So here’s a sob story. Long, long ago, my wife bought me a Case “Canoe Knife,” made by the W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company of Bradford, Pennsylvania. She bought it at a hardware store—that’s where you typically come across Case knives. At the time she was aware of my fondness for both the Case Company in general (I got my first Case when I was knee-high to a bollard) and the Canoe Knife in particular. I love the shape of the Canoe’s double-ended, canoe-shaped body—it’s rounded ends carry perfectly in the left-front pocket of my blue jeans. Of course, there are many knives made expressly for boats—I keep a Leatherman Wave in a sheath onboard my trawler Betty Jane at all times, for example. But there’s nothing quite like having a knife permanently pocketed while you’re onboard—hauling it out for a chore takes way less time than dealing with a multi-tool in a sheath on your belt. Moreover, the steel in a Case knife is mild, which makes it much easier to sharpen than some saltier products on the market.
But hey, the sob story? A couple of weeks ago, I was making my way through airport security, under tight, boat-test deadline pressure, when I realized I’d forgotten to remove my Canoe Knife from my pocket and transfer it to checked baggage—I’ve done this sort of thing before, by the way, but I’ve always had enough time to find a mailer and forward the knife to my home. Not this time, however. “Sorry,” said the TSA man, “If the plane’s fixin’ to leave you gotta surrender the knife.” Could there be even a whiff of good news to this tragedy? Well, just yesterday, my wife purchased a brand-new Case Canoe knife for me with black, “jigged-synthetic” handles that replicate the old,“Gum Fuddy” handles that surfaced during World War II because traditional materials were unavailable. It cost about $50. It’s cool. I love it. -- Capt Bill Pike