If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ve probably noticed that the images I share, often feature colored handles. I really like some color in my EDC. The main reasons are aesthetics and advertising. To be clear, when I refer to colored knives, I refer to handle colors as I’m still not on board for coated blades. The best looking and performing blade in my book, features a clean polish, not paint! 😉
Like many other knife guys who started getting into knives back in, what my daughters like to refer to as the ‘late 1900s’ (the 1990s), my perfect carry knife was ‘tactical’, featured a tanto point, had lineage to Navy SEALs and most importantly was ‘all black’ or ‘subdued’. Oh man, if I only knew then what I knew now.
Discovering Spyderco on the forums back in the day taught me all about performance, ergonomics, sharpening etc… And no one there seemed to care about the all black ‘tactical look’ of the knife. And if it did matter, the performance of the coating counted, which is why we now have DLC coatings. Actually, I seem to recall one noted ‘tactical knife instructor’ mentioning the benefit of using colors in your knife handle. His name was Michael Janich, you might have heard of him. What I remember is that a blue G10 handle could help ‘camouflage’ your knife against a pair of blue jeans. I loved that idea. I went out and got a pair of blue lightweight Delica 3 knives – which I still own and love in my collection. Naturally, I got a blue G10 Yojimbo when it came out. All agreed that the notorious ‘smurf blue’ didn’t really match any color jeans, but it did look very cool.
Another aspect I immediately appreciated about these colored knives, is that they injected a fresh new energy in my knife collection. All those black and grey knives ended up looking kind of boring to me. I simply love the diversity and energy all the various colored knives bring to my collection. I love all sorts of colors, whether it’s done in FRN, G10, Titanium, stones, wood and other natural materials, I love all these expressions. Some I like for their refined aesthetic, others just because of the over the top expression.
I also recall Sal on the forums mentioning that colored handles on knives make the knife seem more ‘friendly’ looking to non-knife people. I learned to appreciate that benefit of colored handles a lot. Not because I’m too worried about what other people might think of my ‘evil knives’, but I love spreading the gospel of knives just as much as collecting and using them. My audience usually is way more receptive when my knife in question has a nice looking color, instead of ‘scary black’. The ‘Oh, I didn’t realize you could get a knife like that in such a nice handle color’ seems to make them listen better when I point out the steel, grind or lock for example. The look of a knife, as with people you see on the street, is what gives of the first impression and a cool colore is definitely a proverbial foot in the door for the rest of the story about design, materials and performance.
These days, after more than 20 years of knife collecting, I’m in the fortunate position to pick any colored knife that suits my mood on any given day. To use that horrible hasthag: #blessed. I find myself skipping ‘boring black’ handled knives in a new catalog automatically, unless it offers something else I like, such as a new innovative design or performance. The Ikuchi and Lil’ Temp 3 are such examples. The Ikuchi in particular, is a wonderful slim EDC folder that I would – love – to see in a cool ivory G10 or bright smurf blue G10. What are your favorite colors for knife handles?