Choosing wisely a cutting tool will save your money
Prior choosing your diving knife, I suggest you see in detail the materials used. We will review the types of knives. The diving knife has several forms. In this article, I’ll just describe the different types of knives. Remember that a cutting tool is a part of your safety equipment as an autonomous diver.
Different kind of metals
The most used metal is stainless steel. This steel is treated against corrosion. But there are several types of stainless steel. It is an alloy of iron and carbon. Resistance against salt and rust varies from steel to another. Therefore, after some time, rust appear and will eventually attack the blade. The second type of metal used is titanium. Titanium is naturally resistant to all forms of corrosion. Making it the preferred choice for diving.
What to choose between stainless steel and titanium ? Personally, I know advise you to own a titanium knife. You will not buy a knife every year. One will be enough for all your diving career. One knife will last a lifetime. With a stainless steel knife, you will have the risk of having to renew it after some time. The price difference is no longer justified to choose between stainless steel and titanium.
Different type of cutting tools
Let’s talk about the tool itself. The diving knife has several forms. It can take the form of a conventional kitchen knife : a blade and an extended handle. Its length varies. A small knife slips easily into a pocket of your BCD, while a large knife will give you a better grip.
For those who do not want to choose between a large and a short knife, there is the folding knife. This type of knife has the advantage of being compact when folded and have a good grip. His only weakness will come from the blade locking system. Be careful because you may leave your fingers.
In the category of small tools, you can choose a « Z-Knife ». This is a simple molded plastic tool with a razor blade. It slips between two fingers. Very small and very effective for cutting small mesh such as lines or fishing nets. The blades can be changed like a real razor.
If you need to cut thick mesh or rope, it is better to use a side cutter. A large tool offer more power to cut. These clamps look like garden shears.
The best choice
Finally, the last family of cutting tools, is the multi-purpose knife. It is the « Swiss army knife » of diving. Generally, it is foldable. Once unfolded his blade is long enough to pry and cut the nets quickly. If the meshes are too thick, you just open the handle and the blade becomes cutting pliers.
Which knife to choose then ?
Ideally I tell you the multi-purpose knife titanium. This is the perfect tool to deal with all situations. But it’s expensive. In my experience, a simple short titanium knife is enough. In all my diving career, I have used only 3 times my knife to cut two nets and a rope.
During the PADI Open Water course, I’ll explain in more detail the benefits and disadvantages for each cutting tools type. But remember that a knife remains a tool, as an autonomous diver is highly recommended to have one with you.