While some everyday carry gear is made to be used until it breaks and you replace it, there are a lot of extremely well-made bits of gear that, with the proper care, can even outlast you. Take, for instance, your grandfather’s wristwatch or your dad’s old leather bifold wallet – they were built sturdily and with the intention to survive for generation.
One such object that people don’t often consider an “heirloom” item is the pocket knife – but they’d be wrong. Even something that goes through heavy daily use can still be passed on to subsequent generations, so long as it was made well in the first place. And it’s exactly that which we hope to highlight in this collection: 10 folding blades built by master craftsmen out of superb materials that can literally last to be used by your children’s children. The following are the best heirloom everyday carry knives available.
Buck Knives 110 Genuine Stag Folding Hunter
As one of the greatest American heritage brands in knife-making history, it shouldn’t be even remotely surprising that Buck Knives makes it onto this list. And, of course, it’s with their 110 hunting folder. This specific version, however, is even nicer than the classic wood-and-metal one thanks to the inclusion of genuine stag antlers in the creation of the handle scales. It’s also made right here in the USA and comes with Buck’s forever warranty – which is nice if you do plan on handing this one down. Truly, this knife is a gorgeous classic that certainly deserves a spot in history.
Case Abalone Stockman Pocket Knife
Another American heritage brand with similar historical roots to Buck Knives, Case has been making superb blades for over a hundred years. And much of their mastery of craftsmanship can be seen in this particular knife, their abalone Stockman. Featuring a trio of blades – sheepsfoot, clip, and spey-shaped – this knife is perfect for just about all everyday tasks and, thanks to the high-quality materials and American craftsmanship, will survive through years and years of constant usage.
The James Brand County Knife
A brand doesn’t have to have existed for generations itself to make a quality heirloom-level folder – as evidenced by the Jame Brand’s County Knife. Inspired by the scout-style folders many of us had as children, this updated version features a Sandvik steel straight-back blade mated to a gorgeous walnut and 416 stainless steel handle. And, though it is formidable in its quality and construction, its 1.9 ounce weight and 6-inches total in length make it more than compact enough to carry with you every single day. In fact, this knife begs to be used over and over again. And it can handle it.
Fallkniven Cocobolo Gentleman’s Pocket Knife
Scandinavian craftsmen have a pretty solid handle on how to make excellent knives, as they’ve been doing it well for thousands of years. And that level of craftsmanship is evident in Fallkniven’s Cocobolo Gentleman’s Pocket Knife. Crafted with rare and beautiful wooden handle scales, this liner lock knife features a 3-inch laminated cobalt steel blade that can retain a razor’s edge even with repeated use. It also helps that this superb folding knife features the classic minimalist appearance for which Scandinavian tools are known.
SOG Jigged Bone Arcitech Folding Knife
Though SOG is perhaps most well known for their tactical knives, but that doesn’t mean that’s all they are good at making. Need proof? Just have a look at their jigged bone Arcitech folder. This knife takes all of SOG’s knife-making excellence and compounds it into an offering worthy of passing down to your children. The titanium handle is fitted with red bone scales and features the brand’s signature ARC lock technology – which is mated to a superbly crafted San Mai steel clip point blade affixed with an abalone thumb stud. It also features a reversible pocket clip and one-handed opening for ease of use and convenience.
Victorinox Limited Edition Damascus Spartan
Having solidified their spot amongst the elite in both the knife-making and everyday carry worlds, Victorinox is certainly in the conversation as one of the best multi-tool brands ever. So it’s not shocking that they’d make several heirloom-level EDC blades worth carrying through generations. Their limited edition Spartan Swiss Army Knife, however, is especially desirable – thanks to the combination of wooden scales and Damascus steel blade. This excellent tool, which features 6+ functions – is gorgeous, rare, and wont let you down.
Boker Pearl & Damascus Scout Knife
Damascus steel is legendary for its strength and resilience, which is likely why Boker decided to use it in the creation of this Scout knife. And the blade would be enough reason to want to pick this one up on its own, but they took it a step further by attaching it to a gorgeous pearl handle equipped with a sturdy and reliable back lock. But don’t let its beauty confuse you – this is not simply a showpiece. This knife, like all of Boker’s creations, was meant to be used. So don’t be afraid to make some cuts.
Chris Reeve Sebenza Pocket Knife
For a very large portion of the everyday carry fanbase, the Chris Reeve Sebenza (and any size or permutation therein) is the Holy Grail of folding knives. And that’s with very good reason: the design is slick, recognizable, and is supported by top-tier build materials and was created by one of the greatest knife designers of all time. Each one comes with a 6AL4V titanium handle with a removable pocket clip and lanyard attachment, a beefy full-handle length Integral frame lock, and an incredibly strong and reliable S35VN blade. If you want the best and won’t settle for anything else, you’ll likely end up with a Sebenza.
Benchmade 485-171 Valet Knife
While many heirloom-level knives incorporate natural materials – like wood and bone – they’re not a necessity when it comes to well-made long-lasting folders. In fact, a knife made entirely out of metal has the potential to outlast anything with biological components. Take, for instance, Benchmade’s Valet 485-171. This blue-violet anodized billet titanium handled knife features an impressive Damasteel blade, is crafted right here in the USA, and is equipped with Benchmade’s signature Axis locking mechanism.
Buck Knives Painted Pony Ranger Knife
Unsurprisingly, one of the greatest American heritage knife brands is making a second appearance on our list. This time, it’s with the Michael Prater-designed Buck Knives Painted Pony Ranger knife. Sure, this knife might seem a little on the gaudy side of the spectrum to the hardcore tactician, but look a little closer and you’ll find a sturdy knife of singular quality. The handle is crafted from a combination of aluminum, black jet, eggshell- and nickel-silver. And there are also only 100 that have ever or likely will ever be made – so there’s that extra level of exclusivity.
Best EDC Knives Over $100
A superb EDC knife doesn’t necessarily have to fall under the “heirloom” umbrella. Case in point, we’ve put together this list of killer EDC knives for over $100.