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I own more than a few pocket knives — not as many as Sean, of course, but I have at least 20, including some really nice ones. But the nice ones aren’t the ones we carry around day-to-day, are they? My daily-carry knife is a total beater, and it’s the one you see pictured above: a 3-1/2″ Winchester.

It’s not fancy, but I did put some work into it. In fact, since it’s so cheap (between $8 and $12 dollars at a local sporting goods store) I picked up four of ’em. Then I picked my favorite two and spent a weekend opening and closing ’em to work in the 3-in-1 and wear ’em in. And, of course, I conned my favorite sharpener into working the blade with his best gear.

The result: a cheap-ass knife that works well, but with which I’m not afraid to hack an aluminum can in half, break down boxes by the trash can, or pry at things.

What’s your daily-carry beater?


36 Responses to My Current Favorite Beater Knife

  1. Andy Mangold says:

    My daily beater: http://www.andymangold.com/product-review-bessey-d-bkwh-quick-change-folding-utility-knife/

    I use this pretty much everyday, for everything from fine book binding to hacking up cardboard and leather. I chose a utility style knife because I don’t have to worry about what I am cutting through at all; if I trash the blade I just swap it out.

    Love the blog, been following via RSS for a long time, this is the first time I have been compelled to comment!

  2. Edward Ford says:

    My daily beater: CRKT M21. It’s a solid knife that’s well balanced and has a great lockout mechanism so you can really stab at something and not worry about it folding back on your fingers.

    For a beater, its a little pricey, but hey, why spend the coin if you’re not going to use it? At least that’s my opinion.

    Love the blog, keep it up!

  3. tom spisak says:

    a Clauss PK3 I found in the gutter (really) and my Gerber Artifact do me most days

  4. Bri the knife guy says:

    I tried a couple different CRKT M16s for a while, but the big one was a little too big, and the small one was a little too small.

    I’m currently carrying an Ontario R.A.T., and I am quite happy with it. At $25, you really can’t beat it.

  5. Brice says:

    I the CRKT M21 as well, heavy duty enough for using as a pry bar. Main complaint: doesn’t hold and edge well enough/but is still somewhat difficult to sharpen.

    A 1095 steel blade is super easy to sharpen, a SV30 steel blade holds an edge you wouldn’t believe. The M21 is somewhere in the middle, and IMO not in a good way.

  6. Greg A. says:

    http://www.gerbergear.com/index.php/product/id/94 this is what I carry around where ever I go, the stainless blade makes sure work won’t destroy it in days (saltwater) and it is small enough I never notice it. Never had a knife I enjoyed carrying as much as this one.

  7. Chris P says:

    I usually carry a Case Sodbuster I picked up at Lowe’s for $17. Not that much need for it in a bank except opening boxes and trimming fingernails etc so I rarely need to sharpen it.

  8. Tetsubo says:

    I carry a Junkyard II with the composite edge. I also carry an original SwissTool. I have a CRKT warncliffe knife on the outside of my EDC bag as my ‘beater’.

  9. Old Coot says:

    OK, let’s start an argument: I’m a busy jack-of-all trades of 60+ years and have never carried any kind of a knife. What is it about having a lumpy rarely-needed (on my planet) tool rattling around in your pocket that is so appealing? Perhaps if I was a pirate it would make more sense.

  10. Sam says:

    Well, if you don’t find yourself using a knife on a regular basis and you don’t feel you need one for emergency preparedness, then you probably don’t need one for every day carry.

    Personally, I carry a Leatherman Wave and a folding utility knife, and I use one or both almost daily.

  11. Cameron says:

    Schrade Old Timer 108OT Junior
    I found my original under the back seat of my first car (’72 Beetle) in 1978. At that point it was well loved and had been resharpened many times. It became my first and only daily driver. When I lost it after many years, I purchased another. When Schrade went out of business (the current Schrade is owned by another company and is Chinese made), I went to Sears and bought the last three they had. I had to surrender one to airport security when I forgot to leave it home, but I still have three. I figure if it took me 30 years to go through two, the remainder will last me the rest of my life. I find the 2 1/2″ blade is more than big enough for 99% of my needs. Carrying anything bigger is just overkill.

  12. Tetsubo says:

    I’ve carried a knife, every day for thirty-three years. I will continue to do so until I die. The knife is the ultimate human tool. I use it constantly. I literally consider it an extension of my hand. I can’t imagine life without one.

  13. AggieMike says:

    I carry a Case Yellow handle medium stockman. It does everything i ever need it to and only cost about thirty bucks.

