Review Quark Tool Review - keychain utility knife

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May 11, 2012
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i have the TPT (and TPT Slide) and used its bottle opening cap lifter, nail file, mini pry lip, flat head screw driver functionalities occasionally. both TPT's are keychain-suitable but have several tangible drawbacks under certain work conditions, some minor of which i mentioned in the reviews and other major which i didn't mention in order not to unnecessarily harm the maker's sales. there wasn't any feedback on either awesome epic review so i am guessing that the readers don't care for this kind of edc gadget no problem. hence no need to detail on the QT other than:

it is smaller than the TPT in every respect (LxWxH) and is exactly as expected whatever that means. i bought it for $17 mas $4 regged letter international shipping. Crowdfunding backers had paid like $25 mas $7 int shipping. i made a paypal currency conversion error losing €1 in the process lesson learned. bam!

:D

If you liked or didn't like this review, you're welcome to comment or ask questions. Shoot! :thumbsup:
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May 11, 2012
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honestly not my worst #knifemod ever, pretty cool fine work :p:

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It was easy to mark every 1.0cm. But then i had to decide if my next work step were to mark the middle of every centimeter, i.e. a mark at every 5mm. If i had done so, what would have been my third step, … marking every 1mm??:eek: A laser could have done so but not my dexterity! Instead, i decided for ticks at every 2mm (so there is no mark at 5, 15, 25, 35mm etc :(), which was very doable.

What i doht like about my Vinox keychain SAK's (swiss army knives like the MiniChamp) is that their blades are not locked/secured and the slip joint is hilariously weak; you could but you wouldn't cut up dense/heavy banana box cardboard with it because the blade gets stuck/squeezed in the cardboard density and the blade would fold on you. FAIL. :poop:

The TPT SLIDE has the one and only problem that, apart from all the blade play/wiggle/waggle/wobble, the edge of the razor blade slides against titanium for an effective auto-dulling effect duh. :poop: FAIL. No actually, the real problem with the TPT SLIDE is that your thumb rests on the button. And when you need force to cut through a dense material, you automatically press the button, unlocking the blade, and the blade retracts into the tool during the cutting action. WTF.

The TPT is more likable in that it is thinner, lighter, more keychainable, has a bit less blade play, and with some care one can avoid auto-dulling, and there can't be any blade retraction, right? However the one and only problem is that the blade isn't secured well at all:confused:. Banana box cardboard, you can cut straight lines only. As soon as you cut a curve (i.e. lateral stress on the tool assembly), the tool flexes open and says bye-bye to the razor blade stuck in the cardboard density. :poop: What a FAIL. Also, on either TPT product, with all the titanium plates flexing, the tiny screws tend to get loose. Owners lost the screws this way. OOTB the screws are fastened tight and with Loctite, noice, but tool maintenance requires the owner to disassemble the tool, which breaks the Loctite. Your own Loctite works only, if the screw is clean, freed from broken Loctite. Good luck with that.

Auto-dulling could be problem in the Quark Tool too, which is why i use concave utility blades only (Stanley #5192). The Quark doesn't have bells and whistles not even a bottle opener cap lifter but it has the decisive advantage imho: when you hold the tool and work with it, you naturally press on the (jimped section of the) lever, thus totally securing the blade in the tool, since you're basically squeezing/compressing the blade. Consequently, the blade cannot retract on you (TPT SLIDE), and the blade cannot get pulled out (TPT)! In addition, the blade has no more play then. Just fantastic. And it is also easy to deploy the blade into position1, i.e. the 1st notch of the razor blade, single-handedly. (For advancing to the 2nd notch or for retracting the blade, i use two hands because god gave me two hands.:p)

