Being Sharp: A Rebuke for the “Stay-at-Home Knife”
by Jon M.
In an era of search-happy security, carrying a knife remains as relevant and legal in all 50 states as ever; in fact, it can even save a life. So let’s continue using our brains and carrying one of humankind’s oldest, most versatile, and basic tools, the knife. It’s responsibilities include an infinite variety of tasks that could possibly be done by scissors or a utility knife but frequently aren’t because neither of the aforementioned tools fit on your person as conveniently or easily as a pocketknife. One rule of thumb: your leave-the-house knife should obey all local laws and fit your aesthetic tastes while being a functional item that says “this blade is for doing tasks that actual real people tend to do, like opening packages, cutting twine, or quite possibly saving a drowning baby“.
Call It Your EDC:
Opinel No. 8:
A timeless classic, simply but elegantly made by one of France’s oldest companies. If you happen to work for Bloomberg News, you can walk 9 blocks Southwest to the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan and legally purchase one for yourself as even MOMA considers it a classic of good design.
Swiss Army Farmer Alox:
MacGuyver in your pocket, this rugged and handsome design can see you through any task imaginable while maintaining legality in the face of even the most draconian and flawed “gravity knife” laws. (Available at Smoky Mountain Knife Works among others).
Canal Street Cutlery English Barlow:
Made less than two hours outside of New York City by some of America’s most storied knife makers, the English Barlow by Canal Street Cutlery is an example of old-time charm and beauty. The Barlow pattern is one of the oldest known pocketknife patterns and was even carried by George Washington, so when you carry a Barlow, you carry a piece of history.
Spyderco Puukko G10:
Spyderco’s take on the Puukko — an old Finnish design — is topped with a wood-textured handle made from ultra-durable G-10 laminate and is completely legal to carry outside of the house in New York State except in cases where NYC’s antiquated, arbitrary, and legally unfair knife laws (and here) and profiling police tactics are unreasonably enforced against law-abiding New York City residents like construction workers, artists, and stagehands. (Photo from and knife available from Knifecenter.com)
A knife that’s so legal you can even carry it in Denmark or Chicago, IL, the Pingo is the solution to a problem found only in the mind of crass politicians and hyperbolic deputy editors. It even comes with “safety orange” FRN scales to visually signify this knife’s legality and intrinsic safety rating for those uneducated and fearful of anything remotely scary. (buy it from BladeHQ)
Keep Your Edge:
To see these knives — and countless other legal knives made to be carried and used outside your domicile — look down at your pocket and see if your knife is there, or use your computer and search for one of the many fine retailers that support Knife Rights (http://www.kniferights.org/) or the American Knife and Tool Institute (http://www.akti.org/) and purchase your very own essential tool.