American Knives in 2019
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Seeing as Drop has recently relisted a couple of their collaborations with US production knife makers like Millit and Pro-Tech, made in the US, let's talk about American knives! Post some pics of the ones we own and like and why, especially firms you wouldn't mind seeing Drop work with if they get a chance and the stars are right. I'll go first with a pic - here’s a representative sample of the US made production knives I own.
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My tastes in American knife design are run of the mill - I’m willing to bet any number of you can name every knife in this picture! There's very well known US production knife manufacturers that aren't represented in the pic of course, because I don't own one of their knives. :). I imagine other folks here in the community can talk about those, especially because they're bound to know more about them than I do. I just know what I like. The knives in the picture are as follows: Top row folders: Benchmade 810 in M390. Gerber 06 Auto in S30V. Left hand side folders: Kershaw Launch 6 in CPM-154, Zero Tolerance ZT0350 in S30V. Right hand side fixed blade: Benchmade SOCP in 440C. Middle fixed blades from top: FirstEdge 4050 in Elmax, TOPS MSK 2.5 Rockies in 1095, DGT Dart in 154CM. Horizontal folders, next to bottom row: Boye Pointed Tip Folder in dendritic cobalt, Spyderco Native 5 in CPM-S110V Horizontal folders, bottom row: Case Sodbuster in Tru-Sharp, Buck Bantam in 420HC. ************** Why do I care about American knives? The folks that know my enthusiasm for collecting some Chinese brands might be forgiven for wondering, but the reasons are simple. Like most people I have a sort of loyalty to my nationality. It is tribal and isn't necessarily all that logically rooted or well defined -- the whole 'my country right or wrong' which no one needs me to waste their time explaining. That gets me as much as the next guy. Kith and kin, you know? If you care about where your money goes when you buy something, like I and a lot of people in the EDC community do, these days we've got a whole lot of data to track, and buying American makes things simpler. Where's the material sourced? How much energy is used to make it and then transport it to you, how much pollution does production and transportation cause? What sort of things does the company stand for? Does it invest for the future? Do they have good QC? Do their products have integrity and purpose? Maybe the biggest question for many of us is whether the company take care of its workers - are they treated decently or are they exploited? Just because it's made in America doesn't mean any of these factors are favorable, but we have a lot higher visibility into and comfort with American standards. There are some godawful industrialists who employ Americans in despicable conditions in their factories - more than most suspect, and I don't want to minimize it the way some do. But as a country we still do quite a bit to ensure that American workers are protected on the job and that American companies have to follow certain rules and regulations. Not as much as Europeans do, perhaps, but more than is common in SE Asia where so much of our world's manufacturing now takes place. So for a lot of people, buying American makes sense in the round it is simple and it makes us feel good, as it probably so ought. A lot of American buyers are socially conscious. We hate the idea that extremely wealthy people have shut down American factories and essentially turned many American centers of industry into dead end ghost towns. The fact is we fear to bite the hand that feeds us, so we usually don’t get too vocal or too specific in our resentment of the wealthy and the powerful. But we like the idea that we're supporting American workers like ourselves and our neighbors when we buy American. There are way too many other reasons to enumerate them all. Some of us do it for emotional reasons, some of us do it for economical and social reasons, some of us do it for moral reasons -- there's a lot of different reasons to want to buy American goods, and when we see an opportunity to spend our money on a decent value that's USA sourced and made, those of us so inclined do so as we're able. Probably less often than many of us say, but we do try. So the consumer sentiment is there to buy American. But there’s a catch. No one wants to go all in on USA made goods and pay all that extra dough, just to see it all go to profit-taking, paying for someone’s fifth vacation home, while someone working in the warehouse needs food stamps and every coupon they can find, just to get by. Truth is, in the US, right now that is where a lot of the money unfortunately goes instead of the shop or the pockets of the workers. If it were a personal relationship, we'd call it abusive. More and more companies who proudly sell 'Made in America' products are still shutting down their American factories to move things overseas -- and you better believe that the ones that aren't, are using the leverage that they might do so in order to squeeze their workers harder, make 'em scared for their jobs so they can get more concessions out of labor while stagnating their wages. And that's not to speak of companies like Schrade that still maintain their US identity despite the fact that they haven't made a knife in America in the last dozen years. So it's clear that the owners of America’s industrial base aren't feeling all that accountable to the rest of us. More like they think they’re winning. And from where I stand, it does not look like we're winning at all -- certainly not from