The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

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How Amazon Profits Off Counterfeits

Fake knives are a big concern. If you buy from eBay or some less than stellar sites like Alibaba, there’s a fair chance that the knife you get is a fake.

But, if you were to buy a knife from a site like Amazon, it has to be real, right? Not exactly.

We have had a lot of complaints about the way Amazon does business over the years. For example, earlier this year, we wrote about how the massive online store restricts the sale of legal knives to some people. Back in 2013, we also wrote about how sites like Amazon have a leg up selling knives against smaller businesses such as ours thanks to Google.

But, one of our biggest complaints with Amazon has been the fact that they are plagued with counterfeits. Now, a recent story reveals that Amazon not only sells counterfeits frequently but benefits when fakes are sold and does little to rectify the problem.

Amazon ‘Thrives’ from Fakes

An article in the Los Angeles Times reported on fake products, including fake charging cables, and how they’ve affected legitimate businesses.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Not only has the platform avoided any serious backlash for allowing the sale of fake goods, it’s actually thrived from it, say more than two dozen brand owners, e-commerce consultants, attorneys, investigators and public policy experts.

Counterfeiters help pressure brands to sell their wares on the site. Companies that avoid Amazon risk letting counterfeiters determine how their goods appear to customers on the most influential e-commerce site — ceding control, for instance, of which pictures are used to promote a product and which colors and sizes are offered.

The spread of cheaper knockoffs can also put pressure on authentic sellers and brands to lower their prices, helping Amazon win more customers.

The company has resisted calls to do more to police its site and address claims by businesses that they are losing millions in lost sales and reputational harm, according to experts.

One of the biggest culprits is the third-party sellers on Amazon. When you buy something off Amazon, a third-party seller will often fulfill the orders, but they may be selling fakes. Even when Amazon itself fulfills the order, the products in their inventory may be fake without them knowing about it.

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Is Amazon Restricting the Sale of Legal Knives to Some States?

There are hundreds of reasons not to buy knives from Amazon.

Not only is there a possibility you’d get a fake knife but it is also crippling small businesses like ours. (Oh, and Amazon also treat employees like crap.)

And now Amazon has started preventing law-abiding citizens from buying and shipping knives to certain states.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how long this has been going on or how widespread it is, but a customer brought it to our attention. Here’s the lowdown.

A customer tried to purchase a Kershaw Link from Amazon and have it shipped somewhere in Long Island, New York. However, upon checkout, they got a notice saying the item “can’t be shipped to your selected address.” So, he wisely bought the folder from Knife Depot instead.

Why?

New York & Massachusetts Restricted

After I did a little digging, I found one of the earliest incidence of a restricted knife purchase was in 2012 on a forum post at NY Firearms. That was chocked up to a possible error.

The issue didn’t seem to start gaining more attention until late 2017 when someone posted on Blade Forums about a knife purchase not going through. However, this one was from Massachusetts.

I did my own little experiment trying to buy and ship a Kershaw Cryo G-10 to an address in New York City.

This is what I got:

I thought it could just be because the address was in New York City so I picked an address in Central New York (Syracuse, to be exact). The same result.

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Why Does Google Lust for Amazon and Loathe Knife Depot?

Imagine if the most powerful Internet company — one that handles 100 billion searches for information a month — prohibited everyone except for the world’s largest e-commerce store to advertise for a specific product. What would that look like? It would look like this.


Above is a screenshot for the search term “throwing knives,” one of our most popular categories at Knife Depot.

We used to to run Google AdWords for throwing knives, but in May, Google turned off all ads for the search term “throwing knives” after they designated it a weapon. Obviously, we disagreed with such a characterization, but weren’t surprised, as in March Google had prohibited all ads for “Assisted Opening Knives” and canceled our entire AdWords account because we sold completely legal spring-assisted knives.

We were eventually reinstated on AdWords, but now for the second time Google has banned our ads for specific products, while Amazon continues to advertise for those products. And it doesn’t end with throwing knives either. Who’s currently running ads for the term “assisted- opening knives?”


Yeah, you guessed, Amazon is in the house, joined by Walmart and Cabella’s. It’s a mega-brand menage-a-trois, with poor Knife Depot relegated to the sideline.

