Modern Scout knife - Need help

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Modern Scout knife - Need help

Postby sal » Sun May 16, 2004 12:00 am

DanMan began a thread over at (General)looking for forumites involved in scouting. I thought it might be an excellent opportunity to gather input for a modern scouting knife.

Try to think like the young scout, but also add the watchful eye of the responsible adult.

What is important to have in a knife?



What quality level would be optimum?

What is the ideal size for the smaller hands?

Do we want more than one size?

What re the safety issues and how do we deal with them?

What materials would be ideal?

Do we need different features for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts?

What price point will work best?

What will Work best for the young person being exposed to the Scouting experience?


Thanx for your help.


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Postby Zrexxer » Sun May 16, 2004 11:33 am

I haven't been involved in Scouting in many many years, but I'll take a stab at a few ideas.

First, I think a main blade along the shape of the Rescue would be a good idea. It doesn't have a sharp point, and it also has a fairly straight edge which younger users would be able to keep sharp more easily. Similarly, I think it would need to be plainedge, since keeping serrations sharp takes a little more skill and practice.

I certainly don't think you would need exotic steels - something with good corrosion resistance would be the first consideration.

Finally, if you're targeting younger users like scouts, I would think the price point would need to be on the lower side. Something with a street price of less then $30, perhaps.


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Postby J Smith » Sun May 16, 2004 11:42 am

Ok heres goes
should work for girl or boy,maybe differant color
G10,Aus 8 or 6.lower end steel for easy sharpening and to allow for G10 in cost
A knife can be hazzardous so not much can be done here except to give in a lock for the blade
One size should be ok
Something in the size of the native or Delica
A quality level of the Native or Delica would be good,needs to be good enough to last.Many scouts keep there knives to hand down the line.
Main blade at 3 in,shape of a Pro grip(most useful with out being evil looking)
Tweesers in the scale
scissors to fold out of the back
hook sharpening stone inlayed in the scale
bevel the opening hole in a way that it can hold a dowel for a stick and bow fire starter
make the open part of the hole the size needed for a arrow strightener.
make a secondary hole in front of the opening hole with a magnifing glass installed it it.
Just a few ideas,maybe not doable on a lower end knife.

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Postby Stevie Ray » Sun May 16, 2004 11:53 am


This sounds exciting. My son is 13 1/2 year old Star Scout and he's got one of the blue PE Delicas. IMHO, I believe quality in a scout knife is important as this is a knife that these guys will likely keep for life. The vast majority of scouts that will get their first knives will be between 10 and 14, so their hands are normally not large.

VG-10 steel in a Salt shaped PE blade (no point) would be a perfect size. I agree that the knife should be PE as they will be taught how to sharpen knives. I like the idea of this knife in blue or maybe khaki. The Boy Scout insignia on the blade would be nice too!


Edited by - stevie ray on 5/16/2004 11:55:29 AM

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Postby AllenETreat » Sun May 16, 2004 12:07 pm

Myself, Sal, I say avoid like the plague.

Look at all the choices has
in this field ( not to mention the Leatherman tool <img src="sad.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle border=0> ) for use in scouting.

And, <i><b>most </b> </i> important : How many
of Our nation's youth do you actually see involved in it ( scouting ) anymore?

The <i>youth culture </i> ain't what it <i>used </i> to be! I see more young'n's with their Playstation 2's, in the local <i>mall </i> or @ home devouring <i>Krispy Kreme </i> donuts than out in the great outdoors.

Meebee you could sell'em to a buncha retired boyscouts?


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Postby UK KEN » Sun May 16, 2004 12:27 pm

Hello Sal

I was involved in the Scout movement in the UK for some time, now it is my sons turn!

I have just asked him what he would like to have on a knife he would use in an outdoor/camping situation. Here is his reply. "I don't want anything that is too hard to open" he is referring to a Remington Camp knife of mine that has too strong a spring for him to open easily using the thumb nail opener.
"I would like it to fit into my hand properly and not be too big" A grip of about a "slim" Meerkat proportion would be about right. It would offer good control without being too large.
A blade size much over 2 ½" would be overkill for youngsters. I would go for a "new" blade design for this knife. A Wharncliffe style is great for safety but a belly on the blade is very useful for numerous applications. I would, therefore, combine the two! A Wharncliffe tip running down to a Hunter style edge! The best of both worlds. The back edge could be rough to be used as a striking iron for a flint to start fires. It should lock! Small fingers are too easily damaged! Slip joints slip!

