The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Old Timer 180T Mighty Mite Review

Tiny knife for occasional use or very small hands.
Old Timer 180T Mighty Mite
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Price:  $13 List | $10.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Tiny and reliable
Cons:  Too small for most adult hands to perform major tasks
Manufacturer:   Old Timer Knives
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 21, 2017
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56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#18 of 18
  • Blade and Edge Integrity - 30% 6
  • Ergonomics - 20% 3
  • Portability - 20% 9
  • Construction Quality - 20% 7
  • Other Features - 10% 0

Our Verdict

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, the award-winning Kershaw Chill performs better overall at a near-identical price.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Tiny and reliableIncredible blade quality, assisted open, perfect combination of compactness/functionalityProven and well-respected blade, smooth, comfortable ergonomicsGreat blade, classy wooden handleImmaculate materials, assisted opening, fully symmetrical performance
Cons Too small for most adult hands to perform major tasksPricey, blade lock mechanism not intuitiveLarge, no assisted openingExpensive, no assisted opening functionLarge in your pocket, expensive
Bottom Line Tiny knife for occasional use or very small hands.Immaculately constructed knife in a form-factor that is easy to carry and large enough for virtually every task.Full-size, basic folding pocket knife with immaculate construction.A solid little knife for all-around “every day carry”. With assisted opening, this model would be similar enough to our Editors' Choice to really complicate our assessment.The full size version of our Editors' Choice is less portable with minimal but real gains in usability. If you know you need a full size pocket knife, the Barrage 580 is a great choice.
Rating Categories Old Timer 180T Mighty Mite Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585 Benchmade Griptilian 551 Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork Benchmade Barrage 580
Blade And Edge Integrity (30%)
10
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6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
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9
Ergonomics (20%)
10
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3
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9
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10
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8
10
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9
Portability (20%)
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9
10
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8
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6
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8
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6
Construction Quality (20%)
10
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7
10
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9
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9
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9
10
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9
Other Features (10%)
10
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10
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10
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10
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10
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Specs Old Timer 180T... Benchmade... Benchmade... Benchmade 15031-2... Benchmade Barrage...
Weight (ounces) 0.9 3.4 3.9 3.2 4.2
Blade Style Clip point, straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight Drop point, straight
Blade locks closed? No Yes No Yes Yes
Opening Style Fingernail Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud Ambidextrous thumb stud Ambidextrous thumb-stud Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud
Lock Mechanism Liner locking mechanism Proprietary (Axis) Proprietary (Axis) Proprietary (Axis) Proprietary (Axis)
Carry Style, in addition to loose in pocket None Pocket Clip and lanyard hole Pocket Clip Pocket Clip Pocket Clip, lanyard hole
Blade Material High carbon stainless steel 154CM Steel 154CM steel CPM-S30V stainless steel 154 CM stainless steel
Handle Material Brass and resin Plastic Plastic Stabilized wood Valox
Blade Length (inches) 1.8 2.9 3.5 2.9 3.8
Closed Length (inches) 2.8 4 4.6 3.9 4.8
Overall Length 4.7 6.9 8 6.9 8.5
Thickness (w/o pocket clip) (inches) 0.4 0.57 0.6 0.53 0.7
Other Features or Functions None None None None None

Our Analysis and 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.

Performance Comparison


Overall the Old Timer MIghty Mite is just too small to be a contender with the literal big dogs.

Detail shot of the Old Timer. Name plate  "liner lock" labeled with the word "Press"  and the Shrade brand on the blade.
Detail shot of the Old Timer. Name plate, "liner lock" labeled with the word "Press", and the Shrade brand on the blade.

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 main cutter of the Top Pick Victorinox Classic is similar in size but more sophisticated in construction and materials, while the CRKT Squid is in an entirely different league. The CRKT has a finely tuned blade in a compact package.

Ergonomics


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 any extended cutting.

The Mighty Mite in an average adult male hand  for size reference. This is a small knife  suitable for easy pocket carry for light duty tasks.
The Mighty Mite in an average adult male hand, for size reference. This is a small knife, suitable for easy pocket carry for light duty tasks.

Construction Quality


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.

Brass liner lock on the Old Timer  engaged. To close the blade the user must press the diagonaling brass tab to the left in this photo.
Brass liner lock on the Old Timer, engaged. To close the blade the user must press the diagonaling brass tab to the left in this photo.

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 cousins Kershaw Chill and Kershaw Leek are both bigger than the Old Timer but smaller than the other knives we tested. The Kershaw and Opinel, though, are considerably more robust in construction.

Portability


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.

The small knives we tested for 2016  with their respective blades open for comparison. From left to right  the Old Timer  Top Pick Victorinox Classic  and Gerber Fine Edge STL.
The small knives we tested for 2016, with their respective blades open for comparison. From left to right, the Old Timer, Top Pick Victorinox Classic, and Gerber Fine Edge STL.

Other Features


There are no other features on the Old Timer.

Best Applications


We recommend this as a kid's first knife or for inclusion in a small emergency or first aid kit.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

As a handy companion  the Old Timer is a suitable letter opener  as well as being appropriate for light duty cutting tasks like pencil sharpening and cutting string.
As a handy companion, the Old Timer is a suitable letter opener, as well as being appropriate for light duty cutting tasks like pencil sharpening and cutting string.


Jediah Porter