If you looked a year ago, there would have been probably close to a dozen sites advertising for this term. Now, it seems that Google has managed to successfully eliminate all advertisers except for their big-spending compadres.

Why does Google Apply Its Adwords Policy Unfairly?

That’s a fantastic question and one that your pals at Knife Depot have asked ad nauseum to AdWords support staff over the last year. Over hundreds of emails, Google has rarely countered our claims that they are favoring big brands. In fact, in one email this spring a customer service representative affirmed our point:

“I am still waiting on an answer to my reply where I asked for a universal enforcement of the policy OR we allow knife depot back online. I replied and said, I refuse to tell knife-depot they need to remove a product category that 7 other competitors are advertising & selling the same products. I then named each domain, called out the double standard, and requested that they state the clear differences that allows these competitors to serve & knife depot to be suspended. Still waiting on this reply.“

Google’s AdWords support staff is an intractable bureaucracy that makes decisions based on policy edicts that they seemingly have no power to influence or change. Clearly, one huge element of that policy is to never take down ads or suspend the accounts of big-spending AdWords partners. Continue reading

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Legislation on ‘Gravity Knives’ in NY Moves Forward… Again

 

The arrests of knife owners in New York continues.

More than four years after the Village Voice published an exposé on how vague wording in the statutes have led to thousands of arrests against mostly minority knife owners in New York City, the arrests are still going on.

Even after lobbying from Knife Rights and the passage of two bills by the state’s legislature clarifying the law (which were ultimately vetoed), police are still using gravity knives as an excuse to arrest law-abiding citizens.

But, “tenacious dems” — as Knife Rights puts it  — have continued to work on stopping the arrests in New York City. The state assembly just passed a bill that would completely remove “gravity knives” from New York criminal statutes. It passed unanimously. The state senate will soon vote on a companion bill, and I expect it to be passed near unanimously as well.

What happens after that remains a question.

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7 Knives Sent to Space

According to the aptly named website howmanypeopleareinspacerightnow.com, there are currently three people in space.

Although NASA retired the Space Shuttle program a few years back, there are still grand plans for sending people back to the moon and eventually to Mars.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, when Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon (with Buzz Aldrin a close second), we thought it’d be interesting to take a look back at the knives that have gone into space.

Camillus Mil-K

Close-up view of pocket knife, part of the Friendship 7 Survival Kit (A19670176001), August 8, 2013. Smithsonian

Since the first people were sent into space, they have almost always had a knife within reach. I’m not sure whether the first man in space — cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin — carried a knife (though I’m sure he did). However, we do know what the first American man carried into space.

According to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Alan Shepherd carried the Camillus Mil-K Demo Knife in his kit during the United States’ first manned mission to space on May 5, 1961. This was the US-equivalent of the classic Swiss Army Knife made by Victorinox. The version Shepherd carried had a tang stamped with 1959.

Unfortunately, Camillus filed for bankruptcy in 2007 before being bought out by Acme United.

Randall Made Knives Model 17 Astro

This knife has one of the coolest stories. At the time, NASA had this philosophy that if something didn’t exist, it would simply make it. The team needed a survival knife for emergencies and couldn’t find one suitable for them. So astronaut Gordon Cooper and NASA doctor William Douglas reached out to Bo Randall of Randall Made Knives to create a special design.

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Why Do People Hate Assisted-Openers?

If you were to peruse some popular knife forums, you’d think the invention of the assisted-opening mechanism was the worst thing to happen to the knife world.

The truth is that the average user could not care less whether the knife is spring-assisted. As long as it opens reliably and is relatively cheap, most people barley notice.

So, why do most knife nuts seem to hate assisted-opening knives with a passion? These are the most common arguments against assisted blades.

(Note: I’m being the devil’s advocate and citing some common arguments. I honestly don’t have a preference between assisted-openers and manual folders.)

1. Assisted-openers are dangerous

One of the biggest complaints about assisted-openers is that they’re dangerous. There are stories from people across the internet who say an assisted opener engaged while in the pocket. Those with flipper tabs are likely more dangerous because they can open up pretty easily when some pressure is applied to the edge of the closed knife. (This is a problem that can be mostly prevented with right-handed tip-down carry where the pocket would help keep it closed.)

