Recommendations for a "yard knife"?

Jan 13, 1999
I'm looking for a knife to use around the yard. I live in south FL and anything that will grow, *grows*. Beyond trimming the St. Augustine (turfgrass) runners, I've got hedges and a bunch of other stuff to trim on a "walk around the yard" basis that I never saw in my home state of Arizona.

Add in opening fertilizer bags (somewhat corrosive on the blade if not immediately cleaned), a little fine sand and the typical S. FL. humidity and sweat, and it's a fairly hostile environment.

Based on my experiences to date, I've developed the following criteria:

1. Folder with 3-4" blade (FB on the hip makes the neighbors nervous)
2. Pocket clip
3. Stainless
4. Easy to clean
5. Serrated or plain (no combo edges)
6. Low maintainence (no exposed precision parts like BM liner locks)

I'm thinking about a Spyderco Rescue, Endura or Delica. Anything else I should be looking at?

Doug Gray
The Rescue and Rescue Jr. would both make good choices, especially because the lack of a point will keep you from inadvertently stabbing any stems and flowers. There are pruning/gardening blades, too, which are very similar to the type of knife used to cut linoleum. I think Case makes a cheap one, among others. The Wharncliffe style blade is also a good choice for the same reasons as the Rescue. An affordable knife with a Wharncliffe is the Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT) Mirage Wharncliffe. It has a liner lock, though. Spyderco makes a few defensive-type knives like the Civilian and Harpy that have hawksbill blades that are excellent for cutting stuff in the garden. The serrated makes more sense since you wil be cutting fibrous materials, although plain edges are a lot easier to sharpen. Finally, CRKT makes a hawksbill in ATS-34 which is much like their Apache knife, but again, it will have a liner lock.
I picked up a used Cold Steel Mini Tanto and I love using it around the yard.

I also have a driveway that's over a half mile long. I don't have to worry about offending the neigbors. Not that I'd care anyway. I usually carry my snake-shot loaded .38 or .45 on my hip while I'm working out-doors.
Aren't liner-locks easier to clean than lock-backs?! Just pay the $100 to get a BM 710sbt.
I'll second James Mattis on the Merlin. Its ideal for what you want. You say FB makes neighbors nervous. Would a machete really freak them out? You pair that Merlin with a 12" ontario machete and you should be able to handle anything your yard throws at you. Keep us posted on your choice.


who dares, wins

Geez, I would like to put my 3 cents worth in, but there are soooo many, I am CONFUSED!

I use soooo many!

AKTI Member #A000003

Why does the fixed blade make your neighbors nervous? Isn't it your right to use a knife as a tool in your own property? I primarily use fixed blades for light yard work, although I wouldn't hesitate to use a cheap Ontario machete if I had one, either. It's too bad even knives being used as tools freak people out...such a disservice to the oldest tool! I'll tell you what, the Spyderco Calypso (full size) is an excellent tool for weeds in the plain edge because it is so dang sharp. Cuts them like nothing I've ever seen.
I don't think you'll go wrong with any of the suggestions here. I would second your suggestions of the Endura and Delica (great knives). The other knife I was going to suggest is the Gerber Covert (double-edge). While it doesn't meet your criteria of not having a combo-edge - you might still want to consider it. IMO it is a tough knife and is the one I use around the yard. Now, I will admit I have never liked this knife as much as my Spydercos and using it around the yard at least allows me to justify having purchased it. But the lockup and blade profile are extremely strong and it seems up to the abuse I put on it.

"Walk softly and carry a big folder... and a small folder... and a SAK... and a multi-tool..."
Sounds like you are looking for a Cold Steel Voyager. Aus-8 steel, many sizes and blade shapes, lock back, and it is the knife I use in the yard. Very tuff for a folder, and they sharpen up easily.
My mom used my SOG Pentagon once to prune some limbs off of her pine trees. She said the serrated edge worked fairly well. My thoughts on the matter are pretty much unprintable, but suffice to say, I was NOT a happy puppy when I pulled the knife out and saw all the pine tar and how dull it was. Anyhow, the Rescue would be my choice.

