Pocket utility knife retractable blade, wilderness survival course new zealand - Try Out

Categories: Folding Knife Design | Author: admin 16.06.2014

If you’re looking for a utility knife for general around-the-house use, we recommend the Milwaukee Fastback II ($15). If you’re heading down the path of an aggressive DIY lifestyle and feel that the ability to store multiple blades on a knife is essential, we recommend that you go with the Olympia Turbopro ($16).
For those of you who aren’t comfortable handling a utility knife and will only use it for really basic tasks, we recommend the Milwaukee Self-Retracting Knife ($12).
I have an extensive knowledge of utility knives garnered from a ten-year career in construction.
Because utility knives are equipped with razor blades, it makes sense to pay a little extra for a nice one with a full compliment of safety features.
A pro contractor is also going to need a spot for multiple blades, though that’s less of an issue for around-the-house use. To see what knives are out there, I checked all of the major retailers and tool manufacturers, finally settling on 15 finalists. Once I had all the candidates in hand, I put identical blades in all of them and proceeded to break down and slice up about 50 cardboard boxes. Because the blades are disposable, sharpness wasn’t a criteria, so I was looking at overall ergonomics, ease of blade change, leverage on tougher cuts, and ease of folding mechanism.
I also carried each one around for a couple days and used them for all of the small knife tasks that I encounter in a 48-hour period.
The Fastback II can be quickly closed and opened with one hand, has a comfy grip, and makes changing blades crazy simple. The knife is designed so that it can be opened and closed very quickly with one hand and lock in either position.
Unlike other folding utility knives, this one can be opened and closed with a flick of the wrist once a safety release button is pressed with the thumb.
In his review of the Fastback II, Clint DeBoer of Pro Tool Reviews wrote, “the knife opens easily with just one hand. The blade end of the Fastback locks in both the open and closed positions, so there is less of a chance of the blade’s accidentally becoming exposed. The Fastback II also offers a storage area for one additional blade (two, if you really pack them in there). A more useful feature for the casual user is the “gut hook,” which lets you cut string and other thin objects without opening the blade. Basically, the Fastback II is the only knife that combines the fast, one-handed operation of the retractable knives with the safety of the flip style.
Everything that is good about the Fastback II holds true for the original, just subtract the part about the blade storage. If blade storage isn’t important to you and you want to save a couple bucks, we recommend the original Milwaukee Fastback ($10).
Timothy Dahl of Charles & Hudson, also reviewing the original model, “absolutely love[d] this knife. Jay Amstutz, writing at Cop Tool, compared the Fastback to seven popular retractable knives1 and concluded that the best knife “and the blade we will continue to use most often is the Milwaukee Fastback. Jeff Williams, writing about the Fastback II at Tool Box Buzz, said, “I think this knife is perfect now that it has blade storage. The Irwin isn't as refined as the Fastback II and has a trickier opening mechanism, but it has room for two extra blades and can still be closed with one hand. If you can’t get your hands on the Fastback II, The Irwin FK150 Folding Utility Knife ($13) offers much of the same, but with a trickier opening mechanism and room for two extra blades. The FK150 has an additional safety feature that keeps the blade from being removed unless the folding portion is oriented 45 degrees to the handle.
If you’re working with tougher materials like roofing shingles, the Turbopro stores more blades than our pick and has an auto-load mechanism for easy blade changes. If you’re looking to get a little more ambitious with your DIY life, you may want a knife with some serious blade storage.
Once I decided that the main pick would be a folding knife, I stopped digging into retractables, but still, with all of my construction experience, I’ve never seen anything quite like this one. The knife also utilizes an auto-load mechanism, which makes changing blades seriously easy (and safe).
If you really don’t like the idea of a razor knife and will only be doing light work, the Milwaukee Self-Retracting Knife ($12) is a good option.
When the blade is initially loaded into the tool, you can choose between two slots to dictate how much of the blade is exposed when the thumb slide is pushed forward. To open the body of the tool and get at the blade storage, the Milwaukee Self-Retracting Knife has a little screw that you can easily operate by hand. The Irwin FK100 ($12) is very similar to the FK150 except that it doesn’t have any on-board blade storage. It’s worth noting that there are a number of Amazon reviews that describe the blade releasing from the tool during use. DeWalt’s Folding Retractable Knife ($20) is an interesting knife in that it is both folding and retractable.