I’ve carried assisted-openers before and never had one open. However, I have had an unassisted knife open slightly in my pocket. I don’t remember the circumstances that caused it, but any type of knife can be dangerous. Take a look at what could happen with an auto:

A first for me. Boker Kalashnikov opened in my pocket. from knives

Some have even complained that the strength of the assisted open is so powerful that the knife feels like it’s going to jump out of the hand.

2. Safety lock negates any advantages

To combat the first complaint, many knives come with safety mechanisms that keep the blade closed. For example, many Kershaw SpeedSafe models have a little peg that slides behind the blade to keep it from opening up accidentally. While it does increase the safety of the knife, it also counteracts the quickness and accessibility of the knife.

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How to Tell If You Have a Real Damascus Steel Blade

The knife world is plagued with fakes and frauds.

People on eBay are trying to pass off $400 Sebenzas as real and sellers on Amazon are unknowingly selling fake CRKT and SOGs to unsuspecting customers.

Because of all the tricksterism plaguing the knife community, I often get asked whether a knife is real or fake. While I recently wrote a guide on how to spot a counterfeit knife, it didn’t address another popular question — is my Damascus knife a fake?

Damascus knives are becoming more popular and more prevalent from the most popular knife brands like Spyderco (with the Endura and others) to lesser known brands like BucknBear.

What makes people even more confused about the legitimacy of Damascus steel is the vast price differences. Could a $50 knife with Damascus steel be real when you see other Damascus blades topping the $500 mark?

Let’s dig deeper.

What is Damascus?

Before determining whether your Damascus is fake or real, we should first define what Damascus actually is.

Damascus is that wavy pattern in steel that looks exotic and downright gorgeous.

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How to Spot a Counterfeit Knife

This week is International Fraud Awareness Week.

The global effort to raise awareness and minimize the incidence of fraud is wide reaching. Although you may not think fraud affects you so much, fraud reaches every facet of society — whether it’s fraudulent products, fraudulent charities, and those scams we see peppered in every comments section.

While many think knives are safe from fraud, there’s a huge industry of fraud surrounding knives, and it’s important to be aware.

We’ve written about how to spot counterfeits before in an old post, but I thought we’d update with some additional information and tips.

Signs of a Counterfeit Knife

Let’s take a look at a few telltale signs that you may have bought a counterfeit knife. One of these alone isn’t necessarily evidence but can be an indication.

Sign #1: Deals that are too good to be true.

People always mention this as a surefire sign of a counterfeit knife — which is a knife with all the branding of an original but from a different source. If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.

It may be tempting to see a $150 knife sold for $50 and think, that’s a deal I can’t pass up! Unfortunately, no one is going to sell a knife for that cheap if it’s the real deal.

#fakesebenza #lol #copy not that bad hopefully own a real one one day

A post shared by Ace Tpa (@ace_tpa) on

When it gets harder is when people sell the $150 knife for $120. Although the discount isn’t as steep, it is a discount, especially if people claim it’s new or out of the box.

Sign #2: You bought from a disreputable vendor.

eBay

Don’t take this the wrong way, but eBay is a cesspool of criminals and con artists looking to make a quick buck off of you. While it’s possible to find good deals on eBay, the auction site has a poor reputation as a hotbed for counterfeits in the knife community.

Well-done ESEE-3 fake

Even buying knives at or near the original price is not indication that it’s legitimate. Even seeing the images on the site may not be reliable, since they could have taken a picture of the real thing and then send the fake.

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10 Ways to Store or Display Your Knife Collection

If you’re a knife collector like me then you know the importance of knife storage. My knives are considered invaluable to me, and for most collectors, they hold a certain sentimental value, so it only makes sense to store them properly and preserve their beauty and longevity for generations to come.

Keeping them sharp, oiled, dry and out of the sun is key to ensuring they stay rust free and last forever, but how you store them can also be crucial. Throwing your knives in a drawer and letting them get beat up is a bad way to go.

