The story is about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. The bravest and most loyal knights sometimes go in search of the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail was the cup in which Jesus drank at the Last Supper. They imagined a golden chalice filled with jewels.
In my version of the story, the Holy Grail was actually something quite different. It was part of an unsurpassed set of rough sandstone. The disciples borrowed utensils from the Master of the Upper Room to set the table for the Last Supper. After this meal, the simple cup was returned to the ordinary things of the household. One day a careless clerk dropped a cup and it broke. The cut was so insignificant that the clerk was not even reprimanded for the accident. We just told him to sweep up the pieces and throw them away.
Eventually, the shrapnel landed in a local landfill in the Valley of Hinnom, southwest of Jerusalem. There they were buried under the rubble of the old city. They’re still out there.
King Arthur’s knights could not find the Holy Grail. They wouldn’t recognize him if they found him. And if they found out, they’d be bitterly disappointed. Their problem was that they were looking for gold, silver or stone, burial art and human structure. The reality of the cup was much deeper than they could comprehend.
In a sense, the legend of the Grail serves as a parable for the human condition. A deep and desperate longing fills our hearts. We strive feverishly and incessantly to satisfy this desire, but all our efforts are in vain. We will never be able to satisfy this desire alone. Rather, we are to receive contentment as a gift through faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. According to Augustine of Hippo in Confession: You created us for You, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in You. Instead of seeking the Holy Grail, we should seek the Savior who sanctified the Grail by His touch; the Savior who cried: Come to me, all of you who work and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. The Savior, he promised that whoever seeks him will find him.
I have found peace in Jesus Christ. I looked for him and found him, for he was the first to come to my rescue (the lost one). The great quest of my life found in him complete satisfaction.
Waiting for Christ’s glorious return, I keep him busy until his coming. A secondary thing I have done in recent years is a little search that is pale and insignificant compared to the search for Christ. The goal of this little quest for me is the perfect everyday knife (EDC).
I’ve mentioned some of the stages of this quest in other articles I’ve written for Survivalblog. The EDC Outdoor Edge Onyx, for example, looked promising (see May 12, 2020). It was quite sharp, but the blade was too fragile. If so, the FX350 coast deserves another look (see June 27, 2020). The knife was strong enough, but not sharp enough.
Then, for my birthday this year, my daughter and son-in-law gave me a $25 Amazon gift card. I decided it was time to move on to another phase of my little quest. I bought a RAT 1 from Ontario.
Ontario gear unit 1
The Ontario RAT 1 is a folding knife with a 3.6 inch AUS-8 stainless steel blade and a nylon-6 handle. It is closed at 5 inches, open at 8.62 inches and weighs 5 ounces. It opens with the thumb and is held open by the liner lock.
RAT 1 is distributed by the Ontario Knife Company in Franklinville, New York. It is based on Randall’s concept of adventure and training. It is made in Taiwan, which is after all an ally of the Americans.
The specific version of the RAT 1 I bought has a black handle and black finish on the blade. At the time of purchase, it cost $27.90. To date, the various models of RAT 1 cost between $25 and $63 on Amazon.
The knife arrived in a simple enough cardboard box, large enough to hold the knife and wrapped in bubble wrap. That’s good. That’s good. I am in favor of investing less money in packaging and more in the product itself.
The knife came out of the package with a sharp blade. I’ve already mentioned the possibility of shaving underarm hairs as a minimum standard for a knife. Some knives look like old razors before the blade is changed. You can shave, but it’s a rough and uncomfortable shave. Others are like new razors that glide over your skin for a close, comfortable, clean shave. The RAT 1 reminds me more of a new razor that removes a large amount of hair from my forearm with minimal effort or discomfort.
The knife fits snugly if it is firmly seated in the belt under the right kidney. It became my EDC knife for testing and beyond.
One weakness I noticed early on is that the black finish on the top is not as durable as I would like. It was quickly scratched, for example by cutting a piece off an old roll of carpet. If I had to start over, I’d choose a model that didn’t damage the finish of the top.
Knife in use
The knife was excellent for tasks such as cutting an old T-shirt into weapon cleaning patches, opening boxes, cutting cardboard, cutting excess rope from sandbags after they were tied, and cutting the ends of cable ties.
Not only do I carry the knife every day, but I took it to Alaska for some hiking and a work project. She was generally very good at cutting firewood chips for kindling, although she had some difficulty cutting kiln-dried poplar chips. Dried hardwood is notoriously difficult to cut, so I shouldn’t be surprised. Anyway, the knife held up better than I did.
After wearing the knife every day for six months, I noticed that the clip started to wobble a bit. Fortunately, I needed the T5 screwdriver to make the repairs. The screwdriver was part of a battery replacement kit for my cell phone. I removed the three screws holding the clip in place, added a drop of blue Loctite 242 to each screw, and then tightened them back down. So far it looks like it’s holding the screws well, so the clip is well in place.
Ontario’s RAT 1 survived more than seven months of daily wear and tear. It was a sharp tool, easy to sharpen, robust, reliable and efficient. I am very happy with it and I am no longer looking for the perfect EDC knife for me. I think I’ve already found it and I’m happy to recommend it without reservation.