Greenlee’s Heavy-Duty Folding Utility Knife ($18) is a large knife that can store five additional blades. The Sheffield Lock-Back ($9) is very much like the Bessey, enough so that I suspect that they both came from the same manufacturer (Sheffield also sells this knife, which looks to be identical to the Bessey that we tested). The knife comparison in Truckin Magazine put a Sheffield knife, very similar to this one, in the top spot. The Kobalt ($9) is a good example of what I was getting at earlier about inexpensive knives. So really, all of the other knives we came across in our research either were missing a feature or just simply didn’t match up to the Fastback II for speed.
Of the knives, the Milwaukee Side Open Utility Knife ($13) is the closest to the basic construction-level utility knife. Other than the Olympia Turbopro, another, much larger auto-loading knife is the Alltrade Squeeze Utility Knife ($12). Because of the number of stored blades and the comfortable rubber padding on the grip area, this is going to be a winner for someone who literally has a knife in their hands all day long.
To get the full range of use out of the knife and as much safety and portability as possible, we recommend going with the folding style over the retractable. The folding knives also generally come with belt hooks, which are a nice feature to have if you’re cutting bags of mulch out in the garden or if you’re using the knife up on a ladder to cut out and re-do some caulking around a window. Because the slide needs to be pressed in order to move the blade, there is a level of safety involved, but it’s usually not a particularly strong locking mechanism. Another safety concern is that it’s possible to put a retractable in your pocket with a little bit of the blade peeking out. Also, as I mentioned, Jay Amstutz at Cop Tool did an eight-knife showdown and chose the one true folding knife (Fastback) as the winner over a group of leading retractables. Not surprisingly, there is also some variety in the blade change mechanisms from tool to tool.
Other knives have a two-part system, or a variation on it, where a top piece is pressure-fit over a side piece that holds the blade in place.
On-board blade storage is a must in a construction or industrial setting where blades are as disposable as tissues, but for around-the-house usage, it’s less of an issue. Even with my daily usage of my utility knife, there aren’t too many situations in which I need more than one additional blade at a time. The large retractable knives can usually hold up to five extra blades, but most of the flip style don’t have any additional storage, and if they do, it’s usually for only one or two blades, like the Milwaukee Fastback II or the Irwin. There are also a number of two-blade models available, like the Bostitch Twin Blade and the CH Hanson FlipKnife ($13), but these are overkill for general around-the-house use. Finally, it’s of paramount importance that you understand your state and local knife laws before purchasing a knife, especially one that you intend to carry in your pocket or hooked to your belt.
New York and New York City have very tight knife regulations, to the point that Home Depot will not ship a Fastback to the state. 1. Amstutz also looked at the DeWalt folding knife, but to operate that knife, you need to unfold it and then use a thumb slide to reveal the blade. 2. A variation on this theme is the knives with auto-retracting blades, like this Wiss knife.
Regarding the blade security, there was a standard amount of wiggle throughout the blades, even the retractables. I had one of those in my workshop for probably 6-7 years that I rarely used because off the off-set blade. My father’s belief is that retractable utility knives require fewer actions to open and close than folding utility knives.
I suppose my father just isn’t aware that folding utility knives often have very secure locking mechanisms. While I don’t quite agree that retractable utility knives are safer, there are a couple of pros and cons for each knife style. Pros: adjustable cutting depth, longer and more comfortable handles, better ergonomics, internal blade storage.

Cons: cutting depth is typically not adjustable, limited internal blade storage, handle grip area is often smaller. I tend to use both styles of utility knives, and Stanley’s QuickSlide is still a personal favorite.
If I had to choose one style, I would probably opt for a retractable utility knife, simply because there are times when I don’t want full blade extension. Dewalt does make a hybrid retractable folding knife, but its deployment is a bit slow for my liking. I have the Milwaukee fastbacks that I everyday carry and I have one of the dewalt retractables in my tool chest and one in my tool bucket.
I would never want to pocket carry a retractable, but the fastback is perfectly suited for it. I quickly saw that the snap blades were obviously better as they had multiple fresh sharp points on them available instantly, rather than having to unscrew the body of a knife to flip the blade over only to find out that the other tip was rounded off and you were out of replacements.
With snap off blades you can also fully extend them to cut thicker materials like foam padding or use them to shave material or bend them and us as an impromptu scraper. Some other blade holding designs are not so easily defeated when using the knife roughly, and likely hold the blade a little more secure.
