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Old 26-02-2015, 14:27   #1
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Rigging Knives -- Straight vs Serrated?

I'm not a knife guy. I am not a connoisseur of knife craftsmanship, and I don't spend my spare time honing my favorite knives. So bear with me here.

I have a Myerchin rigging knife, much treasured simply because it was my father's. He carried it for decades of sailing and gave it to me one day -- long before he stopped sailing -- for some reason.

I sharpen it, although, not being a knife guy, probably not to ideal standards.

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The problem is that I have also an el-cheapo, undoubtedly Chinese, "Jaguar" brand folding rigging knife, which is serrated. I've never sharpened it. And yet it cuts everything, all the time, without the slightest fuss. Seemly better than the real rigging knife does, straight after I've sharpened it.

I notice that the present generation of Myerchin rigging knives is also serrated. Is this the wave of the future? Or am I simply not doing a good job of honing the "real" rigging knife?

I will be grateful for advice from people who unlike me actually understand something about knives. Despite not being a knife guy, I become like a Sikh, on board -- always with a blade about my person.
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Old 26-02-2015, 14:56   #2
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Re: Rigging Knives -- Straight vs Serrated?

Fom what you have posted, your Myerchin is not sharpened correctly. It should be able to shave hairs from the back of your forearm and if really well honed, from your face.

Sharpening is an art / science and very easy to get wrong but once the knowledge and skill is acquired, it is a straightforward process.

As an aside, a blunt serrated blade cuts easier than a blunt straight blade.

Time does permit me to give sharpening instructions right now but I'm sure you tube has plently

EDIT: straight blades are far easier to sharpen than serrated.
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Old 26-02-2015, 15:02   #3
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Re: Rigging Knives -- Straight vs Serrated?

Right. So I guess it means that to use a knife correctly, I need to become one of those knife guys, spending my spare time patiently honing, honing, honing away, and brooding, brooding, brooding, dangerously. Otherwise, it's just one dull blade against another. Right. My worst fears, about what must be the answer to these questions
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Old 26-02-2015, 15:10   #4
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Re: Rigging Knives -- Straight vs Serrated?

Ask a butcher, or a rigger.
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Old 26-02-2015, 15:12   #5
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Re: Rigging Knives -- Straight vs Serrated?

Dockhead,

Have you tried the more traditional knife in the more traditional way of using a rigging knife? You don't use it to saw through the line. You hold it on the line and hit it with a mallet. If the knife is sharp it will make a cleaner cut in the line. Traditional rigging knifes have a thicker/wider blade to be stronger for this usage.

As far as serrated vs straight I prefer straight as it is useful for more tasks. The ability to cut, and the keep cutting, does vary somewhat on honing and also based on the blade itself. I have a Boye Basic 3 and that thing is amazing for how long it will keep cutting.

Shawn
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Old 26-02-2015, 15:20   #6
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Re: Rigging Knives -- Straight vs Serrated?

As regards folding vs. sheath knife(fixed blade).
I went lobster fishing,in my younger days.When I first landed aboard,the Capt.,who wore a 4" sheath knife on his belt,asked me what I had for a knife.
I pulled from my pocket a nice folding jack knife.He asked me how fast I could pull it out,unfold it & cut the rope,wound around an ankle, that was dragging me to bottom.
Henceforth-I wear a sheath knife aboard.Jus sayin. Cheers/len
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Old 26-02-2015, 15:30   #7
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Re: Rigging Knives -- Straight vs Serrated?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn67 View Post
Dockhead,

Have you tried the more traditional knife in the more traditional way of using a rigging knife? You don't use it to saw through the line. You hold it on the line and hit it with a mallet. If the knife is sharp it will make a cleaner cut in the line. Traditional rigging knifes have a thicker/wider blade to be stronger for this usage.

As far as serrated vs straight I prefer straight as it is useful for more tasks. The ability to cut, and the keep cutting, does vary somewhat on honing and also based on the blade itself. I have a Boye Basic 3 and that thing is amazing for how long it will keep cutting.

Shawn
That's really interesting. Thanks for that!


That knife looks really good. But $360!! Wow!
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Old 26-02-2015, 15:40   #8
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Re: Rigging Knives -- Straight vs Serrated?

I always have carried serrated, as it cuts faster. I believe it will also be more likely to cut through wire than a straight blade will.

saw this, might be of interest:
West Marine Knife selector
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Old 26-02-2015, 15:41   #9
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Re: Rigging Knives -- Straight vs Serrated?

You could take your knives to a knife sharpener, probably once a year would be plenty (depending on how much use they see).
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Old 26-02-2015, 15:46   #10
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Re: Rigging Knives -- Straight vs Serrated?

