Unlike a regular utility knife, where the blade is unsheathed, deployed, and exposed when you put it down, Starrett’s Hidden Edge utility knife (model S011) does something different.
Regular utility knives must be closed, or the blades must be manually retracted, if you want to put the blade away safely within the knife. With the Starrett Hidden Edge knife, the blade retracts automatically when you let go of the handle, and it won’t deploy again until you release its safety lock and squeeze the handle lever.
Read More: Discussion on Safety Utility Knives
This aluminum-cased knife comes with some of the same features of better utility knives, such as on-board storage for extra blades and a tool-less blade change mechanism, but it also possesses a thumb-wheel for letting you adjust how far the blade protrudes from the body.
With other retractable knives, you must set the cutting depth each time you deploy the blade. With the Hidden Edge, the desired blade extension can be set and locked in. This way, the blade extends to the same setting each time you squeeze the handle to deploy the blade.
Given the Hidden Edge’s features, it might not fit into pouches and pockets sized for standard utility knives. Starret does offer an optional leather belt holster that can hold this extra wide utility knife (model 968), and it’s available separately.
The Hidden Edge Utilty Knife is available through Amazon for about $13 with free shipping for Prime members or orders over $35.
Buy Now(Hidden Edge Utility Knife via Amazon)
Check out Starrett’s YouTube video to see these features in action.
When I was but a wee lad, I was at a job site with my dad and somebody left a utility knife open out on the floor. Being young and curious, I grabbed it and sliced my thumb open. I remember that traumatic experience like it was yesterday, and it has stuck with me so well in fact that I still sometimes wince picking up a utility knife.
Sure, not everybody has kids working around the job site, but I wonder how many people are hurt every year because they fail to retract the blade before they put their utility knife down or worse throw it in their pocket.
I know this isn’t a brand new tool, and the fact that I had a difficult time finding any notable retailers besides Amazon means it probably hasn’t been very popular. Yet, a safer utility knife really strikes me as a good idea that maybe hasn’t been implemented the right way.
I like the Starrett Hidden Edge’s automatically-retractable blade, but I have not put my hands on one yet. It could be that the extra bulk of the lever makes you less likely to carry this knife, or that the extra effort to open the knife dissuades you from even picking it up. More likely, nobody wants to pay $13 for a safer product when for a only a few bucks you can get a disposable utility knife that does the job.