The big plus to me with the folding knives are their easy-pocketability, almost like having an always-sharp pocketknife. I keep the retractables in my tool box and keep a decent folder (with the 4 point snap off blades) on my belt I don’t like to carry the retracts but they do feel better when under heavy use. For true heavy duty cutting, my favorite is still a fixed blade utility knife, like the Stanley 199. Folding utility knives are great when I can only carry tools on my person, but if I’m bringing a bag, its going to have a retractable knife it in. That’s my favorite knife, for instances when I need to carry the lightest load I can, but may be in a situation where I have to cut something that can dull bugger up a knife blade. After 26 hours of research and hands-on testing of 21 different knives, we found that, simply put, this knife has it all.
The biggest improvement is that the blade storage is much larger without adding to the width of the tool. Even with its extremely compact body (thinner than the Fastback II), it still has the capability to house five additional blades. This knife has a spring-loaded blade that withdraws into the handle as soon as the thumb slide is released. It cuts with a removable razor blade, so the edge is both incredibly sharp and very disposable, making it ideal for all of the grunt-work cutting that’s too difficult for scissors and too dulling and damaging for a nice pocket knife. Building paper, sheet plastic, drywall, tarps, rope, and even roofing shingles can all be cut with utility knives. This piece in Truckin Magazine and Cop Tool’s Utility Knife Showdown were the most comprehensive and thorough. Safety Daily Advisor, a newsletter of Business and Legal Reports, reported that up to one-third of all manual tool injuries are attributed to utility knives like box cutters. These were knives that were either highly regarded in individual reviews or were representative of a certain style of blade change or folding mechanism. For the drywall cuts, I really sunk the blade in the material and tried to work it around to check if the blade would disengage from the knife.
I generally use a knife somewhere between eight and 10 times each day for everything from sharpening pencils to trimming an unraveling thread on a shirt to opening a box of cat litter.
The grip, particularly the large forefinger notch, ensures that the knife won’t slip out of your hands, and the tool has a nice, easy blade change and a flexible belt hook. When it is pressed, the blade pulls out, and when a new blade is put in, the button releases and locks it in place. Along the inside edge of the blade pocket is a plastic clip that swings out to reveal a storage spot. This is a deep cut-away at the back of the handle that exposes a small portion of the blade when the knife is in the closed position (don’t worry, it’s nearly impossible to cut yourself on it). Added to that is a host of other features—the massive finger hook, the overall ergonomics, the gut hook, blade storage, and the easy blade change—that make this the tool to beat. Reviewing the original Fastback (remember, they’re the same tool other than the blade storage), Rob Robillard of A Concord Carpenter wrote, “If you carry a folding utility knife, I highly recommend the Milwaukee Fastback flip knife. My wife tested out both knives and far preferred the larger Fastback because of the way it fit into the curves of her hand. Otherwise the blade is completely locked in the tool and it won’t come out, even accidentally.
Despite its comfortably compact size (the entire thing is almost smaller than the folded-up Fastback), the Turbopro has the ability to store five additional blades. A small side-mounted release allows you to remove the damaged blade out the front of the tool. This retractable knife has a spring-loaded blade tensioned so that it always wants to retract back into the tool.2 To make a cut, you need to press the thumb slide to the open position and hold it there. If you’re only going to use the knife to break down the recycling, you can set it so that only half an inch is showing, rather than three quarters of an inch. Many knives, like the Great Neck, Stanley, and Sheffield require a screwdriver for this task.
It’s much like the relationship between the Fastback and Fastback II: In all other regards the knives are identical. The not-so-good is that they lock in the open and closed position, so two hands are required to fold and unfold the blade. Similar comments appear with this Stanley knife, which is nearly identical to the Superknife (down to the patent numbers on the blade change mechanism, so they likely have the same manufacturer). To operate it you need to first flip the body open, then a traditional thumb slide exposes the blade. Based on the trouble I had with the blade change, they must not have felt that was an important criteria. With the quality of knives available with belt hooks, there’s no reason to not have that option for storage. There are enough great options under $20 that unless you’re a knife aficionado there’s really no point in spending more than that.
