I have done this for almost a year now and over that time and, in fact, before I started this blog I had long kept in my head a list of features I would want on my perfect knife. I believe that I have finalized that list (for now).
First, I think that of all the knives I have used, the Spyderco Dragonfly II is just about the perfect size and shape for an EDC blade. The finger choil is very nice and allows for a full handed grip on a very small blade. I also like the curved scimitar-like handle. The length of the blade is just about perfect. Large enough and with enough belly to do serious EDC work, but not so big as to be intimidating. I would want something larger in a survival setting or for defense, but for EDC, the Dragonfly II's length is perfect, especially with the choil and hefty jimping. So start out with the Dragonfly II.
For blade steel, I would, of course, prefer ZDP-189. It has outperformed every steel I have tested by a large margin. It also holds an edge forever. No real question here. I have even been impressed with its rust resistance, which is not its selling point, but has been more than acceptable thus far.
As you can see, these two things get me to the ZDP-189 Dragonfly II, one of only two knives I have ever given a perfect 20/20 (the other was the Sebenza).
The thumb hole is my preferred method of deployment, keeping the thumb pad inside the hole is an almost effortless task, making deployment smooth and easy. I could also be persuaded that a flipper is the way to go, especially with IKBS in the pivot. Here is a shot of the guts of an IKBS pivot:
I have handled a few IKBS knives, one a custom and the other a CRKT Ripple, and both were stunningly smooth and very rigid. If I could I would add that to the pivot. If it pushed the weight beyond 2.5 ounces, though I would drop it. Weight is more important than a smooth pivot.
As for handle materials, I am not planning on butchering a cow, so texture is not so important. I like the look and feel of smooth carbon fiber, and jimping on the spine and the finger choil compensate for the loss in grip. It is really the weight that I like about carbon fiber. That and the sweet pattern. If I could I would opt for the Nishijin pattern carbon fiber found on a few Spydercos. Here is a shot of it on the upcoming Spyderco R:
A couple of knives already have used this, most prominently the Spyderco Lum Chinese Folder. Even cooler looks and still a tough featherweight. If the weight savings is not that great (the Aluminum handled Lum is 2.6 oz while the Nishijin is 3.0 oz, but they have different steels, so I am not positive it is all in the handle) then I'd opt for white G-10. There was already a white Dragonfly for the Air and Space Museum and it was gorgeous:
I like the wire pocket clip a great deal, but I don't like the shiny coating. I would prefer a gray colored wire with a matte finish. I have found that the gray Sebenza clip just disappears on almost all fabric, so that color would be ideal.
For a lock, I'd really like an Axis lock, but that is probably not possible due to patent issues. Absent that I'd like a Compression Lock but that would require liners and I want this knife to be light. Given all of those restrictions I'd probably just keep the lockback as I have had no problems with it and it is plenty strong for EDC tasks.
Other nice touches I would include are a piped lanyard hole, which looks nice and adds a bit of function. I would also like a rounded spine like on the Sebenza. This adds a great deal of function as it makes the knife easier to extract and nicer to handle when it is in your pocket.
So there you have it. My ideal knife would be a Spyderco Dragonfly II with Nishijin carbon fiber handle scales, an IKBS pivot, a piped lanyard hole, a rounded spine, and a matte gray wire deep carry pocket clip. I'd love the whole thing to come in around 2 ounces, but I think the IKBS pivot adds a bit of weight. If it were 2.25 ounces I'd be thrilled. I would imagine all of this would cost a pretty penny, something like $150.
Mr. Sal Glesser, thank you for your attention to this matter.