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I’ll admit it, I have always been a fan of a nice knife, and back in my pre-boat days, I had acquired a small collection of production, and semi-custom knives. I was even a Spyderco dealer for a time, which I’ll confess was largely so that I could purchase their blades at wholesale prices (I was definitely my own biggest customer). A sharp knife can play a valuable role for a sailor, as sometimes cutting a line quickly can be a matter of life and death. Keeping a blade sharp and rust free on a boat can be a challenge though.

In one of my recent post shares, the Christmas shopping list for the Real boaters in your life, I recommended the Spyderco Atlantic. The blade of that knife is made from some type of steel that is apparently impervious to rust. Our friend Chris, from LTD Sailing, had one, and I was always envious of how his knife remained rust free, while my Spyderco knife, made from a different type of steel, did not.

If I was envious of that knife, I became even more jealous when Chris returned from the Annapolis boat show with his Boye sailor’s knife. It is made out of some futuristic sounding steel (Dendritic Cobalt?), also supposedly impervious to rust, and has a functional titanium marlinspike on the side. Did I want one? Hell yeah, but it was way out of my budget, and I’ve learned to resist that kind of emotional buying urge.

In addition to keeping a good folding knife on my person, I have been known to position cheap knives (think steak knives) in various places on the boat (ex. cockpit, mast, near windlass), just in case.

It’s been some time since Chris acquired that knife, but when we shared drinks together a week ago, I wasn’t surprised to see that he was still carrying it. Being the well-prepared sailor that he is, he seemed to always have it with him. What did surprise me was when Chris offered me his knife as a gift! In fact, I was totally caught off guard.

The spontaneous decision to offer the knife to me was not based solely on my admiring it. Apparently, through an interesting turn of events, Chris shared that he had another, brand new one waiting for him back at his house. Even still, that was a crazy gift, and one I won’t soon forget. Probably never actually. Maybe I’ll use it to carve all our names in some post in Patagonia!


  1. I like to sharpen my knives often, I have a decent stone right by my kitchen sink and use dripping water from the faucet to lubricate it as I put an edge on a blade, it’s actually an oil stone but I’ve had good luck using water with it. It’s much less messy using it this way. Nearby in the kitchen is my ZWILLING J.A. Henckels kitchen knife set with a good steel in it that I will often use to touch up my everyday carry knife if the stone is not needed.

    The problem I have with serrated knives of any type is the added complication of sharpening them. A steel works OK to touch them up, but if they need more than that it’s not an easy task. Not being one to baby a tool I use my carry knives pretty hard sometimes, crossing the border to abuse if it’s the only tool I have handy. I don’t mind using my daily carry knife for any task, knowing I can simply sharpen it at the sink in a minute or so when I get home, or the next morning before heading out. If I carried a serrated blade I’d not be able to be so cavalier about how I use it.

    My current everyday carry knife is a cheap Kershaw “half ton” folder. My blade has the tip rounded a bit for safe marine use, and is made of 8CR13MOV stainless steel. It holds an OK edge and sharpens fairly easily. It’s got some minor pitting from saltwater but is holding up well overall. If I break or lose it I’m not out much. I could buy another one on Amazon for under $20.

    • I like this for sharpening serrated knives:

      The Boye website has this to say about sharpening the serrated portion of their knives:

      Place the beveled side, the “Boye USA” side, on a flat whetstone at an angle of 35-40 degrees, depending on the kind of edge you want. You are cutting into the square edge of the stone at a steeper angle because you are grinding one side only. Move at an angle the full length of the serrations with each stroke. The stone will ride in and out of the serrations. With good pressure they will sharpen in seconds. Don’t sharpen too much!

  2. Interesting post. I carry a Curry Lockspike on my boat and it is my favorite. But just today – I was browsing through my local pawn shop and I came across a Schrade Hawksbill #136 ( 1970) in mint condition for $25!! These were manufactured just a few miles from my house. The curved blade is perfect for cutting line, pruning or ( so I read) close in self defense. Its like an early box ripper. I just love the knife – it has the feel of old school quality and the aesthetics and grip are near perfect. . Planning to give it to my dad for Christmas but it will be hard to let go of. There is an old superstition that says you should not give away a knife. To preserve the friendship your friend should give you a coin for it.

    • You know, I had never heard of the coin thing but when Chris gave me the knife, one of the other folks present at the time did know about that superstition. She insisted that a coin change hands along with the knife. 🙂

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