They were all retractables and we chose them based on the representative nature of their design. These are long blades that can be extended almost their full length if need be (in this case, just over four inches), giving them the ability to cut thicker items like foam insulation. They’re smaller to store, tend to come with belt hooks, and because of the way the folded blade nests in the body, there is a lower chance of their accidentally deploying in your pocket. The traditional retractable knife is about seven inches long, so they’re a little much for the pants pocket and don’t come with belt clips. The blade moves in and out of the tool via a thumb slide, usually situated along the top edge just above the nose. On too many occasions, I’ve had a blade work itself open while in my pocket, probably through some pattern of bending down or climbing a ladder.
According to Lyman, “I’ve never used a retractable with a mechanism that doesn’t eventually get really crud-filled and clunky.
Some knives do this with a textured area and others with curved handles or finger ridges at the grip. The best ones are those that are simple and keep your hands away from the underside of the blade. A small spring-loaded button or lever on the knife is pressed to push a locking piece out of the way so a new blade can slide in.
I tested two knives with this system (Bessey and Sheffield) because I was curious if the mechanism had been improved upon over the past few years. In construction, there were times when I’d chew through three or four blades in a sitting, depending on the project.
What sets them apart is the ability to extend two different blades out of the same knife (though not at the same time) in case you need to use a hooked blade and a straight blade for the same project.
Some cities and states have extremely strict laws concerning the ownership and open carry of knives. It’s a little unclear what the specifics of the law are regarding folding knives, but keep in mind that many knife enthusiasts feel that carrying a knife in NYC is something to be very cautious of and probably not worth it. Once the blade is engaged in a cut, some kind of trigger is tripped so that as soon as there is no longer any tension on it, it snaps back into the body of the tool.
His preferred daily carry knife is the Benchmade Mini-Griptillian ($90) which he reviewed here. Was looking for a new knife for my tool bag and lacked the time to do an all-out comparison. The blade storage does look good, but with the two-handed close and the two-part blade change, I’d still go with the Milwaukee.
I also find the comfort of full-size retractable knives to be somewhat better more often than not.

It is the most comfortable to use and I really don’t mind carrying it in my back pocket.
I like the convenience more than anything, even though their biggest downfall is blades being pulled out or pushed in while in use. While this feature makes it a very safe knife to use, it also limits the ways you can hold it, making it difficult for anything more than very basic cutting.
For the past 12 years I’ve carried a utility knife daily, preferring it over traditional bladed knives because of the disposable blades (no sharpening needed). So to narrow the field down to a single knife, I read what I could and relied on my own experience as well as a number of conversations that I had with Marc Lyman, editor of HomeFixated, a website devoted to tools and home improvement. As Lyman said, “given how frequently a utility knife gets used, I think getting a quality knife is a no-brainer. The Fastback II also has an added gut hook, so you can cut string or open a bag of bird seed without ever unfolding the knife and exposing the blade. It’s just much simpler than working the thumb slide on a retractable knife or trying to work a normal folding blade open with your thumb or both hands. This is useful when you have to bear down on the knife, like if you’re cutting a thick cardboard box or scoring a piece of sheetrock to patch a hole in the wall. None of the other knives had grips that were even close to the comfort of the hand-hugging Fastback II.
This procedure can be easily done with your hands coming at the tool from above the blade, increasing the safety level. This, combined with the pronounced bend at the leading edge of the hook, means that it’s almost effortless to clip onto a belt or the rim of a pocket. The positive side of this is that without the plastic blade clip, the knife is one-eighth of an inch thinner and is made entirely of metal so there’s little chance of breaking any part of it.
It’s utility knife meets pocket knife meets butterfly knife.” He added, “It’s solid, heavy and extremely ergonomic.
Then, to load a new one, just move the thumb side all the way back into the tool and a fresh blade shifts into the cartridge from the storage compartment. The knife also has a wire-stripper, like the Fastbacks, and even as basic as the tool is, Milwaukee has put some thought into the ergonomics of the handle.
There’s nothing too exciting about this knife, but there’s also not a whole lot that detracts from it either.
I took a pair of pliers and tried to work the blade free by moving it back and forth and up and down, but could not get it to release. Unfortunately there is no belt hook and this knife is too big for any standard pocket, so storage is an issue.
It has the lockback style of fold, which requires two hands to close the knife, so it’s not as efficient as some of the others. I really don’t think it’s a good idea to have your thumb so close to the blade and actually pressing towards it.
It’s a lockback knife, so it takes two hands to close, but in addition, the “fit and finish” of the tool isn’t that great when compared with most of the others.
