In a normal year, June is a festive month for knife nerds, not because of the summer solstice, but because of Blade Show, the largest annual knife show in the world. The convention, which brings together both large-scale manufacturers and small-batch artisans, is the best place to get a glimpse of new knives and tools. Unfortunately, the show is postponed until August due to coronavirus concerns, but there are still plenty of new wares to check out.
Recently, Buck Knives updated one of its classics, Spyderco made a cute nod to canines, Work Sharp revealed a user-friendly whetstone and more.
Buck Knives 112 Ranger Drop Point
The 112 Ranger is one of Buck Knives’ best-known folding knives and has been since its release nearly 50 years ago. This new version comes with a perhaps subtle but significant change — a drop-point blade instead of the typical clip point. Everything else remains unchanged, from its ebony wood handle to lockback mechanism.
SOG ULTRA XR
The SOG Ultra earned a following with a form so thin it can fit into a wallet. Or, better yet, thanks to an extra-large pocket clip, it can be a wallet (for cash at least). SOG recently updated the knife to the new Ultra XR, which comes with the brand’s sliding button lock as well as an updated blade made of CPM-S35VN steel.
Leatherman Clean Contact Carabiner
Once copper’s antimicrobial properties became known, door-opening, button-pushing claws made from the stuff started popping up all over Kickstarter. Now Leatherman is making one called the Clean Contact Hook, solidifying the hook’s place as EDC in the coronavirus age. It features a carabiner and bottle opener in addition to its hook and pusher, and is made of brass (a copper alloy) and weighs 2.55 ounces. Leatherman is donating $10 to the Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses for each tool sold.
Benchmade 565-1 Mini Freek
The original Freek, with its 3.6-inch blade and ergonomic handle, was somewhat tactical. That vibe remained even when Benchmade shrunk it down to a three-inch blade in the Mini Freek, but the new 565-1 version is decidedly more elegant and EDC-friendly. The pocket knife comes with carbon fiber handles, red hardware and a drop-point blade made of premium CPM-S90V steel.
In its latest product drop, Spyderco released an entire mini-collection of Wharncliffe knives that shouldn’t be missed. But it also unleashed the Pochi, which might be the first pocket knife we’d ever describe as cute. But it is cute, taking on the form of a small dog (and the name, too — in Japan, pochi is a common name for dogs). The knife is tiny but has plenty of bite, thanks to high-grade CPM-S45VN steel and a titanium handle with a frame lock.
Leatherman Free Colors
Leatherman’s award-winning Free series maxes out one-handed utility, but now the Portland toolmaker is integrating style into the tools’ design too. The T and K tools are now available with crimson, navy or evergreen handles. Designers drew inspiration from the Pacific Northwest’s natural landscape, where the company is based, and more hues are on the way.
Work Sharp Whetstone Knife Sharpener
Sharpening stones have been used since ancient times, and the pros still use them to achieve the finest attainable edge. Using one effectively does take some practice, but Work Sharp’s new Whetstone Knife Sharpener removes some of the guesswork. The tool comes with exchangeable angle guides and a stable base, and the stone has two grit levels, all of which make keeping a blade sharp from your home workshop (or kitchen counter) very manageable.
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