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.
Old Timer 180T Mighty Mite Review
Cons: Too small for most adult hands to perform major tasks
Manufacturer: Old Timer Knives
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Old Timer 180T Mighty Mite
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|Pros||Tiny and reliable||Incredible blade quality, assisted open, perfect combination of compactness/functionality||Proven and well-respected blade, smooth, comfortable ergonomics||Great blade, classy wooden handle||Immaculate materials, assisted opening, fully symmetrical performance|
|Cons||Too small for most adult hands to perform major tasks||Pricey, blade lock mechanism not intuitive||Large, no assisted opening||Expensive, no assisted opening function||Large 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%)|
|Construction Quality (20%)|
|Other Features (10%)|
|Specs||Old Timer 180T...||Benchmade...||Benchmade...||Benchmade 15031-2...||Benchmade Barrage...|
|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|
|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.
Overall the Old Timer MIghty Mite is just too small to be a contender with the literal big dogs.
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.
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.
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 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 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