Because I knew from the start that a folding knife was more appropriate for general use, I didn’t delve into retractables too deeply, but based on my own experience (I’ve used many, many retractables over the years), these ones are all worth knowing about. The thumb slide is on the side of the knife rather than the top, so it’s unlikely that you’re going to accidentally move it while making a cut. For these reasons, it’s not the first choice for around-the-house use, but still, if you feel that you would want to be able to extend a longer blade, the Olfa XH-1 is definitely the most comfortable snap knife that I’ve held. Retractable knives are nice, but their feature set is more geared toward the professional tradesman. But because a folding knife is hinged at the center, when they’re in storage-mode, they’re only about three to five inches long; when unfolded, they offer a similar handle length to the retractables. Chances are you’re already holding on to what you want to cut before you even pick up the knife, so the one-handed operation makes things more efficient. Retractable knives tend to offer a bigger handle, which is better for all-day use, as well as more significant blade storage (five extra blades is typical). The best ones are the knives with some kind of finger groove because it’s an actual physical impediment to slippage and has less to do with hand strength. When the blade is installed, the button is released and the locking mechanism engages with the blade, holding it in place.
If it doesn’t have too much of an impact on the knife’s size, it’s worth it to go with additional blade storage.
Because multiple blade storage isn’t a crucial feature for around-the-house use, you can go for a thinner knife, one that will fit a little better in the pocket. We didn’t test this tool because with the other options out there, the double maneuver to expose the blade is unnecessary. Jump back. Theoretically, this happens as soon as the cut is completed, but there is at least one Amazon review saying that you need to apply constant pressure for the entire cut or the blade retracts before you’re finished.
My guess is that the wiggle is there to accommodate for discrepancies between all of the different blade manufacturers. I got me a really nice kobalt, very study well built and has a screw that clamps the blade in place so as not to slip.
It’s a nice durable knife and the butt end has a small carabiner clip so it can be hooked on a belt loop. In that time, I’ve probably gone through about 20 different knives, most of which were discarded due to poor features, bad ergonomics, or sub-par durability.
In addition to being a very credible and honest tool expert and reviewer, Lyman is also a self-confessed knife snob. I also looked at five retractable models, each with unique features, to see what they had to offer.
Just by lightly pinching the tool with your thumb and forefinger with your forefinger in the groove, you make it nearly impossible to pull the knife out of the hand.
Remember, these are razor blades, so even a light brush against the edge can do some significant damage. The knife would definitely benefit from some sort of thumb stud to make this process easier.
For this, we recommend the Olympia Turbopro ($16) which seems to be the same as this Seber knife ($15). It’s certainly a safe system, but it isn’t practical for any involved projects like cutting out the old caulking at the kitchen sink or jobs that need the blade extended for long periods of time like cutting a rug pad. Lite Pocket Knife ($13) is so small that when it’s folded up it can sit on a credit card with plenty of room to spare. There’s no question that it’s a solidly built tool, but when compared to the speed of the Fastback’s blade deployment, the extra step of the thumb slide seems unnecessary. Even with all of my experience with utility knives (or maybe because of it), I could hardly bring myself to perform this operation.
Also, when the blade is retracted, the thumb slide is recessed into the side of the knife, making it less likely to deploy while in a pocket. Once a dull blade is removed out the front, a fresh blade appears the next time the handle is squeezed.
This action puts your thumb very close to the blade edge, actually pressing in its direction.
Once the blade is worn down, it can be flipped and reinstalled and you can use the other side. If I were going to get back into professional construction tomorrow, this is the knife that I would want in my tool belt. To lock in a new blade you have to press against a piece, basically pushing your thumb up towards the underside of the blade while the top piece is being pressed downwards.
I’ve had problems with them gumming up on cheaper knives, but I’ve yet to see any failure from the ones on knives built by respected manufacturers. But if blade storage isn’t something that you’re concerned about, the original Fastback is a little cheaper. This is a nice knife, but the Fastback offers a better grip, a faster blade, and a belt hook. A folding knife with a two-handed open or close means putting the pencil down or shifting it back and forth between hands while you work the knife.
Also, the blade changes out with a flathead screw, so it’s not something that can be done quickly or easily. They always have a nice edge and I never have to think for even a second about blade maintenance. With my construction background, I also live a fairly aggressive DIY lifestyle, so traditional blades don’t last very long in my pocket. Jump back.

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