The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Category: Review (page 1 of 2)

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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Spyderco Civilian – A Look at the Baddest Knife of Them All

Images by Jennifer Wood

When they say size doesn’t matter, “they” have never held a Spyderco Civilian.

This knife is one of the biggest, meanest pocket knives on the market with an overall length of almost 9.3 inches. It was created more than two decades ago to fill a need for undercover agents who had no way to protect themselves other than to carry a knife. Spyderco wasn’t afraid to the unleash this beast to the public but you should know that this is not an everyday carry. It is for self-defense only.

One look at the reverse “S” SpyderEdge VG-10 steel blade, and you’ll see why.

The pin point tip is intended to penetrate with ease and the intimidating serrated edge is meant to slash the skin down to the bone, causing significant injury. With a strong back lock there is no doubt the blade will stay open in a worst-case scenario situation.

The sandpaper texture on the scales makes the large G-10 handle easy to grip and hold. One-handed opening is a breeze with the trademark Round Hole in the blade. Out of the box it is ready for tip-down carry but can be changed to tip-up carry with a Torx tool.

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ABKT Desert Scavenger Review

With established companies like Spyderco and Kershaw embedded in the market for decades, it’s hard to break into the knife industry. Sure, companies like Steel Will Knives and Kizer have made names for themselves in the crowded knife market over the past few years, but I imagine many other small companies have failed over that time.

That’s why I was intrigued when David McHan of American Buffalo Knife & Tool reached out to me about reviewing one of their knives. I had never heard about the brand before, but I took a look at the fairly robust catalog and was interested in seeing the quality of these knives.

So I chose one of their models and David sent me the one I requested — along with a few others — to take a look at.

Here is my honest review.

Background of ABKT

As I typically do with reviews of products from less established brands, I’ll give you a brief background.

American Buffalo Knife and Tool, also known by the more accessible initialism ABKT, is a gun care and cutlery company located in Sweetwater, Tennessee. ABKT designs, makes, and distributes all types of cutlery and gun care products, which are made in China and imported to the United States.

Here’s where things get a bit confusing.

Under the American Buffalo Knife & Tool umbrella are five different sub-brands or categories. One is ABKT Gun Care so we’ll skip that one since it doesn’t pertain to knives.

ABKT Knives – This is an assortment of cheaper knives made for hunting and everyday carry. There are flippers with a tactical look along with some fixed blades.

ABKT Elite – This is their higher end assortment of knives. I believe all of them are made with D2 steel and use higher-grade materials. Aside from the fixed blades, they are all flippers that use a ball-bearing opening mechanism.

Roper – These are more traditional knives, with designs that mimic those made by Case. You’ll see trappers, peanuts, and stockmans.

Cattleman Cutlery – This line is targeted toward working farmers or cowboys and feels like it could be lumped with the Roper brand. There are some of the same traditional patterns along with two models that look like Spyderco designs (or the SOGzilla Spyderco-like design).

With that out of the way, let’s get to the knives.

AKBT Scavenger Specs

I opted to review the Desert Scavenger because it seems most in line with what I would carry. The product descriptions on the website and catalog are a little incomplete, so here are my measurements.

Out of the box, the knife was the size I expected.  It has a 3.5-inch drop point blade and a 4.5-inch handle — making for an overall length of 8 inches when open.

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Urban Kukri Pocket Knife Review

Much like the urban sombrero, people have been trying to make city or mainstream versions of typically niche things. While they often fail spectacularly, some of these items break through and prove worthwhile.

Designer Konstantin Shaporenko decided to take the versatile kukri — a machete-like tool usually found in the jungles of Nepal — and make it into a pocket knife. He launched the product on Kickstarter for some help getting things off the ground.

Shaporenko isn’t the first person to make a pocket-sized kukri folder. Cold Steel makes a very solid kukri folder in the Rajah series, and Magnum by Boker has the inexpensive Pocket Kukri as well. What makes the Urban Kukri a little different is its focus on being not only legal in most locales around the world but also being a piece of art.

They sent me one to look at. You’ll find my honest opinion below.

Background of the Urban Kukri

The Urban Kukri campaign launched on Kickstarter around November 7 with the modest goal of $12,00 for funding. As of publication, the campaign was fully funded by more than 290 backers who pledged over $21,000.

This means the project will move forward no matter what.  There are still about two weeks to go before the project closes though.

Here’s a video released by the team:

I couldn’t find much else about Shaporenko, so I asked for some background on the artist/designer. He’s from Ukraine and likes working with metal. Here’s more of his backstory they sent me:

My ancestors were soldiers, Zaporozhye Cossacks. I have always been fond of knives since childhood, but I came to their creation not so long ago. The occasion was not the best, in my country the war began and all the people who wanted peace began to help the soldiers of Ukraine.

The army needed everything, and my comrades and I began to make knives and tools for soldiers. In the process, I learned the important elements of working with serious materials. For three years of constant practice, I have mastered certain skills and knowledge about knives.