Here are some different ways to store your extensive knife collection:

1. Knife Bag

The knife bag is a great option for folders, especially if you like carrying your knives from time to time. Brands like Zero Tolerance, Benchmade, and Case all have great storage bags for knives that come in an array of sizes.

Bags can be made from top grain leather, vinyl, canvas, and heavy-duty polyester with insides that include felt, thick foam padding, and soft cloth material for scratch-free storage. Most come with adjustable shoulder straps for easy carry and zippered or Velcro closures for safe keeping.

My Pick: The Spyderco SpyderPac large bag is a hard-to-beat proven seller. Made of black heavy duty polyester denier with large clear individual viewing pockets. This is a great solution for outdoorsmen who like to not only transport their folders but store and display them as well. Choose between the small or large version.

  • Small measures 16″x18″ holds 18 folders with a MSRP $39.95
  • Large measures 25″x8″ holds 32 folding knives MSRP of $49.95

2. Protector Cases

Protector cases — like those used for guns — are a surprisingly effective method for storing knives. Well, maybe not that surprising since they’re designed to hold guns and other gear, but the cases that feature egg crate material hold knives in place extremely well. On top of that, many of these cases lock, so you don’t have to worry about little ones with candied fingers getting in.

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What is Minimum Advertised Pricing (MAP) and How Does it Affect Knives?

If you’ve ever bought something from an online store, you may have noticed the term MAP in fine print somewhere. Standing for Minimum Advertised Pricing, MAP plays a pretty big role in how much you pay for things — whether it’s knives, water canteens, or televisions.

Because we are a knife store, we thought we’d look at the pros and cons of MAP policies and how they affect you.

What is Minimum Advertised Pricing (MAP)?

We’ll start with the basic definition: MAP is a policy that sets the lowest possible price you can advertise something. For online stores, this means that the prices displayed must be at or above the amount established by the manufacturer.

To be clear, MAP only deals with the minimum advertised price, not necessarily how much the item can actually be sold for. So even at online stores, you can buy items conforming to MAP at cheaper prices. More on that later though.

Another thing to clarify is that not all manufacturers have MAP policies. Only a few actually have the policies and I think even fewer really enforce the policies. We’ll go into detail later but knife brands like Schrade, Case, and KA-BAR don’t have MAP policies while others like Benchmade, Spyderco, and Hogue do.

What is Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)?

You’ve likely seen MSRP next to prices as well. This is the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price or what price the manufacturer thinks the item should be sold at. This is just a general guideline and you’ll often see the street price significantly lower on these items (especially if they don’t have a MAP policy).

Why Does MAP Exist?

There are often raging debates about the benefits and drawbacks of MAP policies on BladeForums.

For the consumer, MAP can feel like a greedy money grab from manufacturers who are trying to keep prices high. I understand where that’s coming from too. MAP can prevent consumers from getting deals on their products and it prevents stores with the means to sell at lower margins.

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Top 20 Worst Knife Names Ever

They say a rose by any other name would smell as sweet… but if they were called stenchblossoms or crapweeds, I imagine they would be a bit less appealing.

The same thing goes for a knife. The almost universally acclaimed Ontario RAT Model 1 would still perform just as well if it were called the Ontario Elephant Earwax 7, but it might not be quite as popular.

While I acknowledge naming something is extremely difficult (I considered naming my son Humphrey), it can really kill the whole vibe of a knife. So I scoured the Internet and my memory bank to come up with a list of the worst knife names around. Many of these knives are well-made and perfectly usable but simply have a name that is off-putting.

This is my personal preference, so take that as you will. If you have any to add, let me know in the comments.

Note: I excluded custom knifemakers because they have a little more creative leeway. I also tried to exclude knives with people’s names. For example, I dislike all the Brian Tighe-related pun names (Tighe Rade, My Tighe, Tighe Coon, etc), but it’s the guy’s name so I let them be.

Finally, the LA Police Gear “The Best F***ing Knife” S35VN Every Day Carry Folding Knife (yes, that’s the full name) was considered for this list but I couldn’t figure out whether the overly descriptive and braggadocios name was so over the top it was the best name ever or the worst. I decided to leave it off for now.

