Shopping From The Present

Shopping from Germany – Mercator K55K Pocket Knife

Amsterdam airport security confiscated my beloved Opinel #6.   Despite a low replacement cost, I was sad to see this one go.  It was purchased from the now defunct George & Son cutlery in Portland, Oregon.  For whatever reason, the knife lacked a proper locking mechanism.  Tom’s Dad was nice enough to fashion a leather toggle that kept the knife safely shut during pocket carry.

Here is grainy evidence of the knife in use during my recent visit to London (actual location: Snarebrook Travelodge).  Despite concerns about TSA confiscation, I always bring an Opinel along on International trips to facilitate my austerity dinners of salami and cheese. IMG_7542

For variation, Tom suggested that I try out the Mercator cat K55K folding pocket knife.  The design is over 75 years and is still made in Solingen, Germany.  The Mercator features a carbon steel blade, black coated steel handle and lanyard loop.  I’m a little intimidated by the all around sharp edges of the knife so I’ve been sheathing it in the original (non Archival) plastic packaging.  Here’s a great short video showing Mercator blades being stamped out in the Solingen factory.   I bought the knife because of this video.




I’m already shopping for my next replacement knife.  I’m tempted by this club sized Opinel photographed at Columbus Cutlery by Puck Ananta.



On an aspirational level, I’m in love with this red handled model by G. Wiseman for Kaufman Mercantile.  Friend and frame builder Eric Estlund recommends another domestic model made from quality steel at more of an Archival pricepoint:


Great Eastern Cutlery Farm & Field orange Delrin Lock

 Here is my original August 2010 post on shopping for pocket knives

7 thoughts on “Shopping from Germany – Mercator K55K Pocket Knife”

  1. I’m not sure, but it could be the length of the blade that caused the problem. Something about the length being able to pierce the heart through the chest…. I remember my mother telling me that when she worked in a store that sold pocket knives, this was the reason they didn’t sell certain types. Of course this was decades ago, but the story stuck I’m my head, along with a wicked visual.

  2. Bring in the Mercator and I’ll take measurements for a little sheath. & I agree with you about the video — love it!

    1. Can you make a burgundy leather sheath so that I can carry my Mercator K55K Black Cat open (as if it was a fixed blade/hunting knife?)

  3. Hey Lesli
    Long time reader, first time commenter here. You should check out the Moki Fish Owl. It’s a great pocket knife with similar aesthetics to the G. Wiseman model and it comes in two sizes. Moki is Japanese made and the company is nearing 110 years. I’ve had my Fish Owl for a year and it’s a very well made knife.

  4. Hey Lesli,
    Long time reader, first time commenter here. You should give the Moki Fish Owl a look. Japanese made, nearly a 110 year old company, comes in two sizes, and from my personal experiences I can vouch for there quality. Plus it’s aesthetically similar to G. Wiseman model.


  5. Oh austere/ageless pocket knife recommendations:
    The French have an equivalent to the Mercator Cat, called the Douk Douk knife. Varying sizes.

    Svord makes a folding peasant clasp knife, whose design goes back about 1000 years. Polypropylene or wood handles. Mind you, those don’t lock at all. Cheap

    EKA of Sweden makes folding slipjoint and locking (don’t carry a locking folding knife in England! Very Verboten!) knives, almost like folding Puukko knives, very nice. Cheap-to-Middling $$ Wood, Plastic handles.

    The Japanese have a ancient style folding clasp knife, the higonokami and various *kami. Actually tends to stay pretty locked. Usually all hand forged blades, sometimes laminated. Cheap, various sizes. Flat-tipped/unpointed so fairly PC.

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