The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

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Why You Should Never Buy Knockoff or Counterfeit Knives

“I’ll never be able to afford a Sebenza.”

“I want to try out a SOG Tomcat before a get a real one.”

“I wasn’t going to buy a real one anyway — might as well get a fake.”

“It’s not hurting anyone.”

These are common arguments from people trying to justify buying knockoff and counterfeit knives.

To those people, all I say is NO. Counterfeit knives are not only harmful to the designers and makers but can also be harmful to you.

If you’re not dissuaded from buying clones or knockoffs, this post will hopefully open your eyes to the dangers and pitfalls of buying fakes. Here’s why you should only buy a real and legitimate knife.

A Note on Terminology

Clones, knockoffs, counterfeits, homages. What’s the difference? All of these terms are typically used to mean one of two things.

A knife passed off as the real thing.

A counterfeit knife is one that looks exactly like the real thing — with branding, all the design elements, and even packaging information — but is not from the actual company.

A knife that steals designs from another model.

If it looks like a Spyderco, functions like a Spyderco, but is called an Arachnidco, it’s a stolen design. It may not have the branding of the original but it may be a heavily borrowed design. This is not necessarily a counterfeit knife, but the effects are the same.

1) Counterfeit knives cause loss in sales.

This one is the most obvious reason not to buy a counterfeit knife: you’re taking away money from those who made the original. Multinational brands typically lose around 10 percent of their annual revenue to counterfeiters, according to the Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce.

The American Knife & Tool Institute has some knife stats for you.

“Based on the latest ‘AKTI State of the Sporting Knife and Tool Industry Report,’ we conservatively estimate that the annual financial impact on the sporting knife and tool industry is around $80 million,” said AKTI Executive Director Jan Billeb back in 2013.

Imagine spending all this time, money, and resources on making the best product possible only to have everyone copy the product and sell it as their own. Not only does all your hard work go unpaid but it has to feel just awful and could possibly discourage people from making new things.

Millions of dollars each year are going away from those who deserve it to criminals trying to make a buck off of others.

2) Knife companies incur unforeseen costs.

Aside from the loss of revenue from sales, counterfeiting puts a big financial burden on knife companies you may not have considered.

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How to Spot a Counterfeit Knife

This week is International Fraud Awareness Week.

The global effort to raise awareness and minimize the incidence of fraud is wide reaching. Although you may not think fraud affects you so much, fraud reaches every facet of society — whether it’s fraudulent products, fraudulent charities, and those scams we see peppered in every comments section.

While many think knives are safe from fraud, there’s a huge industry of fraud surrounding knives, and it’s important to be aware.

We’ve written about how to spot counterfeits before in an old post, but I thought we’d update with some additional information and tips.

Signs of a Counterfeit Knife

Let’s take a look at a few telltale signs that you may have bought a counterfeit knife. One of these alone isn’t necessarily evidence but can be an indication.

Sign #1: Deals that are too good to be true.

People always mention this as a surefire sign of a counterfeit knife — which is a knife with all the branding of an original but from a different source. If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.

It may be tempting to see a $150 knife sold for $50 and think, that’s a deal I can’t pass up! Unfortunately, no one is going to sell a knife for that cheap if it’s the real deal.

#fakesebenza #lol #copy not that bad hopefully own a real one one day

A post shared by Ace Tpa (@ace_tpa) on

When it gets harder is when people sell the $150 knife for $120. Although the discount isn’t as steep, it is a discount, especially if people claim it’s new or out of the box.

Sign #2: You bought from a disreputable vendor.


Don’t take this the wrong way, but eBay is a cesspool of criminals and con artists looking to make a quick buck off of you. While it’s possible to find good deals on eBay, the auction site has a poor reputation as a hotbed for counterfeits in the knife community.

Well-done ESEE-3 fake

Even buying knives at or near the original price is not indication that it’s legitimate. Even seeing the images on the site may not be reliable, since they could have taken a picture of the real thing and then send the fake.

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Spyderco Civilian – Badass Knife of the Week

On top of making some great EDC knives, Spyderco is known for making specialty knives for specific tasks — whether it’s the Whale Rescue Blade made only for rescuing whales or the serrated Jumpmaster made for the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division jumpmasters.

