The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Category: Knife Learning (page 1 of 3)

What is Lock Stick and How Do You Fix It?

 

It’s happened to almost all of us.

You get a brand new framelock folding knife in the mail and eagerly engage it. Everything seems fine as the knife opens smoothly and effortlessly. But, just as you’re closing it, you notice the framelock is extremely difficult to disengage.

This is known colloquially as lock stick.

Unfortunately, it’s an all-too-common issue in framelocks and even liner locks. The good thing is that there are several ways to go about fixing it.

What Causes Lock Stick?

In the most basic terms, lock stick is when a framelock or liner lock feels sticky when trying to unlock it. This makes it more difficult and sometimes even painful to disengage.

That’s the definition of lock stick, but what actually causes the major knife annoyance?

Galling

The cause of the issue is multifaceted. One of the reasons has to do with the lockbar material and the blade steel. Lock stick happens most prominently in knives with titanium handles because titanium is susceptible to galling and tends to stick to dissimilar metals.

For example, if you have a titanium lockbar contacting with the tang of an S35VN blade, they have the tendency to stick to one another. That’s why this issue isn’t reserved only for budget knives but also affects pricier ones.

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What is Loctite and is it Necessary?

Reviewers on YouTube have made disassembling knives very popular (much to the chagrin of many knife manufacturers I’m sure).

No one is more guilty of this than Nick Shabazz — though his disassembly videos are a public service to teach those about the inner workings of the knife and general maintenance.

You’ll likely notice that when Nick and others put knives back together, they use a substance called Loctite on the screws.

So what exactly is Loctite and is it really necessary to use when putting a knife back together? Read on.

What is Loctite?

Loctite is the brand name for a threadlocker. Loctite is to threadlocker what Kleenex is to facial tissue or ChapStick is to lip balm. Although Loctite is the most popular threadlocker, there are other brands available like Permatex.

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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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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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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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How to Thoroughly Clean Your Pocket Knife

 

I love cleaning around the house. Maybe that makes me a bit odd, but it provides much needed time to unwind, zone out, reflect on your life, or listen to great knife podcasts.

What’s even better than cleaning the house is cleaning a pocket knife.

But how do you actually do a good job cleaning a knife?

I made sure not to clean my Spyderco Tenacious (which I use constantly around the house) for a while so I could write this post for you.

To Disassemble a Knife or Not

The first thing you have to consider is whether to fully disassemble the knife or simply clean the blade and take care of the pivot from the outside.

Here are some thoughts on that. If you want to do a thorough job or you haven’t cleaned the inside for a while, you should take the whole thing apart. Depending on the knife, it won’t take up too much time and gets the knife back to tip-top condition.

However, if you’ve cleaned the inside recently or feel only the blade is dirty, you can skip the disassembly.

Cleaning the Blade

There are many different ways to go about cleaning a blade. Most knife enthusiasts have their own recipes or preferences.

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What is a Knife’s Boye Dent?

The great thing about knives is just how many minor changes and innovations there are. Sure, we know about the biggies like creation of the pocket clip by Spyderco’s Sal Glesser or the Reeve Integral Lock, but what about the smaller things?

For example, if you’ve bought a Spyderco with a lockback mechanism in the past few years, you’ve undoubtedly used something called the Boye Dent.

But just what is the Boye Dent?

Here it is.

The Boye Dent is a very minor addition that’s infiltrated modern lockback knives from Spyderco. It is essentially a scallop-shaped recess in the release  bar of the lockback or mid lock.

What is the Purpose of the Boye Dent?

The Boye Dent was pioneered by knifemaker David Boye, who is now known for designing boating knives. On his site, it says that the dent is for “preventing accidental disengagement of the blade when the handle is gripped tightly.”

Blue Whale Folder by Boye Knives

Essentially, when you put the palm of your hand against the release bar, there is less material there to accidentally disengage 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 Remove a Stripped Screw

If you use your knives at all, disassembly is a necessity for cleaning and maintenance. Even if you’re just switching your pocket clip from a tip-down to tip-up carry, you’ll sometimes run into a major problem: stripped screws.

So what are you to do if that screw is stuck or stripped inside your knife?

Here are a few solutions, which are not mutually exclusive.

Buy Quality Torx Bits

First, stop what you’re doing and make sure you have quality bits. Using low-quality bits is a recipe for stripped screws and won’t do much in removing the screw from the knife.

Cheaper bits use softer metal that can bend and ultimately strip the screw you’re trying to get out. Your best bet is to spend a little extra money on something more reliable. Wiha is always dependable, and I’ve heard good things about Wera tools too.

Heat the Screw with a Soldering Iron

This is the first thing you should do after getting quality bits. In fact, this is something you should probably do to any screw on your knife even before it’s stripped.

The reason? Loctite.