the standpoint of the American worker. Changing attitudes about American companies that take American consumers for granted, pressuring THEM to move a model back to US production and to accept a more reasonable profit margin, and rewarding them with our loyalty as customers - this'll have a much bigger impact, even if it does require a lot more work, a little more bravery and a longer wait. So, as enthusiastic as I am at the fact that China has started making kickass knives that'll push America's knife companies to start innovating again, and as happy as I am to buy them and own them, I'm still looking forward to America getting back to a place where Americans start going back to work to build these things too. Hope it comes soon. It sure hasn't yet, so it's probably a good time for we the people to encourage it. If you've got an American made production knife or company you like? Please post a snap of it in the comments and maybe tell us what you like about it. You don't gotta be a professional photographer or a born communicator, just go ahead and post it and help build out this thread for the community to use as a resource and an information base about which American knife companies are doing things right and deserve some love. There are many good American companies I didn't mention on purpose, knowing that we have folks in the community that know those brands very well and that they'll be able to do a better job talking about them than I can from where I sit. There are also companies I know nothing about and want to learn more about, and I know some of you collect them and know your stuff -- so if you've got something to share, jump on in and be a part of the discussion!
(Edited)
thumb_upJOSEPH JIMENEZ, KT83, and 12 others
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reswright
1798
Jan 4, 2020
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Spyderco Shaman, CPM-S30V/G-10 (oiled burlap Micarta scale rebuild)

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The Shaman is styled along the lines of the Native, but the two knives are extremely different. The Native is a small, rugged, slow opening lockback and the Shaman is a big flippable compression locking knife. The Native has no washers and a strong lockspring that makes putting it back together a little tricky; the Shaman has washers and the compression lock makes it comparatively easy to disassemble and reassemble. They have the same reversible clip, which is kinda frankly the part of both knives I like the least -- that is to say, I like it just fine in the tip up position, but I cringe seeing the washers overlapping the bolt holes for the tip down configuration, and I think they should have found another place for the clip to bolt in. Just my taste, I suppose. Broken down:
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Easy peasy. Pretty clean lines, although you can see on the washers some mild corrosion around where the aforementioned clip holes sit. Because it's a Spyderco, and has the Spyderco pivot that is precisely machined to the depth of the washers for them to fit and interlock and kind of snap into place, I will leave the washers in it and not try to improve upon the work of the fine folks in Golden. Trivia -- the frame Torx fasteners are T6 and T8 but the pivot is actually T12. You don't see that much. That thing that looks like a frame lock with a detent ball embedded in it, is the compression lock. It functions in some ways a lot like a liner lock, but is a lot nicer for one handed opening and closing. Anyway: back together with its new scales (from Gear Supply Company) and of course a lanyard because I'm one lanyarding fool when it comes to knives.
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Had to sand and inkwash the two beads to get them how I wanted them. I wasn't initially thinking copper for this knife, but the micarta is so rustic that it just seemed like going with a throwback material was the right choice and the pirate skull with eyepatch beads from Schmuckatelli are perfect for Spydercos with the one eyelet on the blade. They don't try to be scary -- kinda the opposite, they're humorous. In any case, here's how it came out:
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The good news is, all back together the compression lock seems to work a little easier on the flip open. I think it's a simple matter of putting a dot of lube on the detent bearing to help it break the works in. This is how that compression lock/flip tab looks:
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It's not a flip tab , in other words, and until you learn the trick it just kind of is in the way. The trick is to fingertap down at the apex of that tab and flick your wrist a bit as it hits -- snaps the blade right open, and there's your finger right on the compression lock if you'd like to fidget. :) I like the Shaman a lot more now that I know that. It went from 'er, it's ok' to a good if quirky piece of kit. For the price, I'd rather have a S110V PM2, or for that matter any PM2, but that's not necessarily a fair comparison because the PM2 tops a lot of peoples' Top 10 lists. I like how the Shaman came back together. I thought the chamfer on the Micarta might not be as comfy as the fully rounded G-10 but it feels good in the hand. The burlap Micarta gives it insane grip -- if you've been sitting here wondering why people like Micarta, the answer is 'handfeel' and 'grip'' - and if anything is lighter than the G-10. The scales push past the backspacer -- some folks won't like that, but it's pretty easy to sand down if so. The frame snaps perfectly into the scale -- best part of the rebuild was how easy it all was.
