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ESEE - Extremely Disappointed with ESEE 6 and Customer Service

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Hello All,

I've been a long-time lurker here at BF, and I appreciate all of the reviews that users post. I wanted to share my experience with the ESEE 6, which left me very disappointed.

The ESEE 6

What I was looking for was a good survival knife with about a 5" - 6" blade. I was having a tough time deciding between a Fallkniven S1 and the ESEE 6. I went with the ESEE for two few reasons:

1. It was cheaper
2. The warranty is purportedly amazing

After having received the 6 in the mail, I immediately oiled it and used it to do some light cutting and chopping in my yard. I then put it on a shelf in my living room. A few days later, I pulled it out and it looked fine. Nonetheless, I re-oiled it to be safe (anyone who reads about ESEE knives or 1095 is made aware of the potential for rust).

I was very happy with my purchase at this point, so I ordered the MOLLE backing. When the backing came, I grabbed my knife and went to attached the sheath to the backing. I was very surprised to see that the entire cutting edge - outside of the coated area was yellow and orange and beginning to rust after only one use and 5 weeks after I received it (I've owned a VG10 Endura for over 5 years and it has seen far more use and far less maintenance and it has never rusted). I immediately set out to remove the rust. After spending 30 minutes doing so, I came to the unavoidable conclusion that a knife that is properly oiled and has not been exposed to any amount of moisture that would reasonably lead to rust is not a tool fit for survival situations.

Customer Service

When I sent an email to KnifeWorks to process a return, I copied Mike at ESEE. Shortly after sending the email, I received an inflammatory reply from Mike patronizing me and accusing me of being incompetent.

I replied stating that I had indeed maintained the knife - having oiled it twice, once after not even having used it. Mike replied seemingly ignoring my statement that the knife was maintained. He also went on to acknowledge that in a survival situation that includes moisture, a 1095 ESEE is, basically, a one-time-use product.

After some time, Mike followed up with another email stating that if I wanted to I could ship the knife to him so that he could reimburse me. I replied stating that I would ship the knife the next day, which I did at my own expense.

At this point, I assumed that the matter had been resolved.

Upon receiving the knife, Mike emailed me as if to complain that the knife had no rust on it. I explained that I had spent my time to remove the rust and apologized for forgetting to include the belt clip, which I offered to send in another package.

Mike's response was to accuse me of lying, I'm not sure what exactly in regards to. He then praised the knife's performance because it did not rust while being shipped (Perhaps I made a mistake in assuming the knife was meant to be carried in its sheath and used for cutting things - rather than being carried around in a USPS flat rate box filled with newspaper?).

Ultimately, Mike of ESEE knives reneged on his end of our agreement. He justified his conclusion by informing me that the knife did not rust after being shipped in a box filled with newspaper. All of this was after I had to fight an uphill battle, at the beginning of which I was patronized and treated as incompetent instead of as a valued customer.

I am awaiting a response from KnifeWorks so I can get my money back without having to pass the ESEE knife onto someone else.

Bottom Line

If you buy an ESEE 1095 knife, expect it to rust spontaneously or to have to walk around with a knife that is dripping in oil. Do not expect any help from ESEE customer service.

My recommendation is to save up the extra money to buy a stainless fixed blade - I ordered the Fallkniven S1, which I will be reviewing in the future.

Correspondence

Me

Dear Knife Works Help,


I am writing to request a return for Order __________, 5/25/15. I am extremely disappointed with the ESEE 6 that I ordered. The facts are as follows:

After receiving the knife, I was excited to test it out so I used it to cut and split some dry wood in my yard.
Directly afterward, having done a significant amount of research regarding the 1095 steel from which the ESEE is made, I thoroughly dried it and oiled it using mineral oil, then stored it in its sheath on a shelf in my living room where there is no significant amount of moisture.
Five days after, I proactively inspected the knife and applied another light coat of oil.
At this point, I was thrilled with my purchase as I believed that I had received a top notch survival blade at an excellent price, so I proceeded to order the MOLLE backing from another retailer.
Today, I received that backing. Before attaching the sheath and backing, I pulled out the knife and noticed that the entire cutting edge had developed a light coating of rust. Having not used the knife since my initial trial and having oiled it twice, I was appalled.
I made myself well aware of the potential for the blade to rust, which is why I made it a point to dry and oil the knife with a high degree of attention to detail.
I have decided that any survival blade that rusts so soon, despite my careful, proactive preventative care, is far from fulfilling its function as a reliable, durable tool.

I could go on, but my complaint is not against Knife Works in any way, the misfortune of the situation is that I ordered the knife through you.

