Instructables

knives? who carries one?

Hello, i am a designer at SAIC and i am researching knives and who does and does not carry them. If you do not mind could you post your experiences with pocket knives and why you do or do not carry them?

Here is a poll i am using to collect some numbers http://poll.pollcode.com/bs684r

All of this data is to help me design something that could be seen in the pockets of more people as i think a knife is an incredibly valuable accessory that comes in handy on so many occasions, and its a shame more people do not carry them.

Thank you so much for your help and i will post whatever progress i make on this.

-Dave

snotty1 year ago
I never carry one on me in an urban setting. A phillips screwdriver is consistently much more helpful in the urban jungle. In the woods I use a quality multitool.

My busker friend had a big scary knife and the cops came around. They talked to him and it was fine but it may have cost him some money as a busker by getting fewer coins.

I'd suggest keeping your knife out of sight.
Thrasym1 year ago
I follow Gibbs rules, carry Kershaw's Zero Tolerance 0350 currently (black, plain edge). It's big (wide blade/handle) and heavy and a pain to sharpen ('S' shaped blade) so I'll probably get a new one sooner or later.

I think the reason more people don't carry "such an amazingly useful tool" is because they aren't allowed to or don't want to give others the wrong impression. I'm sure we've all gotten the weird looks when we've pulled out our knives to open a package or something. Plus there are all kinds of places that have zero tolerance for weapons, job sites, offices, government buildings, etc. Most job sites that require you to complete a task, like opening boxes, cutting wires and tie downs, etc, will supply you with the tools to do so in an efficient manner, making your pocket knife useless.

As for gaining female market share. I think the problem is that the things knives are useful for, aren't what the ladies are doing. Statistically speaking. Most women I've known carry a knife in their cars glove box but only a couple have carried one on their person and they were always the ones that were into the activities that weren't "stereotypically" feminine. I think if they (females) have a lifestyle where a knife is useful, they'll carry one. There probably isn't some magic "make it pink and shiny and slap a kitty logo on it" formula that will pull all the girls into the store.
Speaking as a woman, I disagree that "women aren't doing things that require knives" is all that accurate. The problem is that women's clothes all too often have no or vestigal and useless pockets. Particularly if you have to dress up a lot, as a female, your clothes often won't let you carry a knife on your person.
As I type, the trousers I am wearing have 11 useful pockets, yet I still keep my Leatherman in a pouch on my belt...
I've carried a pocket knife for more then 58 years, and can't see any reason to be without my pocket tool. Its used several times a day often, and is simply a part of me. I have built several of my own design while in the navy as a machinist, and appreciate the usefulness and easy access. A pocket knife is capable of many uses, and the better steels can give you a blade that will give a long practical life. My favorite right now is my Cold Steel AK-47 knife, and a smaller two bladed Barlow style for everything from cleaning finger nails to cutting and even acting as a wood scraper. The larger AK is for quick one handed cutting where I don't have two hands to open a conventional knife, or where the bigger blade is need for heavy cutting. Keep us informed on your ideas for a knife, I'd like to see what you come up with. Designing a knife is fun and really gives you the chance to apply your ideas in a very personal tool. I had several hex holes milled into the slab sides of my custom knives for use as small handy wrenches, and a serious idea would be to mill the sides of the standard screw drivers parallel like a quality gunsmith screw driver so they don't cam out of the screw holes and mar stuff like the cheaply made stuff does with their tapered faces. (I did that with the swiss army knife in my tool box and its a treat to use it) Might be fun to ask the readers here what they would want in a knife and see what features might interest them.
I think you need to fine tune your question depending on what you want to get out of it. What do you consider a pocket knife, a utility tool or a weapon? How big and do kids get them? Yeah, a multitool or pocketknife is handy on many occasions but I do not want to worry that everyone is carrying a concealed weapon around. Greetings from NYC.
dsharps (author)  caitlinsdad1 year ago
well based off what ive gathered so far, im really wondering why more women do not carry pocket knives and why its a male dominated market. Less about the use of them as weapons and more about the fact that they are a super useful tool. I would like to design a knife that would take people away from the idea of a knife as a weapon and bring the knife into the must have tool that can help with everything. I figure that a small knife would be more ideal as its less threatening. also i want to try and find a way to shift the market for knives away from the "tacticool" feel and more into the designed object, useful tool, and the very best would be a fashion accessory.

I feel as if the average person does not want to mug, stab, or cause some sort of harm to another person and i feel like there are many frustrated people who right now are looking for some sort of way to open a package, cut some wire, or possible do some food prep on the go, but these people are without a tool to do any of this stuff.

So i am a little lost as to how to put that simply and get some good info out of it.