Oki, back on topic, story time. Today i was called to a roller shutter repair task. Except for my fenis headlamp i didn't take any tools or ladder with me. Also no phone. The guy had a screwdriver for me but i needed a knife for an ugly cutting job. Honestly, a TPT, TPT Slide, or SAK would have done the job too. But the funny thing is that i had forgotten that i had a blade on me, namely the Quark Tool! Point being, you really forget that the tool is on your keychain because it is so thin and narrow and unobtrusive, like any other key. And in all honesty, how many of the TPT/TPT Slide owners do carry the TPT on their keychain? When you look on youtube, instagram, facebook, etc, you always see the TPT featured as a separate tool (typically with a mini lanyard), never on a bunch of keys; and in fact, that's the way the makers had in mind: for you to carry the TPT in your pocket yes, but separately or clipped to your pocket or shirt (TPT SLIDE has an optional pocket clip). And when/if you do carry the TPT on your keychain, then it doesn't go unnoticed; you notice that a tool is hanging on your keychain, you wouldn't forget, as i almost did today. Funny. So i finished the cutting task with no problems but then also needed a ruler for measuring the dimensions of a replacement part! Does the TPT have a ruler or in centimeter scale? I can't remember, i doht think so. It has 'measurement cues' though but then again i can't remember how they worked and in which unit system (inches or centimeters?) they were. If a tool has 'measurement cues' only and no explicit scale on it, then you will forget what they were all about. And you will also forget that the tool has 'measurement cues' to start with. Just now i had to look up my own TPT review to learn that the TPT Slide came with 'measurement cues', i simply couldn't remember. Why? Because i remembered that the TPT's had nothing (marked) on them, no explicit scale. So if you doht see a scale, why or how would you remember that you could use the tool as a ruler? o_O If so, then you could use your car key as ruler too: you just have to remember (since it is also not (marked) on the key) what the exact length of the key is. And with that 'scale reference' you could measure the dimensions of the replacement part. Lol. So laughable. I think i made my point clear: if your tool doesn't have a scale, then you cannot use it as ruler. Basta. The TPT cannot be used as ruler. But my modded Quark Tool can!

Was easy peasy to grind the fine lines (marks). Now the Quark has become even more useful to me, and there is no way that i could forget that i could use it as ruler. When i look at the modded tool, i see the marks, a systematic scale, and they'll never make me forget that they constitute a ruler.

One day you'll look at the TPT and ask yourself, what were the 'measurement cues'?, were there any to start with?, and how did they work?, where were they?, in which units were they?, where are the screw centers, to be exact? Nice. :rolleyes: :poop:

With my +2mm ruler on the Quark, i manage to measure dimensions within 1.0mm of precision, for example if a replacement part is "33.27mm" long (caliper 1054 measurement), i can tell from my ruler that the length is "between 33mm and 34mm". :cool:

Not bad! :thumbsup:
 
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today just a random share, story time. the other day i met a new neighbor(f) and she asked me if i could check her lavatory's faucet, the outgoing water flux was too low. i have no knowledge about water and piping installations and i didn't really understand the problem so i went to see to understand. and indeed the water flux was a bit on the low side, and i wouldn't know what to do next. then it was her(!) to suggest that the nozzle could be screwed off and should be checked on the inside, it might be clogged. i only thought "clogged by what? only fresh water flows through the nozzle cap! is she thinking of limescale buildup??". i certainly agreed to check the nozzle cap first, because it would be the easiest most straight-forward thing to do. the easiest checks should be done first, my motto. so i looked at the installed nozzle cap —the bathroom was poorly lit— and eventually noticed that it wasn't fully circular but had two opposite cut-outs similar to this picture:
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Obviously these were meant for an open-end wrench!

But which size? I didn't have any wrench set on me, i would have to run back home and bring the set, or bring just one — the correctly sized wrench! Other than my bunch of keys, i had nothing else on me; it is summer and i was in light shorts. On the key ring i do carry a 10440 stainless steel flashlight (which gets used a few times per week), a shopping trolley chip lol, and the quark (useful as scraper, cutter, measurement ruler, bingo!). A no-brainer, i went ahead and tried to measure the required wrench size with the quark scale, or at least get a whereabouts measurement. Somehow i didn't want to bring the full wrench set (would have been silly, or uncool imho lol). I took the measurement twice with the help of my thumbs, since a direct visual reading wasn't really possible. And i got the same result, "22 millimeters".

So i ran home, and found a 21x22 wrench in my set and decided to take just this one with me. I wanted to risk a wrong choice. Back in the bathroom i tried the 21-wrench first. Didn't fit. Then the 22-wrench. And it fit! And the rest is history (the cap was very loosely screwed, i wouldn't have needed a wrench lol, and the nozzle was indeed clogged by a whole bunch of loose "kidney stones", easy to free, with the Ultratac K18 SS flashlight between my lips i had perfect lighting for the intricate cleaning job).

