The story is told of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. The bravest and truest of the knights would ride out betimes in quest of the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail was the cup that Jesus drank from at the Last Supper. They imagined it to be a golden chalice studded with jewels.
In my version of the story, the Holy Grail was actually something quite different. It was part of an unmatched set of crude earthenware dishes. The disciples had borrowed the dishes from the owner of the upper room in order to set the table for the Last Supper. Following that meal, the simple cup was returned to common service in the household. One day, a careless servant dropped the cup, and it shattered. The cup was so commonplace that the servant was not even reprimanded for the accident. He was just told to sweep up the shards and throw them away.
Eventually, the shards ended up in the local dump in the valley of Hinnom, on the southwest of Jerusalem. There they were buried in the detritus of an ancient city. They still lie there today.
The Holy Grail was impossible for King Arthur’s Knights to find. They would not have recognized it if they found it. And if they had somehow recognized it, they would have been bitterly disappointed. Their problem was that they sought gold, silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. The reality of the cup was much more profound than they could apprehend.
In a way, the Legend of the Holy Grail serves as a parable of the human condition. A deep and desperate longing fills our hearts. We seek feverishly and unrelentingly to satisfy that longing, but all of our efforts are fruitless. We can never satisfy that longing through our own efforts. Instead we must receive satisfaction as a gift through faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. In the words of Augustine of Hippo in his Confessions, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless, until it can find rest in you.” Instead of seeking the Holy Grail, we must seek the Savior Who made the grail holy by His touch; the Savior who cried out, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”; the Savior Who promised that those who seek Him would find Him.
I have found rest in Jesus Christ. I sought Him and found Him, because He first came to seek and to save me (the lost). The great quest of my life has found perfect satisfaction in Him.
As I await Christ’s glorious return, I continue to occupy until He comes. One minor thing that I have been occupied with in recent years is a lesser quest, one that pales into insignificance in comparison with the quest for Christ. The object of this lesser quest is the ideal every-day-carry (EDC) knife for me.
I have referred to some stages in this quest in other articles I have written for Survivalblog. For example, the Outdoor Edge Onyx EDC looked promising (see May 12, 2020). It was sharp enough, but the blade was too flimsy. Then the Coast FX350 merited a further look (see June 27, 2020). It had a sturdy enough blade, but it was 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 set out on another stage in my minor quest. I purchased an Ontario RAT 1.
The Ontario RAT 1
The Ontario RAT 1 is a folding knife with a 3.6″ plain edge AUS-8 stainless steel blade and a Nylon-6 handle. It is 5″ closed, 8.62″ open, and weighs 5 ounces. It opens with a thumb stud and is held open by a liner lock.
The RAT 1 is sold by the Ontario Knife Company of Franklinville, New York. It is based on a design by Randall’s Adventure and Training. It is manufactured in Taiwan, which is at least an American ally.
The particular version of the RAT 1 that I purchased has a black handle and a black finish on the blade. It cost $27.90 at the time of purchase. At the time of this writing, various models of the RAT 1 run from around $25 to around $63 on Amazon.
Opening the Box
The knife arrived in a rather plain box, just large enough to contain the knife wrapped in bubble paper. This is a good thing. I thoroughly approve of investing less money in packaging and more on the actual product.
The knife came out of the box razor sharp. I have previously mentioned that the ability to shave the hair off my forearm as my minimum standard for a knife. Some knives are like old razors just before you change the blade. They manage to shave, but it is a rough and uncomfortable shave. Others are like new razors that glide over the skin and give a smooth, comfortable and close shave. The RAT 1 reminded me more of a new razor, smoothly removing a large swath of hair off my forearm with minimal effort or discomfort.
The knife fit well when clipped securely inside the waistband of my pants below my right kidney. It became my EDC knife for the testing period and beyond.
One weakness that I noticed early on is that the black finish on the blade is not as durable as I would have liked. It was quickly scratched, for example, by cutting a piece from a roll of old carpet. If I had it to do over again, I would select a model with no finish on the blade to be marred.
The Knife in Use
The knife worked extremely well for tasks like cutting up an old t-shirt to make gun cleaning patches, opening boxes, cutting up cardboard, trimming extra drawstring on sandbags after they were tied shut, and cutting cable tie tails.
In addition to everyday carry, I took the knife with me on several camping trips and a work project in Alaska. It usually did a great job cutting shavings from pieces of firewood to make kindling, although it did have some trouble cutting shavings from kiln-dried poplar. Kiln-dried hardwood can be notoriously difficult to cut, so I should not have been surprised. In any case, the knife held up better to the effort than I did.
After carrying the knife every day for six months, I noticed that the clip was beginning to wiggle a little. Fortunately I had the necessary T5 screwdriver to repair it. The screwdriver came as part of a kit for replacing the battery in my cell phone. I removed the three screws holding the clip in place, added a drop of blue 242 Loctite to each screw, and then tightened them back into place. So far this seems to be doing a good job of holding the screws and thus the clip securely in place.
The Ontario RAT 1 has stood up well to more than seven months of everyday carry. It has been a sharp, easily re-sharpened, durable, dependable, and effective tool. I am fully satisfied with it, and am no longer looking for the ideal EDC knife for me. I believe that I have already found it, and I am happy to recommend it to others without reservation.
The AccuSharp Diamond PRO 2-Step Knife Sharpener
Tools work much better when they are properly sharpened. As God tells us in His word, “If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct” (Ecclesiastes 10:10).
