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I just don’t understand!

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by vwb563, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. Mitchell Knives

    Mitchell Knives Knifemaker Moderator

    May 21, 2000
    By "ideal" I mean a knife that has a good price to performance ratio while still being well suited for the required task. I think some low end offerings miss the mark when there are other alternatives in the same price range.

    A good example of this would be a Mora. They are inexpensive but tough and made of decent steel. The same goes for Opinel, Victorinox, etc.

    Honestly, many people would be best served with box cutters. :)
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
    MarkN86, Chronovore and willc like this.
  2. Chronovore

    Chronovore Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 29, 2019
    Like I said previously, it's all about relativity and in this case to EDC/pocket knives. See post 47.

    I've just been carrying and using different budget knives over the last few decades. Before I started buying knives online a few years ago, that included a lot of Kershaw, Gerber, Schrade, etc. Some relatively recent examples of sub-8Cr steels in my life include the Kershaw Hotwire and random stuff from their Christmas packs, the Gerber Moment, some of the Harnds knives, the Minimalist and the S.P.E.W. from CRKT.

    It isn't very scientific but it does build up experience with how long edges last in certain steels, how well you can count on them, etc. For a more controlled take on testing various steels, check out Outpost 76's channel. He sharpens down a few edges to start with fresh steel and tests on subsequent edges to get repeatable results on a 1" section of blade. His results seem in line with my general use for a variety of steels. Dirc linked to what I think is his cheapest steel test in post 60.
    dirc likes this.
  3. craytab

    craytab Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    That in no way addresses my point but rather just repeats the same old mantra we hear from you all the time. You and others shouldn't overthink this. These Kershaws aren't being made for you. Sorry.
    Eli Chaps likes this.
  4. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    I've spent decades in manufacturing. I work with machinists, metal casters, forgers, chemical technicians, maintenance craftsmen, contractors, and more. Very few carry knives that would be of interest to us. And among that small percentage, an even smaller percentage even understand the knife they're carrying.

    "I carry a Benchmade. *confident sigh* It's made in America and cost a lot." That is almost quite literally the conversations I've had with guys who are carrying higher-end knives. It is a very select few who can actually tell you why they have that knife and about it's actual characteristics.

    I don't think I'd be on shaky ground to say that somewhere around a quarter to a third of them don't even carry a knife. And among those who do, you will find a ton of sub-$25, clam shell-packaged stuff you can find at Walmart, Cabellas, Home Depot, etc. Now, you toss a name like Kershaw or Gerber on it and a bunch of them folks will immediately think it is a solid product just based on that. Whether it's a hunting magazine ad, relative, trade magazine, somewhere along the way, they know those names.

    I live in Buck country. But you don't find a lot of them in pockets in the factory, or outside of it for that matter. Fixed blades? Yep, all sorts of people will have them at home for the outdoors. But their folders are quite often seen as too expensive and they don't have the shelf saturation of the others. If you do find someone with a Buck pocket knife, it is likely one of their off-shore models from Walmart.

    These knives are usually dull and scratched all to Hell. They get used for scraping things, prying staples, and all those tasks none of us would dream of doing.

    If the screws fall out or the blade snaps or the handle pops off...well that sucks, oh well. It gets tossed and another one gets bought. And quite often, the replacement will be even cheaper! Why spend more money on something that is just going to break???

    That is who these knives are targeting. While I might personally disagree, often times people see what they consider a sexy design and thumb studs and oooooo a black blade, and that combined with the brand name and half-decent package marketing are all that is needed to make the sale.