If we are able to reach a successful resolution, I would love to continue to support you and order the Fallkniven S1 from you, at the link below (meaning I would be more than happy to accept store credit for the return), as the issue with the ESEE 6 is not your fault, and your service has been excellent to date.

http://www.knifeworks.com/fallknivens1forestknifezytelsheath.aspx#.VXypkflViko

Very Respectfully,

Mike

Knife Works can do whatever they wish but I will not allow this knife to be returned for warranty to ESEE Knives. We warn in the warranty that bare steel will rust. Rust is a process of oxygen, iron and moisture combining to form iron oxide or rust. Clearly if your knife developed rust on the bare steel areas there wasn't a sufficient coating of rust preventive to interrupt the rust forming process.
Your knife, any knife , from a carbon steel will eventually develop a bit of rust . It doesn't hurt the knife or inhibit the use in any way. Even stainless will eventually rust. Use is actually the best way to remove rust and keep it at bay.
But the bottom line here is you are asking for a knife to be warrantied / returned for what is normal wear , something we clearly state we do not warranty against.
No company is going to accept the return of a knife because of a bit of rust.
Mike

Me

Mike,

I understand the oxidation process and the fact that any knife that is not maintained will rust. However, for a knife that has received thorough and detailed maintenance to rust after a single use and a mere five weeks after it was purchased is, for me and I assume many customers, unacceptable. Per your email, it would seem that I would have to walk around with a knife that is dripping with oil.

When I think of a rugged outdoor tool, like a survival knife, I do not envision having to bring a slew of items to care for it after every single use. Nor do I appreciate thought of having to maintain a regimen of compulsively using my knife to keep rust at bay.

In a survival scenario, should I not expose the blade to any moisture? Am I to EDC a cleaning kit in case my ESEE 6 would get wet? Or am I supposed to accept that by the end of a survival situation, my ESEE 6 knife would be so rusted as to be unusable?

For the record, I have owned a Spyderco Endura in VG10 for over five years during which it has seen far more use and far less maintenance. To date, it has not developed a single spec of rust nor developed any discoloration due to oxidation.

I most certainly hope that any potential buyers of ESEE carbon steel blades take my experience as a buyer beware. I honestly expected that ESEE would have excellent customer service to match its renowned warranty. Your treatment of me as a customer would suggest that neither offer any real remedy for legitimate issues.

Mike

Again... We clearly state we do not warranty against rust or your knife going dull from use . In a survival situation rust is probably the least of your worries:).
You are asking for warranty against something you knew or should have known is not a warranty issue. Steel will rust period . If the steel is stored without a preventative it will rust.
I have treated you the same as I do everyone . We have never and will never warranty against rust, knife going dull from use, loss or theft.
If you feel you have been treated unfairly then I invite you to take your business elsewhere .
Mike

Mike (He sent a second email - perhaps realizing that the customer service he was providing was less than great.)

If you want to mail your knife to me I will personally reimburse you for the original purchase price. Include the price and your return address.
Mike
ADDRESS

Mike

Me

Mike,

I will ship the knife tomorrow via a medium USPS Flat Rate box. Attached is a copy of my receipt from Knife Works, which I will also print and include in the package. The return address is listed on the receipt and below.

Mike

Check will go out USPS priority when the knife arrived.
Mike

Mike

I received your knife. Zero rust. No belt clip. What gives? Mike

Co-Owner, ESEE Knives
Randall's Adventure Training

Me

Dear Mike,

I spent about half an hour removing the rust. After doing so, I decided I would look elsewhere for a survival knife. I did forget to include the belt clip in the package, my apologies. If you like, I can send it out tomorrow.

Mike

The knife has been about 4 days in shipping and no rust because it has rust preventative on it. No rust. If you had used a preventative wgen storing it before you would not gave had a rust problem. From where I sit you have lied. I will be returning your knife to you with a rust preventative.
Mike

Me

Mike,

The knife had the same rust preventative on it that it has now when it rusted. I cannot speak to the conditions that the knife experienced during the shipping process, but when I had it in my possession it was not exposed to moisture, and it still rusted.
I will be making my entire experience with ESEE public so that other potential customers will be aware of what kind of disservice they will receive if they purchase an ESEE product.

Mike

You go right ahead. Be sure you publish every email in entirety. If you leave anything out I will be sure and fill in the gaps.
Mike
 

stabman

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So, a non-stainless carbon steel rusted--which is something they do--and you are all upset?

That isn't ESEE's problem at all; it just means that you should only buy stainless steel knives.
 
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So, a non-stainless carbon steel rusted--which is something they do--and you are all upset?

That isn't ESEE's problem at all; it just means that you should only buy stainless steel knives.

Better suggest H1 Stabman. Stainless may not be...well...stainless enough.
 