Jan 4, 2020
reswright
1798
Dec 9, 2019
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Doug Ritter RSK Mk1-G2, CPM-20CV/G-10 Doug Ritter is a knife designer and a big time knife rights advocate. He's the man behind KnifeRights -- a well known campaigner for the right to carry a pocket knife in America, which is another way to say his foundation is constantly at odds with state and city governments that pass restrictive and punitive knife laws. To fund his work he used to sell the Doug Ritter RSK, which was originally made for him by Benchmade and was extremely close to their standard Griptilian. A couple years ago Benchmade stopped producing RSKs for him under contract and wished him well and he ended up finding another home for the RSK at Hogue -- which was a company that started off making custom pistol grips, and by way of understanding things about handfeel and handle design, kind of ended up coming into the knife business via the back door. They're better known nowadays for making automatic knives with wild looking grippy handles, not graceful rounded handles like the Griptilian. But whatever deal Benchmade and Ritter parted terms with must have been fairly friendly, because the RSK Mk1-G2 that Hogue is making could still easily be taken for a Grip from a distance.
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20CV is absolute top tier steel, and it has an axis lock, which is now perfectly legal to copy just so long as no one calls it that. The patent has expired but the trademark hasn't, so everyone is suddenly introducing their very own clone of the axis lock and calling it something else. Hogue calls theirs the ABLE lock. It's an axis lock by another name -- there are minor differences in the milling of the slots, and slightly more awkward placement of the omega springs, and aside from that it's the same as the axis lock on a Grip. Indeed the only thing that's really there screaming at you that it isn't a Griptilian is the big Doug Ritter logo and the elaborate CNC milling that is starting to be one of Hogue's calling cards.
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Broken down it still looks like a Grip -- a new one, not the old style, which I prefer a bit over the new style. This doesn’t have a full liner.
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Huge phosphor bronze washers, bright as new pennies. Good stuff. The more you work them the smoother they get. The ABLE lock assembly is a subframe mounting. Also you'll note that the good people at Hogue have gone so far as to permanently embed metal threads into the G10 for the clip fasteners, a nod to the fact that there's no frame. Good, but a pain in the ass for me as it meant I couldn’t use a microwave to dye the scales. Which by now you probably know I'm gonna do. So I improvised. How'd that go? I wasn't sure how it would, to be honest. i've never dyed a scale with this much 3D millage on it, and dyed G10's exact hue in one spot is determined mostly by what part of what layer is exposed how much at that spot. Which all means it'll go however the hell it wants to go and look however the hell it wants to look, so never dye something like this if you can't stand the thought that it might not turn out ok. That said, I'm ok with the sunburst effect. The grain really is hard to see but it's fairly complementary:
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Degas worked serious ass magic with that sort of a color patch, I'll have you know. In any case these may be the first red RSK Mk1-G2 scales in existence, but I am even more sure and will also happily wager a sizable sum they are the first that were dyed in Pyrex, under a flame broiler. Which worked in the manner of things that are a real pain in the ass but eventually work. I decided to give this one a lanyard.
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Tying it this way keeps it from ever looping round and interfering with the opening or closing of the knife. It can flip the other way, but doesn’t flip over far.
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Lanyards aren't for everyone, and I don't know that all lanyard people would like one the way I tie them. If you're one of those folks that think a flipper tab spoils the lines of your knife, you probably wince everytime you see my handwork. For me they're functional above all -- something to grab, something to catch at if the knife starts to slip out of your grasp -- but they've got an art as well because we like looking at them. You can even encode a symbol in one -- Morse code, an equation, the Fibonacci sequence, whatever you like. I just kinda do what I like. And I like this.
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Aaaand that is the Red Ritter. Trivia -- Ritter means 'knight' in German. So perhaps I should say Der Rote Ritter. The Red Knight.
(Edited)
Dec 9, 2019
reswright
1798
Dec 7, 2019
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GT-110 in ATS-34, aluminum alloy So this one's kind of interesting.
