The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

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Boker Pen Knife – Badass Knife of the Week

 

The word “badass” is open to interpretation. Some people think of badass as aggressive or large. Well, the latest Badass Knife of the Week shows that a knife can be badass based solely on the history, construction, and simplicity of the design.

The pen knife or penknife has been around for more than a century. The origins of the design revolve around the need for maintaining quills for old-fashioned pens.

While Boker’s take on the traditional pen knife can still be used for dip pens, this 2-bladed pen knife with stag handles makes a classy and reliable all-around pocket knife.

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New 2019 KA-BAR Knives

 

We’re still going through some of the new knives for 2019. KA-BAR is one of those companies that releases knives throughout the year, such as the later releases of the Jarosz Flippers last year.

But, KA-BAR recently pinpointed which knives it considers part of its 2019 lineup at SHOT Show. There are only a handful of models, but I expect the company to release more in the future.

KA-BAR Becker BK62 Kephart

The biggest new release is the KA-BAR Becker Kephart. This one was actually announced in October 2018 with limited quantities available the following months, but it wasn’t widely available until January.

It’s always great to get a new knife in the Becker series, which is probably the best series out of KA-BAR — besides the classic fighting knife lineup. What’s interesting is that the Kephart is based on an existing design. Noted outdoorsman Horace Kephart designed the knife in the late 19th century and early 20th century. There are a lot of Kephart-style knives out there, but Ethan Becker has a special bond to the knife.

The full details about Kephart and Becker are extolled in a recent Knife Magazine article, but essentially Becker obtained an original Kephart knife and even handled Kephart’s personal knife that now resides at a museum.

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Mantis Releases New Hawk-Designed Gearhead

It’s no secret that I am somewhat of a Hawk Head. That is I am a huge fan of the father and son knifemaking duo of Grant and Gavin Hawk.

Well, the Hawks — who are best known for making some of the most innovative and boundary-pushing knives on the market — are back with another production model called the Gearhead.

Check it out:

The aptly named Mantis Gearhead is a new design that uses a lever to turn gears to engage the knife. According to the Hawks, they made the design after noticing that people like to put gears on knives for decoration. They wanted to make a knife with functional gears.

The deployment method looks quick, reliable, and really fun to use.

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Kershaw Shuffle – Badass Knife of the Week

 

A knife that tries to do more than cut things often ends up being a master of none. However, the latest Badass Knife of the Week proves a knife can serve multiple functions without sacrificing its core purpose.

The Kershaw Shuffle is a compact, versatile, and inexpensive folding knife with a few bonus tools that integrate seamlessly into the overall design.

The 2.4-inch blade is the highlight of the knife. Featuring 8Cr13MoV steel with a bead-blasted finish, the blade opens up manually with dual thumb studs and stays engaged with a liner lock.

A swedge on top of the blade helps increase its penetrating and slicing capabilities while the finger choil gives this small knife a more secure grip in hand.

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Best Ontario Knives

 

Over the past year or so, I’ve been going over the best knives from each brand. Some have been really easy to narrow down such as Spyderco and Kershaw.

However, few brands have been harder to pin down than Ontario Knife Company. Ontario, sometimes known more simply as OKC, has a surprisingly robust and diverse selection of knives that all serve a purpose and do it well. There are some obvious choices — ahem, the RAT folders — but there are so many other serviceable knives that could have been on this list.

These lists always carry some level of bias and subjectivity, but I feel like this list may contain more whimsy and randomness than others.

If I’m alive and kicking and still have this job, I’ll redo this next year and may swap out some others, but this is the list for 2019. Let me know which ones I missed in the comments.

Ontario RAT Folder

Let’s start with the easiest addition to this list: the RAT Folders. I’m cheating a bit because this includes the RAT 1 and RAT 2 folders. They are essentially the same knife but in different sizes.

The RAT folders are a perennial favorite among knife people because they are relatively cheap, reliable, and solid knives. The fact that they are now available in D2 at a low cost means they may be the best budget knife on the market.

Along with D2, you can get an assisted version, an AUS 8 version, and some with different blade finishes and handle colors.

Ontario Black Bird SK-5

The next no-brainer is the Ontario Black Bird SK-5. The series is designed by Paul Scheiter. The survival knife was named the best of the best by Field and Stream Magazine in 2011. It’s a pretty simple bushcrafting knife with a 5-inch 154CM stainless steel blade and G-10 handle scales.

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Leatherman Unveils New Magnetic Multitools

Leatherman is a true pioneer in the field of multitools.

Tim Leatherman wanted to make a knife with pliers because his regular tools were lacking. The result was the Pocket Survival Tool (PST), which would become one of the very first multitool pliers.

