Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Edged Weapons and Tools

Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?

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They're not the coolest of blades, but they sharpen much, much, quicker, and manage to get a hell of a lot of mundane cutting tasks done. 

Here's the one's I found laying around my place. 

Everybody is familiar with the Stanley 99E and I see this as the benchmark against which all other utility knives should be judged.  Sure, it's an old design, it's not as slick to operate, and you need a screwdriver to access stored blades and switch to a fresh one, but it's a strong design that really should work fine until the day you die.  For me, I've got about 4 of these laying around various places and the oldest one has been with me for 25 years, but I couldn't lay hands on it for the pictures.

The big Milwaukee at the top is a slick piece of engineering.  Both longer and fatter than the 99E but doesn't require any tools to switch blades or access the stored blades in the handle.  It fills the hand a little better and the mechanisms are smooth as butter.  There's really nothing to complain about with this one. except for its bulk.

The second Milwaukee down is designed to work like a folding knife, with a clip that allows for tip up carry.  You have to depress the black button near the pivot to both open and close the blade.  It works OK, the blades are easy to change, but it's a lot of extra bulk in a large knife that doesn't carry spares.  Regardless, I find myself picking it up a lot and using it the garage, maybe because I've got two of them and they're easier to spot.  There might be tasks where I'd clip one in a pocket all day, but I haven't found myself doing that yet.

The third Milwaukee is fine, but the blade automatically retracts without constant pressure on the operating gizmo, thus the need for the zip tie you see in the picture.  Has tool free blade storage and change over.  There are probably situations where the added safety of this design would be valuable, but I haven't found one in my life.

The Stanley with the carabiner clip on the end is a clunky piece of crap.  There may come a time when being able to clip that to something would be great, but I doubt it.

The Husky folder is fine, not my favorite, but I think it's the cheapest of the bunch and it does what it's supposed to do.  It has tool free blade change, but there's a reason they print picture directions on the mechanism because it's not intuitive.  It does not have any spare blade storage.

Now to the one that gets used the most around my place, the tiny little Gerber folder at the bottom.  It's the thinnest and shortest, both open and closed, and can be clipped in a pocket or used like a money clip.  I honestly usually just slip it into my pocket if I need it one me.  I like the liner lock mechanism because it mimics my favorite EDC folders, but it might take a bit to get used to it when you first start.  It does require a screwdriver for blade change and obviously has no storage.  I can't really put my finger on why I like this utility knife so much, but I think it has to do with the improved sense of control over the blade, since I can position it in my hand in a multitude of ways and better direct my cuts.  I also think it helps me cut more safely too, due to the fact that the design doesn't allow for massive amounts of force being applied to the blade.  I have suffered two significant left hand injuries with a utility knife, both of them with the 99E and a blade that needed to be changed.  Instead of putting in a new blade, or switching to a different tool, I reefed on a blade and it jumped the tracks faster than you can blink.  Fortunately the injuries were not serious, but they scared some sense into me and I've really tried to be more cognizant of what I'm doing and will switch to a different tool or method now.  The skeletonized Gerber frame digs into my hand and reminds me that I'm pushing it and it's time to back off.  I've got several of these little guys strategically placed around the house and garage, and they get used daily for everything from opening mail, dog food, boxes, etc..  They're easy to misplace, though, which is why I've got several of them for backups. 

Here's more pics from different angles for comparison.



That little gerber knife is the one I have in my pocket all the time.  I use it as a money clip, if you buy one however it comes with a thicker than normal utility knife blade.  You can buy them, but you have to specifically look for the heavy duty blades.

The utility knives that I prefer for working are the ones that automatically change the blade.  You depress a button and pull out the used blade.  Retract, and when you extend a new blade is automatically installed.  Usually holds about 8 blades.  Change blades in literally less than a second.  I have seen them in a couple different brands, I happen to have gotten mine from Fastenal.

The utility knives that need a screw driver to open up and change blades are just plane garbage.  The usual folding type utility knives are pretty crappy in my opinion also.  They don't fold up small enough to convenient in a pocket, and they generally don't do a good job as a utility knife because they design them for your hand to be too far back from the blade.

David in MN:
Oh I'm so on board it's silly.

First, the Stanley 99E is the gold standard and I completely agree any knife competing with it needs to offer something it doesn't. This tool should be as ubiquitous as a carpenter's pencil, tape, and claw hammer.

The Milwaukee Fastback folding lock knife (2nd from the top in the first picture) is my workhorse. It flips open one handed (one handed is a need for utility knives) smoothly. The wire clip is both sturdy and easy to use. If you knock on my door during the day I will have one of these clipped to my jeans, sweatpants, or shirt collar. They are awesome.

Stanley did upgrade the 99E... :o The 10-499 doesn't require a screwdriver to change the blades and holds a tray of spares accessed via a button. If I didn't have a dozen of 99Es it would be the only other knife in my shop. Really a cool model.

I hate, hate, hate the little Gerber. In my big hands it never seems to find a home. I like the convenience but in use it just doesn't work for me. I wouldn't advise against it because it works but I'd always say that it fails for me as it seems I just fumble it a bit.

Great stuff. I can't wait to see others' opinions.

I have a few older super knife II utility knifes.  I think I bought it at Randal knifes when they were closing out that series.

Too big for most, but it holds the blade better than any of the other folders that I have used.

Slap side alum design, does take a screw driver to swap blades.  But if I am cutting lots of cardboard it has never let the bade get pulled out. 

It sort of looks like the Gerber EAB; but much beefier design, sort of like the Gerber Superknife Edge.

     When it comes to cutting tools, it's sort of like old folk's underwear...Depends. For cardboard and general chores I use a utility knife 'cause I can just put in a fresh blade, if I'm too lazy to resharpen it. I always keep a Leatherman pocket knife as an EDC, because it takes a nice edge and has a flat and phillips screwdriver. For very fine cutting or hobby work, I use an X-Acto knife or a single edge razor blade. Double edge razor blades are considerably thinner for very fine work, but have to be used carefully. I've tucked a dispenser of stainless razor blades in all of my kits.


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