The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Category: Knife Myths

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.

Continue reading

Knife Myths: Dull Knives Are Safer Than Sharp Knives

It seems so obvious. A sharp knife, with its keen edges and stabby points, is much more dangerous than a dull knife. Right?

Wrong.

One of the biggest myths out there is that dull knives are safer than sharp knives. Even on some of the popular blade forums people can’t fathom the idea that a sharp knife is safer than a dull knife.

So we’re here to tackle the myth in all its glory.

Fact: Dull Knives Lead to More Mistakes

So how exactly is a dull knife more dangerous than a sharp one? To start with, the main reason why a dull knife is more dangerous is that it requires the wielder to use significantly more force when cutting than a sharp knife.

For example, if you’re cutting an apple and the blade is really dull, it will need more pressure to get through the apple. Once it’s through the apple, there’s a greater chance for the pressure to lead to slippage or a lack of control.

Continue reading

Knife Myths: Premium Steels Are Always Better

There’s currently a race to the top when it comes to knife blade steels.

Just a few years ago, S30V was considered the best steel around. Today, S30V is sometimes considered an ancient steel while newer steels like S110V are praised for being even better. (To be clear, S30V is just as great as ever as shown by these S30V steel knives.)

The marketing associated with each new steel that comes out makes it hard not to get jaded.

So I’m here to tackle the myth that all these new super steels being introduced every year are always better than the old reliables found in the vast majority of production knives.

What is a premium steel?

To better tackle the myth, we must first understand the definition of a premium steel. The reality is that there are common tiers steels typically fall into.

Here’s a general breakdown using info from places like Knife Informer and More Than Just Surviving. Keep in mind this is all subjective and ripe for debate.

Super Steels

  • S110V
  • Vanax 75
  • 20CV
  • REX 121

Ultra Premium Steels

  • S90V
  • M4
  • Elmax
  • M390

Premium Steels

  • S30V
  • ZDP-189
  • CTS-XHP
  • S35VN

High-End Steels

  • 154CM
  • ATS-34
  • VG-1
  • N690
  • D2

Average Steels

  • 440C
  • 420HC
  • 1095
  • 8Cr13MoV

Low-End Steels

  • AUS-6
  • 420J2
  • 440A

So what makes a steel premium rather than just average? A whole range of factors, in fact. People often take strength, durability, edge retention, ease of sharpening, corrosion resistance, and other qualities in mind when ranking them.

So are premium steels always better than average steels?

No.

Let’s put it this way. There is no such thing as a perfect steel. With nearly every steel, you’ll have to trade off one thing for another.

Continue reading

Knife Myths: Giving Knives as a Gift is Bad Luck

We’re continuing our quest to bust some of the most prominent knife myths. To read out previous entries, see our Knife Myths category.

10_520821

“Is giving a knife as a present bad luck?”

Yes, that’s something we’ve been asked before, and though it might seem crazy, there’s actually a pretty old superstition that giving a knife as a gift is bad luck.

I’m here to tell you with the utmost conviction that it’s nothing more than an old wives tale that holds absolutely no truth.

So where did this old myth come from? Let’s take a look.

The Origin of the Myth

The true origins of the myth seem to be lost to time, but the meaning of the superstition makes perfect sense. The logic is that a knife can symbolize the severing of a relationship, so you shouldn’t give it as a gift for events, especially weddings. A knife, they say, will cut the ties that bind a friendship together.

Continue reading

Knife Myths: More Expensive Knives Are Always Better

knifebusted

We’re continuing our series on knife misconceptions with another prevalent myth: More expensive knives are always better than less pricey ones and don’t need to be sharpened as often.

When people see an exorbitant price tag on something, most assume that it’s the best in its class. In general, more expensive knives are typically made with better materials and feature better craftsmanship, but that’s not always the case.

Let’s take a quick look at a “cheap” knife that will stand up to some higher end models. Mora of Sweden is notorious for making some of the best low-cost knives on the market and the Mora Clipper 840 will only set you back about $13, despite being considered a highly respected knife with quality that’s above par.

Mora Knives Clipper 840

The Mora Clipper won’t break your wallet but still gets rave reviews.

So why are some knives more expensive than others despite having similar features or craftsmanship. A few things can explain the difference in price:

  • Marketing: We all know that Beats headphones are priced higher than Sony headphones, despite having similar specs on many models. So what’s the difference? Marketing, of course. Beats by Dre is just cooler and therefore you will pay more for that brand name. Sometimes, the same thing goes for knives.
  • More expensive materials: Why is this Case Jack Knife $200 more than this Case Jack Knife? Mother of Pearl. Other than the more expensive handle material, the knives have the same craftsmanship and general design.
  • Custom: A custom-made or limited edition knife will generally cost more. The reason for that is you’re paying for exclusivity and in some cases a name. However, I should say here that a custom knife does frequently feature better craftsmanship than an inexpensive factory folder.
Mother of Pearl and other rare materials can raise a knife's price.

Mother of Pearl and other rare materials can raise a knife’s price.

So now that we know that the more expensive a knife is doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better, we’ll tackle the second part of the misconception: more expensive knives don’t need to be cared for as much as cheaper knives and never have to be sharpened.

Continue reading

Knife Myths: Stainless Steel Doesn’t Stain

We’re starting a brand new series that tackles some of the most prominent knife myths out there. Many will be false and some will be true, but all will be steeped in facts.

What better way to kick off the series than with one of the most prominent myths out there: Stainless steel won’t stain.

As much as we’d like that to be true, it turns out stainless steel is simply a misnomer. No one sums it up better than our friend Zvi over at zknives.com. Here’s an excerpt from his must-read kitchen knife steel FAQ:

“Technically and precisely speaking, there is no such thing as stainless steel. What has became an accepted term in the industry isn’t correct. All steels will rust, if proper care is not taken. Simply, some steels resist corrosion better than others, and that’s all there is to it. Thus, the correct term is stain-resistant.”

blog 066

Evidence of rust on a stainless steel blade from UnluckyHunter.com

So where did stainless steel get its decidedly misleading name? It’s true that sometimes things are just endowed with partially true names (many a disgruntled wife will tell you that “morning sickness” should instead be called “all day sickness”), and the naming of the steel is no different.

Continue reading

© 2018 The Cutting Edge

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