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I want to like this knife. Anyone able to supply some knowledge?
Perhaps a little. I own a few Real Steels.
Real Steel is one of the better original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for knives in China. Most of their time is spent making other people's knives for them but they do release their own products as well under the Real Steel lineup and they're typically quite good, and over the last 10 years or so they've released some really excellent work. Their original titanium Megalodon and Harrier and Griffin are hard to get today but they featured stuff you only find on custom knives in the US - things like double tunable detents and enclosed roller bearings. They're best known at the moment for a knife called the Metamorph, also on sale here at the moment unless it's just recently ended.
The designer is one of the better known names from the time when Chinese knives were first getting seriously good, SRM produced several of his knives and more recently he's worked with Real Steel. I own his work. It's good work.
E series knives from Real Steel are typically their budget EDC line -- good enough to carry every day, made with good but inexpensive material like Sandvik and G-10 and aluminum and stainless liners. Sometimes they're distinct models and other times they're versions of more expensive Real Steels like the Megalodon or Griffin or Metamorph, but made with the aforementioned materials instead of CF and M390 and titanium.
RSK has worked with this grade of Sandvik for years and they're reliably good with it. It's tough as nails for a pocketknife steel and takes and keeps an incredible edge. The main difference between Sandvik and a prime cutting steel like M4 or CruWear or Elmax is that you need to spend some more time keeping it sharp, but 14C28N Sandvik will keep an edge longer than most budget knife steels out there. In the hands of a professional heat treater it can easily reach HRC hardness in the 60s. These are heat treated between 58 and 60 according to their spec, which can be summed up as 'pretty damn good' especially considering that it's inexpensive to manufacture.
The handle steel is 3Cr grade typically, which would be a lousy blade but it turns out to serve as a frame and/or liner steel just fine.
Real Steel uses bronze washers typically in tandem with nylon ones in hybrid sets, milled with lubricant pockets. This description just says bronze washers but I wouldn't be surprised if it has the hybrid set. Fast flipping but perfectly stable -- extra washers sort of 'farm out' the force of friction caused by blades opening and closing across extra surface areas while still retaining the long term smoothness of phosphor bronze turning against blade steel.
RSK favors that angle on their flat grinds, it's characteristic of some of their knives. I like the jimping and generally think it's a good grind. The point has enough drop on it to improve piercing ability, the full flat tilted down toward a sharpening choil maximizes the cutting surface but with the flipper tab there it does mean it can be harder to sharpen evenly all the way to the sharpening choil - do pay attention to that. Purists with Sharpmakers should do fine and people with stones will have to make some adjustments. Machine and tool sharpeners like the WorkSharp will have more of a problem getting down to the choil as the guides can get in the way.
Maybe the coolest thing about this knife is the lock. See the little circular thing on the back of the lockbar that looks like an overtravel stop? Well, when the frame lock is engaged, you can actually slide it forward and it acts as a second 'safety' lock that prevents the frame lock from accidentally disengaging, until you slide it back and free the lockbar to move normally. It's called a beta-plus lock and if you're the kind of person who worries about the blade closing on your fingers, you will love it. Look around for this kinda lock on other Chinese knives and at least some of the companies you discover will be ones that tapped RSK as their OEM.
If you've collected knives for long there's actually a decent chance you've held their work and not known it. Folks who don't know yet about the Chinese knife industry but do know good knives, if you hand them a RSK, will typically be a little surprised to learn it's made in China.
Hopefully that fills in some blanks for you :)
holy shit. that was a hell of a synopsis
Explaining things in writing is part of my job, so I've had some measure of practice doing it, but thank you, you're quite kind to regard it so well. :)
Check the review I did on YouTube on Canadian Cutting Edge channel. Just search for my channel name and the name of the knife and you should find it.
You are very good at explaining things in writing.
I appreciate your knowledgeable input regarding this knife-maker and feel even more compelled to purchase. I have a small collection of budget folders and like to compare different steels, ya know, just for fun. Trying different companies and their attempts at the same steel types have already given me a few preferred makers.
I haven't purchased anything from Real Steel but have definitely been interested in other drops here. This one checks off a few boxes for size, shape, price, and material (especially since none of my other knives are 14C28N).
Thank you for taking the time to drop some pertinent knowledge here.
glad to help.
what brands have you been looking at, if I might ask?