The Baladeo 34 gram’r
Pocket knives are kinda like underwear: eventually almost everyone will be see the need, and while fit and function drive individual preference, ideology often plays a surprisingly large role.
I’ve been a big fan of the 34 gram Baladeo since I got one from the much lamented BPL store a number of years ago. It’s light, elegant, sturdy, and long enough in the handle and blade to be practical for someone with hands my size. The pocket clip is convenient and secure, and the overall quality excellent.
What objections do folks have to the Baladeo? Most revolve around the modest factory sharpness, and the perceived lack of safety in the design. The factory edge can easily be improved upon, but I really put mine into another level of sharpness and convenience this summer when I repatterned the edge to be quasi-convex. Sandpaper may not be the most durable of tools, but it is light and compact for carry in the field, and when I’m backpacking I always have a bit of foam at hand to go with it. That, and for someone like me whose relationship with precision is irregular, convex sharpening with the sandpaper method yields a sharper edge with greater ease and consistency. The edge on my knife is now very sharp indeed.
The safety issue with the lock is vastly overblown. Is it the most inherently safe design, one suitable for Cub Scouts whittling soap? Perhaps not. But for an adult not accidentally depressing the lock is easy: just don’t do it! With a knife like this, meant for finer tasks, this is a reasonable expectation.
I’ve had dalliances with other knives in recent years, both around town and in the woods, but I always come back to this one. There are rare occasions when more or different knife is needed, but they’re exceedingly rare. The open design even largely fixes one of my chief objections with folders, as it is relatively easy to plumb fish guts, cheese, and other detritus out of the cracks. It’s enough knife almost all the time, it’s aesthetically satisfying, and most significantly it is very easy to keep close at hand in almost every circumstance. What more could one want?