Iain Sinclair CardSharp 2 Credit Card Utility Knife Review

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Whether you consider the CardSharp 2 Utility Knife from Iain Sinclair a worthy pocket tool or just a novelty, you do have to admit that it’s one of the most unusual knife designs to come along in a very long time. Maybe the most unique ever. Let’s take a closer look.

Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.

The CardSharp has the same footprint as a typical plastic credit card. Make that 3 credit cards stacked on top of each other.

The one piece case / handle of the CardSharp is made of a light weight flexible polymer called Polypropylene and the knife blade is made of surgical stainless steel. The design is pretty clever. The blade is protected (as are your fingers) by the surrounding plastic case and the bevel on the blade itself. No matter how you rub your fingers across the blade area, you won’t be cut while it’s in this folded state. To turn it into a knife, you have to do a bit of origami. First you have to open the lock, which is the ridged button in the lower corner shown above. When you can see the Green stripe, you know the CardSharp is safe to put in your wallet. You can open the lock by pinching the button between your thumb and index finger and rotating it until the blade is free.

Then you pivot the Blade up and the sides fold around it to create the handle. You’re probably thinking that after many times of folding and unfolding, that the plastic hinge will eventually break. According to Iain Sinclair, they are living hinges that are guaranteed for life.

5 plastic studs on one side of the handle, snap into the other side to keep the handle securely formed.

The result is a 5.5 inch long knife (from blade tip to handle end). The blade itself is about 2.25 inch long.

You’ll notice that the blade has my name laser engraved on it. This is an option from Iain Sinclair that can be added when you order the knife, for an additional $8.

The handle has been designed for safety, with a finger guard and a thumb grip. Even though the CardSharp is thin, it is surprisingly comfortable to hold and use. It doesn’t feel awkward at all. It feels as natural to hold as traditional knife.

Is the CardSharp sharp? You betcha! It’s razor sharp and has been designed to stay that way by keeping the blade edge protected from rubbing against anything while it’s in the folded / stored state. I used it to cut through some cardboard boxes, slice through packing tape and cut string. It performed well on all these tasks.

Is the CardSharp a worthy pocket (wallet) knife or are there better alternatives. I think you probably already know my answer to that question. Although the CardSharp 2 is sharp and compact, it suffers from one main flaw that prevents it from being an indispensable everyday tool. That’s the fact that you have to put it together before you can use it. You can’t just take it out of your wallet and start cutting right away. You have to unlock the blade, unfold it and snap the handle together. That’s too many steps for a useful tool in my opinion. That said, the CardSharp is definitely clever and a perfect addition to any avid knife collector’s collection.


Product Information

Price:£15 + £2.75 Worldwide Shipping (~$28.75)
Manufacturer:Iain Sinclair
  • Thin
  • Sharp
  • Very portable
  • Takes a few seconds to "build"

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27 thoughts on “Iain Sinclair CardSharp 2 Credit Card Utility Knife Review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
    1. @Sandee Argh… I knew someone was going to have to say something about the TSA and this product. Come on, I think we all should have enough common sense to know better than to take things like this with us to the airport. At least not in our pockets. 🙂

  2. Argh..pt2 –It used to be common Safety Practise to take 3-inch blades onto flights in case you needed to cut through jammed restraint belts etc after a crash. Remarkable how brainwashed people have become to immediately think a neat new product (like this) is “the problem” — rather than being herded and molested by a Markus Wolf Stasi-trained army of troglodytes, thieves, and pedophiles.

  3. I’ve got one of these – very nice designed piece of kit, and extremely portable. I do find folding it a little bit scary because of the sharpness of the blade

  4. Cool design! Would like to see something similar to hold the regular box cutter blades. It would be very convenient to be able to replace the cutting piece.

    As for the TSA’s issue over small cutting instruments, it is just theater. Anyone can make a sharp-edged cutting tool by breaking a piece of pre-scored glass or from a rectangular piece of metal with a sharpened edge, etc…non of which would show up as suspicious on x-ray. Things don’t have to be pointy to be “problematic” from a security perspective.

    If they really want a “safe” flight… fly everyone naked.

  5. I read somewhere that you can run your credit cards thru a kitchen knife sharpener – the ones with a two ceramic rods forming a V. Should help in cutting seat belts.