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The official sticker price on these is $250 but that's clearly beyond aspirational -- I decided to check them out when I saw these available online for around $60 or so. They're made in the US and owned by a large umbrella company that bought it from the original GT owners, who apparently still work in the shop. Nothing's done by hand, it's all CNC milling. ATS-34 is a good, good steel that takes an incredibly sharp edge. Aircraft aluminum, ATS-34 -- I thought to myself 'how's it available for this discount?' but decided to give it a shot, see if I could learn anything about the manufacturer.
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So first things first, out of the box it's impossible to flip. That brass circle is a pivot button; unless you've depressed it, the blade is locked in place. The physics of the grip are such that in order to depress the button, you really have no leverage to flip the blade. I was able to flip it partially open eventually by pressing the button from the top and flicking the blade from the bottom with my middle finger, but it wasn't going well. A lot of grating. The second thing is I noticed it had blade play. Real blade play. And at that point I just set the knife back down and was almost done with it. American manufacturing, CNC and the blade wobbles? I dunno if that's a brand I gotta check out, I expect made in the US stuff to be good out of the box, know what I mean? I looked and saw that there was apparently no way to adjust the pivot and just thought to myself 'what a piece of crap'. I mean, you go looking for bargains in the knife industry, you'll find many knives you discover that you don't actually want. So I put it down and went and did something else for a while. After a while I came back and looked at it and decided 'what the hell, take it apart and see if you can fettle it into better shape. And that's where this knife got interesting.
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So first things first, it didn't have a smooth flip because there are no washers in this design. You have CNCed aluminum, brass and ATS-34 all in flat-to-flat contact -- this is not meant to be a flipper, this is meant to be a rugged work knife. Second -- doesn't look like it should wobble, does it, with all this flat-to-flat contact? Looks are deceptive. For a knife like this, because there's no washers or bearings designed to slip along a rotational surface, the difference between 'too tight to move at all' and 'wobbly' is literally less than 10 degrees of turn on a single Torx connector. Also because you have solid milled handles, the degree to which the back two Torx connectors are dogged down are also going to have an impact, not just how tight you have the nearest Torx fastener. BTW these fasteners are T10 sized, so be aware you need that size of a bit or wrench to disassemble the knife. Third: I looked at the surfaces and saw that they'd been adequately machined but hadn't had much in the way of finishing touches. There were burrs and flashing and whatnot -- it could still benefit from a little work with files and sandpaper.
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Fourth: this is a pretty cool pivot.
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It's simple enough. You have a brass plate, a brass plunger button, a lockbar made out of hardened steel, and a spring. The tang of the knife fits between the flat of the plate and the opposite aluminum scale, and rotates around the ring in the center. Notches in the tang allow the lockbar to pop back up when it's fully closed or open, hence locking the blade.
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So with some light, careful sanding -- I looked carefully for signs of wear and very gently eased them a bit with a file and then wet sanding I got this knife to the point where I was not only happy with it again, but I could, with quite a bit of wrist, grav flip it open by depressing the button and giving it a good snap, all without any blade play. It took about 15 minutes of careful adjustments of the tension on the three Torx fasteners, and some Blue lube, but it's where it needs to be now, and I find that satisfying. If I had paid sticker price for this knife I'd have been furious that I had to do all this to get it into fighting trim, but I knew I was taking a flyer for $60 - it's all good. Last: it has a clip made of the same material as the handle.
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Not so many knife manufacturers do this. More should - it can be a good look. It came tip down, and I reinstalled it tip up. For whatever reason they didn't drill holes on the face to make it lefty friendly -- probably to preserve the look. The holes do look a little crude compared to the milled surface. So lefties, as usual, beware -- this knife isn't lefty friendly.
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I'll be keeping an eye on GT knives. I tend to like folding knives with bushings that let them flip much more than I like knives you use two hands to open, and I tend to use fixed blades for the sort of rugged tasks instead of something like this, so the GT110 really isn't in my wheelhouse, and if I hadn't bothered taking it apart I might have dismissed the brand altogether when the blade wobbled out of the box. But I did see some things I liked when I took it apart and after some benchwork, there's a lot more to like about it. I do think the CNCed flats could be milled juuuuuuust a bit smoother considering that there's no washers or the like in this knife. I know American manufacturing has to cut unnecessary labor and toil to be competitive, but the owners of GT might want to allow for just a little more finishing work in their budget if they found this knife didn't sell nearly as well as they expected. It didn't take much for me to take this knife from having a grating open to being flippable -- just some smoothing and lube. There was really only just a couple spots that showed they were rubbing. That work made a TON of difference in the knife once it was back together, though.
