Studio Neat “Keen” Spring-Loaded Utility Knife [Kickstarter]

One of our favorite product design duos — Tom and Dan of Studio Neat — is back with yet another great take on a classic tool: the utility knife.

Dubbed the “Keen”, this lightweight yet durable utility blade holder is different from those cheap disposable ones you might be used to. For one thing, it’s made from custom-machined stainless steel that’s been coated in Cerakote for added durability, like other products they’ve released.

Perhaps more prominently, however, the Keen is a spring-loaded utility knife, meaning the blade only stays deployed while the slider is held with your thumb and automatically retracts when released, where it’s held securely in place by an internal magnet. It not only feels super satisfying, but also makes it so there’s never accidental cutting happening in your pocket.

Here’s John Gruber on the cleverness of the design (bold emphasis mine):

It’s so different from any box cutter design I’ve ever seen that I wondered if I’d even like it at all, let alone prefer it, because it does not lock into place. Turns out though I much prefer it. It feels both more convenient and safer, because it’s impossible to leave the blade extended while you aren’t holding it. And when released, it springs back so quickly that if you drop it, the blade will retract by the time it lands.

I also enjoyed watching this review philosophical ramble about it by Chase Reeves:

As I write this on September 6th, 2023, the Keen Kickstarter project has already been fully funded and still has 9 days to go. Back it at the $95 level to receive one of your own around August 2024.