Thanks for your input though!
My Dad bought me my first knife when I was around 8 or 9, a Leatherman PST. Today I own a Leatherman Surge but it is just too heavy to carry around, even in a purse or diaper bag. The biggest problem for women I think (or at least just for me) is that women don't always have pockets. It is easier for a man to carry a pocket knife because they always have a pants pocket or belt to hold a sheath on. Kind of difficult to carry a pocket knife when wearing a sundress. I've been thinking of maybe a small neck knife would be a better way to carry a blade for women. The Mantis Cyclops is something I'm looking in to. So please design a knife or small pocket tool that is easy to carry even if you don't have a pocket or belt sheath. I'm more interested in carrying the tool on my person where it is readily accessible than digging through my bag for it when the time comes to use it.
Seems like it was mostly windy today but it is the storm surge later from the ocean that will cause some flooding. Thanks.
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Ah, I think the same problem exists if you take a look at the stuff they design for women's tools. I take note because I am always on the lookout to get tools for my daughter(teen). You can paint it pink or cool girly designs, make the handles more ergonomic for smaller hands, but they just don't work the same for some reason. Lighter hammers make for a useless tool. Is it a general cultural thing, go find someone with a knife if you need a knife? I think it may be that females use different kinds of tools, more precision and smaller. I will always get the myriad of tweezers and makeup brushes to use on my electronics. But hey, if you want to talk design, plenty of folks here to chime in.

*Ick* shivers... my knives are matte black, the one my grandfather gve me is blonde wood and stainless.
dsharps (author)  caitlinsdad1 year ago
One of the bigger challenges about this though is how to make it work for a girl but not be pink or overtly girly; a design that either gender could use and both would feel very comfortable using it, yet more girls using than guys (hopefully)

So looking at why girls do not carry knives and getting some first hand info is important.

So are knife handles really to big for girls?

Observing women use tools, I think they don't use the "manly" brute force method of attacking things. Lighter taps with a hammer, slicing things like a fine steak instead of trying to rip through leather. I'm guessing a more balanced tool for lighter hands to be used in smaller repetitive strokes to get the job done. If you plan to do whittling, I think the ladies might prefer a dremel .
dsharps (author)  caitlinsdad1 year ago
as a note if you want to minimize the amount of force exerted on a blade, you just need it sharper and thinner; an exacto will slice through stuff like butter while a butter knife you need to work it hard to get things done.

Though still i like that approach of looking at a comparison between how girls approach cutting vs how guys, and how to work around that to make it as efficient as possible while looking elegant/girly/not overtly girly
I've carried a pocket folder since as long as I can remember pretty much every where, except where prohibited of course. My wife on the other hand never carried one till a few years ago when I got her a cheapie to carry in her purse and she carried it to humor me. A few days after she needed to use it on a package or something, then a few more times and pretty soon she seen how handy having one can be. I think what your looking to do is fit the tool to the woman, rather you should be fitting the women to the tool. It's all in how the person percives the need and useage.

This sounds like a sexist pig but most women will carry a nail file and not even think about it, but a knife dosen't fit into what most women think they may need to carry.

Now you make a multitool that has a file, mirror, lip gloss, eye shadow brush, tweezers, eye liner, etc...and happen to have a small blade on it, you might make a million. (duck and cover for the ensuing woman rants)
If you really want to talk to women, then please don't say girls. We tend to grow up into women.
My wife has a small Swiss Army knife in her handbag - I forget which model, but it is very small, and the cover is decorated with Edelweiss (she bought it in Switzerland).
I carry one, usually two (and an extra in the diaper/to go bag) at all times. Around a toddler can this be dangerous, sure, but so many scenarios or accidents that could happen are much worse.
Anglers, hunters, farmers and campers are, in my experience, more inclined to carry knives with them. You also have collectors but they are more willing to display them. A very few ladies in my experience carry knives but it seems that many times their beau is already an outdoor aficionado. Personally, I do not carry knives in my pockets since I have no use for them. Sometimes I carry them inside my truck's glove compartment.
dsharps (author)  caitlinsdad1 year ago
Oh and good luck with the storm! Hope you are ok!
Jayefuu1 year ago
I carry a Leatherman Wave. Any time that I'm out climbing or at work. Never when I go out in the evenings though.
Multitool twins! *high-five*
LOL Multitool twin powers, ACTIVATE ! ;-)
Goodhart1 year ago
I have had a pocket knife on my person since I was 12. I have always thought of it as a tool and even during a mugging, did not think of it in any way as a weapon.
Now, I am looked down upon if I carry my tool, to certain places.
My Dad gave me the pocket knife (long before the 'multi-tools became popular, other then the Swiss Army knife), it had a useful can opener, bottle opener, and leather punch, besides the two blades, and it got me out of a lot of "car" troubles.

It was a BARLOW, with hardened (not stainless) steel blades and so needed to be cared for. It rarely needed sharpening however and held a good edge if properly used. I still have it and it was 41 years ago that it was given to me.
I always carry a knife on me, they can be really useful.
dsharps (author) 1 year ago
Hey just as a heads up, ive gotten really consistant feedback in the polls, so i will be directing a new question to the women of the instructables community; if you could carry a pocket knife or a pair of scissors every day which would you choose and why? http://poll.pollcode.com/yfk369 (link to the new poll) and also if you do comment id be curious as to if you feel judged for carrying either of them around with you, and why?
What do you mean by 'if you could'?
Kiteman1 year ago
I frequently carry a multi-tool. In fact, I carry two in a belt-pouch.

However, I no longer carry them at work, since they allegedly worry the students.

They aren't worried about the bunsen burners, acids, radioactive samples, chisels, hacksaws, pillar drills, laser-cutter and disc-sanders, lathes and band-saws, but they are worried when I sharpen a pencil with a one-inch blade, but there you go...