In the Eye of the Blade-Holder

There’s Nothing Special About This Pocket Knife, and That’s a Good Thing


In pocket knives, as with any product, there can exist a dangerous tendency to go overboard on features and stray toward unnecessary luxury. Yes, an oversized blade a la John Rambo can look cool, and who wouldn’t want a pocket knife with fossilized wooly mammoth tusk inlaid in its handle, but are these things truly necessary?

The answer to that question has the potential to spark an hours-long debate, but neither faction could deny the elegance of Massdrop’s new collaboration pocket knife with bladesmith Ray Laconico. It’s called the Keen, and it’s a 7.9-inch titanium frame-lock folder. Laconico designed the Keen in the minimalist and graceful style that’s present in many of his knives; a lanyard hole and pocket clip are the only non-essential traits. The blade is S35VN stainless steel forged into a spear-point and ground flat into a plain edge. The handle is available in various hues and finishes.

The Keen is simple. That’s not a bad thing though. Knives are collectible, sure, but they’re also practical tools that have the potential for daily use. The problem with a gorgeous, elaborate and expensive pocket knife is that we’re often reluctant to use them for even such basic tasks as opening packages and making quick repairs. But the Keen is beautiful, and utilitarian.

It’s important to note that this is the first-run of production for the Keen and that Massdrop is taking orders in the same style as a Kickstarter project might run. The finished knives will be delivered to buyers in October of this year. Those customers will get some perks for picking up the blade early, including a $10 Massdrop credit, a serialized edition of the Keen and a Q&A with Laconico himself.

Do You Really Need a Full-Sized Pocket Knife?

For most of us, the effectiveness of a full-sized pocket knife can be lost. If most of the tasks you perform with your blade involve small and precise cuts, then all you might need is a small X-ACTO-style blade, like the Retracting Utility Knife from Massdrop and Ferrum Forge. Read the Story