  6. My guess is the TSA would spot this on an X-ray: The blade is metallic, but the rest isn’t. So it’d show up as a knife blade. In fact, it’s probably easier to see it’s a knife in an x-ray machine than it is if it’s in your hand.

  7. @Julie. Alicia isn’t over the top at all. The pervasive climate of fear and the growing totalitarianism is one of the main reasons I emigrated from the States. And it’s something that makes me very sad whenever I return to visit family.

  8. Really clever design! Something I’d totally keep in my photo bag or work bag for the times I leave or forget my pocket knife at home. Easy to just slip in a small inside pocket and always have a blade.

  9. I have one for some time now, and have never had a problem at an airport. This is a tool for people who have a reason to carry a knife.
    It is # 3 on my family list, “always carry a knife”

  10. Unusual – Unique. This is definitely a one of a kind design, especially with the way it folds up to make a handle. Though it is a cool thing to keep in your wallet, and the blade is surgical steel, I doubt that you can have much use with this tool. Well, perhaps you can cut open envelops or … packed food, but that’s it

  11. What is the use/point of this knife other than that it can be hidden very cleverly and why you have your back turned you can un-fold it and stab some poor bugger.

    1. @Ian to your point, how is different than other small knives that can be concealed? This one will actually take time to put together unlike a pocket knife that could instantly be at the ready.

      I think the CardSharp is mainly a novelty knife more than a tool or a weapon.

  12. @Julie Strietelmeier, you are not allowed to take knives on aircraft and many are detected but I have heard of two people who have tried to deceive airport security/Police with this type of knife and have had them confiscated! Why try to hide them in the first place and try to take them on a passenger aircraft.

    1. @Ian I’m not sure how we got from your question of what’s the point of this knife to smuggling them on an airplane. I don’t think Iain Sinclair created this knife for that purpose. There are all sorts of credit card sized tools on the market. This one is just another one.

  13. While it may not be as practical as a typical EDC knife you have to give Mr Sinclair credit for the ingenious design here. This is largely a party-piece for the most part but I do see some practical benefits too. We all have too much to carry these days and being able to pop it into your wallet is a nice bonus. It’s pretty cool overall! In fact, it made my list of the coolest pocket knives you can buy! Thanks for sharing, Julie.

  14. I know this article was written in 2012 but I got one of these a 2013 and used it while hiking in the woods. The pocket knife I had I did not like and wanted something smaller. This fit the bill — and my billfold! I have version 2, and I’m glad to see that Iain Sinclair’s on version 3 of this knife. It’s a novelty tool but does work well in a pinch, I think.

  15. It is a inventive design. I usually like to carry a pocket knife in case of emergency. I’ve acquired a single of these – really good developed piece of equipment, and incredibly transportable. I do find folding it a small bit scary since of the sharpness of the blade. Nonetheless, This item is worrisome. How effortless wouldn’t it be to get by means of TSA security? I simply favor utilizing it as a Best EDC Knife Model for (Each Day Carry) functions. I think this pocket knife could be suspicious on x-ray so I advise not to carry 1 with you if everyone want to get pleasure from a significantly safer flight.

  16. Don’t see the big deal, this exact knife had been around for atleast 8 you 10 years. I sell these on ebay and have for a long time, 10 for $8.95. There a fun Conversation starter. However as a good knife to use on a daily basis I would not recommend this. After so many uses the folds and unfolds eventually break. But they do make great stocking stufers. If you like them I would highly recommend buying several at a time.

  17. It’s a great concept and a really cool design. Not everything has to be practical. I guess in a pinch you could use it for self defense, but seems more like a slick novelty knife.

  18. This is largely a party-piece for the most part but I do see some practical benefits too. We all have too much to carry these days and being able to pop it into your wallet is a nice bonus. It’s pretty cool overall! In fact, it made my list of the coolest pocket knives you can buy! Thanks for sharing, Julie.

  19. This is largely a party-piece for the most part but I do see some practical benefits too. We all have too much to carry these days and being able to pop it into your wallet is a nice bonus. It’s pretty cool overall! In fact, it made my list of the coolest pocket knives you can buy! Thanks for sharing, See you soon.

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