Sans Blade

Because we flew up to New England and didn’t check any bags, I couldn’t bring a handgun or knife onto the flight because TSA [25,000-word rant deleted] and because they have some strange shitty laws about Texans carrying handguns around New England [250,000-word rant deleted].

Of course, our first full day of vacation was spent shopping in Kittery, Maine — home to a jillion outlet stores — so New Wife was well pleased to spend a morning shopping (as was I, you will see).  While she was shopping in the Ladies’ sections, I was off looking at guys’ stuff — and at Eddie Bauer, found a couple of beautiful white cotton shirts (my go-to everyday wear) at 50% off, which made them only a little more expensive than the Target / Wal-Mart equivalent, at much higher quality.  (And  made in Sri Lanka and not in China, for the win.)  Also a summer-lightweight cap from Barbour, at 70% off (making it merely expensive rather than Barbour-price i.e. nosebleed). Then it came time to remove all the price tags and such, which required cutting the little plastic loop thingy on the shirts, and a sturdy piece of string on the cap.

No knife.

Well, I wasn’t going to be put about like that, and because I’ve been to Kittery before, I went over to the giant Kittery Trading Post to buy a knife.

My original intention was really to buy a cheap $10-Made-In-China POS, then just throw it away before getting on the return flight.

Unfortunately, the Trading Post has an excellent selection of lovely knives… and you all know where this is going, right?  Here’s the rather old-fashioned Case two-blade pocket knife that followed me out of the store:

I have probably about three or four Case knives at home, and I love all of them:  they are the perfect “working” blades, and I have a soft spot for the “sheep’s foot” type (the upright one, for those unfamiliar with the term).  So for $35, I now have a(nother) decent pocket-knife, and  made in the U.S.A. withal.   And yes, it’s a fingernail-opener rather than the modern button-opener type;  don’t care.

And I’ll just have to check my bag when we fly back, because I’m not going to risk having this lovely little thing confiscated by the Airport Gestapo.

En passant:  KIttery Trading Post has an excellent selection of lightly-used second-hand rifles, so I did spend a little quite a long time browsing that aisle.  New Wife of course was shopping downstairs in the Ladies Department, so the trip ended up costing a little rather more than $35.  Don’t care about that either.  All worth it.


  1. Very much a knife afficianado. I have a couple of Case folders, but for my money, Uncle Henry knives are better. The UH was the only knife I have ever bought that could shave out of the box. EVERY other knife has required extensive sharpening to be brought to that state. Being an inveterate tinkerer, my “regular” carry knife is a standard Victorinox “Swiss Army Knife”.

  2. Unless you bought so much stuff you have to check a bag anyway, you could just mail the knife home and avoid the baggage claim hassle.

      1. Was going to say the same thing as SEA Cowboy, but yeah, you were at an outlet mall.

  3. Our first post-honeymoon vacation was a week spent in Maine (Sebago Lake), from whence we took a day-trip to Kittery and I found the Trading Post. For a guy who grew up in NYFC (and jumped thru the hoops required to get a target pistol permit there), then moved to PRNJ (and jumped thru THOSE hoops to get my pistols from NYC to NJ), I was in absolute hog heaven……

    I also love knives (my wife jokes about me carrying a knife wherever I go, until she needs to cut something and she knows where to find me). I personally have a soft spot for Bucks and Kershaws. My EDC for the last number of years has been a Kershaw Skyline, because it’s a decent quality knife which was cheap enough that if I had to toss it I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over it (since I worked in NYC, and any knife that can be opened one-handed is legally a switchblade, and the cops got as many tries as they needed. There are people sitting in prison right now in NYC over Swiss Army knives that a cop managed to flip open by holding the blade and snapping his wrist).

    My first day living in PA I wore my Buck 110 folder, in the holster, on my belt just because I COULD….. The Skyline is clipped to my pocket whenever I’m dressed as opposed to hidden in the bottom of my pocket lest I scare the squares.

    I absolutely love the Cattleman style of knife (I think that’s what they’re called, three blades, a clip-point, sheep’s foot, and a pen blade). If someone ever comes out with one where the clip point locks open (I’ve had enough knives close on my fingers not to want to repeat THAT experience) and has a stud to open one-handed (because sometimes your other hand is holding what needs to be cut) I’ll buy a dozen for starters.

    Oh, I agree with Sea Cowboy, mail it home.

    Mark D

  4. I love Case knives. They’re easy to sharpen and last forever.

    Boker makes good ones too.

  5. Thanks to me Japanese mum, I eat with chopsticks nearly as often as I use a knife and fork & always have a pair with me when I travel. Not this time – TSA was concerned they could be weaponized & confiscated them. They confiscated my freaking hashi. You can all rest easy knowing I was pre-empted from going on a hashi rampage aboard American 2240.

    TSA is one of the most asinine legacies W shoved up our rectums.

  6. Ah Kittery Trading Post, a favorite stop on my way to my place in Maine. As a New Hampshire resident, I get to take possession of my handgun in NH, as we meet just over the bridge at the office in NH.
    Ergo no sales tax, and totally legitimate in every way.
    What a country!

  7. If you swing through southern VT, drop into Manchester and the Orvis store there. Make sure that it’s near breakfast time and try out “Up for Breakfast.” Bring cash or checks because they don’t take plastic. For a guy who likes a full English breakfast this is the best you can do on this side of the pond.

  8. Knife laws are stranger than gun laws, particularly in the northeastern US. We just got back from a trip to Pennsylvania and the People’s Republic of NJ. We were towing our new Coachman Travel Trailer and we did two family reunions in northeast PA and spent a couple of days with my brother in Jersey. Faithful readers will remember that I have law enforcement credentials so I believe that I was okay carrying a Smith Shield 9mm.

    For some years I’ve carried a modified Schrade folder that is now automatic (ie “switchblade”). The knife is legal by state law in Oklahoma and most other civilized places. I’ve been told that automatic knives are legal for military and LEO but I never could understand if that applied to off duty and/or out of state people.

    Halfway into our trip I realized that I had the Schrade automatic in my pocket. I decided that I’d rather not want to argue with the Jersey State Police in their powder blue SS tunics so I buried the automatic as far inside my trailer as I could and dug out a short blade non assisted Buck folder for carry.

  9. I had to look it up but that is not a sheep’s foot blade on your nice new knife, it is a spey blade designed to be used by stockmen as a nut-cutter. Sheep’s foot is a flat blade on the sharpe part. I kind of remembered that working in a hardware store over 55 years ago where we sold knives to ranchers and farmers.

  10. Take a look at the markings on the blade of your new Case. If there is an “SS,” the blades are stainless steel; if, instead, it is marked “CV” (chrome vanadium) it is old-fashioned carbon steel that Case used to be famous for, and will rust and take a patina like the knives our grandfathers carried.

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