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Though Thanksgiving was only a few days ago, it somehow feels like it’s been months since we gorged ourselves into comas in our childhood homes. Now that the Thanksgiving dishes have been cleared off the table, its officially the Christmas season and whether you like it or not, you’re soon going to be buying some shit to placate your loved ones and keep the gears of the American economic machine turning.
With the season of giving fast approaching us, you’re probably working yourself into a tizzy trying to find the perfect gift for the special people in your life. Finding that gift can be stressful, but I’m here to ease your worried mind. Get them a knife.
I’ve always had an intense fascination with knives; the craftsmanship and precision engineering of a quality blade is a work of art that I find irresistibly beautiful. If I pass through a Cabela’s or another well-stocked outdoor store, there’s a 50/50 chance I’m going to pop a band on the salesperson behind the knife counter and come home with a new shank. The beautiful curves, points and artistic handle inlays of a high-quality knife are borderline arousing, and the unique features of various knife styles are expressions of personality and style that differ between designers and brands.
The infinite styles, sizes and shapes of knives have specific uses, and each knife has a different purpose. A cutting job can be made much easier when using the right style of knife. The deep, curving belly of a drop-point hunting knife provides ample surface area for cleaning animals and general cutting tasks around a campsite. The straight blade of a Wharncliffe or sheepsfoot blade offers laser-accuracy when making precision utility cuts, and the iconic design and acute grind angle of a Scandinavian puukko knife will complete just about any cutting task with ease.
A knife is a unique and practical gift that will make the recipient appreciate you every time they use it, and the endless variety of knives on the market means you can pick a blade type that caters to the personality and interests of the recipient.
Are they an avid angler? Find a high-quality fillet knife that will help them slice through fish meat like warm butter. Do they own land which requires them to regularly clear brush and foliage? Pick them up a Kukri or any other type of sturdy machete that will lay waste to any shrubbery standing in their way, and even keep them safe during the impending zombie apocalypse. Do they love cooking up delicious meals in the kitchen? Give them a nice chef’s knife from Germany or Japan that will cut their prep time in half (pun intended). Are they a ravenously outdoorsy adventurer? Find a fixed blade knife that will be on their hip every time they’re gallivanting through the mountains or the forest.
Each knife that I own reminds me of special moments in my life, and I’m transported down memory lane every time I peruse my collection. I recall whittling sticks with my first knife that I found in my dad’s old tackle box. I remember the road trip I took with my family as a young boy when I saw a particularly cool scrimshaw folder at a gas station in Idaho. I look at my fixed blade Buck knife and remember skinning and quartering the first wild boar I ever shot. I have several old knives from my grandfather, and every time I pull one out of its sheath I think of all the amazing things he did and saw in his lifetime with one of those blades on his belt.
By now you might be thinking, “Goose, I love the idea of gifting someone a knife, but I don’t know anything about knives!” Fear not, I’ll be your guide on this journey and give you a rundown of the best blades you can buy.
If you’re on a budget, you can’t go wrong with a Gerber, CRKT or Ka-Bar: affordable brands with years of quality craftsmanship under their belts. Spyderco is a great brand with iconic designs and several different product lines that span all price ranges. TOPS Knives churns out American-made blades designed by veterans and martial arts experts, and they have a knife for every task imaginable. Benchmade (my favorite brand) is an extremely reputable company with excellent quality and selection. Their customer service is excellent, and their Lifesharp warranty program will sharpen and repair any of their knives free of charge for as long as you live. They’ve also got slick customization options that have a quick turnaround: it’s pretty cool to design a knife with someone’s initials or nickname laser etched onto the blade (@benchmade cut the damn check). If you’re rolling in dough and money is no object, splurge on a knife from the custom shop at Half Face Blades. These handmade knives are designed by a former Navy SEAL and will cost you a pretty penny, but they’re visually stunning and will last several lifetimes of hard use with proper care. Plus, Joe Rogan uses one of their chef knives, so you know they’re legit.
Whether they’re cleaning a freshly harvested wild animal or simply opening a letter, the recipient of your gift will think of you every time they use their knife. So instead of giving someone a gift card, a stupid piece of novelty apparel or an inspirational book that tooootally changed your life, get them a good knife. The price tag might sting a little bit if you buy a quality blade but it’ll be worth it to see that look on their face. .