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I really hated being wrong about the Milwaukee fastback folding utility blade. I thought it would be one of the also-rans that always crop up around Christmas as a “Free Gift” in discounted toolkits. Leave it to Milwaukee to follow through with their threat to put muscle behind their hand tool development and make me feel like a jackwagon.

The fastback has proven to be a hardworking addition to the shop, office, automotive garage, and home area. Mention of its name is followed by a reach into my sidepocket instead of a run to the toolbox. It’s a subtle but distinct difference that speaks more to how comfortable it is to carry and use than tales of its battle prowess ever could be.

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I’m not sure why the new pitted bolsters on these knives look so good; they just do. Case is famous for doing these kinds of things — small adjustments on classic designs that wind up looking good without altering the function of the blade. It’s basically the same knife they’ve sold for years, except this one had someone with a tiny punch sit down and methodically dimple the hell out of the bolsters. We respect that.

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I’m generally not into collectable knives, preferring instead the kind you actually use. But when the two cross paths, it grabs my interest. That’s what drew me to Case’s John Wayne collection. The knives feature the veteran USC footballer and film veteran’s signature, either inlayed into the handle or engraved on the blade. But besides that, they’re just good old standard Case knives, great for daily carry.

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If you’re looking for a small, easily-pocketable utility knife, you’ll want a folder. But non-retractable folders are a pretty serious laceration hazard: You’re prone to leaving it lying around with the blade exposed, and you’ve got to deal with an exposed blade every time you fold it shut. That — plus seeing a friend cut the living crap out of himself folding one once — kept me from owning one. DeWalt’s new model, however, both folds and retracts, offering the same tiny stowed form factor without the danger.

I wrote a preview of this knife when I saw its announcement a while back, but this week we got one in the office to play with, and as promised, I thought I’d share the details.

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We often go on about the value of pocket knives and how handy they are to have around in everyday life. On occasion I stow a small Swiss Army knife with me in a checked bag (not carry-on) when I go on a business trip. However, that does not translate to carrying knives on planes in the carry-on section, as Mr. Amr Gamal Shedid of Baltimore attempted to do in D.C. earlier this week.

All we can say is “Huh?” Mr. Shedid states he’s a collector of knives, but what kind of jackwagon decides it’s a good idea to try to bring gravity, switchblade, and butterfly knives in through security?

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So a knife shop blog posted the tale (originally mentioned in a local newspaper story) of a a guy who stopped at a standard DUI checkpoint and was arrested for possessing a pocketknife. According to the (definitely not unbiased, mind you) knife shop blog, the guy wasn’t drunk and was on his way home from a remodeling project. You can read all the various rhetoric for yourself.

As the original newspaper story author points out (and the blog cites):

The fact is that the laws about carrying a pocketknife in New Jersey are so vague that they defy reason. The section in the state Code of Criminal Justice that talks about knives is brief and open to interpretation. While outlawing some knives outright — like gravity knives, switchblades, daggers and stilettos — the law never specifies what is legal.

Which seems to be true. But the next paragraph goes on to lay out some of the guidelines:

  • “a person under 18 can’t own a knife with a blade longer than five inches”
  • “the law can’t be used to prevent a person from transporting a knife for the purpose of hunting and fishing”
  • and “any person carrying a knife for ‘unlawful’ purposes is guilty of a crime in the third degree”

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Remember back when we told you about the Stanley Black & Decker merger, speculating that you’d see some of the underlying brands breaking out of their previous molds? It’s happening. Above you see a pretty straightforward folding retractable utility knife. But it’s part of DeWalt’s new hand tool line, which we understand will include all sorts of tools you probably never expected to see under the DeWalt brand. We’ll have more on those additions in coming weeks and months, but let’s start off with a look at this little utility knife.

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Frequenters of the Case cutlery website will notice that Case has rolled out a new look for their online presence. The navigation is a lot cleaner and now you can view the families of the different blade styles from one page, which makes cruising for new knives a lot easier.

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It is my firm belief that unless you’re traveling through an airport or to a major sporting event, there should be a pocket knife on your person at all times. They’re just too damn handy to walk around without one. And almost since Toolmonger’s inception, the knife of choice for both me and Chuck has been the three-inch Winchester lockback.

Pakka wood and a little nickel is about all the fancy these blades offer. However, the $10 price tag means you could by a fleet of the things for the cost of one “good” knife. We’ve beat the living tar out of ours and have yet to kill them, so as far as we can tell, backups aren’t really required.

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I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for cool-looking multi-tools. (I still love my Skeletool.) So it’s not surprising that the Zilla-Tool Jr. caught my attention. It wraps up all the basics — a 2-1/4″, black-oxide-finished blade, a pair of pliers, a wire cutter/stripper, a screwdriver, and (oh yeah, baby) a bottle opener — in a slick, non-reflective package that’ll surely scare the crap out of everyone at the office.

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