Leatherman dominated the market and although many companies have copied the overall aesthetics of the multitool, the Portland-based brand remains the top choice for plier multitools.

The company never stopped innovating, but finding new bents on a tool that has worked so well is quite difficult. In 2008, Leatherman released the Skeletool, which made an EDC version of the plier tool. It even won the 2008 Most Innovative American-Made Design at Blade Show.

They’ve had some other cool designs like the Tread Multi-Tool Bracelet, which is something you’d find around MacGyver’s wrist. But it looks like the brand may be onto a new technology that could change the Leatherman game — magnets.

So magnets aren’t anything new, but it looks like Leatherman has managed to use magnets in a way that allows a user to fully operate a Leatherman multitool with only one hand. You can access any of the individual tools with some pressure on a lever and close it securely. You also get an almost balisong-like opening and closing once the lock is disengaged.

It looks like Leatherman is betting big on this new technology as the brand decided to unveil a new logo to accompany the release of the Free series. Gone is the yellow swirling multitool and greetings to a gray multitool that forms an L.

You can tell Leatherman is going all in because it’s not just introducing one multitool with magnets but is releasing at least six different designs this year with the magnets.

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Cold Steel Ti-Lite – Badass Knife of the Week

 

It’s rare to have a knife that’s simultaneously confusing yet absolutely hypnotic. But that’s what you get with the latest Badass Knife of the Week.

The Cold Steel Ti-Lite marries the look of the traditional Italian stiletto with the modern materials and conveniences of the present day.

Coming in various sizes, the version we’re highlighting is the largest and boasts a lengthy 6-inch blade. This large Ti-Lite features Japanese AUS 8A stainless steel, an alloy that’s easy to sharpen and resists rust well.

The blade on this thin folder has a lot going for it. You can deploy the blade using the thumb stud or pull it out against your pocket for a Wave-like opening in one swift motion. The Wave-like protrusion also acts as a guard to keep your hand from slipping onto the blade.

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Toddler Using Kitchen Knife Sparks Controversy

It’s pretty rare when you come to the intersection of mommy blogs and knife blogs, but that’s where we meet today.

A woman who blogs and podcasts about parenting recently posted a video that has sparked conversation and even outrage among parents. And it’s something we’ve talked about on this very blog as well.

Take a look:

Kathleen's capable boy

Awesome!!! I love this from Kathleen:"I’ve been working on giving my 2.5 year old meaningful helper roles during our household tasks—not just to “occupy” him while I get things done, but ways he can really contribute—pairing socks, putting away the silverware, wiping the low surfaces in the kitchen with a rag, etc. Tonight he chopped all the cucumbers for the salad while I prepared the rest of dinner. Then he dressed and mixed it. I really enjoyed making dinner together tonight, and the pushed I’ve gotten around trust from this group have helped. Thank you!"

Posted by Janet Lansbury on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A woman named Kathleen lets her two-and-a-half-year-old son help around the house in a serious way. In a video posted on Facebook, you see the little guy using a knife to cut up some cucumbers en route to making a salad.

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New 2019 Kershaw Knives

Kershaw hinted at the release of its 2019 catalog a few days ago, and it has finally arrived.

The knife company has announced 17 new (or updated) models to look forward to this year. Normally we’d just pick the 10 that excite us the most, but we thought it would be fun to write a few quick thoughts on all of them.

Kershaw Antic

Kershaw usually doubles down on its most popular knives, and this year is no different. The Antic is considered the next iteration of the Shuffle series. This diminutive knife has a keychain attachment as well as the bottle opener and other functions on the back of the handle. This honestly seems a little more useful with the screwdriver and mini prybar as well.

The blade is 1.75 inches and made from 8Cr13MoV steel.

MSRP: $29.99

Kershaw Boilermaker

This looks like one of those steampunk knives — a genre I really never understood. Designer Les George apparently took some inspiration from metalworkers and it shows through this design. It has a 3.3-inch assisted blade made from 8Cr13MoV steel with a brown PVD coating around the whole knife.

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KA-BAR Tanto Short Fighting Knife – Badass Knife of the Week

 

The KA-BAR is one of the most iconic knives ever (as evidenced by its inclusion in our post on the 20 Most Iconic Knives). It has a very familiar look and feel, but KA-BAR decided to give it some upgrading in materials, a smaller size, and a fancy new blade.

The result was the KA-BAR Tanto Short Fighting Knife.

This knife has all the bones of the classic KA-BAR but in a more compact size. Instead of the massive 7-inch clip point blade, the Short Fighting Knife has a 5.25-inch tanto blade. The smaller size and tanto blade profile offer more versatility in finer tasks without being too small for work around the campsite.

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WWII Demand for Blades Led to Knife ‘Crowdsourcing’

World War II was the biggest and deadliest war in history.