20. Kershaw Wild Wild Turkey

Let’s start with one that’s a bit innocuous: the Kershaw Wild Wild Turkey. This now discontinued knife was actually a well-made and sleek gentleman’s folder. The steel was ATS 34 with titanium handles (if I’m correct). The name Wild Turkey is already a bit silly but the addition of another Wild takes things to another level.

I think Kershaw learned its lesson because future iterations of the knife were simply named Wild Turkey. Still, despite the name, this knife is still sought after by aficionados.

19. TOPS Felony Stop

Next we have the first of many TOPS Knives with the Felony Stop. Knives already get a bad rap because of their misuse by a few individuals and you don’t want to call attention to that fact. The name Felony Stop is a bit confusing anyway. Is it supposed to be an instruction to stop a felony or is the knife itself a felony stop? Either way, the knife wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t say FELONY in big bold letters right on the knife.

The knife, designed by the great Laci Szabo, is said to be only intended for law enforcement personnel and specialists, so take that as you will.

18. CRKT Hootenanny

Hootenanny is an Appalachian colloquialism that originally started off as a Scottish word meaning party or celebration. It has since evolved to mean thingamajig or whatchamacallit or doohickey. So when you say pass me that “Hootenanny,” it just sounds funny.

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Colorado Governor Signs Repeal of Switchblade Ban into Law

Just because nothing is getting done in Washington D.C. doesn’t mean nothing ever gets done in politics.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill into law yesterday that repeals the state’s switchblade and gravity knife ban thanks to some great work from Knife Rights.

The repeal essentially removes the language related to switchblades and gravity knives from the codes defining dangerous or illegal weapons.

It completely removes the following two passages from Title 18. Criminal Code,  Article 12. Offenses Relating to Firearms and Weapons,  Part 1. Firearms and Weapons – General:

(e) “Gravity knife” means any knife that has a blade released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force.

(j) “Switchblade knife” means any knife, the blade of which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in its handle.

It also eliminates gravity and switchblade knives from the section on possessing a dangerous or illegal weapon.

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See the new TOPS Knives Skullcrusher’s Xtreme Blade (SXB)

jaa_3900_large_

On Discovery Channel’s show “Naked and Afraid,” survivalist EJ “Skullcrusher” Snyder survived in the wilderness (without any clothes, of course) on nothing but his (and his partner’s) wit. He did this in two intense stints on the show: one on the plains of Tanzania’s Serengeti and another in the Amazonian rainforest.

Snyder is more than just a dude on a reality show; he trained in the Army Survival School and became obsessed with all aspects of survival. Now, the Gulf War veteran has teamed up with TOPS Knives to bring Skullcrusher’s X-Treme Blade (SXB).

Here’s a description of the SXB from TOPS:

“Skullcrusher’s Xtreme Blade” (SXB) was designed for the Warrior Survivalist to aid in their survival not only in the wild, but on the battlefield as well. Xtreme Situations require an Xtreme Blade, and the SXB meets that demand and then some! Why play in the wild when you can DOMINATE it!!!

Yeah, buddy! As you can tell from the description (and several exclamation points), TOPS is pretty enthusiastic about this knife. It’s not unwarranted, though. The knife looks thoroughly badass.

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10 Everyday Objects You Can Use To Sharpen a Knife

Whether you’re out in the wilderness with only a few pieces of gear or can’t find a sharp knife to save your life, a sharpener isn’t always there when you need it the most. Fortunately, with a little quick thinking and ingenuity, you can use a variety of household tools to sharpen your knives.

Before we delve into things, we must make it clear what we’re talking about when we say sharpening. The general term for “sharpen” is to give something a keen edge. The knife term for “sharpen” is a bit more specific. It means making a knife sharp by actually removing metal from the blade to form an edge.

Not all of these objects will sharpen a knife in the truest sense of the word. Some of them will merely hone or strop the edge. While honing and stropping will indeed sharpen a knife by realigning an edge, it’s not what knife experts typically deem as sharpen.

With all that being said, here are 10 everyday items you can use to sharpen your knife.

