good idea for a Christmas present...
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/12/08 05:38 PM

Well, with all due respect, we're talking about a first-grader here. Most of them would lose their own feet if they weren't stuck on the ends of their legs.

A perfectly serviceable blade can be had for $10. The big investment is the time an adult spends teaching them how to use it properly. These are important life lessons and are beyond price.

When a child demonstrates the maturity to use a blade safely and responsibly, by all means get 'em a better one. No objections from me.

(EDIT: Whoops, I goofed, I was intending to respond to Tom_L's post further up the page.)

Posted by: Tom_L

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/12/08 05:39 PM

Oh and if anybody fancies a little history on these knives here's a good link:
http://www.britishblades.com/forums/showthread.php?t=63126
Posted by: comms

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/12/08 06:53 PM

This thread has got me thinking how to introduce a knife to a child or pre-teen so that the right amount of instruction, heritage and respect is given. My son is almost six and while he has been around knives he is still just a kid.

I think whatever knife I decide will be his first, I will carry it with me and find ways to introduce him to the use of the it in daily life at his age. Like scoring an object, widdling a branch, cutting rope or twine, opening a box. This way when he asks for it or I produce it, we can go over the responsibility that a knife demands and I supervise his efforts. Then at a point when I feel he is responsible enough, he will get the knife as his own.

This creates an immediate sense of accomplishment, a sense of reward and learn the valuable lessons we all need in knife ownership.
Posted by: KenK

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/12/08 08:09 PM

Another fun way to introduce knife-handling and safety is to hand the youngster a cake of soap - Ivory works well - and have them carve it with a disposable plastic knife - one with a serrated edge works well since it stings just a little if they "slide" themselves with it.

Have them carve a little figure while practicing safe handling. Cut away from them; think about where the blade will go if it slips, ...
Posted by: Paul810

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/12/08 10:54 PM

As far as price goes, at this age I doubt he is going to be carrying it anywhere. It would be held onto by the parents, come out when teaching skills, and go back to being held by the parents. With that in mind, I see no reason not to spend whatever amount the adult is willing to spend to get the knife that they feel is appropriate and they are comfortable with.

If anything, I'd want a knife that I know is going to be well made, safe, and can grow with their level of skill up until they are old enough to make their own knife purchasing decisions.

I also wouldn't mind spending a bit extra for something made in the good 'ole USA. We've already seen Schrade and Camillus go under, sending a few bucks towards Case, Schatt & Morgan/Queen, ect could help keep some good american knife makers afloat. That's just me showing my biases though. grin
Posted by: comms

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/13/08 04:21 PM

Originally Posted By: KenK
Another fun way to introduce knife-handling and safety is to hand the youngster a cake of soap - Ivory works well - and have them carve it with a disposable plastic knife - one with a serrated edge works well since it stings just a little if they "slide" themselves with it.

Have them carve a little figure while practicing safe handling. Cut away from them; think about where the blade will go if it slips, ...


Thanks Ken, that is excellent advice and exactly what I will do.
Posted by: benjammin

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/14/08 05:35 PM

Hmm, as I recall, I didn't lose my first knife until my mom took it from me, almost a year after Grandad gave it to me.

If you raise them right, then they will learn responsibility. If not, don't waste your money on them buying anything worth having.
Posted by: Tom_L

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/14/08 05:45 PM

Yeah, if you know they'll lose the knife soon they're probably not mature enough to have one in the first place.
Posted by: SwampDonkey

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/14/08 11:32 PM

I did not loose my first knife, my cousin borrowed it and lost it for me!

Mike
Posted by: AROTC

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/15/08 01:52 AM

I still have my first knife. I've lost knives since then, but I still have my first. It was important to me enough, even at six, to keep from losing it and do just about anything to get it back the few times I miss placed it.
Posted by: GeoEarthSensei

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/15/08 02:13 AM

Knife Update.

I was leaning toward the Victorinox Bantam. It seemed just right in size and features.

Unfortunately, one of my co-workers used to sell Case knives and is still a Case dealer on the side. He brought a Stag Handled (bone) Case Peanut in Tequila Sunrise for me to see.

After reading all the posts of people who still have their first knife, I decided that it was worth the probablity (not possibility) that it will get lost and get him something that is worth passing along to his son if he manages to hang on to it. It is a beautiful little knife. Just the right size with two blades and that's it.

I have also decided not to give it to him for Christmas. I will keep it as "my" knife for the next year or so, as I teach him better how to use it properly and safely. It's what I would have done anyway, but this way he gets to have "Dad's" knife as his first. I think he will appreciate it more that way.

Thanks for all the great advice and for your personal experiences.

Andrew
Posted by: Paul810

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/15/08 02:53 AM

Either one would have made a great choice. grin I wish you and your son the best of luck with the Peanut. They're nice knives anyone should be proud to own.
Posted by: comms

Re: Recommendations for Boy's First Pocket Knife? - 11/15/08 09:55 PM

great idea.