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Christmas is coming early and often for me this this year — trying to get families together at the same time has resulted in at least four different Christmas gatherings.  At the first of these many gatherings I scored a Craftsman folding utility knife with rosewood handle.

After struggling with the blister pack, I had to wipe the oil covering the knife lest it get all over my clothes. Since this knife came from China it was inevitably coated in a layer of oil to keep the salt air from corroding it.   At least that’s what I’m guessing, but I could be wrong.  Maybe it’s just not cost-effective to wipe the machining oil off at the factory.

Something about this knife just says “pick me up and touch me.”  The knife’s heavy construction feels good in your hand and the rosewood inlay looks pretty, too.  When you open the knife, the locking spring emits a solid click when the blade is in position.  That’s where the love affair ends.  A few things really bother me about this knife.

  • There’s no provision for storing extra blades.
  • The blade can come in contact with the back of the knife when folded, dulling it.
  • The thumb post is too close to the pivot point so it’s a pain to open one-handed.
  • The lip of the blade-change mechanism is too close to the thumb post, so you can accidentally unlock the blade if you’re not careful.

It’s just disappointing that there are so many minor problems with this knife.  No one who’s ever used a good knife would’ve designed a knife with these flaws.  Except for extra blade storage, fixing these problems would not have affected the manufacturing cost.

The Craftsman website also shows two different knives on the website, the Craftsman-branded knife I received and a very similar-looking knife branded Sheffield.  The Sheffield knife looks like it addresses at least two of my grievances:  the thumb post looks like it’s a few millimeters further from the pivot, and the direction the blade holder opens is reversed so you’re less likely to open it while you’re opening the knife.

Craftsman includes a leather case, but the knife also comes with a beefy belt clip attached to it.  With all its faults, it’s still hard to pass up this knife for just $8.  If Craftsman would just make a few minor changes, this knife would be an unbelievable bargain.

Lockback Utility Knife [Sears]

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13 Responses to Xmas Loot: Craftsman Folding Utility Knife

  1. BC says:

    I have the Husky version of this – is it kinda gimmicky? Yeah. Is it perfect? No. Does it work like a freakin’ champ whenever I need it? You bet.

  2. Frank Townend says:

    I’m with BC on the Husky.

  3. Old Donn says:

    I’ve got the metal handled version. A folding box cutter when it’s all said & done. It does what it does very well, but for me, not versatile enough for everyday carry.

  4. jim says:

    I’ve got the Cobalt (I think) version – blue diamond-grip aluminum body. Maybe bought at Lowes?

    It’s my everyday keep in the pocked around the house & shop knife – opens with one hand, can also flick it open. Only 2 complaints – as above, the blade hits the fram & dulls when closed, and the diamond-grip knurling is so rough it’s tough to use the belt clip. Other than that, it’s one of those work horses that was cheap yet has fallen into everyday use.

  5. Kevin says:

    I love this knife with an utter passion. I got mine from the Sears where I work last year so I actually have the identical model but with the 80th Anniversary logo on it and black wood instead of rose. I’ve never had any issues with the thumb pin or accidentally loosening the blade holder when opening. (Actually, mine is easy enough to open that I just flick my wrist and it locks open. Kinda freaks out customers when I whip it out but looks cool doing it.)

    Definitely a great tool for the money.

  6. Holger says:

    Sears shows $12 now for me now. I got a similar one at Harbor Freight for $4.95 or so.

  7. Aaron Baca says:

    The best one I’ve ever found is the Lowe’s store-brand Cobalt knife. The only downfall is the lack of a blade storage compartment. Other than that it’s heavy and the blade lock is really pretty good, quite unlike the Mickey-Mouse example pictured above.

  8. Andrew says:

    I have this knife (and the little brother). I hate it but only because of the two grievances above.

    It is impossible to open one handed and when your hand slips off the pivot post, the blade holder opens.

  9. Coach James says:

    I have 3 or 4 of these and got them all on sale at Sears for $5. Can’t complain about a $5 knife that is razor sharp. My daily carry though is a Swiss army knife.

    And I still hate this @*&$%@)$%@($%#%@%!!! auto refresh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Redbusa06 says:

    I got one from a buddy and i’m tryin to disassemble it to clean it since its full of filth. Got it all apart except the pivot…..how i disassemble that pivot??? I tried split ring pliers & turnin but both sides of that “bolt or screw” turn at the same time. Tried usin needle nose along with the pliers to hold one still, wouldn’t budge

  11. Robert Mitchell says:

    I love the knife, I’ve had one just like it for 3 years and all i’m tring to do is find out how much it is so I can order another one, because this one is falling apart.

  12. paul lupiano says:

    Its not even a Craftsmen in the picture! LOL

  13. Danny Gray says:

    I found a package of 2 of these knives in my dad’s things while going through them after he died, never been opened. The package looked like he had never opened it but once opened the knives look brand new, very nice set.

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