It is not always easy to apply this wisdom. Take sharpening knives, for example. Depending on the tool used, this task can demand at least a moderate level of skill. Some of us have attempted to master this skill with indifferent results. Inventors have capitalized on our inadequacy by creating a plethora of highly diverse knife sharpening tools. Some of these tools are more effective than rubbing the edge of a blade with a broken piece of concrete. Some of them are not.
One of the better tools that I have found in the past is the Smith’s CCKS 2 Step Knife Sharpener. I mentioned this tool in an article published by SurvivalBlog on May 12 and 13, 2020. As I noted in that article, the Smith’s sharpener “helps semi-skilled users to keep halfway decent blades sharp enough to shave the hair off of their forearms.”
The problem with the Smith’s two-step sharpener is that only one of the two steps is truly useful. The ceramic rods used by the “fine” step are very helpful. The carbide cutters used by the “coarse” step can gouge and ruin a good blade. The carbide cutters might be useful for sharpening the blade of a lawnmower. I would not recommend using them on a decent knife.
I recently ran across something that is an improvement over the Smith’s sharpener. Here is how it came about. For Christmas in 2019, I received an Academy.com gift card. I did not use it right away. Then the Covid 19 panic began. The Governor of my State shut pretty much everything down. All of us were ordered to remain at home. I wanted to order some ammo, but by that point in the panic, reasonably priced ammo was out of stock. I held onto the gift card for a number of months hoping that the ammo situation would improve. But civil unrest came on the heels of viral pandemic and then political upheaval came on the heels of civil unrest. The ammo situation grew even worse.
I finally decided that Academy.com was not likely to get supplies of ammo back in stock any time in the near future. I began to browse the site to see if they had anything else that might be useful to me if things continued to go south. I found a nice pair of wool socks, had a little more money on the gift card, and so kept browsing. That is when I ran across the AccuSharp Diamond PRO 2 Step Knife Sharpener. It looked interesting, so I added it to my order and checked out. Five days later my order arrived.
The AccuSharp sharpener is shipped in a blister package, with a thermo-formed clear plastic front fasted to a 4″X6″ printed paperboard backing. This type of packaging provides an inexpensive way of effectively displaying the product while securing it in the package.
After cutting into the clear plastic front, I was able to remove the sharpener from the packaging and get a good look at it. It is very similar in size and shape to the Smith’s sharpener, but has several advantages that are immediately obvious. The fit and finish of the AccuSharp sharpener are better than the Smith’s sharpener. The section of the AccuSharp sharpener that you grip while using the tool is rubberized, making it easier and more comfortable to use than the Smith’s sharpener. And the lanyard hole is slightly larger, making it ready to receive a paracord sized lanyard without the necessity of enlarging the hole with extra drilling, unlike the Smith’s sharpener.
The “Problem Knife” Test
I did not want to risk ruining any of my good knives by subjecting them to an untested sharpener. I decided instead to test the sharpener on my “problem knives”. I have a bag of these knives on my workbench in the basement. These are knives that looked promising when I acquired them, but which for one reason or another just did not measure up. The most significant problem with the problem knives was that none of them seemed able to take and hold a good edge.
These problem knives consisted of a two-point-five inch Ka-Bar 2708 folder with a lock back, a five-inch Edgemark 459 fixed blade, a five-inch Olsen fixed blade filet knife, a two-point-seven-five inch Guidesman tanto point folder with a liner lock, a three-inch Stanley folder with a liner lock, and a Stanley 9 way multi-tool.
I tested the sharpener by holding it vertically on my workbench with the coarse groove upward first. I placed the blade of each knife into the groove, and then pulled it smoothly toward myself through the groove with minimal downward pressure. I repeated this process a total of ten times. I then rotated the sharpener 180 degrees horizontally, and pulled each blade through the coarse groove another ten times. I next turned the sharpener 180 degrees vertically, so that the fine groove was now upward. I pulled each blade through the fine groove ten times, rotated the sharpener 180 degrees horizontally, and pulled each blade through the fine groove another ten times.
Although most of the problem knives remained problem knives, all of them were noticeably sharper after this procedure. A couple of them were even on the border of graduating to “good knife” status (they were now sharp enough to shave the hair from my forearm).
The “Good Knife” Test
Since the sharpener seemed to improve the problem knives without inflicting any obvious damage, I thought it might be safe to try it out on some of my “good knives.” Since the good knives already had a decent edge, I used the coarse groove very sparingly, and focused instead on a gentle application of the fine groove. I tested it on a three-inch Browning 0207 folder with a liner lock, on a three-point-five inch Coast FX350 folder with a frame lock, and on the three-point-six inch Ontario RAT 1 folder with a liner lock that is reviewed above. I was very satisfied with the results on all three knives (even though evaluating those results left me with a rather large shaved patch on my left forearm).
If you are highly skilled with another knife sharpening system, then the AccuSharp Diamond PRO 2 Step Knife Sharpener is probably not for you. But if you have never quite mastered any of the more demanding methods of sharpening your knives, and if you could use some help keeping a halfway decent edge on them, then this tool may be what you are looking for. The coarse diamond rods are greatly superior to the carbide cutters on the Smith’s sharpener, while the fine ceramic rods are equally good. I will probably pick up a couple of more of these sharpeners in the near future so that I can keep one in my pack, one in my basement workshop, and one in the barn.
At the time of this writing, the AccuSharp Diamond PRO 2 Step Knife Sharpener was available from Amazon.com for just under $11.
I did not receive any financial or other inducements for mentioning any vendor, product, or service in this article.