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Originally Posted by Weyalan View Post
You could take your knives to a knife sharpener, probably once a year would be plenty (depending on how much use they see).
I would gladly do it myself, if once or twice a year were enough.
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Old 26-02-2015, 15:50   #11
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Re: Rigging Knives -- Straight vs Serrated?

Choosing a knife is a very personal decision, but I'll share what I've found. On the sailboat, I carry a Boye folding knife with the sheepsfoot blade so I'll be less likely to puncture something like a life raft. It's killer sharp because of the serrated cobalt blade and it has a titanium marlinspike and shackle key.
On land, I carry a Spyderco Salt, also with a serrated blade; it's also highly rated at cutting line.
When I'm forced to wear a business suit, I carry a smaller knife, usually a Jess Horn Spyderco or something even smaller.
I'm never without a knife; Eagle Scout, you know.
Here's a link to a cutting test which is very informative: I'm sure there are other tests; interesting that the cheap West Marine knife did so well. I think they are made by SOG.
Fair winds,
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Old 26-02-2015, 16:06   #12
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Re: Rigging Knives -- Straight vs Serrated?

Sweet thread. Just so happens I collect. Ex coast guard SAR and a former fisherman. So I have opinions.

I have a beautiful collection ranging from a high carbon kukri to a tiny swiss army knife and everything in between. When sailing I generally have at least two knives on my person and a half dozen or more placed strategically throughout my boat including both a machete and ax at my companionway entrance.

On my person, at the least you will find a Gerber multi tool in my pocket- but that's not the one you want to know about. You want to know my primary blade I wear on my life jacket.

My primary rigging knife is my CCG issue Grohman rigging knife. It's a SS sheath knife with the first 3" a sturdy straight edge and the two inches closest to the handle is sirrated.

Folding knives have their place, but even the fancy single hand opening ones such as the ones spider co makes are no match for a sheath knife. Speed has already been mentioned, but just as important is strength for emergency prying and piercing.

I'm partial to hard wood handles, my preference is cherry, although waterbuffalo horn also makes a very nice handle- wood is best(I also prefer wood stocks on guns).

So- if you're buying one- I would recommend a combo sirrated, straight edge, SS, hardwood handle, leather sheath, complete with marlin spike/shackle key (or just traditional marlin spike).

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Old 26-02-2015, 16:14   #13
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Re: Rigging Knives -- Straight vs Serrated?

Yup, the Boye is expensive. But it is also handmade, won't rust, is non-magentic and should last forever. It is amazing at how well it keeps an edge (due to its metallurgy) and also how easy it is to resharpen. Check out the Boye video and see how much synthetic line he cuts without sharpening the blade.

I bought the Boye when I was dinghy sailing with my young daughter. I read an article about a father sailing in a small dinghy with his 3 year old son. The boat capsized, his son (wearing a life vest) was caught in the rigging and his father was holding onto him as the sinking boat pulled them under. The father couldn't free his son and had to let go.

I bought the Boye the next day. I consider it essential safety equipment for that "just in case" situation.

Shawn
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Old 26-02-2015, 16:16   #14
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Re: Rigging Knives -- Straight vs Serrated?

I have been meaning to do a long term review of the knife I have been carrying for the last six months. Riggers with Marlin Spike | Ceramic Knife.org I will try to get to it, but in short this is by far the best knife I have ever carried. The ceramic blade stays sharp despite being used to make lots of cuts in dyneema. Everything else is high quality 316L stainless, and frankly it is pretty. Even my wife likes the way it looks.

I wouldn't hit it with a hammer, but I also haven't tried to cut anything (including 3/4" nylon) that needed to be sawn at. Just light preassure across the line and everything slices in half.
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Old 26-02-2015, 16:25   #15
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Re: Rigging Knives -- Straight vs Serrated?

Knives and their blade type - 2015's response to the anchor and gun threads; what have you started Mr Dockhead

Full disclosure: Looking around, I guess have some 25+ blades (from 3/4" to 10+"; carbon steel, various SS, ceramic) to call on but I rarely carry except on board, in the kitchen or at work. Most (but not all) are sharp and while I do hone occasionally as required, I never brood

Seriously, if you a easier life, get you knife professionally sharpened once or type a year (depending on your usage and abuse) and keep the blade honed between each sharpening with a fine (or very fine) steel. I like the F Dick brand (German) but there are other good ones.

I'm sure you will find a good sharpening source but if in doubt, ask your local butcher. In Oz, many butchers send their blades out for sharpening rather than doing it in house. In Perth, the Master Butchers Association had a large factory style sharpening service and it was very cheap (less than $10) and pretty quick (say a day or so).
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