Great 1st Knife for Son?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by TripleB67, Dec 28, 2020.

  1. Zeroedin

    Zeroedin Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 15, 2020
    I’m gonna offer a slightly different approach here. I’m fairly new to knives, but I’ve been a watch enthusiast for many, many years.

    When my son expressed interest in getting his first watch a few years ago, rather than trying to find something I thought he’d like...I got him involved in the entire process.

    Now, he was a bit older than your son and away at college at the time, but I’d text him some pics as ideas. He’d tell me what he liked and didn’t like, and would text me photos of watches that had caught his eye. I was able to “steer” him toward better brands and teach him what to look for....and in turn, he gained a much better appreciation for quality and craftsmanship.

    When he came home on break or we went to visit him, we’d spend a day visiting ADs and looking at watches. We’d stop for lunch and essentially make an afternoon of it.

    In the end, he got a watch that he absolutely loves and is proud to own. For me, I like to believe that every time he wears it he’s reminded of the time we spent together during the “hunt”....the father/son bonding that went into finding him just the right watch. When I finally gifted it to him, I like to think it already had a backstory and sentimental value attached to it by way of the many hours we spent together....and based on the way he cares for it several years later, I believe it means more to him because of the journey we shared to find it.

    I dunno, maybe I’m romanticizing things a bit. The funny thing is that had I bought 100 watches for him....I never would’ve come close to getting the one he really wanted.

    Anyway, I’m just tossing the idea out there. My son still hasn’t shown any interest in knives (guns? All day every day...but that ain’t happening just yet). If he told me tomorrow that he wanted a knife for his birthday, I think I’d take the same approach and get him involved in the hunt. Not just for the learning experience it would provide him....but for the bonding experience and the memories I think we’d both treasure for many years to come.

    Again, just sharing some thoughts. Regardless of the approach, enjoy the hunt....and know that because it came from “Dad”, it’s always gonna be special to him.

    Good luck!
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  2. GB940Rookie

    GB940Rookie Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 19, 2016
    SAK - fun knife with all the extras. Kinda teaches to think out of the box.

    Ontario RAT 2 - great value for first knife. No brainer.

    Kershaw Leek - more costly, but kids dig this knife.
    Jave and jbmonkey like this.
  3. Billy The Hungry

    Billy The Hungry Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 11, 2020
    Swiss Army Knife!
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  4. Lesknife

    Lesknife Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    Another thing is each kid is going to have different likes or dislikes for whatever reason. I know when I got my younger grandson a Gerber Dime multi tool he really likes it but he would rather keep it in his tackle box than carry it regularly. I have several different types, brands and sizes of knives that he was looking over and he was really interested in the Buck 302 single blade slip joint. I asked him why he liked it more than a multi blade or locking blade and he said it was because it was more simple and not as bulky but still has a nice size blade and handle. It just had a certain appeal to him as a suitable knife. I gave it to him and he carries it regularly except to school.
  5. killgar


    Sep 24, 2002
    I was thinking along the same lines as this.

    If there's a knife store anywhere near you with reasonable prices, or some camping/hunting/outdoors type of store with a decent selection, maybe take him and let him handle a few to see what he likes and let him pick one. You could explain different locks/features/blade types, etc. And he might see other knives that he will want in the future. And so it begins.

    As a kid, heck, even as an adult I always enjoyed seeing a vast array of different knives before me to oggle. Nothing beats walking into a store full of knives, or seeing display cases full of knives and knowing you've got time to look at them all. And having money to buy one or two makes it even sweeter.
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  6. comis

    comis Gold Member Gold Member

    May 17, 2013
    Another vote for a SAK, it's fun to use around the house, and a good starting point to learn about slip joint/knife safety.
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  7. XL883N


    Apr 12, 2020
    Something cheap because he will lose it.

    I have a small Sebenza 31 that I planned on giving to my son when he's a bit older, 6 years old now. The more I thought about it the more I realized it's a very bad idea. Kids look at them as weapons instead of tools. Kids like to show off stuff to their friends. Kids get picked on at school. He may take that knife to school to show it off on the wrong day, get picked on, then your kid is on the evening news and cops are asking you where he got it from.

