Author Topic: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?  (Read 23267 times)

Offline FreeLancer

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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.

 

 
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 11:40:31 PM by FreeLancer »

Offline strangetanks

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2016, 06:20:40 AM »
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.

Offline David in MN

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2016, 06:37:30 AM »
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.

http://www.amazon.com/Stanley-10-499-Quick-Change-Utility-Retractable/dp/B00002X20D

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.

Offline Bradbn4

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2016, 07:09:52 AM »
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.




Offline bcksknr

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2016, 07:59:47 AM »
     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.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2016, 06:51:58 PM »
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.

Got a pic or link?  I'd like to try which ever one you think is the best.


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.

I know exactly where you're coming from.  I got it when I heard Jack mention it back in the early TSP "Jetta" days.  Didn't really like it, stuck it in a desk drawer and only used it to open mail, sticking with the 99E for everything else.  Somehow, after opening hundreds of Amazon boxes, nothing else seemed quite right in my hand anymore.  It's weird, the thing just grew on me and I had to get more to spread around the house.  I got the three Milwaukee models on impulse as I was passing through Home Depot a few months ago and really like them, and I do find myself using the Fastback more and more.  Who knows, maybe in a few months I'll have switched preferences again.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 07:08:26 PM by FreeLancer »

Offline strangetanks

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2016, 07:47:32 PM »
http://www.amazon.com/Alltrade-150003-Auto-Loading-Squeeze-Utility/dp/B0000TMLX0/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1459906784&sr=8-3&keywords=utility+knife+auto

Used this one for a while.  The mechanism was awesome, if you were whipping the knife in and out of a toolbelt for something like drywall it was great.  There was a problem with the mechanism that grabbed the blade however, it wore out and wouldn't reliably grab a new blade anymore.  Don't know if its been fixed since.

https://www.fastenal.com/products/details/0209246?term=utility+knife&r=~|categoryl1:%22600241%20Tools%209and%20Equipment%22|~%20~|categoryl2:%22600268%20Hand%20Tools%22|~%20~|categoryl3:%22600286%20Knives,%20Razors,%20Multi-Tools%209and%20Accessories%22|~%20~|categoryl4:%22600291%20Utility%20Knives%22|~

This is the one I use now.  Super reliable and rugged.  Only time I have problems is if I'm cutting something really gummy like torch down rubber roofing and the blade gets covered in gook.

I'm a general contractor, I work my tools pretty hard, especially something like a utility knife. 

Offline archer

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2016, 07:51:44 PM »
I have an old stanley and the gerber eab. the eab lives in my pocket and i use more often than my sak i carry. i even bought them for my brothers/dad/step dad.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2016, 09:48:31 PM »
I'm a general contractor, I work my tools pretty hard, especially something like a utility knife.

Thanks, I'll give the Alltrade a whirl.  I can totally see how what one does with the knife factors into feature preference, especially when you're earning a living off it.  Utility knives have only made me money when someone sliced themselves open 30 min before quitting time on a Friday afternoon.


How about brand of blade, guys?  I've used Stanley, Irwin, and Lenox, but can't say that I can objectively pick one over the other.  Subjectively, I think I've liked Lenox the best and the Irwin the least, but I could have been totally bamboozled by the shiny gold strip on the Lenox.

Offline Badhog

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2016, 10:25:42 PM »
I like the look of the Gerber, but I would not want to put my finger on the piece under the blade. It makes me nervous just looking at it. There is no guard and I could see my finger going right out into the blade.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2016, 11:56:35 PM »
I've got the Milwaukee (2nd from the top) and love it. It's my go too blade around the house.

Offline David in MN

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2016, 06:00:18 AM »
Lenox blades would be my favorite in a perfect world. Where I live (very imperfect) I got packs of 100 Stanley blades on sale at Fleet Farm. The 10 packs I bought might last a while...

I guess I'm not that picky.

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2016, 06:14:29 AM »
I keep two or three of the cheapest utility knives I can find around the house in junk drawers and on my workbench.   I put a Kobalt folding utility knife in my pocket when i'm working around the yard.

I do not like to spend a lot on these.   I almost consider them disposable.   I use them whenever i have to cut anything I don't want to ruin my EDC blade on.  If they break or wear out...just go get another.   

Offline Badhog

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2016, 09:14:48 PM »
So, if people had to pick one hard use and one light what would it be?

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2016, 10:52:33 PM »
Based on my limited, amateur, experience:

If by hard use you mean bomb-proof indestructibility, able to take hard knocks and still be functional:  Stanley 99E, $7

If hard use is in and out of my hands every few minutes, switching blades every hour, comfortable in the hand all day:  that fat-ass Milwaukee, $11

If light use means small and compact:  Gerber, $12

If light means cheap and functional:  99E, because what's out there for less than $7?