The latest Badass Knife of the Week is the Spyderco knife made specifically for self-defense purposes, and it’s a doozy.

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Small Knives Will Be Allowed on Planes in Canada

In news sure to delight knife enthusiasts in the Great White North, Transport Canada has announced it will allow knives with blades 6 cm or less (or for us Americans, roughly 2.36 inches or less) on flights starting Nov. 27.

This new regulation will pertain to all domestic and international flights out of Canada — except for those going to the United States.

Why the change? Here’s more from the transportation regulatory agency in Canada:

From visiting friends and family, to getting goods to market, Canadians, tourists and businesses rely on Canada’s safe and secure aviation system. Adjustments to screening procedures are necessary from time to time to reflect changes in the security environment and to harmonize with international standards and partner countries.

Canada is essentially joining the rest of the world in allowing knives with blades 6 cm or smaller on planes.

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Knife Myths: Premium Steels Are Always Better

There’s currently a race to the top when it comes to knife blade steels.

Just a few years ago, S30V was considered the best steel around. Today, S30V is sometimes considered an ancient steel while newer steels like S110V are praised for being even better. (To be clear, S30V is just as great as ever as shown by these S30V steel knives.)

The marketing associated with each new steel that comes out makes it hard not to get jaded.

So I’m here to tackle the myth that all these new super steels being introduced every year are always better than the old reliables found in the vast majority of production knives.

What is a premium steel?

To better tackle the myth, we must first understand the definition of a premium steel. The reality is that there are common tiers steels typically fall into.

Here’s a general breakdown using info from places like Knife Informer and More Than Just Surviving. Keep in mind this is all subjective and ripe for debate.

Super Steels

  • S110V
  • Vanax 75
  • 20CV
  • REX 121

Ultra Premium Steels

  • S90V
  • M4
  • Elmax
  • M390

Premium Steels

  • S30V
  • ZDP-189
  • S35VN

High-End Steels

  • 154CM
  • ATS-34
  • VG-1
  • N690
  • D2

Average Steels

  • 440C
  • 420HC
  • 1095
  • 8Cr13MoV

Low-End Steels

  • AUS-6
  • 420J2
  • 440A

So what makes a steel premium rather than just average? A whole range of factors, in fact. People often take strength, durability, edge retention, ease of sharpening, corrosion resistance, and other qualities in mind when ranking them.

So are premium steels always better than average steels?


Let’s put it this way. There is no such thing as a perfect steel. With nearly every steel, you’ll have to trade off one thing for another.

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Boker Plus Urban Trapper – Badass Knife of the Week

Many knife patterns have come out over the years, but only one seems to have stood the test of time as one of the most popular knife patterns ever made. Yes, we’re talking about the trapper.

Our latest Badass Knife of the Week puts a modern twist on the traditional knife pattern in the always reliable Urban Trapper from Boker Plus.

Here’s an overview of the cocobolo version from Black Owl Outdoors:

The trapper design has been around for more than a hundred years, originally featuring a blade optimized for trapping and skinning. While the need for trapping and skinning has dwindled the past century, the need for a versatile and functional pocket knife has not.

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5 Reasons to Add a Lanyard or Fob to a Pocket Knife

Similar to the carbon steel versus stainless steel debate (which is actually way more complicated), knife owners are divided over whether a knife should or should not have a lanyard.

The thing about the lanyard debate is that people aren’t usually lukewarm about the topic. It gets people riled up more than the sit versus stand debate during the National Anthem.

But is there ever a time and purpose for lanyards on pocket knives? Yes, there is.

Lanyard vs. Fob

Before the wolves come out to correct me, let me clarify something: Lanyards and fobs are different.

Although used interchangeably, lanyards and fobs look and function differently. A lanyard is a longer piece of twine like paracord that ties to the end of a knife and wraps around the wrist for more security when wielding the knife.

A fob, on the other hand, is typically a shorter piece of twine that’s tied at the end so there is no opening to fit your hand in. A fob is there to keep your knife from falling in your pocket and other things (as you’ll soon learn).

There’s also a thong, which is essentially a leather string, that serves a similar function as the fob.

Now onto the reasons to add one of these to your folder.