“I would like some tweezers, in case I stand on another sea urchin or get stung by a bee!” These could be slipped into the FRN handle, which should be brightly colored in case it is lost. “A lanyard hole is a great idea with a special Spyderco Scout lanyard!”

The only other tool he was interested in was a tin opener so he could “Open tins of beans and eat them with sticks!” Nice!

With respect, if many more tools are added, apart from making the knife very expensive you’ll end up with a Swiss Army Spydie knife, there are plenty of those out there already.

Regards Ken

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Postby java » Sun May 16, 2004 12:31 pm

Not sure if Spyderco quality can meet a $50.00 pricepoint but that's probably where it should be. And we're not going for a SAK or Multi-tool. AUS-8 and FRN should help keep the cost in line. Call it a rescue, sheepfoot, or Wharnclife but PE it is for learning whittling and sharpening skills. A small drop point or spey can back it up. I tend a little more traditional but leather working is still a scouting skill so perhaps a leather punch would be good. Throw in a bottle/can opener and you should have the basics. She'll need a bail and mabe a cordura sheath also. The shape of the handle should probably remain the traditional slip joint pocket knife shape for easy handling over a wide variety of growing hands. The volcano grip or the graduated grip used on the original Natives would help here too. Perhaps a Senior Scout for the older troopers could be added and maybe upgrade the steel and handle (and price a tad).

That's it from the traditional view. Back to y'all!


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Postby CKE » Sun May 16, 2004 12:52 pm

For price point I would say 30 US. 50 us is too much for something that might get lost easily. I know you have to teach kids to respect what they have but the average parent would rather swallow 30 bucks loss than 50.
That being said, how a bout an FRN handle Spey blade, some tip but not too much. Tools to add, maybe tweezers a can/bottle opener. Choils!!! if it is going to be FRN to keep cost down put in at least a front finger choil to avoid slippage. Simple lockback. Say Aus 6 or 8, ATS-55 for lower cost. A good texture to the FRN would help as well.
Oh ya a bright handle coulour to help with finding it. Take Care!!!

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Postby vampyrewolf » Sun May 16, 2004 1:35 pm

was in scouting from 89-97, air cadets 96-02...

I'd say something a little bigger than the mini dyad(2.5" blade)...
frn & ats-34 or 440c
warncliff blade, strong backspring or a mid lock
can opener, screwdriver, tweezers/toothpick, awl, scissors
no clip
around 30usd.

We're going for something that stands a good chance of getting lost or broken, simplicity is key to keeping price down for a possible annual purchase.
2.5"ish blade, g-10, 440c, warncliff or drop point, lanyard hole(no clip), small belt pouch
solid mid lock
rivited to limit maintanence

Leatherman, Victorinox, Wegner, Gerber and SOG pretty much have the multi/sak market covered.

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Postby GrossPolluter » Sun May 16, 2004 11:52 pm

All good ideas above!

<i>I </i> would most like to see:

*Spyderco's "good" AUS-8 or 6 steel.
*"Slipjoint" style.
*Main blade shaped like Pro-grip or Salt.
*Can opener, bottle opener, scissors, bail, and "nifty" scout lanyard.
*Real/faux celluoid scales.

I would also humbly request that this offering not stray <i>too </i> far from the traditional scout style...

Thanks for asking.

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Postby DAYWALKER » Mon May 17, 2004 3:50 am

Aloha Sal!

Honestly, it's funny that you mention this as I WAS already drafting some ideas for a "Spyder SAK" of sorts. NOT easy...

Straight edge Wharncliffe
Saw Blade

Two sizes.
An "OK" steel that's easy to resharpen.440,Aus6...
FRN scales, Clip.
quality...something you ALWAYS do well on so no issue here. It must be expendable and durable.

I would put a SE blade so that the youngster using it could appreciate and learn about their usefulness "early on".

Keep it basic and simple...

Take care,

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Postby Jimmy_Dean » Mon May 17, 2004 9:33 am

Good day Mr. Glesser,

that's certainly an ambitious project you have there but a good idea I think. For those who think it will be just like a Swiss Army knife when it's done, just keep in mind that thw SpydeRench is like nothing we've seen on the market and is still a great tool with Spyderco's name on it.