B Griffin

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Ok now that I'm through laughing...hard, and my breathing is almost back to normal, I can type again. To say wow, where to even begin? The psychologist in me thinks that since the S-1 and ESEE-6 are such vastly different knives, that it probably wasn't a decision between the two knives themselves you had difficulty with, it was with whether or not to spend the other $60. It appears, from the outside looking in, that you really wanted the S-1 but took the less expensive route and the ESEE-6 just couldn't satisfy you. That's often how it goes when you choose gear based on a lower price. I think you had buyer's remorse and one thing led to another. The edge bevels on all knives made out of 1095 will rust. If this is an issue for you it will be an issue for you with any other knife made of 1095, and I'd say O-1 is definitely off the table for you.

I get the not liking of the rust, I really do. I live in a temperate rain forest, and I like hanging out at the Gulf every chance I get. I have had to look into stainless steels to meet my needs and so far, all things considered, I am liking CPM S35VN. It costs more than 1095, the last three knives I have bought for field use here for me, my partner, and an assistant cost me a total of $900 but it just comes with the territory for me. It's what it takes to meet my needs. If rust really bothers you that much, and you store your knives more than use them, you should be prepared to spend more on even more corrosion resistant steels like Elmax or H1.

I bet, knowing Mike, that was the best laugh he had in a while, I know it was for me.
 

B Griffin

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By the way, I really don't think this post qualifies as a knife review. It doesn't belong in the KR&T section in my opinion. It's more suited for Feedback, General Discussion, or perhaps better yet W&C.
 

Mecha

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Sounds like a job for the Power of Tartanium! :)

or Talonite :[
 
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For the record my izula 2 has been used extensively; processing meat, cutting food, gutting and quartering deer and hogs, daily carried in a belt sheath and has never seen more than hot water and dawn dish soap. I've never oiled it, not once and it is still rust free. However that is beside the point, carbon steel will rust and that is that. 1095 happens to be a very high carbon steel. I find it hard to believe that the edge rusted even after you applied oil. That seems real fishy to me. The guys at ESEE produce jam up knives! As stated before it sounds like you had your mind on the other knife and settled for the 6 due to its lower price and out of remorse were looking for some sort of compensation.

Mike re-acted the way he did because you have made a fool of yourself in this ordeal and he knew that everyone who has ever owned one of his knives would respond to your exploit exactly as we have. You should consider yourself lucky that he was willing to offer you a full refund because your carbon steel knife rusted up. You sir should take your money and refrain from telling this story ever again.
 
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Hey hey! Let's not be condescending here. Maybe the poster is a Kid and needs proper direction and advice like we all did at one point.
 

rycen

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Moved to GB&U
 

kaotikross

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Bringing a cold knife inside to a warmer temp will cause condensation (and vice-versa), so would going to take a shower and leaving your pants in the bathroom with the knife on the belt. Could be it's "nobody's fault", and "just one of those things". Sometimes the oil bottle needs shaken a bit. Good luck,whatever it is.
 

Mossyhorn

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I expect just about any knife that I buy to rust, and if not cared for properly they will. I just don't get bent out of shape about it. Removing a little rust is not that difficult.
 
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While I have to agree with mist...and I did have a small laugh after I realized this wasn't a hoax, I would like to make a short post to hopefully help you in the long run....as stainless steel are still capable of rusting.

I don't post here often, but I just felt compelled to aid a fellow knife/outdoors lover.

In my experience, oils and normal maintenance are sometimes not enough. I have had an ESEE 3 I stripped always want to rust on me. (Under the scales).once I cleaned it up and created a dark patina doing a bath in vinegar, then an oil, I ceased to have problems.

On coated blades, I always end up with rust after outdoor use on the edges...I blame the humid Arkansas climate. I typically carry a flexxx field strop, and a couple passes does magic for removing the rust, which will prevent any pitting or permanent damage. There are always dark spots left behind, which make me proud to know that my knife is a user. Even my high-dollar fiddleback forge patch knife has dark spots now, and that makes me see the knife as even more of a piece of art. That patina will continue to darken, form, and grow, which helps prevent any further rusting.

That is the nature of carbon steel blades. I hope I helped you out for in the future. Any questions on techniques, pm me and I wwell.ould be glad to link you instructional that I have used go learn as
 
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If you polish the bevels to a higher grit, say 1000 or 1500 it will be less likely to see rust form. I store my esee in its sheath with no oil and it hasn't rusted more than a few specks in 4 years. 1095 isn't a throwaway steel.
 

OilMan

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I use an ESEE 3 to cut bait for fishing. Occasionally I'll give it a blast of WD-40 and haven't seen any rust yet..
 
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I have several Esee knives, and all of my other knives, except for two are high carbon steel. With basic maintenance, I've never had rust on any of them, save a small spot or two here and there during the humid summer months. I'm not a fan of stainless steel on my "working knives". Just sayin'.............
 
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A little bit of surface rust forming on the blade edge is normal with any high carbon steel and just gives you a reason to go out and use it which will take that little bit off in no time
 
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Please make sure you never buy a traditional knife like Great Eastern, as most of the patterns also use 1095, or a Case xx with CV or anything similar. Pockets get pretty humid.
 
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