Becoming literate technically, I began to create no longer simple knives, but all sorts of interesting products that can hardly be called a knife. This project is suitable for all urban residents, regardless of gender. This is a pocket knife for the city and travel.

He has a pretty cool backstory that’s admirable. But what about the knife itself?

Urban Kukri Specifications

The Urban Kukri comes in three different-sized blades — 100 mm, 50 mm, and 30 mm. That translates to 3.93 inches, 1.96 inches, and 1.18 inches.

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FINI Cutlery Chef’s Knife & Paring Knife Review & Giveaway

FINI Cutlery is giving our readers a chance to win one of two sets of its knives. Enter at the bottom of the post.

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Go to your kitchen, grab a chef’s knife, and look at how you’re holding it.

Unless you’re a chef, you’re probably holding it “wrong”—according to some people anyway.

The general design of the chef’s knife hasn’t changed much over the years. If something works, why change it?

That’s where FINI Cutlery comes into the picture.

The relatively new company designed a set of knives with handles that look a little different than your average kitchen knife.

FINI Cutlery reached out to the Cutting Edge blog to review a set of two knives: a chef’s knife and a paring knife. I said yes, so they sent me a sample to review. As always my reviews are done with honesty and fairness.

Let’s see how well these knives held up.

About FINI Cutlery

Before we get to the knife, let’s look at FINI Cutlery.

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FINI Cutlery launched with a Kickstarter campaign to fund these knives on September 14, 2015. Inventor and long-time chef Peter Rigas created these knives with an eye toward proper gripping and efficiency.

Here is a quote from Rigas via the Kickstarter campaign page:

Between my long restaurant career and my personal life I have given many hundreds of knife lessons. I was taught when I was 15, working in a busy diner, by a chef who cringed while watching me work. He also offered me a cot, saying “you’ll be here all night if you keep holding the knife like that.”

So the idea was to create a knife that automatically placed the user’s hand into a proper position.

Apparently many out there agree with this sentiment, and the campaign was successfully funded for more than $100,000, exceeding the original goal of $40,000. There was some trouble in getting the knives out to people (as there is with pretty much every funded project), but all the orders were filled and a company was born.

Initial Impressions and Specs

fini-cutlery-box

“Where’s the handle?”

That’s the first thing my wife asked when she saw the knives I’m reviewing today. It’s a fair question. The handle is short and stubby—completely unlike all the other kitchen knives out there.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

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Work Sharp WSCMB Combo Knife Sharpener Review

There’s no shortage of knife sharpeners.

Sharpeners come in all shapes and sizes and perform vastly different functions. The endgame is always the same: to sharpen a knife.

It’s a well-known fact that a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife because it requires more effort and strength to cut. However, my main gripe with a dull knife is the simple fact that it’s less effective.

But if you’re the type of person who can’t be bothered to take out the old whetstone and honing oil or simply don’t have the skillset to do freehand sharpening, Work Sharp’s newest item called the Combo Knife Sharpener is made for you.

Work Sharp sent me a unit to review, so I decided to answer whether this is the sharpener for you.

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Target Audience of the Combo Knife Sharpener

Before we get into the review, it’s important to understand the target audience of the sharpener; otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to accurately give it a fair review for what it’s designed for.

If you’re a hard-core knife user with high-end knives featuring complicated grinds and different edge angles, the WSCMB is not for you.

But if you’re an amateur knife person who has never sharpened a knife and frequently use less expensive knives, this is your knife sharpener.

Work Sharp has three levels of power sharpeners. The Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener is the ultimate solution for your sharpening needs. It can sharpen every knife (and edged tool) you own with adjustable angles and variable speeds. This is for hard-core knife enthusiasts.

Work Sharp's Original Knife & Tool Sharpener

Work Sharp’s Original Knife & Tool Sharpener

For those who don’t need as much customization but still want some control, the Original Knife & Tool Sharpener is still one of the best out there.

The Combo Knife Sharpener is the simplest of the available power sharpeners from Work Sharp.

Initial Impressions and Specs

The WSCMB sharpener has an insanely quick and easy setup. It comes in a compact box a little larger than the size of the machine (which is already as compact as it gets without sacrificing convenience).

ws-combo-knife-sharpener-box

Included with the main unit inside the box is an additional abrasive sharpening belt, instructions, and a quick-start guide. That’s it.

To set it up, you simply plug it into an outlet, and it’s ready to go. This is huge for the amateur knife sharpener without much experience sharpening knives.

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SOG Flash II Knife Review

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The knife community has its stable of opinions, but if I always listen to what they have to say, then there’s a good chance I would have already missed out on a number of great knives.

Today’s review is on the SOG Flash II, a slick budget folder that could have easily passed me by had I not started formulating my own carry knife criteria. This knife isn’t just tacti-cool, it’s tacitly practical.

