One of the classic, go-to, gifts for father’s day is a good quality knife. They’re small, they’re handy, and there isn’t a guy on the planet that’s upset about a new knife. The trouble with gifting a knife is that it’s not about finding the best knife; it’s about finding the right knife. The right knife isn’t just the sharpest, or the most durable, or the most beautiful; it’s the knife that feels the best when wielding it. The right knife has a balance that makes it feel connected to the user’s hands, it has a feel that fits seamlessly into the palm, and most importantly it has a purpose, a use, and a job.

So, what do you do? How do you go about finding the perfect knife for the perfect dad? Pick the purpose.

The Multi-Tool

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The multi-tool is the ultimate “I don’t know what to get my dad” gift. These knives are good for everyone and for everything. They’re more than just a knife, they’re a tool (like the name says). They come in a simple form like the classic Swiss Army Knife, or complicated like the bomber Leatherman Wave. They always have a place and a use. If your father is the handy type, he’ll wear it on his belt. If he’s the utility type, he’ll keep it in his car. Not sure what to get? Keep it simple: Knife, pliers, screwdriver, bottle opener. Boom.

The Fixed Blade (Full Tang)

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Fixed blade knives are not for everyone, but they certainly have a purpose. To start, the fixed blade knife is not small or easy to carry. If you wear this every day, someone’s going to think you’re dangerous. A fixed blade knife doesn’t fold, but instead uses a sheath for storage and carry. They’re often at least 3” in blade length with at least that in the handle (6+ inches total). That being said, they’re incredibly durable, very strong and the perfect knife for your outdoorsy dad. These knives are perfect for chopping, splitting, cutting, widdling, cooking and more. The added strength that comes from the Full Tang (single piece of metal that runs from tip to butt) allows for more power while in use. If you’re buying for a hunter, backpacker, survivalist, or general outdoorsman, this is the knife they want, and probably don’t own.

The EDC: Every Day Carry

Taken on February 23, 2016 - Two pocket knives

I’ll never forget my dad’s EDC knife. It was small, with a wooden handle and brass corners. It folded in half and had his initials engraved on the blade. It wasn’t particularly expensive or fancy, but it was his, and it was his favorite. That’s what an EDC knife is. It’s the favorite. An EDC knife should be small and compact (folding). It should have a sturdy blade made of good steel so it holds an edge and doesn’t require much sharpening. It should also have a look and feel that’s acceptable in public. Dad should be able to pull it out in his office to open a letter, or use it at a restaurant when the table knife is lacking. It’s not flashy, or big, or bold.

The Throwaway Knife

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Yes, even cheap knives have a use. Throwaway knives are the best knives because they’re exactly that, one’s you can throw away. On the job and drop your knife? Who cares? Loose it in the mud in the rain? Not a problem. TSA Agent finds it in your work bag? Keep it. Throwaway knives should be cheap, think less than $20, cheap. They’re made to be used, abused, dropped, pried, twisted, broken and lost – all without a second thought of the owner. Buying a throwaway knife? Buy two, three or even four. Even at that price you’ll spend less than you would for any one of the aforementioned styles.

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