Coffee Mug

2012-02-02 09.45.23

We’ll start off with something that actually sharpens a knife by removing material from the blade. Ceramic coffee cups are readily available in most houses. Simply turn the mug upside down, search for the raw part of the cup (which is the rougher part of the bottom that prevents the cup from sliding around), and run the knife across the mug until you get your desired edge.

If it’s working well, you’ll see some discoloration on the mug, which indicates the ceramic is removing steel and sharpening the blade.

Leather Belt

bridle-leather-belt

Although stropping does not technically sharpen a blade, it does make a blade keener by realigning the edge. A leather belt, which is something you might be wearing right now, is a quick and easy item for stropping a blade. In fact, many professionals use leather straps for stropping.

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NoCry Cut-Resistant Gloves Review & Giveaway

NoCry Gloves

As someone who handles razor-sharp knives on a day-to-day basis, I’ve been cut on the rare occasion (nothing seriously mind you), so when the founder of NoCry Cut Resistant Gloves reached out for a review, I was intrigued.

They sent me three pairs to try out and here’s what I thought.

Purpose of Cut-resistant Gloves

If you’re a casual knife user, you might be wondering why anyone would need cut-resistant gloves. I thought the same until I met my wife. She’s a very competent and dexterous person, but when it comes to knives and food preparation, she’s a mess.

It started when she cut herself with a peeler a few times and grew worse after she sliced her finger chopping a sweet potato. Since then, she refuses to peel anything for fear of cutting herself. Her confidence is shot.

The NoCry Cut Resistant Gloves are the perfect solution for people like her. These gloves allow her to slice, dice, and peel without the fear of mixing blood and gore in with her famous homemade chili.

no-cry-gloves2

Aside from the typical use of holding items while cutting to increase confidence, NoCry Gloves also assist in a few other tasks. The folks at NoCry let me know that a large majority (around 80%) of people who bought the gloves use them in the kitchen. Ideal kitchen use for cut-resistant gloves is peeling, dicing, shucking oysters, grating cheese, or trying to cut a whole watermelon in 30 seconds or less.

Although I don’t have a mandoline slicer, many of the reviews on Amazon say that the gloves can also save a trip to the hospital.

The other 20% of users for these gloves are hunters and fishers. When you’re dealing with sharp knives in wet and slippery environments (filleting a carp or skinning a white-tailed deer), your hands become prone to slippage.

Initial Reaction to the NoCry Gloves

Enough background—let’s dive right in. The gloves arrived in a nondescript, resealable zippered plastic bag. Packed with the gloves were a proof-of-purchase slip and a print-out of some general instructions/care tips. You can tell NoCry is a fairly small operation from the packaging, and that’s not a bad thing.

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How to Get Tape Residue Off Your Knife Blade

We’ve entered the bizarre and convenient era of online buying. Thanks to companies like Amazon and Knife Depot, I get packages sent to my doorstep almost every day. Whether by a preprogramming from childhood or a general excitement, I simply can’t wait to tear open the box to see my new prize, even if it’s just a nonstick cake pan.

In my rush to open the box, my knife is what takes the most abuse. Whether because I’m impatient (or my wife is doing the opening), my knives always end up with a pile of tape gunk that doesn’t come off in warm water.

So what’s a man to do?

We’ve got that answer for you below.

Method 1: WD-40

WD-40 with Swiss Army Knife
Even though tape residue seems to be embedded on a blade, it’s actually fairly easy to remove. You have a number of options to take them off, but we’ll show you two different ways to remove the residue and the pros/cons. The first method we’re going with is the WD-40 way.

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Five Best Hatchets at Knife Depot

When I was a young kid in elementary school, I read Gary Paulsen’s wilderness novel called Hatchet. The story follows the survival efforts of a 13-year-old who crash lands in the middle of the woods, carrying nothing but his hatchet. From that point on, the hatchet became the coolest tool on the planet in my young eyes.

It’s almost two decades later now, but I still hold the hatchet in high regards because of its overall usefulness and feel. The weight of a good hatchet in your hand is unmatched.

In an effort to make the hatchet more accessible to newbies and experts alike, I’ve assembled the five best hatchets found at Knife Depot. If you have any you’d like to add to the list, feel free to let me know in the comments.

