Fixed Blade VS Folding Sailor Knives

There are many factors that go into choosing a knife. But whether a fixed-blade or a folder is what you want, the handle is usually vastly underestimated in importance. If it’s just a quick slice then you can manage, with discomfort of varying degrees, with just about anything. But if there is a lot of cutting or sawing involved, or you cannot afford to lose your grip even momentarily, you’ll really need (and come to appreciate) a properly designed ergonomic handle that works with you, not against you.

The blade may do the actual cutting, but the handle is where you apply all of the force and leverage to get the cutting done. A great blade with a handle that looks good but doesn’t really work is of little use, and may even be dangerous to you. Many knife handles downright suck.

These Spyderco Aqua Salts are among the best-designed knives, from butt to tip, I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. Not cheap, but for critical applications where quality counts above all else they’re worth every penny. I entrust my life to them. The H-1 steel really holds up in the marine environment, and the handles are just plain excellent.

The inexpensive Frosts mentioned earlier in this thread have oval-to-round handle shapes that fill your hand and are very comfortable. The steel is good. They’re my go-to choice for rough work where I don’t want to risk losing or damaging my Spydercos. Their blades or not full-tang, however. Some care about this, and some don’t. Partial-tang blades in a plastic handle will loosen eventually, so they aren’t what I would call a serious survival knife. But cheap and quite effective for what they are.

These are the Frosts (or Mora’s, same outfit) with the rubberized handles. Very good grips, and aimed towards the commercial fishing market.

[QUOTE=Fraqrat;185322]You need to come to God’s country where it’s perfectly legal to have one of these in your pocket …

I have one of these…

I saw a Mate take a wooden mallet and make about 6 good raps on that and it went right through a 2 inch polypro line. I ordered one that night.[/QUOTE]


Son of a BITCH.

I’ve been carrying the Spyderco Atlantic Salt everyday for 3 1/2 years. Best knife I’ve ever owned. Easily cuts through all types and diameters of line.

Here is a picture of my Mora with custom ground spyderedge serrations, blunted tip and a hand wrapped 4-strand paracord (half hitched) handle.

Here’s a link to the knife before I customized it: Mora of Sweden Knives 11392 Craftline Rope Fixed Blade Knife

I used a diamond file to deepen the serrations but next time I’m gonna use a Dremmel because I think I’ll be able to get cleaner cuts.

Back when I was salty, i carried a stainless myerchin serrated sheepsfoot with hand braided lanyard and separate marlinspike on a dedicated belt. Nowadays? Disposable serrated Vicky.

Myerhin folder in my pocket, Vicky for any line work. Grundens gage knives are nice for the money. Have a myerchin fixed blade but as a tugboat guy who sits on his ass most of the day it’s really not suitable, or comfortable. I’ll strap it on when we do something out of the ordinary though.

Most of the stuff we deal with in 2016 is dyneema, which very few conventional knives can cut for any length of time. There’s the beauty of disposable knives.

Most of the stuff we deal with in 2016 is dyneema, which very few conventional knives can cut for any length of time. There’s the beauty of disposable knives.[/QUOTE]

I’ve done some research on cutting dyneema and tested a few knives with 1/2" line… I can’t find a steel that will hold an edge for long. Some suggest ceramic knives but I wouldn’t trust one on the deck of a workboat and would not use one in an emergency. I would consider keeping a ceramic knive in the shop for use in working with dyneema.

Here’s a ceramic rigging knife that looks promising:

Here’s a cheap ceramic folder:

For larger lines you could consider getting a set of kitchen knives with a shape favorable to line work. Here’s one that looks fairly good:

I am in agreement with tradsailor and Z-drive. At only 8 bucks a pop on Amazon you can get a handful of the disposable Vickys for zipping through the plasma and dyneema. When they dull, you toss them.

My daily carry in the engine room is a Spyderco Bill Moran drop point. It has a great handle that doesn’t get real slippery and it’s easy on the hand if the job takes hours. I take this home with me every hitch and is my go to knife for gutting & skinning furry critters.
As a sidenote, if you notice the lanyard hole in the handle and the other hole on the blade…this knife can be made into a spear if you know…something is needing speared.


When I was a child, I rolled a Barlow shut on my finger and threw that immediately into the river. Although I have an excellent folder for going to town, a fixed blade is the way to go for me.

Good luck out there

As an engineer, a folder does nicely, and I have a Buck Bucklight Max folder which is sold on Amazon ( in various colors and lengths. I use it mostly for opening boxes and other light tasks. I will be picking up a tactical folder with glass breaker end eventually as I am joining a local rescue squad.

This is a little off topic but I thought it was worth mentioning.

If you have a Knife that has the Seatbelt Cutter and the Hardened Tip for Breaking Glass they are considered Survival Tools NOT Knifes. I always thought it was B.S. until we were visiting Cape Canaveral and a Buddy and I forgot to leave our Knifes in the Truck. His was as described and he identified it as a Survival Tool Mine was an Expensive Bench Made Folder. He was allowed to carry his, as for me, I had a long walk back to my Truck as I was not giving up a $300 Knife.

Now, I’m not saying this makes them legal to carry everywhere but it did make a difference there and they knew the Term “Survival Tool” and said that was the difference.

For cutting large diameter high modulus line, a long bread knife works surprisingly well.

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