Posted by: towmasters | December 30, 2009

Making The Cut: Work Knives For Seafarers – Part II

Now for the fixed blade knives…..

Boye Boat Knives makes the Basic 3 of dendritic cobalt that is claimed to be completely rust-free.

It also comes in a rounded-tip safety version for emergency use. A pointed tip can be very dangerous to the user in some circumstances, as well as to anyone you might be assisting.

They go for $306.00 apiece, including a brass-lined nylon sheath. The built-in sharpening angle guides at the base of the blades are a very nice touch.

Spyderco’s Aqua Salt is available with either a straight or serrated 4 & 11/16″ blade for $76.95. The wicked shahp blades, along with a truly outstanding handle, make this a seriously effective cutting tool.  In prolonged use, particularly for use in a survival situation, a knife’s handle runs neck and neck with the blade in importance, and a poorly-designed handle will make its presence known to you in short order. Your hand will rapidly become fatigued, and eventually start to cramp, as you cut away. Blisters may soon follow, which can partially or fully disable your primary working hand at a very bad time. Spyderco really did these up right and they’ve become my favorite fishing utility knives, while still serving well for any kind of general marine use, and at a very reasonable price.

The Jumpmaster is a stout, powerful knife with a 1/8-inch thick x 4 1/2-inch long blade for $172.95. You could probably bring down a mature Redwood with it if you were determined enough…..

Their Caspian Salt is available in this semi-pointed style…..

…..and the Caspian2 Salt has a blunt or chisel-tipped “point.”

Designed for serious gripping power, both look to be very useful for utility work with their 4 & 1/2″ half-serrated blades and line-cutting notches. This could be the best knife around for cutting gobs of pot warp or netting out of your wheels. They go for $76.95 at All of these offerings from Spyderco are made of their new H1 steel, which appears to be impervious to rusting, and have well-located lanyard holes.

The Doug Ritter RSK Mk3, USA-made by Benchmade, is an outstanding survival/utility/hunting knife with a 4 & 1/2″ drop point blade……

…..thoughtfully designed to fit and work naturally with the human hand. sells it for $165.00, including an excellent sheath. Mr. Ritter’s website, Equipped To Survive, is full of sound, practical information for those who wish to be prepared rather than dumbly surprised when life throws the unexpected curveball.

Don’t forget the OG Wicked Shahp knife, the Dexter Russell Sof-Grip 8.5-inch Tiger Edge slicer (item #SG142-8TE) & sheath (item #WS-1)…..$18.95 and $7.95 respectively, at C.A.D. Cutlery. This is the ultimate emergency cut-away knife, especially for ship line or hawser work, but do not buy it without a sheath to protect both it and you.

The 3.5-inch blade of the utility/net knife has the Great White serrated edge, and makes for an excellent  small backup to the Tiger Edge slicer. It goes for $13.40, direct from Dexter.

Frosts of Sweden makes the Clipper Safety (#860F), with bright orange trim and sheath, for $19.50. These blades are sturdy yet flexible, with grippy and comfortable handles, and you definitely can’t beat the prices. Although I personally favor fully-serrated knives for all synthetic-line cutting chores, these are damn good to have around for those occasions when you want or need a standard edge.

In general, when it comes to smaller items that can be dropped and lost in survival situations, it’s normally a good idea to go with brightly colored versions if they’re available. You’ll have a much better chance of finding them again. Which of these would you rather be looking for on deck or in a bilge, amongst the cobbles of a rocky shoreline, or in a bunch of leaf litter on a forest floor?

Then there’s the Craftsmen #760, with it’s perfectly-contoured, hard polypropylene handle for $18.50.

The Craftline Rope has a half-serrated edge for, you guessed it, better performance when cutting rope. Decent, but still nowhere near the league of the Spyderco serrated edges. But, at just $20.50 you can’t complain much. I keep one of these around for rough work, or for use in confined areas with metal obstacles, where I don’t want to risk permanently damaging my better blades.

If you missed it, check out Part I of this series, which covers folding knives…..


  1. […] • also: Making The Cut: Work Knives For Seafarers – Part II » […]

  2. […] case you missed them, check out Part I (folding knives) and Part II (fixed-blade knives) of this […]

  3. […] periodically, so I have to take advantage of it. Starting last fall I ran a 3-part series (Part I, Part II & Part III) on the numerous types of knives that may be useful to working mariners, along with […]

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