1. Extra Security

I won’t go into the history and origins of the lanyard, but I believe the original purpose of a lanyard was to keep an item securely tethered to yourself. For example, some in the French military even carried a pistol tethered to their arm so they wouldn’t lose it. You can see Eli Wallach from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” attached to a pistol with a lanyard below.

Since then, people have adopted the lanyard on knives.

The lanyard is especially useful on larger knives that may fall out of your hands during use — though keeping a knife stuck to your wrist when your grip fails you may not always be the wisest idea.

It’s not as necessary on smaller pocket knives unless you’re using it in or around water, but the sentiment and reasoning still stands if you use your folders for hard-core tasks.

2. Personalization

Knife people don’t care too much about looks… OK, so maybe a few of us do and lanyards/fobs add an extra item to accessorize your knives. This is the manly equivalent of bejeweling your smartphone case or matching your nail polish to your socks. And there’s nothing wrong with it.

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KA-BAR Jarosz Folder – Badass Knife of the Week

Jesse Jarosz designed his very first knife in December 2009, a process he described as not knowing what he was doing. By 2012, he won “Best New Maker” at the USN Gathering. More than five years later, Jarosz has become one of the top knifemakers around.

And our latest Badass Knife of the Week is the perfect representation of his work.

KA-BAR teamed up with Jarosz to bring the quality and design of his custom Model M75 Tetrad to the masses in the production model simply called the KA-BAR Jarosz Folder.

Here is a quick video overview from Everyday Commentary:

This moderate-sized folder features a 3.5-inch blade made from AUS-8 stainless steel, which can rival some of the best steels when treated right. This version comes with the versatile but always dependable drop point blade profile, but it’s also available in a tanto version.

It opens via dual thumb studs and stays locked with a liner lock. Jimping along the spine allows for more nuanced control when you need better control.

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Top 15 Folding Knives with CPM-S30V Steel

The quest for the perfect steel is never ending. Just as one steel is praised as the perfect steel, another one comes along to claim the title.

There is no perfect steel. Some of the super steels these days like S110V and M390 are at the top of the line for edge retention but can be very difficult to sharpen without the right tools. Beater steels like 420HC and 440A dull pretty quickly but can be brought back to razor sharp without effort.

For a while CPM-S30V was the top of the line steel. The premium steel boasts some of the best qualities of a good knife steel: it has great edge retention, solid corrosion resistance, and average ease of sharpening. Here’s what Buck Knives says about S30V: “We consider this the absolute best blade steel available, and it is made in America.”

The steel was developed by Chris Reeve and Crucible Industries and contains a 1.45% carbon, 14% chromium, 4% vanadium, and 2% molybdenum. The alloy composition creates an even distribution of vanadium carbides that improve sharpness and edge retention.

S30V has become pervasive in the knife community, though it does vary depending on who does the heat treatment.

If you’re interested in getting a knife with S30V steel, here are 15 of the best knives with S30V steel blades, including a few currently in stock at Knife Depot.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2

We’ll start off with the legend. The Spyderco Paramilitary 2 is widely billed as one of the best all-around EDC knives ever made and part of what made it so great is the S30V steel. These days, the PM2 can also be found in S110V or in many other steels during special runs (CTS-XHP, M390, M4 Cru-Wear).

The knife itself is a bit on the larger side with a nearly 3.5-inch leaf-shaped blade and grippy G-10 handle scales. The knife uses Spyderco’s popular Compression Lock and all the pieces seem to fit together just seamlessly.

If you don’t have one in your collection, get one now.

Gerber 06 Manual Combat

Gerber? Oh, yes. Gerber actually has a few knives in S30V steel, but the first we’re highlighting is one of the best American-made folders the company has to offer: the Gerber 06 Manual Combat.

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New York Governor Vetoes Knife Reform Bill… Again

Unfortunately, it’s not just déjà vu. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have reformed the gravity knife laws in the state for a second year in a row.

The illegality of gravity knives in New York City has been a controversial issue the last few years after it was revealed that police were using the vague law to claim nearly any folding knife illegal by using the wrist-flick test. Police reform advocates and the folks over at Knife Rights wanted to clarify the law to prevent law-abiding citizens from being treated like criminals.

Advocates for the reform were cautiously optimistic that the bill would be signed by Cuomo after satisfying his complaints from the previous year’s iteration of the bill but were disappointed to learn of the veto.

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