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How to Remove Rust From the Blade of Your Knife

Whether you’ve found a knife in one of your old toolboxes or accidentally left your favorite knife outside in the rain, chances are you have encountered a nasty case of rust.

Many old timers considered rust the sign of a knife’s quality, but a rusted knife is also dangerous, useless, and downright ugly.

We originally wrote this post way back in December 2011, but we thought it’d be a good idea to do update it with some better information, videos, and recommendations.

What is Rust?

If you only want to some methods for removing rust, skip these next two sections, but it will be helpful to learn more about why your blade is rusting.

First, let’s tackle the nature of rust.

Rust is the common name for a compound called iron oxide — that reddish-orange flaky stuff you see peppered on some metal. This forms when iron and oxygen react to moisture. It doesn’t even have to be water exactly, it could just be the presence of water in the air.

Here’s a more scientific explanation from How Stuff Works:

Iron (or steel) rusting is an example of corrosion — an electrochemical process involving an anode (a piece of metal that readily gives up electrons), an electrolyte (a liquid that helps electrons move) and a cathode (a piece of metal that readily accepts electrons). When a piece of metal corrodes, the electrolyte helps provide oxygen to the anode. As oxygen combines with the metal, electrons are liberated. When they flow through the electrolyte to the cathode, the metal of the anode disappears, swept away by the electrical flow or converted into metal cations in a form such as rust.

Why Do Knives Rust?

Here are the ingredients for rust: iron, water, and air.

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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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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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What is Rockwell Hardness and What Does it Actually Mean?

If you’ve bought a knife in the past, you’ve undoubtedly seen something like “HRC 56-58” in the specs.

You may know that it represents the hardness of a blade or even that it is measured on the Rockwell scale. But if you don’t know what it actually means for your knife, you’re not alone.

Understanding the Rockwell hardness is not the most intuitive thing out there, but with a little information, you can be more informed about the characteristics and performance of your knife.

Let’s delve in.

What is the Rockwell Scale?

A blade’s hardness is based on the Rockwell scale. The Rockwell scale was cocreated by Hugh and Stanley Rockwell in the early 20th century to test the hardness of different materials. There are several different scales by which a material’s hardness is measured on, but blade steels are measured on the C scale. (HRC means Hardness on Rockwell scale C.)

To find the value, a diamond-tipped cone is impressed into the steel to measure the depth of the indentation. It’s pressed into the steel at two levels of pressure and then the numbers are measured before calculating the results into the HRC via a formula.

Here is a quick video talking about the measuring process.

Rockwell testing can leave a mark on the steel, which is why many makers measure it on a part of the steel that’s concealed by the handle.

What Does HRC Mean?

So now that you know how it’s tested, what does the number actually mean? The HRC — which also goes by other abbreviations like RC — lets you know the hardness of the steel. A low HRC number means the steel is softer and a higher number means it’s harder.

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6 Reasons Why Some Knives Are Discontinued

discontinued knives

We’ve all experienced it. You had your favorite knife for years—say a Kershaw Groove. You used the hell out of it. You took it to your wedding. You carried it every day for the last 10 years. Maybe you even used it to cut your first born son’s umbilical cord.

Then it finally gives way and simply stops working.

But when you go to Knife Depot to buy another, you find out it’s no longer in production. You drop to your knees, raise your fists to the sky, and curse the gods for such cruelty.

Maybe it doesn’t happen quite like that, but discontinued knives are a sad reality for knife fans.

So why do some of our favorite knives get the boot? Several reasons abound, including some that may surprise you.

1) It no longer makes money.

We’ll start with the most obvious reason why a knife might be discontinued. It’s not a moneymaker. This is actually a lot more complicated than it sounds, so we’ll break it up into different facets.

The knife sold poorly from the start.

Companies tend to release a slew of knives each year. Some hit the mark and others miss it by a mile. There will usually be people who buy every knife, but that’s not always enough to sustain the continued production of a product line.

Kershaw Tremor

Discontinued Kershaw Tremor

The Kershaw Tremor is one of those knives that came and went in only a few years, most likely due to poor sales. Not long into its run, the price of the Tremor dropped significantly. It went away quietly.

The knife sees fewer and fewer new sales.

Extremely popular knives are also discontinued, thanks to the idea of a product’s life cycle. Say a new knife comes out that’s exceptionally popular—the Starbird. The Starbird has huge, record sales when it first comes out and it’s the talk of the town. Sales continue to rise and rise. Eventually, the number of sales will reach a peak. As everyone who wants the Starbird has already bought it (market saturation), sales will begin declining.

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What is a Friction Folder and How Does It Work?

We’re in the age of locking knives. Each major knife brand has at least one of its own proprietary locking mechanisms. There’s the Tri-Ad Lock, the Compression Lock, the AXIS Lock, the Arc Lock, the Reeve Integral Lock, and many more.

