The Cutting Edge

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Father & Son Knifemakers

This post was originally published in 2015 and has since been updated.

My son is only two years old, but I’m already looking forward to all things I’ll teach him about my trade. Unfortunately, the things I work with aren’t necessarily cool. Sure, blogging and the occasional graphic design is fun, but it’s not nearly as badass as making knives.

A select few fathers and sons have traded thoughts and ideas surrounding knives, and some have even collaborated on designs.

Since it’s the time of year when fathers and sons get together, we decided to take a look at the father and son duos in the knife world. Let us know in the comments if we made any glaring omissions.

Michael and Baltazar E. Martinez

michaelmartinezandhisfather2_fullMichael, along with his father Baltazar, invented a number of items over the years, but what they were best known for was the CRKT Ultima Fixed Blade. Michael Martinez is a sculptor, inventor, and martial artist who helped reinvent the fixed blade with the Ultima.

Here’s what Michael said at the CRKT site: “In my edged weapons training, I kept noticing how many knives didn’t feel right, didn’t have a grip that gave both control and comfort in the four fundamental tactical grips.”

His father, who was a mechanical engineer working on classified nuclear system design for the defense department for more than 30 years, contributed to the project by injecting his own design into the knife.

The result was a knife that achieved 22 out of 23 ideal contact points with its comfortable handle. Even though this father and son duo is mainly known for designing this one knife, they definitely deserve some recognition.

Sal & Eric Glesser

Few knife makers have brought such innovation and legitimacy to the knife world like the legendary Sal Glesser. Sal—the founder of Spyderco—not only pioneered features like the pocket clip, serrations, and ambidextrous opening hole but he’s also a very down to earth guy. You can find him frequenting knife forums and answering people’s questions with honesty and modesty. He designed the Delica, Endura, Military, Persistence, and many others.

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20 Best Rescue Knives You Can Buy in 2023

This post was originally published in 2018 and has since been updated yearly to reflect newer and better models.

Disaster can strike anytime anywhere.

Your car might suddenly careen off the road before landing upside down in a creek or your clothing could get trapped in an escalator unexpectedly.

In either situation, only a knife can save you from certain doom. While any knife can save someone in a pinch, manufacturers have seized the opportunity to create models specifically designed to aid in a rescue.

So we compiled a list of 20 of the best rescue knives. These come in all designs and styles, from small folders to massive fixed blades.

Take a look and let us know your favorites.

1. Kershaw Funxion

Kershaw Funxion

The Kershaw Funxion EMT is an updated version of the knife with a feature-rich design. The knife comes with a 3-inch partially serrated blade that deploys with the SpeedSafe assisted-opening mechanism.

Hidden within the K-texture GFN handle is a carabiner clip, hex wrench, cord cutter, glass breaker tip, and screwdriver tip. This is a nice multitool to carry that would come in handy in the event of an emergency. This knife is particularly useful for an EMT or medic.

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2. Spyderco Assist

Spyderco Assist

Spyderco makes some bizarre knives, but there’s no denying they’re great at their job. The Assist is no exception.

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Kershaw Strata Cleaver – Knife of the Week

Kershaw strata cleaver

Big utility knives don’t always need to be bulky and unwieldy. The Kershaw Strata Cleaver is the perfect example.

This ultra-modern folding cleaver boasts a design that evolved from Kershaw’s attempt at a Spanish-style Navaja. The designers at Kershaw decided to take it another step further and make something completely different.

The Kershaw Strata Cleaver features a long 4-inch cleaver-style blade that looks like it belongs in a kitchen. But the unique blade shape allows the knife to be used in various applications, from preparing food to opening boxes.

Made from D2 steel, the stonewash-finished blade opens smoothly with a flipper tab and KVT ball bearings.

It locks open with a frame lock.

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Cold Steel Kiridashi – Knife of the Week

The kiridashi is a centuries-old fixed blade with an angular design from Japan. Almost resembling an Xacto knife, the kiridashi was essentially the EDC of the Japanese people, being used for everything from carving to opening boxes.

Cold Steel took the concept of the fixed-blade utility knife and turned it into something more modern and carryable.

The result is the Cold Steel Kiridashi.

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Smith & Wesson M-9 Bayonet – Knife of the Week

Smith & Wesson M-9 Bayonet

For nearly 40 years, the M-9 bayonet has been the faithful companion of countless military personnel around the world through conflicts like the Gulf War and the Iraq War.

