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Hands-on Gear Review
Old Timer 180T Mighty Mite Review
Cons: Too small for most adult hands to perform major tasks
Bottom line: Tiny knife for occasional use or very small hands.
The Old Timer Mighty Mite is well named. The design is predominantly a throwback style to knives of the early 1900s. Shrade, the manufacturer, has updated this particular old-fashioned appearing product with a modern locking mechanism. It is also very tiny. Basically, it is as small as a knife can be and still be even a little useful. For those with small hands, or those with light-duty tasks, the Mighty Mite will suffice. For day-to-day use for most adults, something larger is a better choice.
RELATED REVIEW: The 11 Best Pocket Knives of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Old Timer is almost the smallest knife in our test and by far the simplest. With one, small, locking blade, this is a casual tool for casual users. It can unobtrusively jingle around with the change in your pocket until you need it to open a letter or sharpen a pencil.
Something has to score at the bottom of our list. In this case, the two small knives we tested share this bottom slot. The Old Timer and Gerber Fine Edge are exactly tied in overall scoring. The Old Timer is more portable, while the Gerber is easier to use. Either is appropriate for occasional use and will virtually disappear in your pocket.
Blade and Edge Integrity
Among knife and steel aficionados the "7Cr17 High Carbon Stainless Steel" Shrade uses in the Old Timer 18OT doesn't have a solid reputation. It is a relatively hard steel. Regular knife users dislike this because it is hard to sharpen. This also means that it holds its edge well, once sharpened. Now, those regular users of knives are repeatedly dulling and then resharpening their blades. Hard steel like 7Cr17 is difficult to sharpen. The thing is, in this tiny, occasional use knife, steel like this isn't the liability one might first assume given the poor reviews for the material alone.
From the factory, in our experience, the blade is plenty sharp. The knife is so small that one cannot exert a large amount of force nor can one use it for extended tasks. This alone, the usage pattern dictated by the form-factor prevents rapid dulling of the blade. The factory edge will last long enough and sharp enough to satisfy anyone that might choose this tiny tool. The occasional sharpening one will need to do will be tedious, but manageable. Another drawback of this hard steel is its brittleness. For chopping and prying, the blade material of the 18OT is ill suited. Again, however, the form-factor serves to protect the product. One simply isn't going to tackle heavy tasks with this knife.
Among the other small knives, the blade of the Old Timer is the least useful and least sharp, overall. The blade on the Gerber Fine Edge STL is quite a bit larger, the main cutter of the Top Pick **Victorinox Classic* is similar in size but more sophisticated in construction and materials, while the Best Buy CRKT Squid is in an entirely different league. The CRKT has a finely tuned blade in a compact package.
If you have child-sized hands, you can use this knife for extensive whittling and cutting. Otherwise, it will be relegated to super-light duty tasks. Just like our Top Pick Victorinox Classic the Old Timer is simply too small for adult hands to do the extended cutting.
Often, smaller pieces of equipment are more prone to manufacturing issues and sloppy tolerances. So far, in our months of testing of the Old Timer, we've had no issues with hinges, locks, or side-plates. The "Mighty Mite" is indeed mighty. The steel, Delrin, and brass construction are proven, classic, and dependable. We fear that the brass "liner lock" will fatigue or bind, but that has yet to happen.
The simpler construction of the Gerber Fine Edge is surely more robust, while the **Victorinox Classic* seems flimsy like the Mighty Mite. For the record, we experienced no issues with the construction of neither the Mighty Mite nor the Classic. The Best Buy CRKT Squid and Kershaw Leek are both bigger than the Old Timer but smaller than the other knives we tested. The Kershaw and CRKT, though, are considerably more robust in construction.
Portability is a function of size and carry options. A smaller knife is more portable, as is a knife with a pocket clip and/or a keychain attachment. By size alone, only the Victorinox Classic is more mobile. However, the Classic edges ahead with a simple keychain clip. The Old Timer Mighty Mite is so small that it can easily get lost in one's pockets with receipts and coins. For rapid use, a pocket clip or even keychain attachment is faster to find and grab ahold of.
There are no other features on the Old Timer.
We recommend this as a kid's first knife or for inclusion in a small emergency or first aid kit.
This contender is the second least expensive knife we tested. Only the Top Pick Victorinox Classic is less expensive. Both are tiny and inexpensive. If one is comparing them directly, the Old Timer is a bit "classier" and has a locking blade, while the Classic has more tools and slightly better blade steel. Both are excellent products for what you pay.
In short, we like the miniature stature and classic lines of the Mighty Mite. There are more usable knives in our test, and there are surely more sophisticated products, but we included the Old Timer for a good reason. It is tiny, reliable, and serves as a throwback to your grandfather's pocket collection. The liner lock brings a modern up date to the knife.
— Jediah Porter
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