We are learning:
  1. this measurement task could not have been done with the TPT or TPT Slide; their indirect "1inch"-scale is laughable, not practical
  2. i basically took the quark measurement "blindly", i.e. with the help of my thumbs/fingers and taking the actual reading "offline" (outside the bathroom, in better lighting)
  3. depending on the build of a commercial (steel) ruler, i could have asked her for a ruler or a folding yardstick. sure. but my guess is that the lady wouldn't have got one (suitable) handy. and why ask someone, if you could carry a steel ruler on your keychain instead, have it handy at all times?
  4. this was a perfect example of a real life scenario where a spontaneous +0.5mm measurement at low lighting conditions was required and my modded quark delivered yay!
So, as we learn, a typical example of when we need the quark scale:
at/during spontaneous work tasks where we must take secured measurements of replacement parts/screws (diameters, length, width) or of required tool/wrench sizes. The longer you're used to carrying such an EDC ruler, the more uses, applications, examples you'll come across and the more your appreciation will grow. While it's not an EDC essential, i wouldn't want to miss it anymore, the ruler functionality that is.

Anyway, i (and prolly the lady too) found it pretty cool, how quickly i thought of determining the required wrench size through the quark scale and even got it right, right away! That little success certainly made my day haha.

Btw, my Vinox Minichamp has all the EDC essentials and really vanishes in the little pocket to be completely forgotten during the day but in all other instances (keychain carry, shorts, trousers, non-jeans) i grew tired of carrying it. The Minichamp is highly functional/valuable and likable but it will remain retired in my EDC collection drawer. In general, SAK's are small, light-weight and unobtrusive but they're not my cup of coffee to carry on the keychain in the long term. Looking at the SAK on a keychain, i'd be wondering "why bother carrying this cute plasticky thing if i 'never' get to use it to its full potential?". Looking at the quark on the keychain, i'm thinking "so cool to have a such a capable well-made stainless steel cutter on my keychain, with replaceable blades/blade shapes!".

Tbh, it was and still is very rare that i made use of the functionality of the Minichamp (status: retired), the TPT (retired), the TPT Slide (retired), when i was EDC'ing them respectively. And the "non-usage", that made it even more frustrating/annoying to carry all the time. With the quark (status: active), at least i am not frustrated/annoyed anymore, because it keeps such a low profile on my keychain no pun intended. Even if i didn't cut, scrape, or measure anything with it in an entire year, i wouldn't regret the 24/365 quark carry on my bunch of keys. I mean it. When i leave the house, i would want to carry a nifty folding knife too (Fox Suru, Techno2, or Delica4) in addition to my bunch of keys, but more often than not i choose to leave without the hidden carry knife, for various reasons. Without a folding knife on me, i can still cut stuff as thick as thick cardboard or plastic sheets (see post below) no problem with the quark: that's stuff which i wouldn't dare to cut with a Minichamp (too 1817 unsafe!). Mouser part no. 392-CS-QUARK-01

I do miss a bottle opener (cap lifter) function on my quark though, oh well.
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Subscribe to this thread if you like quark story times ;)
 
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I'll do the stropping on the weekend, i prepared a fresh wood strop and
Haven't stropped that knife yet, lol. Took a long break from knives and sharpening (over 6 months as we can count).

I am back for today, resharpened the Stanley 5192 blade of my Quark. I use the tool regularly for cutting plastic foil (from a 6-pack of water bottles) and, more demandingly, for fun-cutting a snacks plastic box of 0.55mm material thickness, very dense hard flexible plastic. That kind of plastic cutting is challenging and one can get through it well only with a very thin blade, or you'd need to apply much force and control. After countless of these boxes i noticed that the blade wasn't cutting cleanly anymore:
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As mentioned earlier, I also own a Vinox MiniChamp, and even though it should be possible to use a MiniChamp blade to cut through the snacks box plastic (=clamshell packaging, blister packaging) too, seriously, "nobody" would do that, because the plastic material is so dense and the Vinox blades are unsecured (non-locking). Dangerous! Or you'd try it once or twice out of curiosity about the MiniChamp's power (joke SAK?) and then leave it, never doing it again because there is no need to perform this cutting task to begin with, I mean the snacks box haha🤣.

With the Stanley blade the situation changes: now you are very much able to cut through the plastic with control, little force, safely, cleanly, non-messy. And without worrying about dulling the edge or degrading the tool. I have a whole pack of 5192's (somewhere in da house…) but it is so easy and fun to resharpen the 5192 utility blade: 204M and done (because burr-free).
But i also did 204F, which then forced me to micro-debur with a strop (imho 204F isn't too suitable for deburring of any kind, argh!). Easy task:
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Anyway, i can highly recommend carrying a utility blade holder (preferrably with a Stanley 5192 in it, because there is no auto-dulling effect) on your keychain, instead of any other keychain knife or SAK. There are lots of nice choices, high-end, low-end, every other month new makers (on crowd-funding platforms, youtube, AliX) coming up with their own take, so there should be something pleasing for everybody.
 
