Many of the A- knives will show some scratching on one or more blades, and the blades may have been lightly sharpened.
This example is about the worst we'll accept in an A- grade knife-- it has some scratching, and part of the blade was lightly sharpened. Most of the A- blades will be better than this one. A- knives will not have missing tips or changes to the blade contour. They may have very slight rippling or gouging in the blade, if the rest of the blade is in good condition. However knives that have been misused like that will usually drop into the B+ grade or lower.
A few A- grade knives may have very slight twisting on the tip of the small screwdriver. If it is more than a couple degrees off, we will downgrade it to B+ or lower.
All A- grade knives have good blade "snap". Most of the knives in this grade will "snap" as well as the A grade knives. A few blades may be a little sluggish, and may require a light push to put them into their fully closed position. That happens most often on the can opener and bottle opener, which seem to have weaker spring action or more friction than the other tools.
A- grade knives will always have "pocket wear" on the plastic shells. Usually it is in the form of many small scratches in the nylon case. However they will not have any deep gouges, holes, cracks or gaps.
The scratches on the example above are about the worst we'll accept on an A- grade knife. If the scratches were deeper or there were more of them, the knive would automatically drop to a B+ or lower.
In this grade, we'll sometimes accept very small nicks or broken spots in the shells (no more than 1/16" / 1.5mm), especially when the blades and tools are in "like new" condition. However, nearly all of the A- knives have shells that are fully intact.
The example above shows the worst possible shell break that we'd accept in an A- grade knife, and only if the blades and tools were in excellent condition.
A- grade knives may show some corrosion or denting on the liners (the spacers between blades), but they are still in generally good condition.