Tools of the Trade

Utility knife

Utility knife – Great gadgets: more new tools for less than $100

Bruce Guertin

This is one tough knife. The slide action for the blade is smooth and stays locked out for a cut. The blade change/body opening system opens wide so you can reach the blades easily. The knife is comfortable to hold and its blade storage “cartridge” keeps blades sharp when not in use.

The release button could be in a better position for me, though; it’s right where I place my thumb when cutting and I occasionally pushed it, unintentionally opening the knife. This won’t be a problem for lefties or if your thumb lands differently than mine. It’s also a bit heavy, but if you roof or drywall, the great blade-change system easily outweighs the weight and it’s worth carrying in your pouch.

Lenox Edge Bi-Metal Utility Blades come with the knife and are available separately. Lenox claims the blades stay three times sharper and are harder to break than standard blades. I can say for sure they’re harder to break, which I like; they’re so tough I could use them as miniature levers for prying trim. As for staying sharp, I couldn’t notice any difference cutting cement backer or asphalt shingles, but while cutting drywall, shims, and cardboard, I could certainly tell the blades stayed sharper and cut longer. * Lenox utility knife handle with Lenox Edge Bi-Metal Utility Blades * American Saw & Mfg. Co. * 20217-2RK utility knife: $16 to 20; 50 pack of blades: $20 to 22 * 800-628-8810 * * Circle #204

Bruce Guertin is a contractor in Coventry, R.I.

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