But it wasn’t always like that.

Not long ago, most knives were slipjoint knives. These folding knives use backsprings to keep a blade open or closed, even though it’s not technically locked. And before that, there were friction folders.

In fact, the first folding knives ever made were friction folders. Let’s find out what these actually are.

What is a Friction Folder?

A friction folder is a folding knife that doesn’t use a lock or springs. It uses the handle’s friction against the tang to stay open. Over the years, the design has adapted to feature an extended tang. This allows the user’s hand to keep the blade from folding shut.

As you can tell by the description, friction folders aren’t for hard use. They are excellent for light cutting, but put any pressure on the spine and your fingers will be toast.

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How Portland Became the Knife Capital of the US

portland-gerber

These days Portland is best known for old-timey beards, hipsters, microbreweries, and veganism. But, if you look past the alternative culture oozing out of the city, you’ll find out that Portland is the undisputed knife capital of the United States.

That’s not surprising considering some of the most important knife innovations and designs have come out of the Portland metropolitan area over the past 75 years or so.

How did Oregon’s largest city take a seat among the greatest knife cities of the world—alongside Solingen, Germany; Seki City, Japan; and Sheffield, England?

Read on.

Portland’s Start in the Knife Business

Pretty much all of Portland’s importance in the knife community can be traced back to one name: Gerber.

Gerber-Logo

It started back in 1910 when the Gerber family set up an advertising business in Portland—a business that still runs today. Joseph Gerber, founder of the Gerber advertising agency, was looking to send gifts to his clients during the holiday season. So he obtained carving knives from a local knife maker named David Murphy.

According to a great article in the Portland Business Journal discussing the city’s place in the knife industry, the knives were a hit. Because the knives were so popular, Gerber arranged for Murphy to produce the knives on a larger scale.

Then, in 1939, he established Gerber Legendary Blades and made his first sale to Abercrombie & Fitch.

By 1939, Gerber wasn’t the only knife company to call Portland its home. Coast had been established earlier in 1919. The company, which still makes knives and flashlights, was founded by Henry Brands near the banks of the Willamette River in Portland. An excellent early history of Coast can be found on its website.

Portland_and_Mt_Hood

While Coast remains an important name in the history of Portland knives, much of the city’s stake today can be attributed to Gerber. Thanks to his marketing prowess, Joseph Gerber turned those holiday gifts into thousands of retail accounts around the country. Then, when his son Pete Gerber took over the company from 1951 to 1987, the company only grew bigger.

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What’s the Deal with Cancer Warnings on Knives?

538948

If you bought a knife in the past, you probably noticed the inclusion of a sticker or piece of paper that says something along the lines of “WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.”

Don’t be alarmed. You’re not going to get cancer or cause birth defects if you use and carry the knife regularly.

This warning, which can be found on knives from companies like Buck and Schrade, is the result of California’s Proposition 65. Way back in 1986, California voters passed an initiative aimed at reducing the presence of cancer-causing chemicals in drinking water. For the most part, the proposition was successful, but there were some downsides.

Part of Prop 65 prohibits businesses from knowingly exposing individuals to select substances without providing a clear and reasonable warning. That’s fine in theory—who wouldn’t want to know if there are cancer-causing chemicals in things. The only problem is that the substances on the list are pretty much present in everything.

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How to Keep a Knife Clip From Tearing Up Your Pocket

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To many, it’s a badge of honor. To some, it’s a nuisance. To others, it’s not even a problem.

Pocket knives have been known to accentuate outfits, but they’ve also been known to destroy clothing.

Yes, I’m talking about that old problem in which a knife’s clip shreds the top of your pocket.

In case you haven’t seen this phenomenon, CRKT posted this image to their Instagram page a few weeks back:

#KnifeProblems

A photo posted by Columbia River Knife and Tool (@crkt_knives) on

Sure, the picture is all in good fun, but anyone who carries a knife on a regular basis will know that over time, a clip may ruin a pants pocket.

If you’ve encountered this problem or want to avoid this problem, here are some things you can do.

Bend the clip

One reason a pocket may become destroyed is due to the fact that the clip is way too tight. Certain manufacturers make clips pretty tight to make it a little more difficult for others to slip it out of your pocket without you knowing.

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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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Get the new Knife Law App from Knife Rights

knife-app
I’ve lamented the fact that there aren’t many useful knife apps out there, aside from the fantastic Steel Knife Composition App from zknives.com, but now you can add another to that list: the LegalBlade app.

Created by Knife Rights, the app gives you information on knife laws for all 50 states, along with info on select cities and jurisdictions in the U.S.

As someone who travels frequently, I’ve been waiting for something like this to come along. Knife laws in the United States are a confusing mess. Each state has its own variations of certain laws and some cities have different laws than neighboring ones.

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