Woodpuppy wrote: ↑
Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:09 am
Pelagic, everybody has their preferences. I grew up in Florida on small boats. For my part, a “boat knife” is something along the lines of a Salt for cutting rope and corrosion resistance, or a fillet knife. I happen to like Rapala fillet knives, they’re inexpensive and easy to sharpen quickly, and sure are thin overall.
What do you look for in a boat knife?
Thicker than 0.005 bte? Lol. It depends if you're on a skiff going for a joyride or working a 4 month hitch on an ERRV or a crab boat off of Alaska. Florida is typically calm, especially the gulf coast. I grew up on the roughest and most dynamic place (bathymetry constantly changing — can't trust the same exact path you took the previous day, you may run aground) on the east coast with dangerous inlets and shoals. It's actually nicknamed "The graveyard of the Atlantic" which you can Google of you're bored. Anyway, regardless of what kind of boat you're on, if you're standing on something that is constantly rocking with intermittent irregular jerky movements (all swells and swell patterns are different, and rogue waves DO exist), simply standing up can be a challenge. Even the most experienced seaman are constantly losing their balance, it's just a matter of regaining it before you lose your footing ("sea legs"). Tasks that require finesse are out the window. The "stuff" can hit the proverbial fan at any moment some days and you just need to get something done, QUICKLY.
With that said, I'd recommend anyone have a minimum of 2 knives at sea, with backups. One serrated, one plane edge, razor sharp at all times. Carrying 3 is better, imo. Knives get dropped, they fall overboard, and they receive damage. They are tools that are paramount to your safety and the safety of the crew. You need a serrated knife mainly for cutting rope in a jam. Even if you could get Maxamet to whittle hair straight off a 120 grit stone, it will NOT cut a thick rope faster than a sharp serrated knife. Next, you obviously need a PE knife for random tasks. You want a knife that you either don't mind damaging, or one that is tough enough to withstand said damage. And finally it wouldn't hurt to have a backup knife that rarely gets used and you always keep extremely sharp. This would be one having s110v or some other stainless high wear resistant steel. If you absolutely had to have an extremely thin reground blade, it would have to be that third one that rarely gets used. A byrd rescue 2 makes a fine serrated knife for the water. It's just cheap, practical, and functional. But almost any Spyderedged knife will do (some companies have inferior serrations). The knife you'd be using the most can be a byrd also, it could be anything from a Delica to a Tuff. I just wouldn't recommend something at 65hrc or anything extremely high alloy because mistakes will be made with this knife, it's only a matter of time. The third knife could be something like an s110v military that sports a hair whittling 400 grit edge that seldom leaves the pocket (emergencies, calm days). I wouldn't recommend a fixed blade unless you could absolutely secure it in a way that would keep it free from snags. You'd have to have an imperviously impenetrable sheath in case you were to fall (you don't want the knife stabbing through leather and going into you). Keeping it mounted sideways on the back belt loop isn't bad, but folders are better overall for safety.
This kind of stuff is simply ingrained into my mind. This is why I have strong opinions on certain matters, like toughness of folders. When I heard (I think it was) Darby say that knife afi's are like hotrodders, "willing to sacrifice durability for performance" that absolutely made sense to me. The ocean is just different though. If you're making a speedboat lighter and therefore faster, you might not want to thin the hull out too much. Food for thought.