    Another thing to consider is he's not trained to use a knife for self defense and it will probably end up in the other guys hands.
  8. Peter Hartwig

    Peter Hartwig Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 29, 2008
    being that he is 13, I would take him to a decent knife store and let him pick-with some input from you to avoid disaster. At 13 he is old enough to have an opinion on what he would like and carry.
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  9. Knives&Lint

    Knives&Lint DOES Go Chasing Waterfalls Platinum Member

    May 10, 2013
    I started my kids out with SAK's. When my daughter (eldest) was 15 she expressed interest in another folder more in line with my carry knives, and ease/safety of lock manipulation was a leading factor in choice (Juvenile Arthritis and being a South-paw limited our options). I let her try out a variety of my knives and she settled on the AXIS lock. I ended up getting her a mini-grip.

    Also, you clarified that you were not speaking about knives for self-defense, but in that regard you might consider OC spray for your wife as well as your children (If you haven't already). My youngest daughter (coincidentally now 15 as well) recently started carrying some. We wanted her to have something on her but we weren't entirely comfortable with the possibility of a knife she was carrying being entered into a fight and perhaps taken and used against her.
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  10. jbmonkey

    jbmonkey Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    I got my 12 year old a Swiss army knife for this Christmas. he likes the tools and I want him to learn to use a slip joint properly. he was thrilled with it. money well spent.

    I still carry a Swiss army in my pocket today, everyday. i carry other knives for different needs but this tool never gets old or becomes useless.

    having a kid think of a folding knife as a weapon first is a bad idear. nothing good will come from it. just my opinion.
  11. Henry Beige

    Henry Beige Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    At first blush, an Opinel would seem ideal, but for my grandson it was just “meh”. A stainless No.7 seemed about right, but I think an Opinel is for a more sophisticated taste. An SAK Cadet fared a little better. Small hands had trouble opening the blades, whether on account of the springs or the nail nicks I do not know.

    The first knife to really make a hit was the Marttiini Little Classic, a small fixed blade in stainless. My guy can’t go anywhere with it, but he keeps it with him around the yard, and whittles for hours. A buddy recently gave his 8-year-old the same knife, with a similar reaction.

    A Maserin Plow was probably pearls before swine. I haven’t seen his reaction to the Mora 510 Allround I gave him for his 11th birthday; may be too duplicative of the Marttiini. This Christmas, I gave him a Buck 284 Bantam, a pocketable lockback with no stiff springs and no annoying pocket clips. It is hard to imagine an easier folder to live with.
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  12. killgar


    Sep 24, 2002
    Or, maybe the OP's boy is intelligent, was raised to use good judgement, and will obey his father when told not to bring his knife to school.

    I'm not giving you a hard time XL883N :), I was just struck by how pessimistic your post is, especially regarding a 13 year old boy you don't know. I mean, you've got everything there except "he might use it to torture small animals and turn into a serial killer".

    When I was young, younger than the Op's boy, I had several knives, but the only one I regarded as being even close to a weapon was a little folding stiletto. And even that I knew was too small to be a REAL weapon.

    All of my other knives, military DEMO and TL-29 electricians knives (received from father at 9 or 10), imitation Swiss Army knife (bought at ten), several assorted pocket knives, a Buck 112 (bought at 11), Buck 110 (received from parents as gift at 12), etc, etc, I considered them to be tools, and never thought of them as weapons (not even a switchblade given to me by my uncle).

    And although I carried knives to school as young as grade school (never told not to), I never once took one out at school, nor would I have (and I WAS picked on in school). And I knew better than to show my knives off to kids who weren't my friends.

    All that before the age of 13.

    I figure the OP knows his son best, and knows what's best for his son :).
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
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  13. XL883N


    Apr 12, 2020
    Hey, not pessimistic at all. We were all teenagers once. Teenagers do dumb things (dumber things as they get in the higher teens :D) and putting something like a weapon in a teen's hand may not be the wisest thing to do. That's all I'm saying.

