I don't really know what scouts use their knives for, but there's no reason to limit thinking to just that.
>>What is important to have in a knife?
A blade and a handle.
I don't see any reason why a single bladed knife isn't an ideal scout knife - it could be marketed as a KISS, no frills, does what it says on the box knife. Something like the Calypso Jr would be perfect in my mind, the handle is comfortable for an adult, but simple and small enough to suit children of varying sizes.
blades - at least one (!) - if more, should have different features and function.
Main blade should be about 2 1/2", the sheepfoot idea is sound, but a point is very useful and the spear point has been seen fit to include on classic scout knives. I would suggest a blade a bit like the pro-grip, or Terzuola C15/C19. Plainedge to learn how to sharpen. a bit of belly, but not so much as to make sharpening difficult. it should incorporate a spyderhole. I like the idea of leaving the back rough for striking a steel - might keep the price down a bit, too.
Second blade (if included), should be short thin and narrow, perhaps 1 1/2" wharncliffe - I would make this a simple blade with a nail nick to open
tools - scissors (probably most used - kids'll probably use these for everything then start using the blade when the scissors won't do), can opener, tweezers - perhaps a Photon attached, like the keychain packages? I also think it would be a good idea to include a simple sharpening stone (or as a package option) or maybe some kind of slide out rod that fits into the knife?
Perhaps some way to personalise the knife - add your name, coloured lanyard beads, etc.
>>What quality level would be optimum?
Tough one. It should do its job better and more comfortably than an SAK.
My best guess is that you need to be hitting a price point where you can compete with SAK (at a higher price but with better features), perhaps basic leatherman. A lot of parents have enough trouble paying for clothes, school trips and other essentials to invest in a decent knife. Especially when there is more than one child. OTOH, maybe these aren't the people you'll be aiming at?
For the steel, ease of sharpening is paramount - kids need to be able to see results in order to learn the process. corrosion resistance would be a plus (although people have got by well enough with carbon steels in the past). so somethiing Like GIN-1 or AUS6.
FRN for handle material - durable, grippy, comfy. Colours could be offered: green for scouts, blue for guides or whatever it is
wire clip and lanyard hole
The bug is cute and cool and unique, and should be a prominent feature
>>What is the ideal size for the smaller hands?
I don't know, need to look at the target age range, but I would guess that a smaller knife would be useful to all ages than a larger one.
>>Do we want more than one size?
This is possibly one solution - would you have to lower the price to take into account the fact that a parent will now have to buy two knives over the years?
>>What re the safety issues and how do we deal with them?
Cuts. Why do they happen?
-cutting body parts in the way of proper cut
-hand sliding onto blade
most of these are people hazards - a result of incorrect behaviour. the only ones directly affected by the design of the knife are:
-accidental opening - shouldn't be an issue on a spyderco
-unpredictable opening/closing - spring too strong, lock difficult to disengage or ergos placing hand in path of blade
-accidental closing - the obvious solution would be a lock, but kids are ingenious when it comes to breaking stuff, and I think that a first knife should not rely on a lock for proper use. YMMV. But, again, classic scout knives over the years have done well without. a serviceable choil might be good, for safety. It also helps from a legal standpoint.
Its not like you're dropping these off to the kids and saying 'go play'. Anyone intorducing knives to kids in an organsied setting needs to include some form of education.
I would include a booklet and/or laminated tip sheets on:
-how to open/close the knife safely
-how to clean/sharpen it safely
-how to use it safely
-ideas for the different ways in which it can be used
Tutorials on how to use each tool would be good as well.
Kids are very web literate these days, so this booklet should include a link to an educational webpage with this info in more detail, and short feature articles on subjects such as projects/jobs with your knife, the sharpmaker, how your knife is made and why it is special, knife history, how to choose future knives, with links to other designs.
All the details of the features of this knife should be included - why the hole is there and how it can be used, why the spine is rough, why it has a clip/lanyard hole, why it does/doesn't have a lock, why the materials were chosen, etc The better a kid undertsands his/her tool, the greater value and respect they will give it. I would see this as good future marketing for Spyderco, differentiating the features for a fresh market and establishing brand loyalty early - it is also good publicity for the knife industry as a whole.
The booklet and website are there to answer the age-old question... "why do you need a knife?"
I realise that the langauge barrier might be a problem for international sales, but I think it offers good value to users as they will get more from it.
Consultation with scout groups should help narrow down the specifics and some kind of official approval/adoption would be great.
I guess I'm looking at this as a kind of solution sale. Non knife people buying these might not know what to look for or why to spend $10 extra, but knowing that your kid will be able to learn how to use a knife safely is worth an extra $10, isn't it?
I think its important that the packaging makes this whole concept clear, you're not just buying a knife, you're buying a set of solutions to the tasks that you may face. And it is a solution that will last a lifetime. I think it should be aimed at adults, too. After all, who do you ask about knives if you're not a knife person?
>>What materials would be ideal?
>>Do we need different features for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts?
I don't see why. It should be a simple effective tool. Perhaps the educationol side could be tailored, with different use ideas for boys and girls.
>>What price point will work best?
I don't know, but kids are expensive as it is. If you go mass market, you'll have to aim low, not much more than a smallish SAK, if you go higher there needs to be extra value. If thinking of non knife parents. Maybe a premium/value pack, with tip cards, pouch, stone and photon, and a standard pack, with just the tip cards.
>>What will Work best for the young person being exposed to the Scouting experience?
easy to use
easy to maintain
makes them feel self reliant and responsible
Edited by - Little claw on 6/2/2004 12:49:22 PM