I just got done selling on ebay around $1200 of knives that I have amassed and been disappointed in, so I figured it was about time to replenish my stocks. I ordered five from amazon thanks to the recent deals and one from EDC Depot that I have had my eye on for a long while.
Here is some knife porn for you:
From left to right (I would link to them, but most are sold out):
-Boker Subclaw (EDC) – $25.99
-Kershaw Whirlwind 1560ST (amazon) – $35.20
-Smith & Wesson Micarta Hunter SWMH (amazon) – $11.18
-Smith & Wesson Medium Black Ops Assisted Open SWBLOPM (amazon) – $13.73
-Victorinox SwissTool Spirit black (amazon) – $36.56
-Buck Sirus 0297PLS-B (amazon) – $30.37
I will not be keeping a few of these, so the descriptions will not include any cutting tests. I did do a basic paper cut and hair shaving test on each, but that was it for most of them.
Boker Subclaw – I knew what to expect from this, having owned a couple of other similar Bokers. Sharp, reliable, great steel, and tiny, this was destined for my pocket while at work. My Benchmade just wasn’t cutting it (tee hee) when it came to box opening/cutting, so I thought I’d give the hawkbill shape a try. It is superb for cutting anything open. The handle looks (and is) tiny, but the knife still feels great in the hand. The lockup is very secure and the blade did not budge at all, even when gripped tightly. I highly recommend this one for anyone having to deal with packages on a regular basis. The wicked shape might put some cubicle dwellers off, but that is offset quite a bit by the small size. Even if you don’t like it, it’s on the cheap end of the spectrum, with an MSRP of only $25.99.
Kershaw Whirlwind – “Storl hates serrated edges,” you say. “Why the hell did storl buy a serrated knife?” you ponder. I made a boo boo. I meant to get the plain edge, I swear! I did play with the knife for a while though, since I have the plain edged one on the way in my next round of amazon knives. The handle was great and felt really comfortable in the hand, even when gripping hard. The pocket clip did dig into my palm a bit, but I tend not to do any heavy cutting with a folder anyway. The blade design (outside the serrated part) is well done and should be great for general use. I was slightly disappointed in the action on the assisted open, but only because I opened the Buck Sirus first. More on that in a bit. Overall, it is a nice knife, and I can see using the plain version on a regular basis.
S&W Micarta Hunter – I ordered this one for the heck of it. $11.18 for a fixed blade with a micarta, handle, 440C steel, and a leather sheath? Sign me up, despite how crappy it might be. I had very low expectations for this one, so I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived. The recurve is not very practical for sharpening on a trip, but is still well done. I like the slight downward angle of the blade since it helps in cutting and control. The leather sheath is well done, holds the blade secure, and is nicer than some sheaths on $100 knives that I have owned. The handle feels great, even though it does have that index finger ridge (I’m sure there is a proper term for it). The ridge will be ground down one of these days. I was expecting a large knife, so it was nice to find out that it is on the small side, and relatively light. The only real downside that I found in this incredibly cheap knife was the dullness of the blade. I guess I am used to customs and high end production knives, but the blade was butter knife dull. I can rectify that quickly and easily, but it is still shoddy work on a cheap knife that gets so many other things right. I am pretty sure I bought the last one of these from amazon, but they are all over for $20, and I can easily recommend the knife at that price.
S&W Black Ops – After the Micarta Hunter, I was expecting a really cool little assisted opener. I flicked it open and was impressed by the quick and smooth action. The blade had a good shape, the handle felt nice, and the materials were decent quality. I was NOT impressed by the lockup. The blade had around 1/4″ of play horizontally at the tip, and 1/8″ vertically, with very little effort. I was not very happy with the liner lock either. It easily moved when the knife was gripped, which made my knuckles cringe in fear. There was a switch to lock the blade closed, but it would just move out of the way when the blade was opened. Not exactly a knife that you would want in your pocket if you ever intend on having children. Lesson learned, only get the S&W fixed blades.
Victorinox Swisstool Spirit, oxidized black – Like the Boker, I knew exactly what to expect of this one. I have owned several Victorinox knives in the past, just like any other former Boy Scout in the world. The sheath was the first thing I saw, and I liked what I saw. Good looking design, durable materials, and secure storage for the multitool. The Spirit itself was also good looking. The oxidized black coating made it destined to never go on a trip with me, since I have a tendency to set my tools on the ground at night, and I doubt this one would be easily found. The tools all appear to be well made, but the blades were quite small for my taste, even on a Swiss Army Knife. I would definitely only do light duties with them, and never twist or torque the blades. Still, it will be a good multitool to have in the glove box or around the house. On the ergonomics front, the Spirit felt good in the hand, mostly due to the handle curvature when opened. Just like any other multitool, and of the handle tools are awkward to use when compared with a dedicated version. Of course, a dedicated version of all of the tools on a multitool would weigh you down by quite a bit more than the Spirit, so that is the whole point. If you don’t feel like ponying up the cash for a Leatherman Charge, the Spirit is a good alternative.
Buck Sirus – Ah, the Sirus. Easily my favorite out of the bunch, despite a couple major flaws. The knife just looks good, with its “deep platinum” annodized aluminum handles and all metal construction. The blade design is nice for general use and is thick enough to handle some abuse. The best part, the assisted open, is the nicest I have seen on any production knife. A little switch holds the blade in place, so flip that switch, barely press on the flipper with your finger or thumbstud, and the blade flies open. The lock stays in place until you move it back, so you can just leave it off at all times if you want. The knife is designed in such a way that accidental release of the blade is very unlikely, so I would not have a problem having this in my pocket next to my uh-oh zone. The lockup was rock solid. No matter how hard I torqued or gripped, the blade had zero play. The problem was that it was too solid, which brings me to the downsides.
The lockup is ridiculously solid, which would be fine if the liner lock were a little more finger friendly. The ridges on the liner lock are rather pointy, and since you have to put a decent amount of effort into moving the lock aside to close the blade, your thumb starts not to appreciate your knife obsession (OK, maybe that’s just my thumb). I am used to pushing the liner lock with my thumb while slightly pushing on the blade at the same time to start closing a knife. The lockup almost makes this knife a two hand closer, which is a gigantic downside for me. The ridges also stick out quite a bit, so they dig into your fingers when gripping the open knife. I plan on taking this knife apart and sanding down the end of the liner lock a tiny bit to make it a little more forgiving. I’ll smooth off the ridges at the same time to make it more finger friendly. With any other knife I would just get rid of it instead, but Buck got so much else right that I am willing to forgive a couple of faults.
I am keeping the Sirus, Micarta Hunter, and Subclaw. I am on the fence about the Spirit, but if anyone wants it or the other two for their cost + shipping, they’re all yours.