March 05, 2005
The sexiest knife has to be the Laguiole. It's the French national wine and cheese knife of the high end. There are quite a few regional makes, like Swiss Army knives have a variety of makers. In general L's have a big, curvy, outsized blade and a swoopy, shapely handle. They're handmade and the handle rivets are often set in the pattern of a shepherd's cross. The backspring of the knife is usually filed decoratively. And a forged bee sets off where the blade meets handle. They often come with a corkscrew. Man, they're sweet! ---If you like wine and cheese, that is. And cold meats. And olives. And bread.
Usually people think of Opinel when they think of the French national knife, and that may be so for the beat-em-up utility blade. But Opinel has a balsa-like handle. The thin blade is very sweet, but toughness may not be at a premium. These are fine cheapies, but cheapies, stamped out by the jillion. For the cool style...that gives plenty of hard work...with better steels and bone handles and such... Laguiole is the thing.
At least as cool as the knife is the sheath. Sheaths are what make a knife, as any knife buff can tell you. (Like a rifle needs a sling or a handgun a holster.) Unless you use a pocket clip. Then anything snaggy will grab your knife out and fling it to the ground where you'll lose it. Other than that, pocket clips are cool. So a sheath can be cool. Laguioles have a sheath in spades. They can be just as distinctive as the knives. They're often carried horizontally at the back corner of the belt, just off the side of a hip. Dang!
A great website for shopping up this kind of thing, and much much more is: Cutlery*to*Go. Here are the groovy sheaths: Sheaths.