(Edited)
Dec 7, 2019
Seatrout
3
Dec 8, 2019
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IMO it Sounds like a $10 piece of junk for $60.
Dec 8, 2019
reswright
1798
Dec 8, 2019
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eh, once I got it properly adjusted it was good to go. I don't know what they were thinking with a $250 sticker price, I'll give you that.
Dec 8, 2019
1Alexdropforged
16
Nov 25, 2019
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There are probably a lot of fans of Columbia River Knife and Tool. I've so many crap knives from them that I simply won't ever buy another one.
Nov 25, 2019
reswright
1798
Nov 25, 2019
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IMO they don't count as an American knife company. They haven't made a production knife in the US for quite a while. If they were to start they'd have to subcontract the work out to someone else anyway. I still do like some of their knives -- for example. if you have big hands, the Crawford/Kasper is a damn good knife for the cost. But I know where you're coming from. The truth is, I don't have a whole lot of time for CRKT as a company anymore. I think the tipping point was that time they took a Jesper Voxnaes design, gave it to Ken Onion, called it the Homefront and made it overseas outta AUS-8.
Nov 25, 2019
reswright
1798
Nov 11, 2019
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Spyderco Manix 2 Breakdown and Copper Rebuild So I dig copper. Not everyone does, for very respectable reasons. It's soft, so it scratches and nicks. It's heavy as sin, so any knife you put it on is going to be weighty. It changes its appearance over time. And to some folks copper smells faintly like bile. But I'm a fan of copper in knives despite all these and even more reasons, because I like its luster.Copper knives were once a thing, both as copper ore and as bronze. It's old school and kinda pagan, which is probably why I like it. So I picked up some aftermarket copper scales and a copper bearing cage for my new Manix, and resolved to give it a copper overhaul.
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For those of you who haven't bought one of these just to void the warranty by taking it apart in this manner, this is what the Manix ball bearing lock looks like, partially disassembled:
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Actually quite a bit different from an axis lock. Fiddly as all hell, too. A ball, bail and spring that fits into the slot in spacered assembly. It has to be balanced just so to work, but does so pretty well. Here's the copper replacement for the bearing cage, fit with the bearing and spring:
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The spring is a little fierce.I thought about shearing a bit off of it. But for all I know, without that spring pressure, the bearing lock doesn't work well. So i left it as is. The tolerances on this knife are overall extremely close, which makes it quality gear, which you MIGHT think makes it easier to take apart and put back together. But knives with tolerances like this have no airgapping to create wiggle room. So taking them apart and putting them back together can be a frustrating exercise if you don't take your time and go slowly and very carefully. Everything must fit precisely just so before it will settle into place. The knife all apart:
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If you're eagle eyed you'll note that this knife only has two fairly small and thin phosphor bronze washers. On a knife made to less demanding standards I might be tempted to try and soup this action up, but the truth is it's already kinda dropping shut nicely and will wear in to be even nicer. And there probably isn't even room to add in even another extremely thin layer of washer. So I'm letting the washers go with a brief lapping and lubing. Was it easy to put back together? Oh, no. No, in fact if you don't really know what you're doing, I'd suggest not taking apart a Spyderco beyond swapping out scales. I had to use a vise to press-fit the lanyard barrel into the copper scales, and that was the easy part -- getting the lock in was the hard part. It was hard, and I swore quite a bit. But I got it back together just so.
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Is it heavy? Yeah, it weighs about 240 grams now -- well over 8 ounces. The regular Manix 2 with G10 weighs about 5 ounces, so the copper is really adding significant mass to the knife. That's a thing that a lot of people often dismiss until the first day they have to do a lot of work with a small but heavy knife. So even though this knife has great ergonomics for work, it probably won't be the knife I reach for if I have a bajillion boxes to cut up. In fact I have a couple nice, chunky copper lanyard beads I was going to add to the lanyard on this originally, just to give the lanyard the bulk to function as counterweight -- but elected not to, and even went with a thinner paracord, just because the knife's already a fattie. But what can I say, that's not the point of this knife. The copper is.
