Almost every horizontal surface in our workshop and office has a knife on it. As does every drawer and till. Shop knives are essential tools for opening boxes, cutting rope and 100 other workshop tasks. So we are always on the lookout for inexpensive, quality knives.
This year I heard about Jose Da Cruz knives that are made in Portugal and brought a few of them in for testing and use. They are available in large and small sizes. And with a variety of handle materials. And the price is right: About $20-$23.
I won’t buy a folding knife unless the blade locks firmly. Standard non-locking pocket knives aren’t safe enough for daily and rough use. I like my fingers and still have all of them.
The Jose Da Cruz knives lock a lot like the Opinel knives – via a locking brass ferrule. The knives are made well and, for the most part, well-finished. My favorite handle material was the small “green oak” folder. The wood isn’t flashy, but it is interesting and nicely finished. Plus, it is one of the versions that has a hole for a lanyard – a useful feature.
The steel is great for a shop knife. I suspect it is plain old O1. It takes a good edge easily and stays sharp for a long time.
Good knives are good friends. And this is definitely a good one.
— Christopher Schwarz
To read previous entries in the gift guide, click here.
11 thoughts on “2022 Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 5: José Da Cruz Knives”
Personally, I own a few French made OPINEL. The ones with a carbon steel blade (probably easier to sharpen if needed; although I didn’t try a stainless steel one).
The blade is locked with a ferule. it exist in different sizes.
Also available in many countries including USA:
I have no affiliation with Opinel.
I’ve only had one Opinel knife. I really didn’t like the handle on it. The blade was great as far as keeping an edge, but I couldn’t use it effectively. The one sample was enough to warn me off of them.
I have no problem trying a Cruz Knife, but I suspect the Schwarz effect is going to have them out of stock for a while. 🙂
they sell the #8 with a customizable handle. The silly thing is that this unfinished knife cost about 2.5 times the price of the knife with the standard handle.
oops, the 2.5 factor is for a knife bundled with a book, otherwise it is about the same price
Thanks Chris. Just ordered the small bladed one. Is that what you are showing in the picture? I ask because I once ran into an issue while visiting NYC and the blade length on my pocket knife. No arrests or confiscations (was visiting World Trade Center memorial site and going through screening; didn’t think of a pocket knife as an issue as I’ve been carrying one literally since 1978 and have lost quite a few to TSA since 9/11). Just made me more sensitive to blade length. I’m excited if it is plain O1. I dislike stainless blades as I never feel like I can get them as sharp as I would like when I want to try. Normally use a sharpener like you mentioned a few days ago on gift guide. However, my dad from time to time will “inspect” the blade to see how well I sharpened it (not kidding about this) so when I visit him, I often want to put a better edge on the blade. Good problem I suppose.
Yes. The small one.
Thanks Chris. I went back and reread the post and saw you were clear on which size. It was my fuzzy brain that didn’t see it.
As expected – out of stock.
May the Schwarz be with you!
Apologies, just could not help myself…. 😉
It’s harder than hell to find a pocket knife with a carbon steel blade. I’m need to try one of these once they’re back in stock.
The Cruz knives at the Epstein site Chris linked state all the knives have stainless steel blades. There are other websites showing Cruz knives with X90 high carbon steel blades. Another site showed some Cruz models with a black coated blade. I even found references to not only short and long folders, but medium lengths. But I can’t find a website for the actual manufacturer, just retailers. I did find a Facebook site for them, if you can read Portugese.
Their catalog, showing high carbon and stainless blades-
I bought 2 ironwood SS long folders from the Epstein link Chris gave. One for me, one for a friend. It was the knurled brass lock ring that did it for me. I’ve got 2 Opinel (had 3, gave one to a relative) carbon blade folders I really like (they hone to a VERY keen edge), but the Cruz lock ring looks better. For a great pocket knife/bench knife, see the Opinel “Chestnut and Garlic” garden knife, the stubby blade is a wonderful utility, and even dovetail marking, knife.
Best of all at Epstein is that I finally found, on the same link from Chris, leather sheaths for my Morakniv 106 and 120 knives, for $11.
With a little more looking at that catalog link I posted, if the blade is marked “Carbono” (as shown in Chris’ photo above), it is a carbon steel blade. Marked “Inox” on the blade, it is stainless steel. I randomly checked 3 of the Cruz knives at the Harry Epstein site and they are described as stainless blades, yet every product image they show has “Carbono” etched on the blade. I’m fine with whichever shows up at my door. Carbon can be made surgically sharp, like Opinel. With stainless, I won’t have to maintain it to prevent rust when carried in my pocket.
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