AccuSharp Diamant PRO2-phase knife sharpener
Tools work much better when they are properly sharpened. As God tells us in His Word: (Ecclesiastes 10:10) If the iron is blunt, and if it does not spread the edges, it must use more strength; but wisdom is useful in steering.
It is not always easy to apply this wisdom. Take knife sharpening, for example. Depending on the tools used, this task may require a moderate degree of skill. Some of us have tried to master this skill with indifferent results. The inventors took advantage of our imperfections and developed many different tools to sharpen knives. Some of these tools are more effective than wiping the edge of the blade with a piece of broken concrete. Some don’t.
One of the best tools I have found in the past is the CCKS 2 step knife sharpener. I mentioned this tool in an article published at 12 and 13. May 2020 was published at SurvivalBlog. As I mentioned in this article, the Smith Sharpener helps semi-educated users keep decent blades sharp enough to shave the hairs on their forearms.
The problem with Smith’s two-step grinding is that only one of the two steps is really useful. The ceramic rods used for the fine phase are very useful. Hard knives used with a coarse stitch can shatter and ruin a good blade. Hard knives can be useful for sharpening the blade of a lawn mower. I wouldn’t recommend using it as a good knife.
I recently discovered an improvement over Smith’s pencil sharpener. That’s what happened. For Christmas 2019, I received a gift certificate from Academy.com. I didn’t use it right away. That’s when the panic set in at Covida 19. The governor of my state practically shut it down. We’ve all been told to stay home. I wanted to order ammo, but at that time cheap ammo was sold out in a panic. I kept the gift card for months hoping that the ammunition situation would improve. But civil unrest followed a viral pandemic, then political unrest followed civil unrest. The ammunition situation continued to deteriorate.
In the end, I decided that Academy.com would probably not be able to re-stock the ammo. I started browsing the site to see if there was anything else I could use as it kept getting worse. I found a nice pair of wool socks, with a little more money on the gift card, so I kept looking. Then I came across the AccuSharp Diamond PRO 2 Step knife sharpener. It sounded interesting, so I added it to my order and tried it. Five days later my order arrived.
The AccuSharp pencil sharpener comes in a blister pack with a clear thermoformed plastic front attached to a 4 x 6 cardboard backing. This type of packaging provides a cost-effective way to effectively present the product while attaching it to the package.
After cutting out the clear plastic front, I was able to take the grinder out of the box and take a good look at it. It is very similar in size and shape to the Smith grinder, but has a number of advantages that are immediately apparent. The AccuSharp shredder is better suited and finished than the Smith. The AccuSharp sharpening area that you hold in your hands when using the tool is rubberized, making it easier and more comfortable to use than Smith sharpening. And the hole in the cord is slightly larger, so he’s willing to accept a card-sized cord without having to enlarge the hole with an additional drill, like a Smith’s grinder.
Problem Knife Test
I didn’t want to risk ruining one of my good knives by subjecting it to an untested sharpening. Instead, I decided to test the sharpener on my problem knives. I have a bag of these knives on my desk in the basement. These are knives that looked promising when I bought them, but for some reason were not up to the task. The biggest problem with problem knives was that none of them seemed to be able to get and hold a good lead.
These problem knives consisted of a five-inch Ka-Bar 2708 shirt with back cover, a five-inch Edgemark 459 fixed blade and a five-inch Olsen net knife with fixed blade, a seven-inch Guidesman dance shirt with takeoff safety, a three-inch Stanley shirt with takeoff safety and a Stanley multi-tool with nine-position lock.
I tested the pencil sharpener by holding it vertically on my workbench, rough groove first. I inserted the blade of each knife into the groove and then gently pulled down through the groove with minimal downward pressure. I repeated this process a total of ten times. Then I turned the grinder 180 degrees horizontally and pulled each blade into the coarse groove ten more times. I then turned the grinder vertically 180 degrees so that the thin groove was now turned upwards. I pulled each blade into the shallow groove ten times, turned the grinder horizontally 180 degrees, and pulled each blade into the shallow groove ten more times.
While most problem knives are still problematic, they are all significantly sharper after this treatment. A few of them were even on the verge of becoming good knives (they were now sharp enough to shave the hair off my forearm).
Testing the right blade
Since the sharpener seemed to improve problem knives without causing obvious damage, I thought it would be safe to try it on some of my good knives. Since the good blades already had a good edge, I used the coarse groove very sparingly and concentrated instead on a gentle application of the fine groove. I tested it on a three inch Browning 0207 with liner lock, a three inch Coast FX350 with frame lock, and the aforementioned three and six inch Ontario RAT 1 with liner lock. I was very pleased with the results obtained on all three blades (although in evaluating these results I was left with a rather wide shaved bandage on my left forearm).
If you are very proficient with another knife sharpening system, the AccuSharp Diamond PRO 2 Step Sharp knife is probably not for you. But if you’ve never mastered one of the most difficult knife sharpening methods, and you need help keeping a decent knife edge halfway, this tool might be what you’re looking for. The large diamond bars are much better than the carbide blades of the Smith sharpener, while the small ceramic bars are just as good. In the near future I will probably buy two more of these grinders to keep one in my backpack, one in the basement workshop and one in the shed.
At the time of writing, the AccuSharp Diamond PRO 2 Step Sharpener is available on Amazon.com for only $11.
Disclaimer of liability
I have not received any financial or other inducement to mention any vendor, product or service in this article.
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