Why not get your dad—or treat yourself—to something practical this Father’s Day? These three all-purpose knives make the perfect gift for any outdoorsman, and will find a home on his belt for years to come. Just make sure he doesn’t drop them in a river somewhere.
Buck 110 Folder
The iconic folding knife from Buck, it’s place on this list is almost unnecessary—if not for the fact that so many people still don’t know about this knife. Produced continuously since 1963, it is arguably one of the most popular folding knives ever produced, especially for hunters. The USA-made 110 features a 3.75-inch 420HC blade, heat-treated and hardened to a Rockwell value of RC 58. The handles are Macassar Ebony Dymondwood scales tipped with bolsters, and the knife itself is carried in a leather sheath. In all its various forms, the 110 remains an incredibly reliable knife, and it is not unheard of for users to carry this knife for decades before even considering a replacement.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you to purchase one of these immediately, also consider the 110’s very affordable price tag. The folder has a MSRP of $80, but could be had for as little as $40 at select retailers. Coupled with that is also Buck’s famous Forever Warranty, which is regarded as one of the best in the industry.
Benchmade Adamas 275
Adamas means unconquerable or invincible in Greek. When the Romans came into power, they borrowed the word and used it to describe the hardest and finest made metals. This is where the word adamant came from.
A heady name for a knife, but when it comes to Benchmade’s Adamas 275, it is well deserved. The folder is a collaboration between Benchmade and custom knife maker Shane Silbert. The same partnership also produced an automatic and fixed-blade version of the Adamas, but the 275 has a certain reputation among folders as a hard use knife. Overbuilt and weighing an incredible 7.7 ounces, the Adamas looks and feels unbreakable.
Sometimes being overbuilt has its disadvantages, and many reviewers criticize the Adamas—albeit apologetically—as being simply too big and heavy for practical use. The knife certainly toes the line, but with a sturdy enough belt, the Adamas can be a powerful tool.
You almost never see gentlemen’s folders anymore. Once upon a time, having a small utility knife was about as common as cuff links or wristwatches, but like those, the so-called “dress knife” has also faded from the public eye. Now it’s all about “tactical” folders that look like a brick, feel like a brick, and have all the class of a brick. Knives, as practical tools, don’t often leave much room for dolling up. But that doesn’t mean they have to look ugly.
Buck’s Paradigm may be a little bit on the hefty side for a gentleman’s folder, but it is all class. With the standard 3-1/4-inch blade, the Paradigm is made for hard use and built for the outdoors, though it certainly wouldn’t look out of place indoors as well.
The Paradigm comes in two flavors: S30v and 13C26 Sandvik. If you’re a fan of steel, you may have noticed yourself sitting straighter after reading that sentence. In the knife industry just like everywhere else, there is no “best” steel material. Many people, however, may agree that S30v is the ideal choice for folders. With just the right balance of carbon and chromium, S30v has an impressive level of toughness, edge retention, and stain resistance. That makes it especially suited for a folding knife, which aren’t generally expected to do hard-use chores like batonning. Coupled with Buck’s Paul Bos heat treatment—one of the most highly-praised in the industry—the Paradigm is an impressive blade. 13C26, on the other hand, is a perfectly bland workhorse.
As a cutting tool, the Paradigm is superb. You can get 13C26 very sharp with minimal effort and the Paradigm quickly turns into a razor. There is very little to criticize the drop point blade over, and it can certainly punch outside of its weight class. If you have a Buck 110—and about roughly 40 percent of people probably do, or should—then you already know the benefits of having a dependable folder in the your pocket for all sorts of tasks. Just think of the Paradigm as an upgrade.
Images courtesy Daniel Xu