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When I emerged from my mother’s womb I had a small knife clipped to my baby fat at my waist. I immediately used the knife to cut the umbilical cord. Then I folded the knife (for safety) and hugged my mom.

That’s the way I remember it. But it was a long time ago.

I have always carried a knife. Growing up in Arkansas, no one cared if you had a knife at school (or if you rode a horse to school). Those are two of the beautiful things about rural life. When I went to college in Chicago, my friends were horrified at my affection for my knife. I didn’t much care.

But I’m not a fancy knife kind of guy. Kooky scales and exotic blade materials seem like fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror of your monster truck. Until recently, my favorite knives were from Kershaw, which are inexpensive, made in the USA and built to last. I still love those knives and have one in my tool chest.

But someone suggested I try a Benchmade Griptilian, a $150 knife. And in a moment of weakness when I had some extra cash from a furniture commission, I bought one. And I fell in love. It’s a lot like the Kershaw, but everything is tighter and moves more smoothly. It’s a little more ergonomic. And I like the locking/unlocking mechanism just a little more.

Is it four times better than the Kershaw? No, of course not. But it is marginally more awesome. And it won’t make you feel like a Fancy Lad when you carry it. It’s simple, functional and unadorned with horn or colorful resin. Its only demerit? The Griptilian comes in a lovely sewn carrying bag, which I promptly threw away. But I do love the knife.

— Christopher Schwarz

Read other entries in the Anarchist’s Gift Guide.

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Showing 4 comments

    Benchmades, nor most comparable knives do not deserve such treatment, suggest other options.

  • Randy at HCH

    Really interesting – I have a griptilian (it was a gift from a friend) and a Kershaw Shuffle. Difference being, I carry the Shuffle at all times and keep the griptilian as my “good knife”. Agree with your points on the differences, but I’d hate to damage my pricey griptilian with daily abuses. I have no qualms about opening varnish cans with the little stub at the base of the shuffle, chopping, cutting, picking with the blade, then popping open a beer with the opener. If I ruin it, another $13 and I’m in business again without feeling guilty.

  • Daver

    $102 at Smoky Mountain Knife Works.

  • Saville

    Is this the knife you use to rive out pegs for draw boring – as shown on your video?

    Onthe video you used a knife to rive out the blanks for pegs and you hit it with a metal hammer. I was wondering what knife that was?


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