The 99E will unscrew with a dime into 5 pieces: the two halves of the body, the screw, the blade carrier, and the blade.  If you've got crap inside that's screwing up the ability to retract and extend the blade, you can fully access that area and clean it out. 

The slippery smooth Milwaukee is held together with 4 torx screws and I've never been inside it to see how complicated the blade carrier/quick release mechanism is, but I know it's not going to be a simple as the 99E.  The blade compartment is polymer, which is sturdy but still presents a weak link, and once that's gone, both the blade storage and 60% of the handle goes with it.

Offline David in MN

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2016, 06:03:14 AM »
So, if people had to pick one hard use and one light what would it be?

I'd rather have 2 99Es for the price of 1 of the others. I haven't looked for a case discount but having a dozen 99Es isn't really a problem. Most tool belts have a slot specifically built for them. They are the standard.

The only problem is a lack of a clip which is why I have the Milwaukee Fastback.

Offline Carl

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2016, 06:24:30 AM »
I have,and use many box cutter like knives..always folding knives though,but my go to knife is a MORAKNIV and many versions that are superior knives that cost from LESS than $10 to more...I find for tough jobs ,the ROBUST is stronger and CARBON STEEL much tougher steel,yet easy to sharpen.With the molded sheath,you can belt or pocket carry safely .

Mora robust:

  http://www.amazon.com/Morakniv-Craftline-Robust-Carbon-Sheath/dp/B00SROLRDK?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

Mora Basic ,often under $10 good box cutter:

http://www.amazon.com/Morakniv-Craftline-Utility-Carbon-Sheath/dp/B00T3DCVVG/ref=sr_1_4?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1460031217&sr=1-4&keywords=morakniv

and I sharpen with a low cost ,yet very effective , Yes ,it takes metal from the blade...but so does any method of sharpening,
except blacksmithing..I don't buy a knife to show...I buy my knives to WORK.

Blade Butler :

 http://www.amazon.com/Blade-Butler-Professional-Knife-Sharpener/dp/B00M50F8JQ?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00

I hope this is not to astray of the subject but have found the Mora lasts longer than it's cost of blades for a box cutter

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2016, 01:29:08 PM »
Has anyone used one of these new hunting knives with replaceable blades?

« Last Edit: April 07, 2016, 01:58:05 PM by FreeLancer »

Offline Badhog

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2016, 04:59:41 PM »
It's funny you posted that because I was just coming on to ask about Havalon Piranta vs a box cutter.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2016, 07:46:21 PM »
Received the Alltrade today, the mechanism seems to work fine but you can see there's an increase in size.



Took some weight measurements:

Alltrade - 311g
Stanley - 173g
Milwaukee - 158g
Fastback - 134g
Gerber - 67g

endurance

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2016, 05:52:29 PM »
When I first started with the fire department I decided a good cheap utility knife would be good to carry, so I bought a three pack of the Huskys since I had two sets of gear to set up.  Big mistake.  I clipped it onto my suspenders and nearly filleted myself one day when it came open on its own.  I have since gone to the 99E.  It stays closed when I want it closed, and frankly, that's one of the best features it could possibly have.  I like that Milwaukee because of the "seatbelt cutter" feature and just might have to try one of those out.  That said, without a lanyard hole, I might never carry it.  Most of the tools I carry I've installed a lobster claw clip so the tool I'm using at the moment I can keep accessible by clipping to the outside of my gear, rather than losing it in the bottom of a pocket.  A half-inch diameter split ring and one of the lobster claws makes every tool with a lanyard hole sticky so I don't lose it... and they work even with gloves on.

Great thread and thanks for starting it.

I have one of these scalpel knives I carry for hunting, but it's not very robust.  While it's exceptional for clean cuts even through skin and hair, any significant side pressure and the blade can pop out.  It's nothing like the robustness of the 99E.


Offline Badhog

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2016, 09:24:29 PM »
If someone was worried about it opening wouldn't a lock back be better than the 99E?

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2016, 09:36:10 PM »
If someone was worried about it opening wouldn't a lock back be better than the 99E?

The detents are pretty solid on the 99E, the blade isn't likely to just slip in or out without significant pressure on the mechanism.  Short of the spring between the button and the blade carrier breaking, it's not going anywhere.