    Maybe this guy's teenager is a model teen. You're right I don't know. Of course educating the kid with knife dos and don't goes a long way.
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  14. Bill1170


    Dec 20, 2007
    I bit my nails as a kid, except for my left thumbnail. I kept it intact for opening the blades/tools on my Swiss Army Knife.

    A slip joint knife is best for a new knife user, in my opinion, because it helps a new user learn safe knife handling. Locks are great but they can conceal bad habits that eventually cause harm to the user.
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  15. Smiling


    Nov 21, 2019
    XL Espada

    Just joking... I think Spyderco Salt would be nice option.
  16. afishhunter

    afishhunter Basic Member Basic Member

    Oct 21, 2014
    You should have grabbed the gun, not a knife.

    I assure you, your grabbing the knife instead of the gun, then telling him the reason for meeting mom was "to protect her" is a memory that will stick with him the rest of his life, and convince him a knife is "good" for self defense. (Movies and TV will reinforce the message/impression that a knife is a "dangerous weapon", of course.) Not the truth; A knife is the worst possible choice for self defense without significant training and constant practice. :( (ok ... ok ... throwing stars, a slingshot or shepherd's sling, and boomerang, might be worse.)

    Good luck reversing that impression.

    Unquestionably, you will not like my choices for "first knife", and I ain't talking about the "like" button. :)

    A Marbles MR278 "G.I. Utility Knife"/"Demo Knife"/ 4 blade Scout/Camp knife, or a SAK Cadet or Huntsman would be my first suggestion.
    For something without tools, a Barlow, or Canoe, Stockman, or a pen knife.

    I would not consider any knife with an automatically locking when opened blade for anyone's first knife. Locking Blades can make people sloppy, and do stupid things with their knife, "without thinking". Sorry, but like any other tool, (and even more so with a knife, which is a tool) the person using it should be thinking.

    When my nephew was 7, (with his parent's blessings) I gave him an Opinel Number 7 with a carbon steel blade, and a pocket "Medium" Arkansas stone. I showed him how to open and close the knife, how to use it as a friction folder (not using the twist ring lock) so it wouldn't close on him, taught him how to sharpen it, and how to prevent the blade from rusting. (easiest way: slice a apple, or lime, or lemon, or peach, or peel a tater, and let it patina. more work way: wipe down then lightly coat with olive oil after using it.)

    When he was 9, (again with his parent's blessings) I gave him a vintage Ulster "Official BSA" 4 blade scout/camp knife, like I had when I was a lad, for his "good knife" (for church, sunday school, church picnics, scout meetings, should he ever join BSA, etc.) and a Buck 389 Canoe, for normal carry.

    He's 14 now, and hasn't had a blade close on any of his parts yet.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2020
  17. hhmoore

    hhmoore Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 7, 2014
    Okay... But none of the knives I mentioned were slip joints, nor do they require manicured nails to open.
  18. Asher Sympson

    Asher Sympson

    May 10, 2020
    I would get him a small fixed blade. A buck 102 woodsman would be a perfect belt knife, or if you want something more concealable, a kershaw secret agent (single edge version) or a cold steel kobun. The kobun is small, light, concealable, and darn near indestructible. A SAK (with a few notable exceptions) is a novelty item imho. If you get him a multitool, get literally any Leatherman. But, small fixed blades trump all for all around utility and emergency self defence.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
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  19. Asher Sympson

    Asher Sympson

    May 10, 2020
    All of my suggestions are knives he would find useful even as an adult, and all have lifetime warranties.
  20. CuttnStuff


    Nov 22, 2019
    My youngest son is quite a bit older than yours (on his own now). This year I gave him a brand new benchmade mini bugout - the one with the white handles and black blade. Small but with a modern vibe to it. He is a left hander so the axis lock works well for him. He absolutely loves it, to the point where he has developed an interest in knives. So that would be my suggestion.

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