    And so what? Someone said these are the knives that allow you to buy the higher-end stuff and that is exactly right. They're banging these things out by the gajillion and they sell.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
  5. c7m2p3


    Apr 20, 2018
    As many have said this is targeted to non enthusiasts and users that are more likely to either break or lose their knives within the first few weeks or months of ownership. I think of this like Pens to a certain extent. There is a rich community of both fountain pens and rugged EDC pens made of Titanium, machined aluminum, Brass etc. The reality though, is that 95% of people are going to buy a pack of the cheapest, Bic ballpoint pens...proceed to lose half of them, loan them out never to be seen again, stuff in desk drawers or pockets and put them through the wash.
  6. vwb563

    vwb563 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 2007
    Great analogy! :thumbsup:
  7. 000Robert

    000Robert Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 28, 2020
    Glad to know that I'm in the 5%.
  8. c7m2p3


    Apr 20, 2018
    This EDC stuff rarely contains itself to one item. It may start with knives but soon we are looking at pens, flashlights, or God forbid....watches.
    mdeous and Chronovore like this.
  9. herisson

    herisson Apple slicing rocking chair dweller Platinum Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    EXACTLY ! It's all cool being a knife nerd (I am, totally...) but talking with professionals is very enlightening. After all, they are the primary, real, all day users of the greatest mass of cutlery sold out there, right ? Well, believe me or not, they don't give a rat's ass about the steel but they care a lot how easy it is to sharpen. Enters 15Xcr50Mov, or whatever, and they are all happy as clams. I admit the steel is very decent and in the professional kitchen environment it is just relevant. It works, and it works fine, at that. So, the talk about "junk steel" is just not relevant. It only shows ignorance about real life conditions.
    craytab likes this.
  10. c7m2p3


    Apr 20, 2018
    The reality is; we could all probably get by with far "worse" steel than we tote around in our pockets on a daily basis. With that said: kitchen knife steel and pocket knife steel are different considerations. Kitchen knives primarily doing cutting work on soft material and being confined always to a knife block in your house is one thing. A pocket knife is going to be with you at all times and when one of those goes dull, you dont have ceramic rods right there on your kitchen counter to straighten that edge out like you do in the kitchen.

    So to be fair to those that want a more robust steel, pocket knives could very well end up flexing into difficult cutting tasks like cardboard/rope/roots etc that are far more abrasive than chicken or fruit AND they have the disadvantage of being very far away from sharpening tools so holding an edge for longer is a far more attractive feature.
    Lesknife likes this.
  11. chalby


    Nov 8, 2020
    Quite a few years ago I used a no name knife that was very similar in size and shape to the spyderco ladybug as a work knife. It was mainly used to cut the plastic wrap off pallets and occasionally open boxes or cut plastic strapping. I reckon 5cr15 would have been an upgrade compared to this knife, but it took 30 seconds to put a razor edge on it from dull and the edge lasted a week or so. It cost me next to nothing.

    I have no regrets, it was a great little knife for what I needed at the time. Horses for courses
  12. herisson

    herisson Apple slicing rocking chair dweller Platinum Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    Right. I do agree. See post #14.
  13. craytab

    craytab Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    Right, so if you want better performance in a knife, you should expect to pay more than $19.95 for it. No free lunch.
    000Robert and c7m2p3 like this.
  14. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    My father became a machinist in the 1950’s. Before that he was a cattle rancher. He always bought quality tools and knives. That is how I was raised. Purchase quality items and take care of them. I own tools that are older than I am.

    I recently had a talk with my daughter about giving one of my Benchmade knives to her husband. Her suggestion was that I keep the knife; stating that my SIL would not take care of it. She went on to say that her husband was raised to purchase the cheapest item that he could get. Use it and abuse it. Then buy another when it broke.

    This seems to be the trend. Buy the cheapest and then buy again as needed. Sad, really.

    I can’t count how many times people have used one of my knives and exclaimed, “What a great knife! What did it run? Ten, fifteen bucks?”

    It is obvious that the knife industry caters to the attitude above. Buy by price. Then buy again, if necessary.
    Lesknife likes this.
  15. c7m2p3


    Apr 20, 2018
    It's not the entire knife industry but it has certainly been the attitudes of big box brands from the past few years like KAI, Gerber (though they may be changing) and SOG (though they may be changing too.

