Work knives / Beater knives

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Jul 12, 2020
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No gentleman's folders or $700 customs here. Just good, honest tools.

There are a number of factors that I look for in a good tool. Toughness, familiarity, dependability, ease of maintenance, utility and relative disposability.

I've whittled down my everyday users to just two which I rebuy over and over because I'm incredibly abusive (through necessity). Unfortunately the Barge is out of production now, which prompts this thread as I'm on the hunt again.

Kershaw Barge
pMypS6z.jpg

Don't use your knife as a pry bar or screwdriver, get a knife with a prybar and a screwdriver! I've grown fond of the brutalist design and while the prybar isn't great, it's a sight better than trying to pry with your blade. Extremely tough little knife, recommendations for a replacement are most welcome.

Mora Craftline Chisel
vJxDptf.jpg

Probably the handiest, most versatile chisel ground blade I've ever held. I can't recommend this knife highly enough, not just for carpentry, but almost anything.

So that's what I beat on every working day. I don't expect anyone to be as hard on their knives as I am, but I'd be interested to see your beaters regardless.
 
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Maybe check out the Kershaw shuffle or shuffle ii. It has a pry thing at the back.

ETA that I work a desk job, and sure as schnitzel not using my pocket knives in the same manner. My normal carry at work is a Geber EAB Lite, because it's the smallest, best blade holder I've found for slacks carry, usually used for opening the occasional box in Receiving, or breaking a plastic strap on a box of printer paper. I've tried the little Quark Tool blade holder, but it dulls the blade pretty easily.
 
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Maybe check out the Kershaw shuffle or shuffle ii. It has a pry thing at the back.

Good call, it seems a little bit too small with a 3 finger hold and that pry part sticking into your palm, but I'll try one out if I get the opportunity. Generally comfort isn't an issue for me as I wear gloves when doing harder tasks so it might not be an issue.

I also have a small boxcutter rattling around in my pocket, I use ceramic blades in them. Indispensable.
 
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The shuffle 2 works much better for me, the choil on the blade makes it so I can get a 4 finger grip, and the change in layout means the pry/bottle opener doesn't poke me in the palm. The Tanto blade is great for scraping too.

The Shuffle 1 has a better bottle opener, but the Shuffle 2 has the better pry/screwdriver and ergos. The bottle opener on the shuffle 2 is pretty much worthless.
 
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The shuffle 2 works much better for me, the choil on the blade makes it so I can get a 4 finger grip, and the change in layout means the pry/bottle opener doesn't poke me in the palm. The Tanto blade is great for scraping too.

The Shuffle 1 has a better bottle opener, but the Shuffle 2 has the better pry/screwdriver and ergos. The bottle opener on the shuffle 2 is pretty much worthless.

Good info, thanks. Since I'm more interested in opening paint cans and prying glued/nailed/stapled wood apart the shuffle 2 sounds a little more like it.
 

knarfeng

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Cold Steel Grik
Odd looking, but built like a Sherman Tank. The clip is FRN, but it is robust and is extremely comfortable, especially when exerting a lot of pressure in heavy cutting.
You probably could pry with the blade. It's that thick.
Cold-Steel-Grik-620x400.png
 
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Cold Steel Grik
Odd looking, but built like a Sherman Tank. The clip is FRN, but it is robust and is extremely comfortable, especially when exerting a lot of pressure in heavy cutting.
You probably could pry with the blade. It's that thick.
I was looking at Cold Steel, well priced, tough as hell and well designed. I'm not sold on being able to pry with any blade though, no matter how you do it, you're going to be putting lateral stress on the edge somewhere.

Good call. I'm looking at this at the moment. https://www.coldsteel.com/bush-ranger-lite-seconds-21a2?returnurl=/folding-knives/?count=27
 

Retired UPS Driver

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Maybe have a look at a smaller fixed blade blunt tip scuba/dive knife. Some are specifically designed to pry with the flat tip while still having a straight blade cutting edge, and some also have serrations near the handle too. The different ones I have owned with the blunt/pry tip could easily open paint cans and pry apart wood with absolutely no damage. The smaller (9” OAL max) are more user friendly to me than the larger (12” oal) knives are.

The injection molded sheath with push button release are way more user friendly and secure than a banded release kydex sheath is.

Just another non expensive idea to ponder.
 

jlauffer

Tempt not the Blade
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Cold Steel Grik
Odd looking, but built like a Sherman Tank. The clip is FRN, but it is robust and is extremely comfortable, especially when exerting a lot of pressure in heavy cutting.
You probably could pry with the blade. It's that thick.
Cold-Steel-Grik-620x400.png

+1...Grik has been my EDC for a few years now. Did break the clip once (freak thing, totally my fault), but CS sent me another one. One thing that's cool is if you want a slightly thicker handle, you can put both the right and left clips on at the same time.
 

evilgreg

Why so serious?
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I have the same Mora, great knife/chisel/whatever.

Unfortunately the Barge is out of production now, which prompts this thread as I'm on the hunt again.

No links to stay within forum rules, but there are Barges out there to buy. ~$20 on that big auction site, for example--I didn't have to search long. If you love the barge, why not buy a couple more . . .
 
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Jan 15, 2001
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A friend of mine gave me a Kershaw Barge just a few weeks ago, and agree with PaultheCarpenter, tough little knife, it is in my side tool pocket of my trousers right now. John
 

bigsurbob

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Yeah the usual suspects in the Cold Steel lineup come to mind. I pound on my Spartan every chance I get... Or a fixed blade.
 
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My beaters are:
Spyderco GB2 in M4 (Used a PM2 before)
Cold steel pro lite tanto
Esee 4
 

SALTY

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+1 on the Cold Steel Pro Lite

You can beat on any knife but there are two characteristics that, to me, define a beater-work knife: good enough quality to "take the gaff" or stand up to the hard use and a high rating in the "I don't care about it factor."

A Sebenza, Hinderer and many others are certainly up to the task on the former criteria but the latter, for most anyway, takes into account cost - acquisition and replacement cost. If I break or lose a $50 knife I would feel differently than if I were to break or lose a $500 knife. To some $500 may not be a big deal and the rewards of using a favorite knife for "everything and anything" is worth it to them. Me, I am much easier on my Sebenza, Cold Steel 4-Max or personal favorite AD-10 than I am on much less expensive knives even though those three could take just about anything a folder should be able to take - and then some.

OTOH, when I use the daylights out of one of my close-out sale acquired Cold Steel AUS-8 Voyagers I just smile ... not just because they are so darned worthy and very capable, but if I destroy or lose it ... no big deal as I bought back-ups and the three that I bought (I'm still on #1) together were less than a third of many higher end production knives.

Are eight or nine close-out CS AUS-8 Voyagers better than one Sebenza? I just don't know, but as much as I like my Sebenza, (very capable knife) and as much as my favorite folder of all, the AD-10 (another very capable knife) along with the 4-Max (very, very capable) can do anything and everything I do with my AUS-8 Voyagers, Ontario RAT-1s and some Bucks - I just feel much more comfortable whoopin' on those "lesser" knives which BTW, just keep on ticking.

To the OP, don't rule out some short stout fixed blades and perhaps even some not so short and not so stout but still very capable fixed blades like the thicker heavier duty Mora models. My well driller buddy never leaves home w/o his $15 Mora that he beats with abandon. His Mora looks like crap btu he said he has had to replace them now and again ... due to loss, bot failure!
 
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