Some quick praise for a tool I’ve had for almost a decade, the Wichard 3-Function Boat Knife (W3). I have owned other sailing knives while I have had the W3 but I just keep coming back to it again and again.
Wichard Boat Knife Basics:
The Shackler, spike and locking blade are the 3 tools packaged in this knife. The simple to use shackle key comes with a built in bottle opener. The marlin spike locks into place and is ready to work on the most difficult knots. To retract the spike and blade the shackle key must be raised. Finally the half-serrated 316L stainless steel blades give you the flexibility to cut through many materials. It has a colorful composite handle so that you can easily locate your knife and pre-cut hole for a tether.
When I originally purchased the W3 Boat Knife the biggest selling point for me was it allowed for an awesome grip. The elastomer handle is full and rounded; it feels like you are holding a hammer or something with heft. All three of the tools, when in use, need some force to operate, be it sawing, creating torque, or trying to wedge the spike. The grip on the W3 makes you feel VERY secure when working, which is what I feel is its strongest selling point. Next the construction of the tools is sturdy.
The blade, shackler, and spike are all built from a nice weighty stainless steel. You know when you are using the W3 that you can really put it to work without hesitation. Many times when you need to pull the knife or other tool out to do a job it needs to be quick, correct, and safe.
Wichard Boat Knife, the Good:
Awesome grip, very solid durable construction, and streamline tool selection are the greatest parts of this knife. Everything is very functional and strong. The tools are large and perfect for 100’s of jobs on the boat and dock. In my experience it lasts, even without a lot of proper maintenance. The dual function blade is great and provides enough of each type of edge to do a proper cutting job.
Wichard Boat Knife, the Bad:
Locking blades are in place for safety. Some are just better designed than others. This is a very typical locking system with the most benign of the 3 tools (shackler) being used as the unlocking key. To release the blade you have to lift the shackler up toward the exposed edge, essentially moving your hand and fingers at the sharpest part of the knife. This isn’t a deal breaker and really shouldn’t be but it is a system that could be better designed. The weight is another issue one might have. It is just about 5oz (4.938) and has a wide shape so it does take up real estate in a pocket. Finally, when the knife first arrives it needs to be worn in and WD-40ed. The tools are sticky and they are on a metal hinge so it needs a few shots of a lubricant and some open…close…repeat to wear it to a comfortable operating smoothness.
Overall review of the Wichard 3W Boat Knife
This has been the longest lasting and most useful sailing multi tool I have had. The Good points very much outweigh the Bad. The weight isn’t a real issue unless you just cannot stand things in your pocket. A break in process is typical with many hinged knifes and it gives you a chance to get to know the operation and parts of the tool. Finally, you will be very pleased with how well the W3 stands up to years of use and saltwater.