    Honestly this somewhat applicable to a lot of markets though, not just knives. As I mentioned above this is the attitude of the pen market. You can get a nice tactile-turn pen, or you can buy a box of Bic brand disposables for pennies on the dollar and just use and abuse them until they run out. The same can be said for any number of things. Shoes, wallets, belts etc. More and more markets are trying to hit a price point that will make the consumer feel like they can get away with throwing money at it with the peace of mind that should something happen, they can easily acquire another one without breaking the bank.
  16. Kershaw sells cheap knives in cheap steel because they provide a reliable source of revenue. Manufacturers don't make money from retail sales, they make money from wholesale and distributor sales. If WalMart or Bass Pro is willing to cut a big check for thousands of cheap Kershaw knives they can retail for $19.99, KAI USA will be all over that. Despite what many folks on BF seem to believe, "enthusiasts" are not the target audience for the vast majority of the knife market.
  17. craytab

    craytab Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    Except that the brand in question here, Kershaw or KAI as a whole, caters to all budget levels for the various types of knife buyers. This is a point lost in this thread by some. I'm sorry the designs some folks like are in the budget line, and come with that level of materials and general quality, but Kershaw can't cater each model to individual specs. Disappointing, yes, but understandable and certainly far from the catastrophe some make it out.
  18. TinyDog

    TinyDog Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2015
    So well stated Craytab, It seems we live in a world that is supposed to make each one of us totally happy with any and all of our interests. While many manufacturers try to meet the Miriad of needs or more likely desires of the consumer, there is no perfect! If one likes a design and not the material move on man it’s no big deal. I mean what’s next? We go to sleep have a dream and it’s at our doorstep in the morning...... let’s be real. If you are confused see what you could order just 20 years ago.... I say let’s be happy and appreciate that we have we have. Just saying all. If this is not in your interest forgive my opinion. But all in all for a hobby for the most part we have an insane amount of selections and more than anyone should need.... Not looking to challenge anyone’s interest here just my thoughts which I believe are shared by others. TD
  19. midnight flyer

    midnight flyer Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    You got it. Before COVID, I catered two large events a year serving about 400 people. One event raised money for a Christmas Dinner for the US Military, and the other where we spent the money to put a dinner on at Ft.Sam Houston in the Wounded Warriors Center.

    I found those knives with all that X50CrMoV15 stamped on them at the restaurant supply. The commercial rep told me he had heard great things about that steel from his restauarant/caterer accounts so I bought a couple of slicers, a couple of boning knives and a couple of chef's knives. Wow... bang for the buck they are so much better than our Dexter's and a couple of other "service industry" grade knives. I sharpened them and they lasted for the entire all day event each time I used them, even though the folks using them cut on counters, plates, cut into bones, etc. (volunteers... what are you going to do?) all day. These are a perfect solution for the problem challenge. Likewise, lesser performing steels in EDCs than we might accept fill the same role.

    I was going to post up my new find here and someone found that same steel on a knife and was pretty pleased with it, but wanted to know more about it. Saved me the headache; it was pretty soundly trashed here as some imposter steel, renamed to make it sound like more than it is. As a card carrying member of the great unwashed masses, I bought a couple for my friends that barbecue and entertain a lot, a couple for family members, and a couple to keep on hand. They aren't any smarter than me - they think they are luxury knives that stay sharp and never rust! Average price was well under $10 each. When I see my buddies at a BBQ, I always remember to bring my diamond rod with me and a few swipes gets those knives plenty sharp.

    As I learned a few decades ago, one of the keys to good money/project management in a service industry is to match the tool to the job. No doubt the "Eversharp" line wouldn't satisfy most here (I rarely use them in my own kitchen, either) but they certainly have their place.

    Last edited: Dec 1, 2020
  20. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    Sure they can. KAI could easily produce a basic model marketed by Kershaw and an upscale model by ZT.

    Ford Motor Campany did that sort of stuff for decades with their Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury lines.

    Benchmade is successful with their Blue Line and Gold Line of products.

    KAI would not have to do it straight across the board. Just with a select few models.

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