The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Author: Tim (page 1 of 83)

Best Ways to Test Your Knife’s Sharpness

This post has been updated since it was first posted in August 2012.

The vast majority of people can’t tell a dull knife from a sharp knife. People automatically assume that if a knife can cut, it’s sharp.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

A dull knife will usually cut, but it requires much more force and energy than if you’re cutting with a truly sharp knife. So how can you tell if a knife is truly sharp? Here are a few ways to determine the sharpness of a blade.

Let us know your sharpness tests in the comments.

1. The Paper Test

Probably the most tried and true method is the good ol’ fashioned paper test. Grab a piece of paper, hold it between your fingers, and slide the knife downward. If it’s sharp, it will cleanly and easily slice the paper with just the weight of the knife. If it’s dull, it will usually be ragged or slip right off. This test also allows you to find any jagged or missed spots if you cut the whole length of the edge on a single stroke.

For an even better test of a blade’s sharpness, use a piece of magazine paper. Paper from a magazine is exceptionally thin and slick, which makes it even more difficult for a knife to slice through. According to Mike Vellekamp (who used to work at Spyderco before his current venture of V Nives), Sal Glesser used to make them use paper from National Geographic magazines. Phone book paper is an even tougher test, and  toilet paper is the toughest.

Yet another variation fo the paper test is to fold the paper in half so it has a rounded edge. Cut the paper along the rounded edge and if it’s sharp, it will catch and cut the page.

Here’s a good clip from the legendary Bob Kramer on the paper test.

2.  The Shaving Test

If you’ve ever watched knife reviews on YouTube, you’re probably familiar with the next test. It involves running the knife along your hair (usually your arm hair) and watching the little hairs get lopped off as the blade comes gliding through. Any hairs that fold under will indicate that the blade is not up to snuff.

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Kizer Feist Review

If you haven’t heard of Kizer, you probably fall into two categories: 1) you only buy American knives and ignore everything else or 2) you’re not a big knife person.

Kizer has firmly moved from the up-and-coming category of knife companies to a bona fide knife manufacturer to be reckoned with. I’ve been following Kizer for a few years and even wrote about them in my article tackling the myth that knives from Chinese companies are junk. I haven’t had the opportunity to take a deep dive into a specific knife from the company. So when the chance to work with them arose, I jumped on it.

They wanted to send me a knife to review, so I selected the intriguing Kizer Feist.

Here is my review.

Kizer Feist Specs

Part of the reason I chose to review the Feist over the dozens of other Kizer offerings is that it is very much aligned with what I look for in a good folder: it’s small, sleek, unobtrusive, and has the potential for a high fidget factor.

Designed by custom knife maker Justin Lundquist, the Feist has an overall length of 6.54 inches when open — which translates to 2.83 inches for the blade and 3.71 inches for the handle. The blade is described as a drop point profile, though it’s almost a spear point.

The blade is made from CPM-35VN stainless steel with a hardness of 58-60 HRC (see here if you want to learn more about what that actually means).

The handles are essentially two slabs of 6Al4V titanium. A frame lock keeps it open while a single position pocket clip rounds out the features of the handle.

A front flipper is the most notable part about the Feist design, but we’ll get into that later.

The knife has an MSRP of $256 and a street price at $168.

Kizer & the Feist Controversy

Before I delve deeper into the actual knife, I must address the Feist controversy.

Kizer has been around for a few years but really started making its name when it began working with popular knife makers. Despite being a company from China, people everywhere started fawning over the designs and quality of the knives. For example, the Gemini designed by Ray Laconico was widely considered one of the best knives of 2015.

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CRKT Squid – Badass Knife of the Week

It’s very challenging to make a small knife that feels big when you hold it, but that’s precisely what our latest Badass Knife of the Week achieves.

The CRKT is a small and inexpensive knife with a big design that’s made to be put to work.