Now everyone can experience the refined design with this commercial version of the bayonet from Smith & Wesson.

The Smith & Wesson Special Ops M-9 Bayonet is an essential tool with a ton of history behind it. It’s also one of the best Smith & Wesson knives you can buy.

The original design was made by Charles Albert Mickey Finn, who went from carving sandwiches at a delicatessen to making a knife that could carve wood, cut wire, withstand electrical shocks, open bottles, and more.

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10 Best Ontario Knives

This post was originally published in 2019 but was updated in 2022 with newer models.

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

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. The series is designed by Paul Scheiter. The survival knife was named the best of the best by Field and Stream Magazine in 2011, and it’s evolved over the years. It’s a pretty simple bushcrafting knife with a 5-inch 420HC stainless steel blade and multicolor Micarta handle scales.

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Spyderco Canis – Knife of the Week

Need a no-nonsense folder for personal protection? Look no further than the Spyderco Canis.

The Canis is designed by Kelly McCann, who is one of the world’s leading experts in counterterrorism, close combat, personal security, and antiterrorism.

McCann’s extensive knowledge of security is perfectly reflected in the thoughtfully designed Canis.

The most notable part of the Canis is its blade. It uses S30V stainless steel and a uniquely designed blade shape with a method to its madness.

The Wharncliffe-style edge is perfect for self-defense (you can thank Spyderco’s Michael Janich for helping popularize the Wharnie as a self-defense blade with his Yojimbo). The Canis also has narrow bevels and a reinforced tip for extra strength when slashing and piercing.

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CRKT Bamboozled – Knife of the Week

CRKT Bamboozled

When your father is a legend, it’s easy to shrink into the shadows. It takes a special person to rise to the occasion and make themself stand out.

That’s exactly what Ken Onion Jr, the son of the iconic Ken Onion, is setting out to do with his first production folder for CRKT. For more of the best CRKT knives, check out our top 10 list here.

The CRKT Bamboozled is a compelling design that carries on the legacy of the Onion name perfectly.

Like any good Onion knife, Kenny’s Bamboozled somehow blends modernity with classic and budget builds with a premium feel.

The D2 blade is 3.34 inches with a drop-point profile that flips open using an assisted-opening mechanism and an IKBS ball-bearing pivot.

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Modern EDC Slipjoints

If you don’t have a tactical folder that can hold the weight of a car, do you really have a functional knife?

Yes! The truth is for countless years people have successfully used nonlocking folders for all kinds of jobs. In fact, in more recent years, companies have started making slipjoint knives you can carry as an EDC folder.

While these knives aren’t something you’d want to baton with (get a fixed blade for that unless you’re Advanced Knife Bro), nonlocking folders are a great option for an EDC. You don’t have to settle for an old Case knife either (not that there’s anything wrong with that). You can now get a modern-looking slipjoint that uses higher end materials.

Here are some of the best modern EDC slipjoints currently available.

Byrd Tern

Unfortunately, Spyderco recently did away with many of its best slipjoint models — such as the Pingo and the PITS. OK, so the PITS isn’t really a slipjoint, but it’s still a nonlocking folder. However, the sub brand of Spyderco called Byrd Knives has an inexpensive slipjoint called the Tern that features a modern look.

The knife is essentially a cheaper version of the UK Penknife.

CRKT Symmetry

There was one point a few years back when CRKT discontinued most of its modern EDC slip joints. However, they’ve made a comeback. The CRKT is a relatively new slipjoint designed by Richard Rogers.

Boker Plus Wasabi

Boker is probably the brand with the most modern EDC slipjoints, as you’ll see farther down the list. One of the best and newest is the Wasabi, an interesting design from Kansei Matsuno.

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KA-BAR Modified Tanto – Knife of the Week

 KA-BAR Modified Tanto

No knife is more iconic than the KA-BAR.

Even though the original is still going as strong as ever, it’s always nice to give worthy knives an update or alternative design.

That’s exactly what happened with the KA-BAR Modified Tanto.

KA-BAR took the original design of the old fighting knife and added some elements to make it more modern.

This version of the fixed blade trades the stacked leather handle for a Kraton G handle. This synthetic material can withstand almost anything you throw at it and conforms to the hand even better.

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