SOG Tactical Tomahawk

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For those who don’t know, a hatchet is essentially a small axe that you can use with one hand. The term itself is not mutually exclusive, meaning certain axes and tomahawks can be considered hatchets. The first hatchet on the list is the SOG Tactical Tomahawk. It consistently gets rave reviews on sites like Amazon for its functional design, durability and great look. The tomahawk has a 15.75-inch overall length with a 2.75-inch edge on the stainless steel blade head. It also comes with a molded hard nylon sheath.

Buy here.

Estwing Camper’s Axe

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Estwing is highly regarded in the world of axes, and this 16-inch camper’s axe is the perfect hatchet. Made from one piece of solid steel, the hatchet can handle anything you throw at it (or anything you throw it at). Around the handle is a shock-reduction grip to keep you from discomfort after excessive use. With its included leather sheath, this is probably one of the two best hatchets you can get that’s made in the USA.

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Perfecting the Core Four: Survival Instructor Creek Stewart Chats With Knife Depot

This is the first of a two-part series with survival expert Creek Stewart.  Tomorrow, Creek will be sharing his tips on picking out the perfect survival knife.  We’ll also be giving away a BlackBird SK5 — Creek’s primary survival knife — to one lucky reader along with two copies of his book.  Scroll to the bottom of the article to learn how to enter.

“I like to live what I preach,” said 36-year-old survival instructor Creek Stewart across a cafeteria table at the Cobb Galleria during the 2013 Blade Show. “I don’t just put survival instructor on my resume.”

A few minutes of conversation with Stewart, who founded and operates Willow Haven Outdoor survival school in Indiana, quells any doubts about his survival chops.

The former Boy Scout turned survival guru and bestselling author rarely goes anywhere without his “Get Home Bag,” a pack full of items ranging from energy bars to a Leatherman that ensures he’ll get home safely if disaster strikes.

At the Blade Show, he was wearing a BlackBird SK5 in a leather sheath on his hip and also had a Leatherman and a Spyderco knife in tow.

But what makes Stewart stand out from the pack isn’t his gear, but his survival philosophy. It’s a blended approach, which he calls “prima-modern,” that utilizes both modern tools and primal survival skills to meet the four core basic needs: shelter, water, fire and food.

A Passion for the Outdoors

An Eagle Scout at 14, Stewart grew up on a farm and developed a strong appreciation for both nature and self-reliance skills at an early age.  When he was in college, he wrote and self-published a guide on survival that he sold to the Boy Scouts.  He began teaching survival courses at 21, but without a full time facility was limited to mostly one day courses in his area.

Then about 4 years ago, he purchased Willow Haven Outdoor, a 21-acre survival school replete with a 10,000 square foot lodge.  Stewart now hosts 1-day and 3-day courses every year from May until November and said he serves a huge range of attendees, from 10-year-olds to 80-year-olds.  The approach at Willow Haven is somewhere in the middle in terms of intensity and Stewart said he’s developing a niche for instructing families.

“There’s one extreme where people come to a survival course and expect to strip down to a leather thong and only take their knife into the woods with them for seven days and starve, then there’s the classroom survival stuff — we’re perfectly in the middle,” he said.

In a typical class, students will receive hands on instruction to learn between three to five survival skills from each of the core four survival areas.

In addition to teaching, Stewart has also taken his survival skills to the literary world.  He recently published the Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide, which provides step-by-step instructions on how to perform many of the survival skills utilized by characters in the “Hunger Games.”

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How Google Sliced Away Our Knife Ads

Update:  A few people have asked if they can see emails between Knife Depot and Google Adwords staff.  The short answer is yes, if it’s something you’re interested in writing about, then just email me at Dan@knife-depot.com.  I also added an excerpt lower in the post, in which a member of the Adwords staff reveals his own disgust at the “double standard” Google is applying to big brands.

For seven years, Knife Depot has been selling top-quality blades over the Internet to the jubilation of knife lovers everywhere.  And for the last two years, we’ve been writing about knives and knife culture on The Cutting Edge.

However, recently, something has threatened our ability to promulgate our large selection of knives to the legions of blade lovers across the world:  Google has shut down our AdWords Account.