  14. Randy says:

    I’m with Old Coot. I have never carried a knife, nor do I know anyone that does. It seems like a must have for you guys. What do you use it for though? I read a couple posts about cutting cardboard. What else do you use it for in everyday life?

  15. kyle says:

    ok randy im not sure what world your living in but i have several friends who carry knoves regularly but then again we are in boy scouts

  16. Old Donn says:

    A Wenger Swiss Army Commander for the last 30+ years augmented recently with a Gerber multi tool. I guess the to carry or not to carry debate is much the same as whether or not you wear a watch. Older guys do, younger ones tend not to.

  17. Sam says:

    Lemme think, how did I use my knife yesterday?

    -Opening taped cardboard boxes
    -Pulling staples from lumber (ok, this was a Leatherman’s pliers)
    -Marking cut lines on lumber
    -Cutting plastic zip ties
    -Stripping wire
    -Opening mail

    And as for older/younger, I’d disagree. I’m 25 and I’ve carried a Swiss Army or a Leatherman every day since I was 10. Thank heavens I never got into trouble at school post-Columbine.

  18. David Bryan says:

    For all-around usefulness in a small package I really like the Victorinox electrician’s knife. I like it because it’s got an awl that sticks straight out in line with the handle instead of perpendicular, and that’s usually more useful to me. I like all the meat they put on the screwdriver blade on this one, so you can do some customizing on it if you want to. And the short little wire-skinning blade cuts most everything I need to cut– I’m probably going to customize myself one someday with scissors instead of the main blade.
    I like the U.S. military scout knives (that can-opener is a wonder of utility once you discover it), but I sure see a lot of them with broken springs. And I like the plain old American electrician’s knife, although I like the hawkbill blade better, especially in a good Klein model.
    I’ve got a cheap llittle Chinese knife I bought about ten years ago so I’d have an everyday knife I wouldn’t grieve over if I lost it, and of course it’s the one I can’t seem to lose.

  19. george says:

    i carried a knife for many years. then kinda went away from it. then about 20 some years ago i went back and was amazed how i had gone without. also mine can be used as a last line of defense.

  20. MeasureOnceCutTwice says:

    I’ve got a little open frame key chain knife (says CRKT on it) – simple construction but very beefy, for a little knife. Has a single bevel edge that is perfectly straight – easiest thing in the world to sharpen, so I manage to keep it sharp. Because it’s on my keyring it’s always there when I need it – an important thing.
    As to what I need to carry a knife for:
    Opening boxes
    Removing splinters (darn sharp pointy tip)
    removing the safety seal on the Parmesan cheese at the dinner table last night
    cutting string/rope
    Marking cuts (single bevel helps!)
    opening mail
    Stripping wire (and yes, I do own a real stripper. But the knife is always handy!)
    scraping that which needs scraping
    and most important:
    a toy to fiddle with during boring meetings!

  21. RocketSled says:

    Leatherman Wave…not in my pocket, or on my belt, but in my backpack, which goes to and from work every day. So it’s rare it’s more than 15 feet away from me at any time. Comes in handy during computer forensics, computer disassembly, hanging WiFi Radios, racking servers and networking equipment.

  22. Mike lee says:

    I have over 20 knives. The one I carry with me all the time is a Letterman side clip. Beside cutting thing, I use the screwdivers and bottle openers regularly. It’s like wearing a watch, if I leave it home I feel naked.

  23. Tom C says:

    For everyday carry I use a Emerson Mini CQC-7. For real abuse at a job I use a Tanto point CRKT Stiff KISS, which is also my loaner knife.

  24. Dan says:

    I carry a Victorinox Cybertool daily and get asked to borrow it often by my wife and coworkers, it’s a given that I have it in my pocket to them.

    I work in IT so the different bits come in handy especially the small philips and torx bits that seem to be everywhere in the laptops and computers I work on. I’ve even used it to put together a kids bed when moving when the original allen wrenches were missing. I frequently use the blade for opening and breaking down boxes and like someone else said, it’s great to fidget with in meetings.

    If I’m dressed up and don’t want the full size knife in my pocket, I carry a Signiture lite.

    I picked up both for under half price when the Remington store in the local mall was going out of business.

  25. A Boker Wharcom has been my EDC for a couple of years. Cheap, short enough to be legal everywhere, great grip, solid lock, flat ground, OK steel, and a nicely placed choil that keeps you from cutting off your finger when you’re closing it one handed. The wharncliffe blade is great on a knife you use hard, ’cause it sharpens up very easily.

