Knives for the workplace

A small, finger-length assembly consisting of a plastic and metal handle and one or more sharp steel blades connected by pivots so that the blades fold out of and into the handle. The pocketknife, immortalized by the Swiss army, may be the most ubiquitous of tools.


Habitat:
Trouser pocket, toolbox, or handbag. Sold by cutlers and hardware stores. Also available in tool hire stores too. Distinguish the pocketknife from other cutting implements by its small size and folding ability.

Primary Uses:
Cutting and slicing. The folding knife is truly a universally handy tool. Few handypersons would consider themselves fully dressed without a knife tucked into pocket or handbag—an essential accoutrement picked up each morning along with eyeglasses, wallet, and keys. While not strictly a safety device, a pocketknife will make life easier and come in handy in the event of a genuine emergency.

Secondary Uses:
Cleaning fingernails. Opening taped cartons, plastic security packaging, and recalcitrant CD cases. Slicing salami on picnics. Making layout lines on wood, plastic, and metal. Removing fishhooks and cleaning fish. Cutting tangled laces. Making kindling out of scrap wood. Whittling small sticks smaller while rocking on the verandah.

Variations:
Many pocketknives have a locking mechanism so the blade can’t fold on the operator’s fingers. Some pocketknives approach jewelry in their intricate and precious detailing, which might include gold blade inlays, silver monograms, and mother-of-pearl handle facings. Some—notably the Swiss Army knife—sport a thicket of special-purpose blades and devices such as tweezers, a saw blade, a bottle opener, and a magnifying glass. The orchardist’s pruning and grafting knife has a single curved blade with a sliding ferrule that locks it open. 

How to Use:
1. Unfold the necessary tool by catching it in the thumbnail cutout.
2. Use the knife as required.
3. Fold the knife and put it back in your pocket.

Shop for a little pocketknife that you like, and resolve to keep it for the rest of your life.