Being prepared isn’t just about having stockpiles of food, water, and toilet paper. Although National Preparedness Month is centered around reminding us to be prepared for emergencies, at IndustryOutsider, we’d like to help our readers deal with the little day to day issues that crop up too.
Some time ago, I stumbled upon the Cardsharp2® credit card folding safety knife from Iain Sinclair, a company that specializes in credit card sized knives and flashlights, as well as still and digital cameras. While the flashlight and cameras are the same size as a credit card, only thicker, the Cardsharp® measures 2.1mm with my digital calipers, which is roughly the thickness of about three credit cards. This makes it ideal to carry in your wallet, purse, or backpack. At just 13 grams, you may forget you have it on you. (Note: you’ll want to avoid carrying it anywhere that involves the TSA or security checks)
The design of the Cardsharp2® is both simple and fascinating. A stainless steel blade is attached to a polypropylene plastic body. Grooves in the body as well as at the blade’s attachment point form hinges that allow the blade to fold up and out, while the sides fold inward, then interlock to create a handle. It’s a bit like origami for beginners, except that instead of a swan, you end up with a utility knife. Despite the simplicity, safety features were not left out. When closed, the blade is secured by a rotating lock. Green indicates it’s safe, and a quick turn releases it. Once opened, you can see that the body provides a small hilt below the blade, to prevent your finger from sliding up and into the blade. Your thumb also comes to rest naturally on some small “teeth” that aids in grip. And the folding design itself makes it impossible for the knife to fold while you are holding it, unlike traditional non-locking folding knives. Keep in mind this is a utility knife – the razor thin blade slices nicely through softer materials, but is too flexible for carving work, or heavy duty use. Interestingly, this is the first knife we’ve seen described as “machine washable”. The only metal is the stainless blade, so a trip through the wash isn’t going to harm it. We also appreciate that the compact size and low weight keep shipping costs (both in dollars and environmental impact) to a minimum. At under three inches, the blade is not likely to cause any legal issues, but you’d be well-advised to check local laws before ordering.
So who needs a Carsharp2®? Well, it’s a great backup knife for fishing or camping. For retail or warehouse workers, it makes getting into boxes and packages a snap. It would certainly work well for light duties around the house – the Iain Sinclair website mentions gardening, arts & crafts, or even the kitchen. During our test, we used it for tasks such as opening boxes and envelopes, cutting a tag and loose thread off a shirt, and in the garden to cut some twine. It’s one of those “even if I don’t have a clearly defined need for it, it will come in handy sometime” products. And the design impressed everyone we demonstrated it for. If MacGyver was still around, we have no doubt he’d carry one, and he’d probably save the world with it. For everyone else, it’s a convenient pocket knife that’s not terribly expensive – US$25. iainsinclair.com