For a long time, I had openly resisted the SOG Flash II, mostly because of how the knife looked on paper. But we have to get away from this style of thinking. Paper opinions or even YouTube reviews can’t compare to how things really apply to your daily life.

sog-flash-ii-2Many in the knife world claim the Flash II to be lame, cheap, or something only a novice would carry, but I’ve been trying to challenge those opinions head on. Despite some of the opinions about this knife, I believe the SOG Flash II is the perfect knife for getting shit done.

My preference for carry knives swings back and forth from bushcraft style blades at one side to tactical knives at the other. Needless to say, the pendulum is currently swinging toward the tactical side of things. I wanted to add a level of contrast to my daily routine by trading in my Ontario RAT 1 for something a little more aggressive and badass.

That’s where the Flash II comes in.

The Flash II packs quite the versatile punch. It has an overall blade length of 3.5 inches, half of which comes equipped with very stout and useful serrations. Its FRN frameless handle makes the Flash II’s weight almost immeasurable. The assisted-opening mechanism makes one-handed or gloved-operation a breeze.

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BucknBear Damascus Hunting Knife Review

Buck n Bear Damascus Hunting Knife

Getting a good knife doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. While many custom knives go for several hundred dollars—or more depending on whom you’re commissioning the knife from—it’s more than possible to get a handmade knife without selling a kidney.

But are these handmade knives for those on a budget worth it? We aim to find out by taking a look at one.

BucknBear makes a variety of handcrafted knives that are surprisingly affordable for featuring flourishes like quality materials and Damascus steel. In this review, we take a look at the BucknBear Damascus Hunting Knife to see whether it’s worth your time. Because it is a custom knife, this model is no longer available for purchase, but there are similar models like the BucknBear Damascus Cali Hunter.

About BucknBear

BucknBear LogoIf you haven’t heard of BucknBear, you’re probably not alone. The relatively new brand was founded in 2011 and is based out of Pennsylvania.

BucknBear is a manufacturer of fixed blades and folding knives made from a variety of quality materials, like D2 steel, 1095 and 15N20 high carbon Damascus steel, and exotic woods.

You’ll often find the brand spelled as Buck N Bear, but a representative insisted the official name is BucknBear, so that’s how I’ll be writing it throughout the review.

The products from BucknBear are touted as handmade items by skilled artisans and craftsmen. While not explicitly said anywhere, it’s likely these knives are from Pakistan, which is a common place to find relatively inexpensive Damascus knives.

Most knife enthusiasts will tell you that Pakistan has a reputation as a mixed bag for its knives in terms of quality. BucknBear explained to me that they have quality control experts who maintain a high standard throughout the entire process of production.

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CRKT Squid Review

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I recently started to take notice of the simple fact that people age, that the older we get the more we begin to lose. For some, the body goes first—maybe we start packing on a few more pounds than what we had in high school. For others, the mind begins to fade—remembering faces and facts isn’t quite as easy as it was when we were kids. Our vitality, health, and creativity slowly start to drift away from our once youthful selves.

But with age also comes a whole new host of feelings that our younger and sometimes dumber selves can’t quite tap into yet. Feelings like tradition, nostalgia, and an understanding of just how important the little things in life can be. The CRKT Squid is a knife that single-handedly channeled those emotions in me and somehow played time machine like a small piece of childhood memorabilia.

Right off the bat the CRKT Squid has a great overall look to it. A look that is simple and understated yet still grabs your attention with both hands. This amazing design comes from the mind of Lucas Burnley, a very popular up-and-coming knife maker with an almost cult-like following for what he has done in the knife community. The Squid has been one of his custom designs for a long time, but with his work in such high demand, getting your hands on one was almost impossible… until now.

The great thing about Burnley partnering up with a production knife company is that we the consumers get to experience knives that we otherwise never would due to budget, materials, or availability. With this partnership, we now get a glimpse into what owning a custom design feels like. Besides the Squid, CRKT and Lucas are making other knives, which can be a win-win situation for both parties if done right.

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KeySmart 2.0 Key Holder Review

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Those were my keys.

Take a good look at them. I know they’re a mess.

As someone who prides himself on being organized, efficient, and constantly prepared, I felt thoroughly embarrassed whenever I reached for the jingly jumble of chaos.

I knew I needed to switch things up, to rethink the way I organized my keys. So I looked to KeySmart. I’d seen KeySmart countless times while browsing through knife sites and Instagram accounts centered around EDC items.

For those unfamiliar with KeySmart, it’s a minimalist keyring that started out as a project on Kickstarter. Needless to say, the project was successfully funded and shattered its goals with 15,000 backers pledging a fair amount of money. They’ve since become a full-on business with an updated design and everything.

I admit, I was skeptical at first. This thing seemed unnecessary and gratuitous. Humans have carried keys around the same way for hundreds of years. Why do we need to change it? That’s when I realized I was being daft. Bucking the norm and finding better ways to do old things is how we came up with a bunch of cool inventions.

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