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There are lots of nice choices, high-end, low-end, every other month new makers (on crowd-funding platforms, youtube, AliX) coming up with their own take, so there should be something pleasing for everybody.
By chance I noticed that the manufacturing site sells the unbranded production units on AX, there are several sellers. The unbranded unit costs like 4.5$ shipped, and for the sake of complete confirmed information i should order a couple to check the build quality. one AX seller told me that all of these units originate from the same identical factory where the Quark Tool was made. so the AX units are not counterfeits or imitations, and they also caht be production leftovers (since the sellers have about 10000pcs in stock combined). Basically any Western company could order 10000pcs and slap its company name on the tool, e.g. Kroger, Safeway, Albertsons.

Speculation: Westeners learned about the tool 3.5yrs ago, for the first time. Since then the product never really took off (on youtube, instagram, social media), never became popular. Maybe some OEM license agreement (or biz relationship) expired by now, or the CN manufacturer has been sitting on the blanks with too few follow-up orders from the US and took matters in his/her own hands. Leaving all speculation aside, I'll follow up with more details/information about the situation. I am curious about the unbranded unit, it got positive customer reviews at the various seller's listings (i spotted at least 5 AX sellers with: 74, 95, 58, 4, 10 orders).
 
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one-handed deployment to the first notch only. just push the blade from its back, and the blade slides into its first notch engagement, it works! this is how i use/deploy the tool most of the time, actually.
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looks like after all these years the production quality got improved, reaching final maturity yay. compared with the build quality of the initial production run with logo (see above), this recent AX factory blank is so much better (see below). I am posting today because word of the mouth "worth-its-money!" has gotten around on the www or in Russia/Ukraine, and on the geman folum ppl have picked up interest recently, which i find cool to see 😎. flawless build quality🪞:
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Just now I've ordered another one (EDIT: received! now ordered yet another one, it's my 4th unit if you can count🤔): imho one of the best male gift ideas at the AX "5$ shipped" price point (quote is for item 1005001804376454 which i ordered). Not only functional (no blade play/rattle whatsoever thx to manual compression!, absolutely secured blade thx to manual compression!) but also beautiful to carry/own, just look at the shiny one-part construction! 😘 😍

Btw a similar tool would be the Screwpop Tool which is slightly longer/heavier ("79mm x 20mm x 5.5mm, 22.5g") and consists of several components (body, lever, magnet, ring), has anyone compared?
 
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Btw a similar tool would be the Screwpop Tool which is slightly longer/heavier ("79mm x 20mm x 5.5mm, 22.5g") and consists of several components (body, lever, magnet, ring), has anyone compared?
Maybe the reader is more interested in hearing kreisler's own take? The full name would be Screwpop™ Ron's Utility Knife 3.0. First let's get the exact measurements out of the way, the length is 79.4mm, the width is 20.9mm, the max thickness is 5.35mm (without the blade, the tool's weight is ~22.5g measured on my +1g kitchen scale):
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During use, the Screwpop feels thinner and more ergonomic in hand because the effective thickness is 1.6mm only (= wall thickness + blade thickness) and the thumb rests on a 5.2mm nicely wide lever head; the longer length helps with the ergonomics too:
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While it is easy for the Quark to say "its thickness is 2.80mm", the Screwpop has different thicknesses depending on where you measure:
img_20220304_134735z3kgq.jpg


For holding/using the tool, the relevant thickness be the aforementioned effective thickness of 1.6mm, while for your keychain split ring the relevant thickness be the 5.35mm:
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Constructionwise, the Screwpop is assembled from 5 components (SS body, magnet, SS lever, SS spacer ring, brass assembly ring). The magnet is firmly installed and keeps the lever mechanically in a tight range of motion. None of the three SS parts are magnetic; in particular, the lever doesn't get attracted by the magnet, there is no "snapping" into position A or B. There is only friction force when the lever is shifted between the 2 positions, i.e. no snapping force, no magnetic force; in other words, there is no extra force or mechanism which secures the lever in the closed position:
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You may have noticed a bend in the lever. I would assume that it's there on purpose in order to provide clearance between the SS parts:
img_20220304_15260569kw0.jpg