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The lock cage, being copper, will wear in fairly quickly. The Flytanium folks say it only takes a day or so for it to fully wear in, but I'm not having problems with it now. Between this and the axis lock, I'll take the axis lock hands down, but a lot of people are going to prefer the large 'buttons' on this to the nubs on an axis lock.
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I thought about giving it a bit of satin with the Dremel but leaving it as is won the day. Also thought about putting in a deep carry clip but, like, this is the sort of knife that you go ahead and let peek out of your pocket. Anyway, there you have it: a cupric Cru-Wear Manix 2. Serious knuckle weight but awesome, and capable of great things. This one's mine, though. You'll have to put together your own. It'll be bad ass, but don't say I didn't warn you -- it's journeyman work at the very least.
Nov 11, 2019
reswright
1798
Oct 24, 2019
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Spyderco Manix 2 in Cru-Wear/G-10

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Everyone loves a nice Spydie, right? The truth is a lot of models of Spyderco don't really interest me a ton, even though I know they're very good. Another way to say it is, there's so damn many of them, it's hard to keep track, so I tend to look at the ones that are different from the norm in some way. This model is one of the Spyderco locks that everyone but them calls 'some kind of axis lock'. They would too, if they could. They can't because 'axis lock' is a vigorously defended trademark. Made in the USA.
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This lock is fundamentally different from an axis lock with its omega spring and its barrel rod in its design -- but in execution, it's not terribly different from the axis lock. Benchmade folks will see this at first as just an axis lock with big buttons, and that's about 90% accurate. The remaining 10% is mostly in how the knife disengages from the axis lock when you're flipping it open, and how the lock behaves when the knife is nearly closed. If you can flip an axis lock knife open and shut easily, you'll know how to open a Manix 2 - but you'll see what I mean, and it'll take you a minute or two to get used to the difference. The lock just rides against the tang a little more forcefully at points because of the different angle of the lock spring, the physics of this lock is such that the amount of pressure placed between lockface and tang varies a lot more across the entire flip than it would with a simple axis lock.
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Moving onward -- as is usual for Spydies, the ergos are carefully considered, the jimping is grippy and design elements double as finger guards.
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Cru-Wear is often described as an improvement on D2, which is I think something that people say about a lot of steel when they don't know dick from dunk about steel. I've heard people I respect say that in terms of daily use it's hard to tell Cru-Wear from S30V, which is a verra nice steel in my book. I can flip it open a few different ways, with the aperture or the lock, but it did need a faint adjustment before it'd drop shut. Like everything I've gotten from the Golden plant, it's sharp enough to push cut things and the grind and hone are both very professional, no warping or gouging. I was worried, given the existence of the Manix XL, that this knife might feel a little small in my hand but the grip tends to be right on. The jimping is a little toothy but it's not that bad. The spring on the lock is a little aggressive but I expect it will wear in a bit with use. Like most things Spyderco does, I'd still rather have a PM2 than this, and I'm not crazy about the smooth texture of the G-10 (I think I might pick up aftermarket scales for this) but even considering that, I'm pretty happy with this pickup as it stands. If Drop gives the Manix 2 a run, and you like axis locks, i think you'll like this.
Oct 24, 2019
reswright
1798
Oct 19, 2019
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TOPS Street Scalpel 2.0 in 1095
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It is what it says, pretty much . On the one hand I wish TOPS was a little more ready to dabble in steels that aren't 1095. A fella likes a little variety, you know? But 1095 is righteous steel for a fixed piece so it's hard to be too cranky about it. Sweet, grippy little necker -- well, the sheath is meant for belts, so I think it's technically a belt knife and not a neck knife, but it can be converted to a necker easily enough by the look of it. Much like the RSK, the handle is carefully sculpted. You can barely see it where the G10 starts to moire up. The grip is very strong and locks right in, fore or backhand. TOPS knives always have that going for them, you get the sense that the designers have to use their design to defend themselves in a duel or something before they go to full production -- it's always always a focus. Neck knives are tools first and self defense weapons like maybe third, but it's nice to know that this one'd help get you home if you needed it. Mostly though it's kind of a badass kiridashi. A kiri-slashi, if you will. Lovely balance. The DLC is a little rougher than I usually need it to be, but it's not like that'll be a problem. I like mine a little smoother and this is a little like someone's tuff-koted truck bed, but the upside is it gives you additional grip . And, you guessed it: it's made in America.
