In the course of my daily trolling for knife content, I came across an interesting knife by the Havalon Company. Instead of sharpening your blade when it dulls, you simply snap it off and snap in a new, factory sharpened one. This is the first time I have seen the concept applied to an everyday knife outside the realm of utility/tile knives or surgical scalpels.
The concept of interchangeable blades is nothing new. In fact, it dates to the Neolithic period when toolmakers first started hafting small microliths onto a larger wood or bone tool. This represented a major technological breakthrough. It allowed tools to be fashioned from smaller pieces of stone.
Previous, paleolithic tools required a stone core of suitable size and shape, from which flakes were removed to create the tool. In the neolithic, these flakes themselves were the tools, or at least the cutting edges. When the tool dulled with use, these smaller blades could be changed out rather than making an entirely new tool.
Paleolithic tools could be resharpened, but the underlying size and shape of the tool was changed in the process. If a Paleolithic tool broke or could no longer be resharpened, it was made into something else or simply discarded.
Fast forward several millenia, and tile knives with reversible, disposable blades became a staple in toolboxes everywhere. The concept took another leap forward in the early 2000’s when someone figured out how to use these same blades on a pocket folding knife rather than a bulky OTF sliding style.
This development coincided with my stint as a boat-builder. Tile knife blades were disposable shop supplies. We were extremely hard on blades (cutting rolled fiberglass among other things), and we changed blades several times a day. Every time I pulled mine from my pocket, wish I had been the one to come up with the idea of utilizing a folder in this capacity.
In addition to the more general purpose knife shown in the first picture of this post, Havalon makes knives for specialty applications such as filleting fish (the one I am most likely to try).
So after a somewhat long lead-in, my question is this: would you carry a knife like a Havalon? or is the disposable blade concept best left to specialty applications?