The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

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Knives Save Lives: Knife at a Gunfight

It’s been a while since I’ve published an entry into my long-running series called Knives Save Lives. Basically, I find stories in which knives have been the catalyst in a life-saving situation.

Some of the top entries into the series include the time a man had to cut off his own hand that was trapped under a tractor and the time a knife was used to save a boy from a cougar.

This story from last week was brought to my attention and really underlines the sheer luck and insanity of the world.

A man in Indiana was stopping to get gas at a Love’s Travel Stop in the morning of December 19. When he went into the store, he noticed the lights on his car flashing, so he went out to see what was going on.

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SOG Pent Arc – Badass Knife of the Week

It’s pretty rare to have a blade shape on a knife that bucks the trend of drop point or clip point profiles. But that’s what you get with the latest Badass Knife of the Week.

The SOG Pent Arc is a modern folding knife with a blade inspired by the spear point profiles of the past. This knife is built with a purpose. It is designed to be used by military and law enforcement for defensive carry in hostile or unknown situations.

The 4-inch bead-blasted blade is made from VG-10 stainless steel, an alloy that can be sharpened to a keen edge without becoming brittle. A fuller or blood groove down the middle of either side of the blade completes the look of a classic dagger while helping reduce the overall weight of the knife and increasing its intimidation factor.

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Modern EDC Slipjoints

If you don’t have a tactical folder that can hold the weight of a car, do you really have a functional knife?

Yes! The truth is for countless years people have successfully used nonlocking folders for all kinds of jobs. In fact, in more recent years, companies have started making slipjoint knives you can carry as an EDC folder.

While these knives aren’t something you’d want to baton with (get a fixed blade for that unless you’re Advanced Knife Bro), nonlocking folders are a great option for an EDC. You don’t have to settle for an old Case knife either (not that there’s anything wrong with that). You can now get a modern-looking slipjoint that uses higher end materials.

Here are some of the best modern EDC slipjoints currently available.

Byrd Tern

Unfortunately, Spyderco recently did away with many of its best slipjoint models — such as the Pingo and the PITS. OK, so the PITS isn’t really a slipjoint, but it’s still a nonlocking folder. However, the sub brand of Spyderco called Byrd Knives has an inexpensive slipjoint called the Tern that features a modern look.

The knife is essentially a cheaper version of the UK Penknife.

SOG Terminus

A few years back, SOG took on the slipjoint with a couple of new models. One of its best was the Terminus (not to be confused with the newer Terminus XR with a lock). Although the tactical slipjoint seems like an oxymoron, the knife works surprisingly well as an EDC. It has a 3-inch BD1 blade with G10 handle scales.

Spartan Nymph

In 2014, Spartan Knives won the Most Innovative American Design of the Year award at Blade Show for an interesting new design — an integral slipjoint. It has a frame that works as a spring and pulls the blade open or closed. On top of that, it uses quality materials like S35VN steel and titanium handles.

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Condor Bushcraft Basic Knife – Badass Knife of the Week

Many fixed blades rely on gimmicks or unnecessary selling points. Fortunately, there are still knives like the Badass Knife of the Week out there.

The Condor Tool & Knife Bushcraft Basic Knife is an aptly named knife with a simple yet effective design.

Condor is well-known for its sturdy bushcrafting knives that can be put through the wringer. This fixed blade is no different. The 5-inch blade is made from 1075 high carbon steel, an alloy that strikes a balance between toughness and hardness while being easy to sharpen.

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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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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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