Offline Badhog

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2016, 08:00:35 PM »
Thank you. I've never seen the inside of one of those. I used one when I refurbished a house years back and it took the abuse, but I must have damaged the insides because it opened a lot easier. I'm guessing a lock back would have had different kinds of problems had I been using one of those. I've had problems with blades staying in lock back Husky utility knives during hard use.

endurance

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2016, 07:29:02 AM »
The 99E not only does a better job of staying closed, it also slides nicely into the tool pouch in my bunker pockets. My previous set up was rife for trouble. Sometimes it takes a little field play to figure out what works best in each application.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #25 on: April 11, 2016, 11:25:41 PM »



While getting some Lenox blades, I picked up the Lenox Gold Quick Change knife to try out as another data point, and, in a nutshell, feel that it's kind of a rip off at $17.  Its controls are a little fiddly and a bit too vague-feeling for my taste.  They work, once you get the hang of it, but not in that solid, no-nonsense, kind of way.  Look at how complicated its inards are compared to the 99E.



That button on the Lenox (at the top of the photo) goes up and down for moving the blade in and out, as well as down and to the side, when fully extended, to remove the blade.  I'm skeptical that it can possibly have anywhere near the longevity of the 99E.  In its favor, though, the two halves of the body are hinged and nothing can fall out if you accidentally hit the button that opens it up.  Even the extra blades are securely held in place by a heavy duty spring clamp.  Oh... and the tip is gold-toned stainless steel......whatever.

Get the Milwaukee if you want tool-free blade change.  But I still say the 99E is a hard standard to beat, especially when Amazon sells a 5-pack for $33.

Offline David in MN

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #26 on: April 12, 2016, 05:47:20 AM »
Jogged my memory. I do keep a Lenox Tradesman in my craft box.

http://www.lenoxtools.com/pages/locking-tradesman-utility-knife.aspx

It's rock solid (if a little heavy) and I love the "half-cock" blade change feature. It feels like once open it's a brick of steel. The only downside (and it's massive) is that it requires 2 hands to open and close. So it's good for benchtop "fine" work but not really my ideal for general "utility" work. On the plus side the clip is overbuilt and the lock is rock solid so I'd have no problem clipping it to the outside of a tool bag or tackle bag as a backup.

Offline Knecht

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2016, 04:44:22 AM »
The only disposable utility blade I use is the little razor folder by Dermasafe.com - can't beat the price vs. sharpness vs. usefulness ratio.
Great for most delicate cutting tasks. Also use it for leatherworking a lot. Despite being ment as disposable, they can be resharpened with a little skill, so I use them very long before I discard them.

Offline Bradbn4

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #28 on: April 19, 2016, 08:05:36 PM »
The only disposable utility blade I use is the little razor folder by Dermasafe.com - can't beat the price vs. sharpness vs. usefulness ratio.
Great for most delicate cutting tasks. Also use it for leatherworking a lot. Despite being ment as disposable, they can be resharpened with a little skill, so I use them very long before I discard them.

http://www.derma-safe.com/  would be the site

I get virus warning when I try the site

Offline David in MN

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Re: Utility Knives, Box Cutters, Razor Blades: What do you like to use?
« Reply #29 on: June 26, 2016, 03:18:03 PM »
I have,and use many box cutter like knives..always folding knives though,but my go to knife is a MORAKNIV and many versions that are superior knives that cost from LESS than $10 to more...I find for tough jobs ,the ROBUST is stronger and CARBON STEEL much tougher steel,yet easy to sharpen.With the molded sheath,you can belt or pocket carry safely .

Mora robust:

  http://www.amazon.com/Morakniv-Craftline-Robust-Carbon-Sheath/dp/B00SROLRDK?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

Mora Basic ,often under $10 good box cutter:

http://www.amazon.com/Morakniv-Craftline-Utility-Carbon-Sheath/dp/B00T3DCVVG/ref=sr_1_4?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1460031217&sr=1-4&keywords=morakniv

and I sharpen with a low cost ,yet very effective , Yes ,it takes metal from the blade...but so does any method of sharpening,
except blacksmithing..I don't buy a knife to show...I buy my knives to WORK.

Blade Butler :

 http://www.amazon.com/Blade-Butler-Professional-Knife-Sharpener/dp/B00M50F8JQ?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00

I hope this is not to astray of the subject but have found the Mora lasts longer than it's cost of blades for a box cutter

I had all the knives I needed. But Whenever Carl recommends a product it tends to be robust and inexpensive so I tacked on a Mora HeavyDuty to an Amazon order. $14 isn't a big gamble...

It's awesome. It's really filled the niche for a gardening knife. I've been using it for a week or so cutting back raspberries and harvesting currants. And I love the plastic sheath (which I thought I'd hate). The ergos are great for my big hands as well. Best of all, at such a price I don't care about getting it dirty and abusing it. I actually joked with my wife that it's my first "carry" knife I'd put in the dishwasher.

Now the Milwaukee folder is my household EDC, the Stanley 99E is my shop knife, and the Mora is my garden knife. Still rocking the SAK Outrider when I'm out.

Great stuff, Carl. Enjoy some  :popcorn: .