    Knives are one of those things that is useless until you have one on you…then you use it every day.

  26. Edward Ford says:

    This is my second post on this thread:

    I want everyone to read back through this thread and then give themselves a pat on the back! Look how awesome we are. There are 25 unique people commenting on this thread and almost none of us carry the same knife! AND, a couple of people don’t even carry knives. However, we somehow managed to stay on point, treat each others opinions with respect, and be courteous to one and other.

    Can you imagine if this topic would have been on TV or Radio? There would have been people screaming at each other, cursing, telling the other person they’re an idiot for either *not* carrying a knife or *for* carrying a knife or for carrying a *certain kind* of knife over another. I’m afraid that someone may have been stabbed had this been on TV…

    Just another reason to love TM! Good information and great people!

  27. Old Coot says:

    I agree with Edward Ford, but I try to be extra polite when arguing with folks who carry knives. 😉

  28. For the money the Kabar K2 folders are hard to beat.

    Grippy G10 handles and a decent blad for a sub $15 knife.

  29. pruitt says:

    I’m carrying a Leatherman Skeletool CX. It’s a little big, but the clip really helps and it was a great step down from the Wave.

    It gets more difficult to carry now in the city–people look twice if I use it trim my nails, and I’m more conscious nowadays of keeping it out of sight unless really needed (I can cut most strings with it only halfway open and hidden in my hand).

    I grew up on a farm in Tennessee and have carried a pocketknife of some sort since I was seven. Dad was great to teach me the difference between a tool and a weapon, and I have always thought of that small blade as a tool. It was ever-handy working backstage in high school (something was always getting stuck right when curtains needed to open), and it became like an appendage in my toolbelt as a carpenter in college (that Swiss Army saw kept me from climbing down a ladder more than once).

    Now I am a pastor in a church with multiple pastors, but I still use it several times a week. It tightens screws that would work loose before the facilities guys found them or I remembered a screwdriver. It removes sharp edges of things that might tear a shirt or hurt a hand. It cuts off strings that are unraveling in the carpet before they get caught on a vacuum cleaner and pull. It cuts paper out of my journal when I need to give information to someone without a PDA or a napkin handy. And I know it’s unlikely, but I like knowing I can remove someone from a locked seatbelt or can shatter a tempered glass window if needed.

    That’s my own special kind of neurosis I guess, but it’s nice to take care of little things when you find them, especially when no one else ever notices.

  30. MattC says:

    Ok, I have an older style Leatherman that stays in my work truck (and has proven itself valuable over and over again). I have a Loggerhead Immex Tool that stays at my work desk (again valuable and indispensible for the jobs in a pinch). I also carry on my person a 2″ folding blade no name knife given to me as a present. It is perfect because I barely notice it and it is incredibly sharp. (again I use it in a pinch and leave it there as a last line of defense). I am also thinking about collecting Case knives because of their quality and reputation (and like the Leatherman and Loggerhead companies still made in the US).

  31. MattC says:

    For the my previous post, I know that two of the three “beater Knives” are actually mutiltools. I do use the knives from both of these and these tools are less conspicious than having just a knife in a public area. (some people are funny about that).

  32. Jeff says:

    I’m a school teacher. I carry knives for either making lunch or fixing things around my classroom (when 160 teenagers come through your office each day, looking at stuff and asking ‘will this break?’, things break).
    My ‘food’ knife is a SAK One Handed Opener. It’s the one I keep in my pocket and it’s just a great knife; perfect size for butting a sandwich or slicing a pepper.
    My fix-it knife is either my Wave (which I thought was lost but now has been found) or one of the two Skeletools I bought to replace it. I also keychain carry a Swiss Army Minichamp AND a Ray Kirk Damascus fingernail prybar (just because it’s so pretty, but it gets to play once in a while)

  33. Tommy C says:

    Funny how knives elicit so many comments on this site.

  34. Ty says:

    Depending on the day and activity, I’ll either be wearing my Leatherman Wave (which I bring hunting with me because of the sawblade and different bits), Leatherman PST, or carrying a small 3″ (possibly 2 1/2″) lockback that I got at Canadian Tire.

  35. christian says:

    i carry and use a Kershaw kuro . I use it constantly and i love tanto style blades. it keeps an edge and it beaten it and it still looks good. it does everything hacking through branches and sawing though thick cardboard, cutting fishing line, packages, peeling oranges, whiddling, and those christmas presents come in the most difficult packages. great every day assisted open knife.

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