For me the main think that comes to mind when I think of a scout knife is low maintenance. Those kids learn how to care for a knife so it should be easy for a start. That means plain edge, stainless, easy steel to work with and a finish that will hide some of the scratches you make some time. A good locking 3in blade would be perfect but I do belive they need a point. No Salt or rescue for me. I'd rather see something like the Dragonfly has or a salsa. Should have can/bottle opener, a mini spydersaw and a few screwdrivers. Not more than that to keep to cost low, maintenance easy and the handle slim enough to be comfortable in a small hand. One size should be enough, different colors would be great for boys and girls, and if you want to add to the cool factor, powder coat any shiny surfaces in black. Boys will love it and will keep rust away. 30$ is a good price but if you include a clip, it's less likely they will loose it so 50$, even 60$ for something awesome is still acceptable. One last thing, as someone said, everything should be EASY to open. That's it. I'm excited about that. Hope you make it!


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Postby samosaurus » Mon May 17, 2004 10:15 am

ummmm SSK = Spyderco Scout Knife. Bi-directional textured FRN handles, 440C, Large + small blade @ Dyad, can and bottle opener, marlin spike or corkscrew, scissors and saw = COOL!


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Postby SURLY » Mon May 17, 2004 3:41 pm

<img src="spyder.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle border=0> Is the Peoples Knife ! I say yes, the Scouts need a Great knife . Not an old rusty clunker for such a noble institution. Maybe a new modern version of the old "US" stamped military pocket knife from the 60's/70's.

Be @ }{ Peace

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Postby thorin hammer » Mon May 17, 2004 4:46 pm

As an Eagle Scout and an Assistant Scoutmaster I am obliged to have some input... So here it goes...

I constantly found myself looking for a knife with two sizes of blade, one big blade (3&#8221<img src="wink.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle border=0> and one small slim blade (about half the size and fisherman width). Scouts tend to cut a lot of rope, leather thong, cloth, and plastic which means a part serrated blade would be good but not absolutely necessary (they are harder to maintain). They are used for food preparation so it needs a belly. Corrosion resistance is a must, in the Midwest anyway, because sweat, rain, & snow are constantly being dealt with. A mariner spike (for working on knots we tie too tight) would be great tools in addition to a can/bottle openers, tweezers, and Phillips/slot screwdrivers. I agree that it needs to be simple to maintain and cheap (not more than 35 dollars). Unfortunately, I do not think it would be wise to put an opening hole on the knife. Scouts tend to play with the knife if there is a one handed opening system on it. We teach them NOT to play with the tools they use, and to only have them out when they are using them. A clip would be great but that would cause the knife to be lost more readily. Having a lock would be nice (on the big blade) but not essential. A lanyard would be a good idea. The scout motto “Be prepared.” or the slogan “Do a good turn daily.” on the knife would be a great touch (reminders are always helpful). In the last year or so of my scouting/leading I was carrying a Schrade multi-tool and a Spyderco Endura combo edge (and still would if I was involved actively in Scouting).

I hope this input helps.

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Postby Sword and Shield » Mon May 17, 2004 6:41 pm

Um, Allen, in case you were curious, Scout membership -BSA only, as that's all I have access to- is currently the largest it's been since its true heyday in the late 50s-early 60s. Reports of it's demise are quite exaggerated. <img src="smile.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle border=0>

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Postby boxer93 » Mon May 17, 2004 8:30 pm

Interesting topic. I just returned yesterday from a camping weekend with 17 scouts, many of them young and just learning the totin' chit. To address your point from my point of view.

>Try to think like the young scout, but also add the watchful eye of the responsible adult.

>What is important to have in a knife?
I'd have just one PE blade 2.5-3" in length with a full choil in the blade like the native. I thing the full flat grind and thickness of the calypso Jr would be great. My son this weekend thought his knife was dull, until the 2nd or 3rd time he stated "I'm hitting this thing" (indicating the blade choil) and then kept on carving.

I did not see one scout use a knife tool this weekend. We also have patrol boxes so not much more is needed. The only one I can think would be good is a solid screwdriver with an integral can opener.

>What quality level would be optimum?
steel quality the "lesser" AUS or ATS would be just fine and easier to sharpen.

>What is the ideal size for the smaller hands?
everyone is used to the SAK's. Their handles and very narrow and straight. To me a handle that it larger to grip completely with no fingers on the blade. More like the ratio of the paramilitary handle to the smaller blade size.

>Do we want more than one size?
Only if you target cub scouts and boy scouts.

>What re the safety issues and how do we deal with them?
Hopefully they are being to taught to be safe.
I believe that one big one is closing. I lent my PM to a couple of scouts this weekend. I had to keep a close eye the first time, since they had never seen the compression lock. To me a front lock or friction non-lock would be the best. Other than that don't make it look too tactical or they may go around swinging like they see in the movies. Maybe a strong detent to prevent accidental opening.