Designed by knifemaker Lucas Burnley, the Squid is inspired by the concept of a compact pistol — a device you can carry easily but also packs a big punch. It starts with the 2.15-inch drop point blade. The steel is functional 8Cr13MoV stainless steel, an alloy that won’t win awards but will sharpen easily and get the job done.

The stonewashed blade itself is well-balanced and features dual thumb studs that facilitate a smooth opening.

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15 Best Keychain Tools

Quick, empty your pockets.

If you happen to be outside the house, you’ll likely have at least three items: a wallet, phone, and keys. We’ve already talked about credit-card knives that fit into wallets and the iPhone multitool case, but that leaves us with keys.

Since your keys are always within reach whenever you’re outside the house, they’re a natural place to attach essential tools.

If you’re looking to make your keys even more useful, we’ve assembled this list of tools that fit right on your keychain.

Some of the tools we first wrote about when this was published in May 2015 have gone the way of the dodo, so we decided to give this list an update.

Gerber Shard

The Gerber Shard is a small and easy to carry piece of steel that doesn’t overwhelm with functions. The small tool has two screwdrivers, a pry bar, a nail remover, a bottle and can opener, a scraper, and whatever else you can get out of it.

The tool is 2.75 inches long and made of stainless steel with black titanium coating.

Victorinox Classic SD

Perhaps the best-known multitool ever is the Swiss Army knife. The Victorinox Classic SD is not only one of the best-selling Swiss Army knives but it is also small enough to fit on your keychain.

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Uncle Henry LB5 Smokey – Badass Knife of the Week

With all the new fangled knife designs these days, it’s hard to keep track of what trends are in and what trends are out. If you’re tired of following the fads, it’s time to stick with a design that’s tried and true like our latest Badass Knife of the Week.

The design of the Uncle Henry LB5 Smokey folder first appeared in 1981 as a simple folder that carried the same class and functionality as knives from the 1800s.

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Our Most Anticipated 2019 CRKT Knives

The year is coming to a close in a month, and that means companies are going to start announcing their offerings for the new year.

CRKT is one of the first to announce its 2019 knives. By my count, there are more than 15 new or updated models coming in the new year. While I’m sure the designers put a lot of thought and time into their creations, some knives from the lineup stand out more than others.

Instead of just listing all of them, I’ll pick the ones that intrigue me the most.

CRKT Seismic

First up is the Seismic, which is designed by Flavio Ikoma of No Time Off and Fossil fame. The knife is a fairly good looking with a massive 3.9-inch blade that uses 1.4116 stainless steel (not a premium steel by any means but a welcome change from the typical CRKT steels).

What makes this knife stand out to me is the use of a Ikoma’s new Deadbolt lock. Here’s how it works:

Steel bolts interlock with the blade when it’s deployed to yield outrageous strength. A prominent button sits at the pivot point for simple, intuitive disengagement without fingers crossing the path of the blade.

It sounds really interesting, although I admit I was a little disappointed after I realized it had nothing to do with the Hawks’ Deadbolt Over Grabstep lock found on the old CRKT DOG. They really should bring that back.

CRKT Provoke

If you follow knives at all, you’ve likely seen the Provoke, but maybe not with that name or from CRKT. How about the Caswell Morphing Karambit? Yup, the knife first seen in the highly successful Kickstarter campaign was picked up by CRKT for the masses.

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Knife Myths: The Switchblade Act Bans Owning & Carrying Automatics

James Dean wielding a switchblade in “Rebel Without a Cause.”

Since the 1950s, switchblades — sometimes known as automatic knives — have been demonized as the preferred weapon of criminals. All these years later, most people have the ability to understand that switchblades are no bigger threat than any other tool.

Unfortunately, there remains a common misconception about the legality of switchblades. Most people think that owning and carrying a switchblade is illegal. We’re here to bust the myth.

