Our C grade used Swiss Army knives are fully functional pocket knives that have serious cosmetic flaws. This is the lowest grade that we sell (except for a few vintage and extremely rare knives).
Here are some examples of blade flaws in grade C knives:>
The blade shown above has about an average amount of wear for a C knife. It has been sharpened, but still has a good edge and the original profile. Some parts of the blade still have the original shiny finish, although most of the blade is scratched from use or sharpening.
The blade shown above is worse than average for a C knife. It is still completely functional, but it has a slightly broken tip, some scratching from use, a little corrosion or staining near the base, and it has been sharpened on a grindstone (rather badly). In about 25% of the C grade knives, there may be some tip loss on one blade (about 1/2" / 13 mm or less). The contour of one or two of the tools may have been changed from wear, sharpening or grinding, although not enough to affect the functionality of the blade.
The example above shows approximately the worst possible blade that can squeak by as a C grade knife. If all tools are like this it would rate a C+ or lower.
Some C grade knives have serious twisting or wear on the screwdriver tips. There may be some loss of metal, but not enough to prevent the tools from still driving screws.
Grade C blades move freely, and many will still have good "snap". However in some C knives, the blades will be sluggish, and will not snap when opened or closed.That means that you may have to pull a little harder than usual to open the blade, and push the blade into the knife body when you are done with it, instead of having it snap shut. If all blades can't be opened with fingernails, we reject the knife and use it for parts.
Since we grade on overall knife condition, usually the C grade knives will have significant blade wear or reduced snap, but not both.
C grade knives will always have "pocket wear" on the plastic scales-- usually in the form of many small scratches in. Many of the C grade knives have shells that are no worse than the higher grades, but some will have gouges, cracks or gaps in the plastic scales. The case may be stained, gouged, roughened or rippled from heat or solvent.
The knife above has about the worst possible scales for a grade C knife. If the scales are not firmly attached, we either repair the knife, or use it for parts.
C grade knives may have corrosion or damage on the liners, though not enough to seriously affect the knife's performance.