Most people are aware of the role knives played in the war — millions of fixed blades were carried by soldiers who fought so valiantly for freedom.

For Armed Forces Day in 2018, Blade Magazine took a look back on many of the fixed blades carried during the Second World War.

However, the San Antonio Express-News recently explored a lesser-known aspect of knives during WWII after someone asked about mysterious knives labeled “San Antonio Iron Works.”

It turns out these were likely makeshift knives made from historical sabers issued to cavalry, including the George Patton-designed 1913 cavalry saber — the last to be issued to cavalry. Apparently swords were no match for guns starting in the World War I so they stopped issuing them.

A cavalry depicted in the Mexican War

But all these historical swords lying around were put to use during WWI. Here’s an excerpt from the San Antonio Express-News article:

At the start of World War II, “there was a great need for fighting knives,” said John Manguso, former director of the Fort Sam Houston Museum and author of several books about the historic Army post. Besides those made by arsenals and by cutlery and farm implement manufacturers, he said, “The Army elected to take some of its inventory of swords stored away and make them into fighting knives.

“Typically, a sword blade was cut into three pieces, and a tang (the portion that extends down into the handle) and point were fashioned onto each piece,” Manguso said.

Looking at a photograph of the SAIW knives, Manguso identified them as having been made from a 1913 Patton cavalry saber, possibly 1840 dragoon sabers or 1860 light cavalry sabers.

“With the San Antonio Arsenal here,” he said, “it is likely a lot of this type of work was done there and contracted out to local shops.”

While it’s sad to see many of the old swords from as far back as the U.S.-Mexican War, it’s great to hear they were repurposed into knives that potentially saw action.

Save a Life with a Knife Committee

One of my favorite factoids from the article was about the Save a Life with a Knife Committee. Along with turning old swords into new knives for combat, a committee was set up to receive knives from the public to be sent to troops who needed them.

Screenshot of 1943 Life Magazine article

During the war, a night-club owner in San Francisco named Frank Martinelli heard that knives were of urgent need in the southwestern Pacific.

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New 2019 Spyderco Knives

 

When Spyderco released its 2019 catalog a few months ago, it was somewhat shocking. The catalog did not feature any new knives.

Why? Spyderco announced it was moving to a different reveal process that would better match the release times of the models. I’m still waiting for that Smock revealed at the beginning of 2018!

We weren’t sure how it was going to happen, but Spyderco recently announced the first of several “reveal” supplements that have new knives we can expect to see within the next 90 to 120 days, according to Kristi Hunter of Spyderco. This allows us to focus on a few noteworthy models that we can see in the near future instead of wondering for more than a year about a model and forgetting about it.

Only a handful have been released so far, but here’s a deeper dive into the new models from Spyderco.

2019 Spyderco Reveal Volume 1

Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight

The highlight of the first reveal is an adaptation of an existing model. That sounds kind of boring until you see just what they did to the Para 3. They turned a condensed version of the iconic Paramilitary 2 into a virtual Delica killer. With its cheaper price tag and FRN handles, the Delica has long been a fan favorite and nearly perfect EDC.

The Para 3 LW addresses what was wrong with the original Para 3 and Delica to create an amazing knife. It uses FRN handle scales and open backed construction to cut the weight down to a smooth 2.4 ounces (an ounce less than the Delica). The pocket clip is a complaint on both the Para 3 and the Delica, and Spyderco corrects both by giving the LW a wire clip that’s essentially a deep carry clip (and moves that awkwardly placed Para 3 lanyard hole to a different location).

Then there is the Compression Lock. The Delica has a tried and true backlock that’s not the best for one-handed operation, so this is a definite upgrade over that. The only question mark is the CTS BD1N steel. It’s obviously no S30V steel, but it is comparable to VG-10.

I think this will be a huge hit.

MSRP: $140

Spyderco Gauntlet

Spyderco is returning to what put the brand on the map — sharpeners. The new Gauntlet is a simplified version of the Triangle Sharpmaker. It works in the same way but only allows for a 40 degree angle. The sharpener comes with ceramic rods or you can buy Cubic Boron Nitride rods.

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Gerber Covert FAST – Badass Knife of the Week

 

Col. Rex Applegate and William E. Fairbairn are legends. The two adapted the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife to create a stronger and more robust fighting knife aptly called the Applegate-Fairbairn fighting knife.

The fixed blade dagger was a work of art that served admirably in combat. Applegate eventually went to knifemaker Bill Harsey Jr to adapt the design into a folder for Gerber. The result was the award-winning Gerber folding Applegate-Fairbairn fighting knife.

Gerber has since improved upon the design and even made a budget version of the knife called the Gerber Covert FAST.

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10 Best Condor TK Knives

Condor Tool & Knife is a relatively new brand in the knife world.

