When it comes to gear, it won’t last long if something’s style over substance. It can be fun, but it really needs to be functional, too.
When this knife popped up on my radar, I figured its unique looks were the draw. But the art isn’t just in the wood burls harvested for the handle; it also extends to the blade itself. CARVED assembles each knife in one workshop in Indiana, minus the titanium handle frame and steel (produced overseas). So it has style, but does it have substance to back it up?
This CARVED EDC dances the line between the two, offering a lot of style and a good amount of functionality. It boasts a comfortable EDC blade length (3 inches), a reliable flipper, and a reasonable price under $100.
I received a tester blade in July, immediately put it to use, and have been testing it for the last 6 months. As a GearJunkie editor, I get a lot of packages, so opening paper, slicing cardboard boxes, and tearing open miscellaneous envelopes is a daily chore. I used this blade as my daily task master instead of the multitool I typically carry around. I also carried it with me on a couple of road trips and backcountry overnights (protected from moisture) to use for here-and-there tasks around camp.
In short: While my testing was positive, I must acknowledge this EDC blade ($99) won’t tackle every task under the sun. It’s not good for bushcraft or whittling — but for daily chores, like cutting paper, tape, twine, boxes, and the like, it’s a winner. The shape, handle, and length make it perfect for everyday commuters and office-goers.
- Type of blade Folding
- Usage EDC, light outdoor tasks around camp, special occasion
- Steel Damascus steel, flat grind with bevel
- Materials Titanium handle, titanium clip, burl wood, resin
- OAL 7.13" x 1.1" x 0.46"
- Blade length 3"
- Closed length 4.13"
- Pocket clip Yes
- Reversible Yes
- Verified weight 3.2 oz.
- Designed and made in Indiana, USA
- Beautiful and durable handle and blade
- Not too lightweight
- Blade length is long enough for most tasks
- Great folding function and flipper, smooth
- Very easy one-handed opening
- Can reverse pocket clip and option to add lanyard
- Clip is just OK
- Less tactile/grippy than other blades
- Make sure to clean and dry after each use
- Don't resharpen unless really needed (it stays sharp!)
CARVED Live Edge EDC Blade Review
Design & Features
The most unique aspect of this blade is definitely the wood and resin handle. The wood pattern isn’t manufactured — it’s real wood (surprising, given the price), harvested from wood burls — those bulbous knots found on trees. If they can’t be used for the production of lumber or other wood products, why not put the burls to use?
The titanium handle is finished with a slice of burl wood and poured resin. My blade boasts a maple wood burl, but CARVED also uses buckeye, oak, elm, and redwood. When I inquired, CARVED said it sources most of the burls from Oregon and California, and everything else is designed and assembled in Indiana. CARVED finishes it with tung oil for protection and preservation of the wood component (helps with durability, too).
The blade has a flat grind, but with an added double bevel in the middle as the grind comes to a point. It’s nothing too fancy, but for an EDC blade under $100, I was expecting a plain flat grind.
At the end of the day, the blade is functional, and it stayed sharp. Just know that the blade has its limits in terms of intended (and ideal) use.
Moving onto the frame. Surprisingly, the gaps between the titanium frame on each side of the handle and the area around the lugs was really easy to clean. If I were outdoors for an extended trip, I’d make sure to give this a quick wipe just to keep out dust and dirt.
Some people might not like a frame lock or this style of handle, and that’s OK. But for EDC flippers, the frame lock is a common style, shaves weight, and suits this blade well. It functions as it should.
Finally, the pocket clip. It definitely wasn’t my favorite component on this knife, because the end of it is so narrow. I think I’d appreciate a more traditional and wider, maybe even more malleable clip here. In short: it really could be better. That being said, once you stash it in a pocket, it stays put.
Comparisons: Can CARVED Take On Season Knife Brands?
When it comes to the the blade length and style, frame lock, and hardware, this knife rivals two competitors I can think of in the folding EDC category: the Gerber Fastball, of which I’ve owned several, and the CRKT Kith.
Obviously the price points are a little different, but all three blades share some similarities. Out of all the pocket tools I’ve owned, the Fastball is probably my most used and longest-running knife. But I’ve had multiple issues with the screws falling out (coming loose, needing Loctite, or outright replacements), and the choil/feel in hand isn’t my favorite. Still, it’s one of the most popular Gerber knives out there, and for good reason.
This CARVED blade is very similar in functionality, blade length, shape and grind, and price. But the hardware has held up better. On the flip side, the CARVED is also a few ounces heavier, and the Fastball has a better quality steel.
The Kith, on the other hand is more similar on spec than you’d think — in blade length, overall length, profile, weight, and that it’s built for the budget crowd. Two major differences: CARVED’s EDC definitely uses a better steel, and has way better aesthetics, but isn’t nearly as capable as the Kith in terms of taking hard use.
The Carved EDC Blade: Who It’s For
For anyone with a love for knives, nature, and art, the Carved EDC knife sits in the middle of the Venn diagram among all three. Every single knife made is its own unique slice of live edge wood, meaning no two are the same. Beyond the aesthetics of the handle, there’s also beauty in the blade. The Damascus steel blade arrived very sharp, and has stayed that way after slicing through food packaging, paper, fabric, and threads for months.
Damascus is lauded to hold an edge well, so you shouldn’t need to sharpen it often, and my testing supports that. Plus, the use of stainless steel in helps protect the blade from rust, though as stated, you should be mindful to care for the blade for the long haul.
So, it’s not just looks; this knife slices well. That said, this is not an “outside” EDC; you’ll want to clean it before putting away. The blade is functional but not ultra-tough. It’s better suited for versatile, lighter everyday carry rather than hard frequent use. It’s comfortable to hold in either hand, but the pocket carry is just a touch tricky. It can slice well, but not slice everything. I have dropped it, and it hasn’t broken or scratched.
This was not my go-to, run-into-the-ground, hardy task blade. The ideal user here is someone who will appreciate it, use it, but not rely on it for everything. It won’t work for all tasks, and definitely tread lightly in harsher conditions, moisture, and weather. It shines as the perfect EDC blade for someone with some knife know-how and some restraint.
And, when it does come to the need to resharpen, it is critical you have experience and practice with proper grind angle and knife care to preserve the edge for years to come.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the obvious: CARVED is not a large knife maker, like the Gerbers and Spydercos of the world. It’s not even a boutique knife brand, like say Montana Knife Company. In fact, CARVED started out making live edge and resin phone cases, wood cases with a finish that hopefully can protect a smartphone as much as any polycarbonate or plastic varieties.
But the brand’s debut EDC blade surprised. As a complement to other implements that can take on more demanding tasks, the CARVED folding knife is a great pocket companion — and conversation starter.