I’m a flashlight guy, no secret, but any time I have a light on my person, I also have a knife. But I’m not a typical knife guy – I strongly prefer really small knives. It’s a never ending quest. I saw this little guy and knew I had to have it. This Nite Ize DoohicKey knife isn’t the perfect knife for me, but it’s the one that I’ve carried for months now.
There’s only one version, but it’s available in three scale colors: Orange (seen here), Blue, and Green.
I paid $12.55, and that’s approximately current price, too.
I keep this tiny knife in my coin pocket. If I wanted to carry a bigger knife, I would still carry this little Nite Ize knife, too. It’s super thin, super light, and super tiny. Great for opening packages and the like.
Package and Manual
The DoohicKey ships in a blister pack. There isn’t really a manual.
First of all, this knife is orange. That means it’s already awesome. The orange is a bit unusual – the aluminum scales are actually anodized orange. From what I read, anodizing something to this color is difficult.
Anyway, this orange is awesome. It’s the kind of awesome that makes me think the blue and green would be good, too. In my 4+ months of use, the orange hasn’t faded, but around some high points on the edges it’s worn a bit.
The blade is a fairly standard drop point, and has a full hollow grind.
The package includes this Nite Ize locking S-biner. I don’t love these things and have not used it on the knife, but it’s not a bad thing to have.
The S-Biner fits well in the tail loop of the knife.
On my purchased copy, the blade is adequately centered.
Open / Close / Lock
Opening the knife is easy, with two hands, and possible with just one. There’s a thumbnail on just one side, but typically I pinch the blade to open it anyway. There’s plenty of blade revealed for pinch opening. Under around 30˚ up, the blade will snap closed. Past this mark, the blade stays approximately wherever you leave it, until fully open, when it locks.
The knife is a lock-back. To unlock, press the unanodized area on the spine of the knife, and press the blade closed.
It’s a very smooth mechanism. My pivot hasn’t needed to be adjusted, but it could be – there’s a Torx screw on both sides of the pivot. That said, the knife couldn’t be disassembled for cleaning or tweaking – as far as I can tell, the rest of the body (beside the pivot screw) are riveted together.
Build and Feel
You’ll be absolutely surprised at how thin this knife is. Then yo’ll realize how light it is, too. Very thin. Very light.
There are a couple of things that could probably be better about this inexpensive knife. The seams, for example, aren’t quite perfect. That hasn’t changed my experience with the knife though.
I love the near-honeycomb pattern in the scales, but I’d love to see it be more cohesive across the design. Fully (and actually) honeycombed, for example. Even incorporate the lanyard loop into the honeycomb pattern.
I measure it as follows:
Closed: 58mm long, 20mm tall, 6.1mm thick. I measure the blade at 42.2mm. Around 102mm in length, open.
Steel / Cut /
The blade isn’t stamped with a steel (or any marks, for that matter). The product page says it’s made of “corrosion-resistant 420j2 stainless steel.” I don’t know enough about steels, but I can search. This bladeforums thread is informative, and I’ll quote user mr.trooper here:
- 420J2 was never intended as a blade steel. It’s used primarily because it is very inexpensive.
- Edge retention is on the low end of mediocre, but there are worse steels. None of those worse steels are blade steels though, and 420J2 has the worst edge retention of all steels commonly seen in blades.
- I think its MAXIMUM achievable hardness is like 54 Rc. most 420J2 blades are 52 Rc or less; why would the company pay good money to harden a steel they only purchased because of its cheapness? The up side of this is that it is easy to sharpen….but unless the company actualy spent the cash to harden a “junk” steel, then you will likely only be able to get a toothy working edge.
- It is VERY VERY corrosion resistant. It almost impossible to make it rust unless you let it soak in harsh chemicals for a long period of time.
- It is very durable. Its low hardness makes it unlikely that a 420J2 blade will break, unless its design is structurally unsound.
- In short, it is a poor overall blade steel, that has little business being used for knives, outside of a dive knife. MOST, but not all, knives made from it are of inferior quality.
Nothing here is surprising. This knife should never have any rust concerns – the blade won’t rust, and the scales are aluminum, so they also won’t rust. As a cutting utensil, this knife won’t be up to hard tasks, nor would you likely expect it to be – it’s a $10 knife. But if you need an always-there, hidden pocket knife for opening boxes and the like, then steel is less important than just being able to hold an edge. This knife may not hold the best edge either, but for my 4+ months of use, it’s been fine.
Nite Ize includes this S-Biner microlock, which attaches on the tail end of the knife. The S-Biner can lock, so the gates will not open (seen locked above right).
I bought this one with my own money, mostly because it was small and orange. Did I fret about the steel? No, and I still don’t. I’d buy this knife again today if I lost it. Build a version for me out of higher end steel, and even make it a slip joint, and I’m still in. I really love this little knife.
- This knife was provided by me for review. I was not paid to write this review.
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