AdWords, if you’re not hip to the Internet jive, is a Google advertising program that allows companies to place text-based ads next to specified search queries.  To the user, it looks like this:

Screen shot 2013-03-22 at 12.00.45 PM 1

Up until late February of this year, Knife Depot had generated a good slice of its revenue from Google AdWords.  We’d also been careful to not ever violate Google’s Adwords weapons policy, which prohibits “the promotion of knives, such as butterfly knives, (balisongs) and switchblades.”

For this reason, we were shocked when last month Google told us they would be terminating our AdWords account unless we removed all of our “assisted opening knives,” which are legal, hugely popular across the U.S, and not prohibited in Google’s policy.  Assisted opening knives, if you’re not aware, differ from switchblades by the fact that pressure must be applied for them to be opened.

Here’s a more in-depth explanation.

After some deep thinking, we decided that serving our customer base, who legally buy large amounts of assisted-opening knives, was more important than continuing to advertise with Google. For this reason, we decided to not remove the knives and forgo our Google Adwords account

Of course, we expected that our fellow knife vendors would be subjected to the same anti-knife policies, and be forced to make the same decision of whether or not to advertise with Google or sell assisted-opening knives.

We were wrong.

While Google shut down the AdWords account of a few other Internet knife vendors, it has continued to allow large brands such as Walmart, Amazon and Bass Pro Shops to sell assisted-opening knives and advertise on Google Adwords.

Just check out the images below from Amazon.com and Walmart.

Yes, the world is unfair.  And yes, we have contacted Google on numerous occasions about this blatant favoritism toward big brands and despite assuring us that they would rectify it, they haven’t. In fact, even their own staff was sickened by the hypocrisy, as you can see from this February 28th email excerpt from a Google employee.

“I am still waiting on an answer to my reply where I asked for a universal enforcement of the policy OR we allow knife depot back online. I replied and saidI refuse to tell knife-depot they need to remove a product category that 7 other competitors are advertising & selling the same products. I then named each domain, called out the double standard, and requested that they state the clear differences that allows these competitors to serve & knife depot to be suspended. Still waiting on this reply.

So for these reasons, we wanted to let you guys, loyal Cutting Edge readers and Knife Depot fans, know that you might not be seeing Knife Depot ads peppered across the Internet.  However, rest assured that it’s not because we’ve softened our commitment to build the world’s most badass knife store, not even one bit.

It’s just because The Man tried to put his foot on our throat and say, “Hey, stop selling those badass assisted-opening blades,” and we refused, so The Man shut down our ads.

However, what the Man didn’t realize is that though he might be able to shut down our ads, he’ll never crush the desire of knife-loving men and women across the country to own perfectly legal and totally badass spring-assisted blades.  And he’ll never stop us from selling them.

We appreciate you being a part of the Knife Depot family and we hope, despite our absence from Google Adwords, you continue to buy knives on our site. Oh, what’s that, you want me to end this blog post with a razor-sharp video of our top-selling assisted-opening knife?

You got it.

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Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives: The Wednesday Chef

This is the third installment of The Cutting Edge’s new article series: Hot Kitchens, Hot Knives! Cooks and foodies almost love geeking out about their knives as much as they love food (and at times, even moreso!), so we’ll be sitting down with chefs, kitchen crews, and bloggers all across the world to ask them about their knife collections and the culinary workhorses that they know and love. Check out this series every Tuesday if you want to find out what kind of heat the guys and gals in the kitchen are packing in their knife rolls.

Weiss's knife collection

Luisa Weiss is the brilliant mind behind The Wednesday Chef, a gorgeously shot and executed culinary blog. It’s been featured as one of Gourmet magazine’s favorite food blogs as well as on The Sunday Times’ list of the 50 best food blogs in the world. The blog chronicles Weiss’s adventures cooking along with recipes she’s hand-picked from the internet, books, and newspapers, as well as her struggles with finding just the right meals for her little son, Hugo. She’s also penned a sensational recipe-filled memoir called My Berlin Kitchen. No matter what the subject, she handles it all with a sense of humor that we really appreciate.

Naturally, we figured she’d have a lot to say about her knife collection. More on that after the jump! Continue reading

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