What the Switchblade Act Actually Says

The Federal Switchblade Act was passed in 1958 after films like Rebel Without a Cause and Crime in the Streets glorified switchblade use among gangs. I dove much deeper into the early switchblades and why they were banned in my article Why Switchblades Should Be Legal, but it boils down to unnecessary panic.

Congress used its power to regulate commerce through the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to limit the sales of switchblades.

Kershaw Launch 6 Automatic Folder

Here are the two pertinent sections:

§ 1242. Introduction, manufacture for introduction, transportation or distribution in interstate commerce; penalty

Whoever knowingly introduces, or manufactures for introduction, into interstate commerce, or transports or distributes in interstate commerce, any switchblade knife, shall be fined not more than $2,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

and

§ 1243. Manufacture, sale, or possession within specific jurisdictions; penalty

Whoever, within any Territory or possession of the United States, within Indian country (as defined in section 1151 of title 18), or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States (as defined in section 7 of title 18), manufactures, sells, or possesses any switchblade knife, shall be fined not more than $2,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

Knife Rights does an excellent job going through the whole act with notes, but here’s a basic breakdown.

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Boker Plus Rold – Badass Knife of the Week

Jesper Voxnaes is one of the hottest knife designers around. He’s best known for his intuitive folders and small fixed blades that are simple and functional. In our latest Badass Knife of the Week, Voxnaes focused on putting his signature design elements on a large fixed blade.

Voxnaes’ attempt at making a functional outdoor knife culminated in the popular Boker Plus Rold fixed blade. Coming in at an overall length of 11 inches, the large camp knife has so much going in its favor.

The 6.2-inch blade is thoroughly considered for maximum usage. The blade boasts a flat grind that cuts like no one’s business while the drop point profile offers superb versatility. Despite its large blade, Voxnaes gives more control to the user with a finger choil that allows you to choke up on the blade for finer tasks.

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How to Stop Losing Your Swiss Army Knife

The other day, I wrote about the welcomed news that Victorinox is adding a clip to a new folding knife called the Hunter Pro M. It doesn’t mean the iconic maker of Swiss Army Knives will add them to their multitools, but it could be a sign of the future.

Unfortunately, we’re still stuck in a world where losing a Swiss Army Knife is all too common for many people. I always find them on the seat of my car or in couch cushions.

Here are some solutions for keeping a Swiss Army Knife from getting lost.

Get a Suspension Clip

The best and most inexpensive remedy to the problem of Swiss Army Knives slipping out of pockets while sitting down is a suspension clip. Not only are these types of clips cheap but they’re also nonpermanent solutions that won’t mess up your knife.

My recommendation is the KeySmart Pocket Clip.

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20 Knife Gift Ideas Under $100

Our suggestions for gift ideas at certain price ranges continues with 20 knife gift ideas under $100.

This list only features knives in the $50 to $100 price range. If you’re interested in the $20 to $50 range, check out our 20 knife gift ideas under $50 post. For prices under that, check out our 20 knife gift ideas under $20.

These recommendations cover the full gamut of styles, designs, and functions, so if you can’t find something to your satisfaction, you’re trying too hard.

1) Benchmade Mini Griptilian

We’ll start with one of the most beloved knives under $100 by knife enthusiasts — the Benchmade Mini Griptilian. The Mini Grip is the go-to knife for anyone looking for a solid and reliable American-made EDC (it’s currently my personal EDC too). It’s hard to top this knife.

The Mini has a 2.91-inch blade made from 154CM steel. You can get it in a sheepsfoot blade with Round Hole, drop point with thumb stud, or tanto with thumb stud. Another great aspect of the knife is that the grippy (hence the name) nylon handle comes in several different colors, from pink to blue.

2) Spyderco Delica 4

Spyderco makes a ton of great knives at a budget cost, but for a true representation of the quality and design elements of the brand, there’s the Delica. This is another truly beloved knife from the knife community because of its versatile size, excellent construction, and interesting design.

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