A Talk with the Geek behind KnifeGeek

It’s The Knife Finding Tool You Didn’t Know You Needed.

If you’re unfamiliar, knifegeek.io is a site where you can search a database of knives that’s been aggregated from a huge range of websites like Knife Center, BladeHQ, and even Reddit then gives you a list of links along with the prices..

If you’ve ever found yourself looking for a specific knife, or one with a specific set of features, this site saves you a lot of time… and then eats it all back up again, because the thing about an easily searchable site with thousands of knives listed from across the internet, and dozens of different ways to search those listings is it quickly becomes a digital exploration of a cave of wonders (and sometimes curiosities).

Yahia, the man behind the site, put all this together as a passion project after discovering a love of knives, then went live with it around 2023. He was gracious enough to take some time to tell us a little about his own EDC habits, and why he started this project.

Knife Geek Listing
Every nnife on Knife Geek includes product specs and retail links.

Questions with the Knife Geek

Nothing But Knives: What got you into knives in the first place?

Yahia: I can safely place the blame on the CRKT CEO. I don’t know what it is about this knife but I saw it while browsing on Reddit, looked it up on Amazon, and instantly purchased it all within a few minutes. It’s got a sexy profile, holds up alright, is fun to fidget with, and started me down this rabbit hole. 

If I were to think a little deeper, and I’m sure you can relate to this, I think it has something to do with my personality. It’s not just knives (it’s mostly knives). I have a tendency to get obsessed with objects and tools that do their job extremely well and go beyond the bare minimum with an artistic flair.

With knives specifically, it’s extremely interesting to see how well built a knife could be with varying steel types, lock mechanisms, use cases, and whatnot. Similar statements can be made towards backpacks, wallets, pens, notebooks, headphones, and countless other EDC items.

NBK:What do you like to collect and carry?

Yahia:In terms of collecting, at the moment I’ve got 7 backpacks, 8 knives, 5 watches, 2 pairs of headphones, and 10+ notebooks. Do I need this much of any [of it]? Hell no, but there’s more to life than constantly making reasonable choices.

In terms of practical everyday carry with details, I’ve got a Troubadour Apex backpack, 2 laptops (company issued for my day job + personal), a battery pack, a Leuchtturm1917 notebook, a Muji pen, AirTag, Kurono Tokyo Toki mechanical watch (in love with it), headphones + earbuds, and last but not least, a SantaFe Stoneworks Turquoise liner lock pocket knife (absolute beauty).  

During the day, in my free time, you’ll find me lurking on various subreddits such as r/knives and r/watches. 

NBK: Was there a particular problem you were trying to solve in making Knife Geek?

I noticed while there were communities to geek out on knives, it was really hard to find knives matching my criteria outside those communities, and there aren’t many tools online catering to knife enthusiasts (as opposed to, say, watches).

Some websites will give you advanced filtering, but only for knives they sell. They have no incentive to show another knife that may be superior if they don’t sell it. That’s where KnifeGeek comes in: it’s completely unbiased. I’m scraping over tons of websites and showing you the cheapest price for every knife every time.

KnifeGeek does make affiliate revenue off a few sites, but I’ve made it a point to show the cheapest price first, no matter whether it’s an affiliate link or not. Over 50% of clicks on the site are to non-affiliated products. I’m very proud of this.

NBK: Browsing around knifegeek.io it becomes clear pretty quickly that it was made by someone who knows how to build a site and play around with functions, which makes me wonder if you see this as more of a knife enthusiast passion project or a coding playground?

Yahia: To give some background info, I am a software engineer by trade. I’ve sold a small startup in the past + work a day job in the same field, and I have other projects that are business-oriented and boring.

However, KnifeGeek is refreshingly different. It’s a labour of love that I don’t expect to make any money from. In a way it is objectively a time suck, but it’s just too fun to work on. 

Imo, there’s something inherently satisfying about putting so much effort into carving a tool out of your imagination and bringing it into the world, that’s what I’m doing with KnifeGeek. It’s a creative pursuit; I like to think it’s the same feeling someone who enjoys writing or painting gets.

NBK: What have been some of the biggest hurdles to clear so far with this site?

Yahia: Definitely the tech. It’s a huge pain to match pocket knives from various websites as a lot of them don’t have matching asins/codes. So I’ve built a similarity search engine that does a pretty bang-up job comparing descriptions, names, and photos. 

Another pain has been getting blocked by sites, so I’ve made a code pipeline that only sends a request every few seconds using proxies (to make it look like it’s coming from different devices). 

Other than that, I’m building out a mobile app for KnifeGeek in my spare time. It’s been a slow grind, but I’m hoping to get it out in the next month or two. It’s much harder to build a mobile app than a website so far.

NBK: I’ve spent many nights clicking the ‘Random’ button on Knife Geek and digging into brands I’ve never heard of instead of sleeping. The question I’d like to ask is “how dare you?”, but the actual question is what has turned out to be your favorite or most used function?

Yahia: I absolutely love that you said that. The most common feedback I’ve gotten online is “my wife hates you for all the money I’m spending”. 

I think the random feature is my favorite and a stroke of genius, but it wasn’t mine. I’ve got to give credit to a comment posted on my Reddit launch. Someone suggested it, and it was such a fun addition; not super complicated either to build.

Another one that’s more complicated is the Reddit post scraper. I’ve written up a bot that reads all posts to various knife exchange subreddits. It then uses GPT to extract the knives mentioned, and compares them against knives in my database, then it posts them in a nice easy-to-read format on KnifeGeek.io/subreddit/all. I then added a follow up feature that emails you when a post is made offering a knife that you want. 

NBK: Do you have any new feature plans for Knife Geek, or is it doing pretty much everything you’d like it to do right now?

Yahia: I’ve got a few things in store such as:

  • More data sources
  • More images per knife
  • Releasing a mobile app
  • Showing knife price changes over time
  • Adding text alerts on knives being back in stock

I’m trying to keep costs to a reasonable basis which limits some of the crazier features I’d like to build out. It’s almost breakeven to run the site at the moment thanks to some of the revenue. 

But other than that I’m just going with the flow, listening to feedback from folks. (PS: if anyone reading this has any ideas, you can always reach me at [email protected]).

Now Go Check It Out

We’ll leave you with the suggestion to go check out KnifeGeek on your own, but don’t start pushing the Random button unless you have some time on your hands.

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Andrew has been a commercial writer for about a decade. He escaped from a life of writing mundane product descriptions by running away to the woods and teaching himself how to bake and chop stuff up in the kitchen. He has a background in landscaping, Filipino martial arts, and drinking whiskey.

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