Christy Knife Company sliding blade pocket knife

   09.16.13

Christy Knife Company sliding blade pocket knife

One of my favorite reviews to write are those that feature products that I have a long personal history, with but are not products that everyone has heard of. I founded and sold one of the country’s largest cutlery retailers many years ago, and I have several bushels of knives to prove my knife bona fides. But despite the size of my knife collection, one knife often seems to end up in hand for all manner of tasks Executive model Christy Knife. It’s a small knife that is without a doubt the handiest knife I’ve ever owned.

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About Christy Knife Company

After inventing and patenting a nickel-plated, serrated-edged bread knife, machinist Russ J. Christy formed the Christy Knife Company in 1889 in Fremont OH. Since that day, it remains one of Fremont’s oldest businesses and one that the community has stood behind.

Even more impressive in this age of acquisitions and a business crushing economy is that the company is still owned by the Christy family. During the 60’s, many feared that Christy would surely close when the company lost a major contract, but Christy managed to soldier on by producing only a single item: the world-famous “Christy Sliding Blade Pocket Knife.”

The Christy pocket knife was carried by men and woman and during WWII, and military post exchanges around the world sold the Christy knives to our men in service. The Navy issued the Christy knife to pilots as a mini-survival knife, and for a time the US Customs schools issued the knives to graduates.

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Today the company still lives on even stronger than it was five or ten years ago in the same town where it was founded with a new location and an updated website. The Christy Sliding Blade Pocket Knives are still made on the original 53-operation production line and equipment, which is now operated and produced by machinist Hal R. Christy, son of Earl Christy. There are very few fourth-generation, family owned companies in the world, and this one continues to provide “the handiest pocket knife ever designed” available in the Companion (nickel plated), Executive (polished black nickel plated), and the Traveler (matte finish Teflon nickel plated).

Features & function

The idea of the Christy knife is elegantly simple, and it ships with a key ring in a nice plastic reusable case. The blade slides in a channel inside the handle and locks into one of four positions, including closed. In a time before Spyderco had the idea to put a hole in a blade for thumb opening, this groundbreaking, single-handed operating knife was simple to use by sliding the round spring loaded button down and forward or back to open or close the knife.

In addition to its single handed operation, what made the Christy knife so handy was its blade quality. You can tell that Christy has a long history of making scalpels and razor blades, because for me this has always been an exceedingly sharp knife. Although the Christy knife is designed for simple blade replacement, I have had the same blade in mine for the last ten years, and I touch up the edge only occasionally with a ceramic hone. I love that the Christy knife remains 100% American made and backed by a common sense lifetime warranty which does not cover re-sharpening or abuse, but does cover any other defects.

Other reasons I love these little knives are their light weight, ease of use, ability to hold a scalpel edge, and impressive durability. The shear amount of cutting abuse I have thrown at this little knife over the years and has been extensive. I am not using it to pry open wood crates, but I have used the ring end as a screwdriver and to lightly pry open various things more times than I can remember, and it has held up. The nice thing is that that same exact quality and design I purchased about a decade ago is retained in the existing design.

Contrary to popular belief, a small knife can do big work if you use it correctly. A small knife like the Christy can be carefully tapped into larger 1.5 to 2 inch trees with a wood baton to weaken the limb enough to hand break it. These are also great for the precision required to build traps and clean small game, yet they’re still useful enough for the other 99.9% of camp chores. This little knife definitely delivers far more than its size would indicate.

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Fit and feel

There is not much to the knife from a parts perspective, but everything fits well together and the finishes are all excellent, gift-able quality. The original Christy knife had a brass handle, but the next oldest model had a nickel finish which remains on their current models. The black nickel Executive version I originally purchased is very sharp looking as well (mine, not so much now), and the new Teflon nickel model provide a subdued elegant look of buffed stainless steel. This is a tiny knife for having a nearly 2” blade that easily and invisibly drops into a purse or pocket.

Making a mini pocket fire kit

As you can see in the picture, the Christy’s knife size fits perfectly into a mint tin for building your own mini-fire kit. My version includes a Christy knife, lighter, ferro rod, tinder, and wax tinder cubes inside a ziplock bag. The backside of the blade works perfectly as a striker for the ferro rod, and the tin is even useful to make your own charcloth. The more ambitious could fill the tin with all manner of fishing, water purification, and other items.

Final thoughts

The Christy knife has a very long storied past from being in the hands of both ladies and gentleman, and our servicemen during WWII. The knife even has been featured as a 007 knife in a James Bond film — it’s that versatile. For me the weight, sharp looks, ease of use, fantastic edge, and extraordinarily inexpensive price make this an exceptional knife that can be used for cutting anything by anyone who just need a handy little knife.

Specs

  • Length 3-3/8”
  • Height ½”
  • Width 3/16”
  • Blade length 1-7/8”
  • Weight Less than 1 oz
  • MSRP $20-$27 depending on model


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