No doubt that the Screwpop is a simpler construction, simpler production than the Quark. I like simple:
img_20220304_144607bpj8p.jpg


And i especially like the tool's facility to open my beer bottles. The bottle opener (cap lifter) functionality is all good, no complaints from my part:
img_20220304_144830x5j8y.jpg


Because of the cap lifter in place, the available cutting edge is less on the Screwpop compared with the Quark. In some practical instances, that's maybe exactly what you want from your tool, namely less cutting depth, restricted cutting depth:
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Is auto-dulling an issue with the Screwpop? Let's be clear here: auto-dulling is an issue with all similar tools where the straight razor blade edge rides/slides on a SS or Ti surface (Screwpop, Quark, TPT, TPT Slide, etc). Auto-dulling can even happen with folding utility knives, at the moment when you load the fresh blade into the blade holder or when you reverse the blade. My workaround is the use of STANLEY concave blades (MOZART SOLINGEN concave blade fits in Quark but doesn't fit in Screwpop hmmm🧐):
img_20220304_133146xpk21.jpg

img_20220304_132755opjad.jpg

img_20220304_13250688jx2.jpg


Screwpop Pro's:
  • easy to deploy (with 2 hands), easy to operate; auto-retraction of blade by magnet
  • with straight razor blades, a "faster" knife than the Quark!
  • blade is held by the magnet, cannot drop out even if the lever was pushed accidentally to the open position ("position B")
  • feels thinner between the fingers than the Quark; slightly more ergonomic
  • easy to clean
  • cap lifter / bottle opener works well!
  • nicely finished, no sharp edges, very good build quality
  • when cutting, no blade play/rattle whatsoever thx to manual compression! (same as Quark)
  • when cutting, absolutely secured blade thx to manual compression! (same as Quark)
Screwpop Con's:
  • not too easy to deploy single-handedly. you can do it, i can do it, he/she/it can do it. or maybe she caht do it, haha.
  • blade could fall out accidentally during deployment, e.g. during darkness
  • technically, it is longer and thicker than the Quark, and heavier. not by a decisive amount though.
  • magnet attracts neighboring key: some people doht appreciate it
  • (MOZART SOLINGEN concave blade doesn't fit, might concern my production unit only i dunno)
This post was an objective, facts-based presentation of the Screwpop 3.0. If you have questions/doubts re my personal subjective preference, then please shoot and i'll be glad to answer.
 
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Just chiming in to say thanks for an excellent and thorough review! Really helped me out.

Did you end up with a preference between the two?
 
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Thanks J JustAUsername for your interest and kind words! Am glad that you're asking. (And welcome to the forum!)

Yes, i did end up with a subjective personal preference, a rather clear preference at that: it's the Quark, for me.
Imho there is absolutely nothing to criticize about the Quark, other than that it does lack a bottle cap lifter for my beers. I appreciate/prefer the slightly compacter dimensions (it is thinner, shorter, lighter), the beautiful one-part construction, and welcome the lack of a magnet. Also it is surprisingly sturdy FTW!

Just note that the AX blank [in 2022: 1005004536419649, 1005001591701496, 1005004715785904, 1005001658439121] has sharp unfinished dirty-looking edges which might give an unlikable impression OOTB, e.g. as gift. It took me half a day to work the edges and mirror-polish them. And one-handed operation of the concave blade (STANLEY #5192, or MOZART) in the AX blank might not be possible until its fresh exfac condition (internal gritty burrs) has been broken_in after 100+ repeated deployments of the concave blade.

You'll find other owners of both tools on insta. Owning both, some owners prefer the Screwpop 3.0 ("i like the bottle opener, i want it"), some prefer the Quark ("i like that it doesn't have a bottle opener, recently i stopped drinking"). While the owners can explain/justify their preference, it is all subjective or personal at the end of the day. That's why, in all fairness and objectivism, i didn't want to taint the review with kresil's personal tastes, so i didn't include them there.

But you're right to ask: one doesn't need/want both, just one. If you own none, you should get either Screwpop 3.0 or Quark, not both. Which one to get? Well, that's what this thread is about. To discuss and make an informed decision.
 
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My Victorinox Classic has never let me down over nine years. I don't use it as a dedicated work knife, but it's the knife I have on me 99% of the time, so it gets used for everything.
 
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