Archive | Knives

Bargain or Just Cheap? – Steel Will Cutjack C22M

Welcome to Bargain or Just Cheap? This series will review budget friendly knives for a variety of uses in a short format. All of the knives will cost less than $50 (in most cases, much less) and will be purchased out of my own pocket. I’ll buy them, carry them, and use them in an attempt to determine if the knife is a bargain or just cheap.


I have already reviewed the Steel Will Modus in a past installment of Bargain or Just Cheap?. That knife is one that started to change what I expected from an affordable Chinese knife. As good as the Modus is in terms of a stylish EDC knife, the Cutjack is better. If the Modus is a great knife, the Cutjack is verging on “classic” status.

Steel Will offers the Cutjack in two sizes – the 3″ bladed C22M and the 3.5″ bladed C22. Like the Modus, they also offer it in a more upscale model with upgraded materials and blade steel. This review will be confined to the more budget oriented C22 and C22M models both of which features excellent textured FRN scales and a D2 steel blade.

The blade is a flat ground, drop point design with a flipper tab that acts as a guard and a large choil meant for chocking up. That large choil is a big part of the magic of this knife because it is actually very comfortable to use. The handle design works very well with the choil which means that the knife can feel very compact when folded but offer a handle that feels very roomy when opened. Couple that small-in-pocket-but-big-in-hand design with a very slicey blade grind, pocket-friendly scales, and a 3 ounce weight… You are approaching EDC perfection.

Steel Will’s liner locks are excellent in my experience. They lock up fully but early enough that you will get years and years of use out of them. They also do great work with flippers on phosphor bronze washers. The detent also seems to be perfectly tuned for great flipping action without the need for bearings. The action on these knives also punches well above their weight class. It locks up strong and flips well.

I think the cheaper and smaller C22M is the pick of the litter unless you need the extra size of the C22. The C22M, being smaller, really optimizes the advantages of this design.

Bargain or Just Cheap?

The Steel Will Cutjack is an incredible knife. It is a bargain at $60, let alone the $38ish you’ll actually pay. The Cutjack is lightweight, deploys smoother than many flippers costing significantly more, and offers a lot of cutting performance in a compact package.

I am using Amazon as the price baseline for this series. All knives were purchased by me from Amazon: Steel Will Cutjack Series


Our goal is to represent knives for a variety of uses from EDC, to outdoor, to tactical knives. Do you have a favorite affordable knife? Let us know about it in the comments!

The above article contains affiliate links.

Boker Plus Stubby Strike – BladeHQ Exclusive

Boker is well known for affordable automatic knives that are actually of very good quality. This reputation is based in part on the Strike line. While previous iterations of the Strike line-up featured AUS-8 blade steel and full-size dimensions, the newest addition to the line sports upgraded D2 steel and much smaller dimensions.

The Stubby Strike is a California legal auto thanks to its 1.9″ blade. The flat ground D2 blade is paired with a 3.375″ long handle to keep the overall package compact. Like the full-size Strike, the Stubby Strike has a textured aluminum handle with sliding safety. The included pocket clip is set up for right hand, tip-up carry.

The Stubby Strike is a Blade HQ exclusive. Check it out at BladeHQ.com.

The Knife Connection (TKC) Blurs the Line Between Custom and Production with the Architect Field Buddy 5.5

Have you ever wished you could have the type of control over knife features that you get when ordering a custom knife… but pay a production knife price? That is the promise of the TKC Architect series and the first offering in that series – the Field Buddy 5.5.

The Architect Field Buddy 5.5 is available 2 ways from TKC. You can purchase the bare blade with handle kit on its own or you can use their Knife Builder to customize with your choice of handle scales, sheath options, and more.

The Field Buddy 5.5 is ground from 5/32″ thick 1095 steel. The blade has a high saber ground drop point shape where the point is in line with the handle. The blades are produced by TOPS Knives who knows how to get a lot of performance out of 1095 steel.

The handle shape is shared with the ESEE 6 which allows TKC to offer their massive array of aftermarket ESEE handles to fit the Field Buddy 5.5. The amount of options available is staggering and these handles are very comfortable to use in my experience.

There are a lot more specs and features to see and customize on the TKC Knife Builder. You can also check out the bare blade (must be purchased with handle kit) and all available accessory options at TKC’s Architect product page.

Still to Come in 2020 from TOPS Knives

TOPS Knives has plenty of new knives to look forward to this year. They have a little bit of everything in the works from concealable defensive options to the full-size field knives. Check out the video below for a sneak peek of what is yet to come in 2020.

Review: Resolute Tools X-1

Resolute Tools is a new company that seeks to bring the aerospace design and manufacturing experience of Resolute Aerospace to EDC tools. That begs the question… what happens when aerospace meets EDC? Intricate machining, function-first design, and material science happen. The X-1 happens.

Overview

The X-1 is a retractable EDC utility knife with a Grade 5 Titanium (6Al-4V) housing with an aluminum-bronze blade slider. It makes use of standard disposable utility blades and offers tool-less blade replacement. It weighs in at just .445 ounce with a blade and is only .125″ thick.

Observations from Use

Have you ever held something in your hand and you could just feel that it was something that was very, very fine? That is the impression that the X-1 gives when you hold it. It feels like something you should be proud to own – like something special.

Minimalism is fine but it seems like Resolute Tools really only looked at minimalism as a starting point. Then, they set about stripping away every extra sliver of material or pretense until they had something beyond minimalist. There are only two monolithic parts (three if you count the blade) which themselves have been reduced to their most simple, lightweight forms.

The attention to detail goes deeper than just the design and extends into the materials. The 6Al-4V titanium material for the housing was chosen for its elastic properties making it well suited for use as an integral spring to tension the detent on the slider. The slider itself makes use of an aluminum bronze bearing alloy that has a low coefficient of friction. It feels almost oily (in a good way) as it slides within the titanium housing.

That minimalism does come at a price. Many similar EDC utility knives have a larger blade carrier that slides inside a much larger housing. This serves to prevent the blade from rubbing on the housing. The X-1 has a much more minimal blade carrier and, unfortunately, it allows the blade to rub against the housing to some extent which will prematurely dull the blade. When I pointed out the dulling issue, Resolute Tools told me this was an intentional design decision to keep the X-1 as small as possible while still retaining the functionality necessary to cut tape on Amazon boxes or other EDC tasks. They also tell me that carbide utility blades will resist dulling better than the typical carbon steel blades. I can confirm that while some dulling does happen pretty much immediately, a working edge capable of opening packages and the like is retained for quite a while.

I would like to describe the experience of carrying the X-1 but there is really nothing to describe. It’s like carrying nothing at all. It’s so thin and so light that you’ll never know its in your pocket. I like carrying it in my jeans coin pocket. The clip is integral to the housing and well designed. It retains the X-1 well and slides onto the pocket easily. It is a joy to carry.

Using the X-1 is just as nice as carrying it. It rests in the hand easily. It opens and closes easily with a satisfying detent action when the blade carrier reaches its limits. You can feel solid stops at both ends of the blade’s travel with a gentle thud as the blade carrier detent drops into place. Every corner is broken to make it feel soft in the hand. Like I said earlier, it feels like something special.

Wrap Up

If the X-1 is what Resolute Tools comes up with for their first entry into the EDC tools market, I can’t wait to see what they’ll do next.

The Resolute X-1 is in its final days on Kickstarter. It on pace to exceed 5 times it’s original funding goal and Resolute Tools is already making them. You can find out more at their campaign page: Resolute X-1 on Kickstarter

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