I’d bet we’ve seen at least a dozen variations on the ages-old standard utility knife design this year alone. Safety seems to be a top concern in the delivery systems of today, which isn’t surprising considering how easy it is to cut the living crap out of yourself with these things. (Just ask Chuck. He recently, um, stylized a pair of jeans while cutting open some clamshell packaging with one.) So, we’re seeing more and more auto-retracting blades like the Hidden Edge by Starrett (above).
Think of the Hidden Edge as a utility-blade-meets-Jack-in-the-box. To expose the blade to the cutting position, release the safety lock and squeeze the lever into the knife body. It’s a rather unique approach, but the extended lever also protrudes out the bottom of the handle effectively making the knife about twice the size of a normal utility blade — when not in use.
The Hidden Edge also boasts a front loading blade system and a blade storage area in the safety lever. Cutting depth is controlled with an adjustable thumbwheel, so the blade doesn’t have to be at full extension no matter what in order to use it.
It looks to be a good safety system. The rather awkward size might be an issue for some, however for around $5 you can get a holster designed for the knife. You’ll have to decide if style points apply and this particular safety feature is worth the extra belt space.
Street pricing starts at around $10.