Condor Tool & Knife — sometimes known as Condor TK or simply Condor — has only been around in its current form since 2004. However, it has roots that date back to 1787 when Gebr Weyersberg Company was founded in Germany. That company created Imacasa in El Salvador in 1964. That Central American operation was sold in the 1980s to local investors and Condor TK was born.

If you want an inexpensive but reliable outdoor tool, it’s hard to ignore Condor. The brand has quickly become a darling among bush crafters looking for a solid knife. Except for one folder, Condor only makes fixed blades.

So, we decided to take a look at the best knives Condor has to offer.

Condor Hudson Bay Camp Knife

The Hudson Bay Camp Knife is probably one of people’s favorite Condor knives. Its design is based on a classic fixed blade used in the Hudson Bay area in the 1800s. It has an 8.5-inch blade made from 1075 carbon steel with an unusual “rustic” finish.

Here is a good and honest review from Cedric & Ada Gear and Outdoors:

Accompanied by hardwood handles, the knife has a ton of personality and character. This, like many of the knives on this list, is designed by Joe Flowers.

Condor Bushlore

While the Hudson Bay Camp Knife has the character, the Bushlore is likely the most popular Condor. This knife is simplicity at its finest and is often talked about among bushcrafters as a solid outdoor fixed blade option.

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Cold Steel Announces New 2019 Products

New knives are starting to come out from the big brands, and we should see more interesting new models at the upcoming Shot Show. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait as Cold Steel made its 2019 product lineup live on its website.

Cold Steel has been at the top of its game the last few years — going from mall ninja jokes to praises from all walks of the knife community. (Though they still have fun with their ridiculous videos.)

This year proves to be another promising one for the Ventura-based knife brand. We should also expect more to be released in the coming months.

Here are just some of the ones we’re most excited about. You can see all of them at the 2019 lineup page.

Cold Steel AD-15

I’m not going to beat about the bush and put the most exciting models at the end. By far the most intriguing new Cold Steel is the AD-15. This knife is based off of Andrew Demko’s AD-15. The Demko Knives version was a surprise hit that everyone seemed to love.

The highlight of the knife is the new Scorpion Lock that’s so simple yet so effective. It almost reminds me of the Strap Lock designed by the Hawks. This model will have a 3.5-inch S35VN blade and come in at a robust 6.5 ounces.

MSRP: $269.99

Cold Steel AD-10

Cold Steel also picked up a second design from Demko Knives in the AD-10. This model shares a lot of design cues with the fierce 4-Max (also designed by Demko) but it’s been toned down a bit. It has a 3.5-inch S35VN blade and G-10 handle scales.

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Victorinox MiniChamp – Badass Knife of the Week

 

The Victorinox Swiss Champ is the flagship Swiss Army Knife that packs nearly every useful function possible into a tool you can still feel comfortable carrying around.

So what’s the only way you can make the Swiss Champ better? Making it more compact.

Boasting the same length as the Victorinox Classic, the MiniChamp features 18 functions in a 2.3-inch body. What makes this knife so special is that it contains every single bladed tool available to the knives in this size as well as a few tools that are exclusive to the MiniChamp.

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Benchmade Announces New 2019 Models

It’s a new year and that means new knives.

While we used to get a look at a slew of new knives at the beginning of the year, more companies have opted to release new knives throughout the year. Brands like Spyderco are doing this likely because of the negative reactions to the time it takes from announcement to production. For example, where’s the Paysan or Smock?

Fortunately, we still get a look at some new knives thanks to Benchmade. There’s only a few revealed right now, but I imagine there will be more releases throughout the year.

Here they are.

Benchmade 980 Turret

The Turret will probably get the most looks of the five new models because of its robustness and design. It almost reminds me of the Benchmade Adamas and it sounds like Benchmade made it that way.

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Spyderco Native 5 Lightweight – Badass Knife of the Week

 

If you think you can’t get a good American-made knife that uses solid materials without breaking the bank, you may have missed our latest Badass Knife of the Week when it first came out.

The Spyderco Native 5 Lightweight is a stripped down version of the classic Spyderco Native that doesn’t sacrifice on blade steel or construction.

It starts with the 2.95-inch blade with a full flat grind and S30V steel — recently changed from S35VN. The blade is a straightforward design with chamfering that makes holding and using this folder comfortable.

This knife is meant to be used on the job. A finger choil allows the user to choke up on the blade for finer tasks without abandoning the classic grip.

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One hand operation for the Native5

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Unlike previous iterations of the knife, the knife uses black FRN handle scales without liners. These scales not only provide extra grip with the Bi-Directional Texturing that keeps the knife in your hand no matter how slippery things get but it also shaves off weight.

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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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