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I'm an official fan of TOPS. Would like to see Drop maybe score their CSAR-T collab with Buck sometime.
Oct 19, 2019
KiefthePeace
2
Oct 2, 2019
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You need to give Zero Tolerance a call and tell them you need a low profile pocket clip for the "ZT0808" also known as the Kershaw launch 6 haha.
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Oct 2, 2019
reswright
1798
Oct 1, 2019
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Kershaw 1760 Skyline, 14C28N/G-10


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Kershaw is a brand name that a lot of Americans know. They don't necessarily know that Kershaw is owned by KAI, a Japanese company that maintains some production in America for Kershaw and Zero Tolerance knives. This is one of those knives -- the Skyline. Some might ding them for that, but so long as they're using American labor I will give them some extra consideration. I don't know that it matters a lot to the rest of us which set of executives make the profits anyway. I wanted to pick up this knife for three reasons. One, I like the Sandvik. Two, I wanted to see what US budget knives looked like these days compared to what I'm seeing out of China. The third is I'd heard a few people say the Skyline was a pretty good knife, so I wanted to see for myself.
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First impression is that it's definitely a budget knife. It''s only got 1 steel liner -- on the side with the liner lock. It has a pivot, two long screws that go all the way through the handle to bite into the far side, and a backspacer. A fat clip that can be reversed for tip up carry, though not for left hand open. Does it flip?
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Yes, but it takes some wrist. I was unable to flip it open all the way without using wrist to give it a little more oomph, using the flipper tab. The thumb stud is a little better, but this knife still isn't all that smooth on the flip. Doesn't feel bad, just a little slow and tight.
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The blade's nice, but also very simple. No stop pin but the thumb stud. No overtravel stop either -- I'd expect one or the other. Sharp, tho. How's it break down?
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Very easily. And a nice surprise -- with the other cost cutting measures I was seeing, I figured for sure I was going to find some kinda crap nylon washers in this thing, like on the Reverb. So it's nice to see the phosphor bronze -- and not thin, either. Stout washers. What this means is that the blade will have maximal stability and will be more resistant to dust getting into the works than a bearing knife will. PB fits better with use, so the flip will improve with time as the washers wear in. I could swap these out for something faster, in theory -- like a multiwasher setup -- but there isn't much room on this knife for stacked washers or a layer of teflon. So I'm going to content myself with a little Blue lube. Back together -- it took longer than getting it apart, because the backspacer has no standoffs to hold it in place, the screws just go straight through the bores. Getting it all to line up properly was a faff -- took maybe ten minutes? Nine more than it usually takes to put a knife together. I switched it over to tip up as is my preference.
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So how's it rate? Honestly I didn't expect to like it as much as I do. For $40 you can get more knife if you shop Chinese -- but this thing has a lot more build integrity than I expected, especially once I saw that it was fairly stripped down for hardware. It's got a good design. I don't think I'd make this a workhorse knife on account of the lightness and the single steel liner, but it should stand up to regular pocket duty just fine and with this grind, it's hella slicey. Nice to see signs of life in American budget knife manufacturing!
Oct 1, 2019
reswright
1798
Oct 1, 2019
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Bradley Kimura BCC907 Balisong 154CM/G-10

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This is my first Bradley. It's actually manufactured for them by Bear OPS, which is I guess part of Bear and Son -- one of a handful of companies that produce sub $100 knives in the US using American labor. It's also my first Bear and Son knife. First things first: it's got a lovely blade on it and a decent flip.
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Does it flip as nicely as a $400 balisong does? No, but it flips a lot nicer than a cheap one does. The joints have nice tolerance, the arms have nice weighting and solidity, and when you flip this around it's got some nice kinetics to it. Not a fan of the big logo but it doesn't really spoil it for me.
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Nice steel, too. And there's the thread qualifier: made in the USA. :)
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I'd say average sharpness for a factory knife. I've seen nicer hones on an American built blade in my life, but that's something I can do by myself no problem. Bit of an issue with the jade G10 -- there's some grime showing through it around the torx fasteners:
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But it cleaned right up and looks nice with some aquamarine dye:
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All in all not bad.
(Edited)
Oct 1, 2019
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