Sailing / Rigging Knife
I am an Industrial (Product) Design Student working on a Sailing/Rigging Knife redesign for my thesis project. If anyone would be so kind as to follow the link below to fill out my quick 10 question survey, it would be greatly appreciated.
Also, if anyone has anything else that they wish to say about the topic please feel free to comment back. Thank you very much for any suggestions, comments or help that you provide.
Thank you so very much to everyone who has filled out my survey, your responses have been excellent help with my project.
Don't be discouraged, the survey is still open and I am always looking for more respondents. Thank you so very much.
Again thank you to all who responded to my survey...your responses were extremely helpful.
As with all product design, research never ends, so again, the survey is still available.
If anyone would like to be kept in contact with updates and news about the project, please feel free to just include a contact when asked in the survey if you would like to be contacted.
thank you so much again...
One response to a dated survey
This is my first post here (oops - my second), but certainly not my first visit to SailNet. This thread came up repeatedly as I searched "rigging knives" on Google. I've spent at least five hours, consolidated some notes, and would post the following synopsis of the rigging knife market for kiyoshi's or anyone's input. I posted this on another online location as well, but I suspect it might get as much visibility here as anywhere.
If we consolidate the combined counsel of additional articles (easily available on the Web), the following components must be present for a (folding) rigging knife to be considered complete, without being excessive. These few criteria for a folding rigging (sea/marine/yachtsmen) knife are as follows (and widely repeated):
-- Blade characteristics: Single-handed locking blade of quality steel, perhaps half-serrated, and definitely not pointed on its tip
-- Marlinspike: Locking, stout, and dedicated marlinspike (not a marlinspike that doubles as a ruler nor as a shackle breaker nor as a leather punch)
-- Shacklebreaker: The shackebreaker must NOT be a component of the blade nor of the marlinspike (both should be closed in shacklebreaking mode, should they not?). The key may or may not be a component of the handle, presuming the knife is folding.
-- Bottle opener: A bottle opener can be integrated into a shacklebreaker easily (and several makers do it), and this increases the general utility of the knife by some huge ratio without any impact on its function as a rigging tool. Am I wrong?
Many people can do without a can opener on their knife. (A can opener can be stowed elsewhere.) I mean, how often is someone opening a can while climbing in the rigging, breaking loose a frozen or rusted shackle, or cutting loose the knotted end of a severely fouled and violently active jib sheet? It’s a non-essential component. A bottle opener is also non-essential, but more frequently relevant, and it can be integrated into the essential shackle key without any impact on the core mission of the shackle key.
-- Lanyard: Must have lanyard loop and a lanyard, custom-made or retail.
That’s it - nothing more. However, there is yet to be one folding rigging knife that combines these few and specific features into a single model. Please prove me wrong. This list took about five hours total to establish, and every knife cited below fails the above list in at least one or more ways.
-- Boye folding sea knives (these integrate the shackle key into the marlinspike, rather than having a standalone shackle key, and this is not ideal. But otherwise, the Boye knives would seem to be closest to the most ideal, using the above criteria. But....Um - no bottle opener, and they are $139 US)
-- Davis folding rigging knives (these may proudly declare that their marlinspike is locking, and there is often a dedicated shackle key - look at model 1551. Hurray on both counts!!! However, the main blade is NOT locking (what??!!!), nor is this cited as being a one-hand knife. How can someone come so close and yet miss such obvious criteria? It’s staggering, but Davis is hardly alone in this category.)
-- Generic rigging knives (lack of locking blade/marlinspike or lack of one-handed functionality are the issues across the board)
-- Myerchin folding knives (every knife that includes a shackle-breaker integrates it into either the blade or the marlinspike. Do you want to have an open blade or spike rotating wildly while breaking loose shackles, particularly near a sail or line?)
-- Sheffield folding rigging knives (three knives have a wonderful shacklebreaker, one has none, but the blades are not locking, though the spike might be.)
-- Spyderco folding rigging knives (their marine knives are all geared toward rescue, not rigging nor sailing, and often they have only a blade, and nothing more)
-- Wenger/Victorinox folding rigging knives (marlinspike is not dedicated nor stout, but modified to be a hybrid type tool, becoming part ruler and part shackle breaker, and these are not locking. Generally there are extremely excessive niceties that make these “rigging” knives something else - but three nautical related models, Alinghi Yachtsman, Helmsman, and Skipper, do have locking blades)
-- West Marine folding rigging knives (all lack shackle key, marlinspike, or both, and no locking anything)
-- Whitby Italian rigging knife (blade is not locking)
-- Wichard folding rigging knives (blade is not one-handed)
One nice thing about the Boye's Rigging Knives is that they don't rust. The blades are Cobalt Carbide, and the marlinspike is titanium. :)
When you find a good one let me know.
I bought a Myerchin FIXED BLADE and have been pretty happy with the following.
- Fixed blade that is the same thickness all the way through the handle. I can't figure out why someone would want a folding blade. Fixed blades break far less often and are one hand user friendly.
- High carbon stainless steel. Yes, it will get surface rust in a saltwater environment, keep it clean with a drop of light oil on the blade. High carbon holds an edge better than other forms of stainless.
- The spike is good and bad. It has a shackle key built into it at the big end and is long enough to fit your hand and give you leverage. The point is slightly rounded off so it doesn't "stab" through your lines or your hand which is nice, however this doesn't allow you to adjust your life line "collars" to tighten or loosen them.
- The sheath, is nothing to shake a stick at. Nylon with a plastic insert for the blade that does allow you to "holster" the knife with one hand. This was very important to me considering the other hand is keeping me on the boat.
I do like the system overall. One hand operation and the durability and safety of the fixed were the two major requirements. The only real complaint I have is the design of the serrated edge. It has points on the serrated part that tend to snag lines before it cuts them. The Spyderco knife has the exact opposite design (almost like a negative from a photo) that would let you get a good swipe to cut through w/o the blade getting hung up. Other than that, the blade is very sharp.
PS - one note I wanted to add is that I really don't like folding blade unless they have a thumb opener with spring assist. An "oldschool" folder that requires you to use 2 hands to operate just doesn't make sense to me.
The Boye's Rigging knives open easily with one hand. :) Yes, they're a bit more vulnerable to breakage, but they're also more compact and easier to carry.
Greetings. Other than updating my findings above with several edits over the past couple of weeks, I have now completed a 33-page white paper (research paper) and published it online at my website.
I am not allowed to post a link given my post count here is so very low, but if anyone would like an inventory of modern rigging knives, fixed-blade and folding, then this PDF eBook is available for free (and will remain that way). It is the very first link cited when one searches Google with "nautical rigging knife market." Title: "Nautical Rigging Knives: A Guide to the Market."
The investigation started with my post above a couple weeks ago, and it continues the same line of thought - five features, and nothing more, would bring folding knives into a new realm of sufficiency. I've tried to keep the analysis completely neutral, but whether I succeeded or not, I hope the study is helpful to someone somewhere. Thank you for your responses. -Vince
Here's a link to onewebfoot's PDF. LINK
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