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Regular readers know that knives wrap me up. Pocketknives. Sheath knives. Camp blades. Bowies. I love them all in proportion to their qualities of keenness, appearance, durability, and utility.
I come by this affinity naturally. I’m from a family of knife-givers. No matter the occasion, we are likely to hand over a knife to memorialize it. This tradition begins on a McKeans’ 10th birthday, when they’re given their first pocketknife.
Three years ago, I gave my identical twin boys a pair of Ka-Bar Mini Dozier lock-back folders, one in orange and the other in olive green. They are perfect first knives: hard-wearing, easy to clean and sharpen, great for a wide variety of tasks. They’re large enough that they’re not easily lost. And they are, for lack of a better term, essentially manly, an important consideration for a gift to a 10-year-old boy.
Now I’m looking for a first knife for my daughter. She’ll be 10 years old next month, and she already knows she’s getting a knife. I think she covets those Zytel-handled Ka-Bars, but I wonder: should I get her a more girly knife? One made with more natural material? Or should I get her a full-on pink model?
The ones on the short list include:
• Ka-Bar’s Mini Dozier with pink handles – all the durability of a strong lock-back, but with a feminine touch.
• Case’s Working Sod Buster Jr.** – This is a cool little single-blade skinner, but the problem is it’s not a lock-blade, which I think is an important safety feature for beginning knife users. Also, while its polished black handle is lovely, it’s synthetic, and despite the other blades in this list, I admire natural handle materials.
• Spyderso’s Delica 4 – This is a locking folder with a very good VG-10 blade. The cool thing is I can get it in purple handles. She likes purple.
• Case’s Muskrat – I’m leaning toward this folder, a two-bladed classic with real stag handles. It’s not a lock-blade. Does that matter?
I’d love some advice, especially from those fathers who have bought knives for their girls. Which blade do you recommend? And more importantly, which does she like and use?