Yes it's sharp!!!! Now go get the first-aid kit!!!
I use the "old" REKAT Pioneer around my yard and have had no problems whatsoever with corrosion.
The blade is ATS-34, but REKAT employs a propriatary heat treatment as well as the "stonewash" finish associated with the Sebenza.
The old style is currently available at closeout prices as low as $50. The newer replacement can be had for $75-$80.
Later, Bill
I know you said you wanted a folder, but there is still another option I forgot to mention in my other posts...have you seen Sean Perkins' knives? HTTP:// . I don't own one, but the reviews are good and the designs are awesome. They are under $100 (most are under $90) and are fixed blades with 2" blades and 2 or 3 inch handles. There is one in stainless, and the rest come in A-2, which is easy to keep from rusting if you clean it every now and then. The knives are bombproof, if you look at how they are made, and they come with a little pocjet sheath for pocket carry. Sounds ideal for what you want, except without serrations cutting larger woody branchs may be tough. Give it a look-see, though.
I use my large CS Voyageur tanto 50/50 blade for most of the yard chores. Inexpensive and durable, it doesn't bother me to get a few scratches on it here and there.
I agree with Chiro 75 Sean Perkins makes one nice knife which is very useful & neat!! I carry mine every day!
Cold Steel's Vaquero Grande or Large Vaquero does great work around the yard. Especially on small branches...

I mean, if I went around saying I was an Emperor because some
moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, people would put me away!

Ummm....Larry? I don't actually HAVE an SP, so can I....ummmm....well, you know...could I have yours? Email me and I'll forward my address.
Welcome to South Florida! I've lived here for years.

First, you must have serrations. A smooth edge will not cut through a palm frond without a lot of work - even a Sebenza!

My favorite weekend carry is a 50/50 Delica. It rips through the palms like a small chain saw. If you don't want a 50/50, go with a fully serrated Delica or the larger Endura. They're great on small bushes, runners, black sprinkler pipe, etc.

I always have it boating and often in the ocean diving. I wipe it down with a Marine Tuff Cloth and always rinse after use. The occasional tiny rust spot comes right of with Flitz.

At the risk of repeating myself, these are the Bics of the knife world, reliable and cheap enough to abuse.

Good Luck.

Dan Harris
I do a good amount of yard work and am always plunging my knife into the ground to cut up roots, vines, or whatever isn't suppose to be growing in my yard. I use to use my EDI Genesis I which was partically serrated all the time for this (I know some of you think I'm nuts), but the knife was sent back to EDI for repair/exchange (that is another story).
A few hours ago, I was trying to control a rampid Forsythia with my BM 710s Axis (yes, the one with the dremeled spacer. Some one on the forum here said to go full serrated or full plain edge and I would have to agree. I would try to get a fully serrated blade: check out the Spyderco's, they have a great selection (
One final thought to add to this thread, then I'm done. I was browsing my catalog from Bullman Cutlery yesterday and came across a GREAT looking knife for yard work. It is a fixed blade, so it isn't what you were looking for, exactly. The knife is the Myerchin Offshore Safety/Dive knife. *" overall length with a 3 3/4" blade. The blade is fully serrated and is in the sheepsfoot pattern. Comes with a heavy black nylon sheath (for yard work, I would make my own Kydex sheath with a clip for a belt loop ala Mel Sorg's "swinger sheaths"). Anyway, it has no handle scales and is 440 stainless. The handle/tang has a shackle slot and a lanyard hole and looks to be bead blasted for grip. Handle has nice contour and looks to be very comfy from the picture. Anyway, looks to be damn near perfect for gardening, and it would be super easy to clean. Retail price is $56, but Bruce ( would give youa better price, I'm sure.