I must now come before you the Toolmonger readers and prepare that great meal of bitter sorrow — the crow. Then consume it. After years of doing this you’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now, but alas I exhibit characteristics of density that would boggle most geologists. The flavor that spices my blackbird dish today is the Milwaukee Fastback folding utility knife.
We all suffer from some form of elitist attitude at one time or another; it’s the subject in which you are well informed but refuse to consider seriously any opinion but your own. I have friends who are music elitists and others can be told nothing new about computer hardware — it seems one of mine is utility blades. I dismissed the Milwaukee Fastback out of hand because I thought I’d seen everything in the way of utility knives already. I was wrong.
When out in the shop over the weekend, my other half asked to borrow the “good” utility knife. I of course handed her the Irwin pro from its place of reverence on the pegboard. She replaced it and explained that she didn’t want that one — she wanted the one I carry, the one in my side pocket, the red one. I suddenly developed a sinking feeling.
I defended the Irwin in much the same manner husbands in the movies try to misdirect discovered infidelity — I extolled the virtues of the Irwin at length. I talked of how prized a place it holds in the shop, I sang of its rugged nature, but it was to no avail. The outstretched hand did not reach for the Irwin but waited for the Milwaukee.
The Fastback is deceptively insidious because it’s devoid of clutter. There are two buttons: one to release the swing lock and one on the blade housing for blade changes. The folding-knife form factor is the first we’ve seen that’s gotten the weight and balance right. The slot in the rear allows the blade to work as a wire stripper when closed, and the belt clip is mercifully removable with a single screw tucked into the aluminum frame.
All of this is great, but it’s that accursed snap noise that keeps me coming back. Just push the button and swing it open or closed like a gravity knife a few times. That very distinctive switchblade click must’ve been designed in a man-cave testing lab. Less than one inch thick form factor, accepts standard razor blades, only $12 retail — and still, it’s that intoxicating sound.
Damn you, Milwaukee engineers.