>What materials would be ideal?
Handle, FRN. Cost and will handle most anything they can dish out. Plus you could be flexable with colors.

>Do we need different features for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts?
Cant speak for girl scouts.

>What price point will work best?
you can buy an official scout SAK for $23US.

>What will Work best for the young person being exposed to the Scouting experience?
Something that they can cut, carve and sharpen with and be proud to carry. I like the lanyard idea. Would help it to stand out.

The other thing that I ran into this weekend. A parent (eagle scout) just had his son earn the totin chit and I inquired if he had a knife. The parent stated he hadn't yet and was going to get him an "offical" one. Now I know that all that is is the red plastic SAK with the diamond shaped background with the fleur-de-lis in one scale and 2 PE blades. It may be official, but will dull quickly and probably get lost in a drawer in the future.

My ideal scout knife, an burgandy or navy blue FRN Para sized handle shaped like the native handle(native I not III) Maybe with fleur-de-lis pugs like the ocelot<img src="smile.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle border=0>, calypso Jr blade with full native choil in aus-6/8, maybe a little less width and laser engraving to signify it's a scout knife and a pry/screw/opener tool on the butt of the handle with an offical scout laynard to go with the knife.

My 3cents US. (that was a lot of typing)

Be Excellent to each other.

Edited by - boxer93 on 5/17/2004 8:32:35 PM

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Postby boxer93 » Mon May 17, 2004 8:38 pm

Here is one 'idea'(composed by DiAlex) and one for real.

<img src="" width="640" height="480" border="0" alt="">
<img src=" ... ll_br3.jpg" width="640" height="480" border="0" alt="">
<img src=" ... de_br1.jpg" width="640" height="480" border="0" alt="">
<img src=" ... ed_br4.jpg" width="640" height="480" border="0" alt="">


Be Excellent to each other.

Edited by - boxer93 on 5/17/2004 8:41:58 PM

Edited by - boxer93 on 5/18/2004 10:31:05 AM

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Postby spydercojoe » Wed May 19, 2004 9:25 pm

Hi Sal, You ask some very good questions. First in a nutshell a Boy Scout starts at age 11, AND starts some very good training right off the bat., so a Boy Scout does not want a "Pixie" knife he wants one that will do the job. I invision a single blade of AUS 8 or better quality (VG-10 would be better) that locks, with FRN handle, a special Scout color of red with a second choice of green would work. Price point-- 30 to 40 dollars. Why couldnt you have a special offering for scouts only? A delica sized knife with a slightly less agressive profile blade would work fine. I could go on but this should give you a start.
My FB-10 in every Boy Scout kitchen box would also be a winner-- just had to throw that one in. take care.

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Postby Shards of Narsil » Wed May 19, 2004 10:48 pm

Hi Mr. Glesser,

My 2 cents is to work with the FRN Pro-Grip handle and blade, but with blade thickness brought down to Delica level. Drop the Krayton and change to a full volcano grip pattern. The integral clip is good, though a stainless reversible ambi-clip would be nice too if you want it to be more lefty-friendly. Blade should be full PlainEdge but flat grind is unnecessary. Tools are not really necessary either IMHO. A good tight lockback with a David Boye Dent is.

The Pro-Grip handle is the most comfortable I've handled without a choil. It's is very grippable for a good size-range of hands and somehow the shape does not easily lend itself to your slipping past it to cut yourself on the blade. And, if you keep the intergral clip, it actually helps to bulk up the handle for a good comfortable grip with some give.

The drop-point is a good shape for the outdoors and lends itself well to many other functions, fishing and hunting for one. The tip is very usable but somewhat safer than all but a sheepfoot.

Seki Japan or the same guy who did the grey Calypso Jr. is quality enough. I'd like to see VG-10, but AUS-8 or ATS-55 would be great too. If it costs less than a Delica but more than a Jester, that should be right. US$30-35-ish is good.

Lastly, while I believe that children's knives should always be 'adult black', tan FRN might be nice too.

P.S: How about putting the world Scout emblem where the <img src="spyder.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle border=0> usually is? I'd get a kick out of seeing a 'Clipit-Spyderco' with the emblem in the centre. A nice elegant touch methinks <img src="smile.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle border=0>

Edited by - Shards of Narsil on 5/20/2004 2:08:38 AM

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