Save the Gimmick, Just Make this Better

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by T.L.E. Sharp, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. BubbaGump


    Oct 30, 2015
    Emerson appeals to the knife owners who are strictly business whereas most knife manufacturers rely on bling to attract buyers. Lots of manufacturers' design philosophy mirrors that of the fishing tackle industry -- most fishing lures are designed to catch the attention of fisherman and not fish.
  2. evilgreg

    evilgreg Why so serious? Gold Member

    Dec 25, 2012
    I took it as you poking fun, sorry if I appeared offended. I'm just happy you reminded me of the whole saga and my brush with an industry icon. :)
    palonej and shinyedges like this.
  3. Quiet

    Quiet "That guy" Platinum Member

    Oct 11, 2013
    Mine are all fine in the fit and finish department, and good enough for me. Source: I own seventeen or so at last count, to include one of Ernie's Customs.

    As for the Kershaw models being better, LOL not even close. It's ok not to like Emersons, but to say that those sad little Kershaw models are better is just incorrect. The ZT models ARE nice, but they don't hold a candle to the real thing in the things that most Emerson guys favor (such as ergonomics). I also wish that ZT had decided to do better than a 3.5 inch or so blade. I prefer the larger Emerson models personally. All of that said, I do not own any of the ZT models, because they are typical Zero Tolerance quality, and I wanted something a little less soulless. Emerson products aren't for everyone, and again, that's ok. Your mileage may vary. (shrug)
    cf1969 and gotgoat like this.
  4. shinyedges

    shinyedges Unfaltering Love & Undeviating Will Gold Member

    Jun 5, 2012
    I agree the zt waved models were weak. But I left settling for production waves a long time ago. This is a cf and a ti variants.[​IMG]

    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
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  5. shinyedges

    shinyedges Unfaltering Love & Undeviating Will Gold Member

    Jun 5, 2012
    That's just one of many I've made for my self. I have other kinds of pocket openers too, some are pretty freaking awesome. Much is in the works.

    After my mods, they have soul... lots of soul. I've done this to quite a few ZT's in the 4in blade range.
    Quiet and palonej like this.
  6. SpySmasher

    SpySmasher Lead Guitar

    Sep 1, 2016
    Soul is a tricky thing. Sometimes "no soul" are code words for "refined and well-defined design language."

    Anyway, what I actually came to post was this: ironically, most of the knives that I wish were/had been produced in higher quality materials are otherwise kind of gimmicky, in the sense that I bought them because they featured some lock or other mechanical feature that was only otherwise available on an expensive custom knife. Some of the most prolific mechanical designers (like Allen Elishewitz or the Hawks) only have their designs available as budget knives or custom knives with nothing in between. There's no "middle-to-high-end production" version of their work.
  7. Pilsner

    Pilsner Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Oct 28, 2017
    That’s a very good point. And look what happens when they do put out a mid range folder designed by big names: Benchmade 710 anyone?

    I’d love to know how many of them were sold over the years. Now discontinued... :mad::(
    willc and Lapedog like this.
  8. SpySmasher

    SpySmasher Lead Guitar

    Sep 1, 2016
    One of my favorite knives. Definitely my favorite Benchmade! :)
    willc, Lapedog and Pilsner like this.
  9. palonej

    palonej Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Aug 5, 2015
    Very true! Was dying to check out the Hawk Lock, bought an Induction........literal garbage.
    Made me wish ZT made a model with it.

  10. HappyDaddy

    HappyDaddy Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 21, 2013
    It's a tricky issue. One thing to keep in mind is that KAI is in business to make as much money as possible, not to satisfy people on knife forums. If their market experience/research supported what OP is suggesting, they'd do it - full stop. It isn't like no one has ever suggested this before.
    b00n likes this.
  11. Quiet

    Quiet "That guy" Platinum Member

    Oct 11, 2013
    I definitely agree. Well, on the refined part. Some ZTs are hit-or-miss for me, and I'm not really in the market for them these days anyway. At one time, I had eight or nine Zero Tolerance knives, to include some rarer models and I ended up selling them all except for a few (to include my 0850 that's so silly, it's kind of endearing). They just feel...mass produced by machines. I completely understand that to a lot of people, ZT's are amazing because of this amazing fit and finish along with great high-end materials. I don't think there's anything wrong with that whatsoever. I just know that my Emersons feel absurdly better in my hand, and as I'm not a novice to sharpening, all of mine are reaaaalllly sharp. And that's really all anyone can ask. I don't begrudge anyone not liking Emersons, I realize that they're not for everyone. G10, 154-CM run kinda soft, phillips head screws, with a flat-tip pivot screw. Basic. I totally get it.

    I can only speak for myself when I say that I enjoy them when most of ZT's products leave me cold. As for Kershaws...I don't just buy Kershaws anymore. I've kinda progressed past the budget knife phase at this point in my life. I realize that may sound like a humblebrag, but it's not meant that way. When I see a cheap knife, I just think "Neat, but eh. I'll pass on this, add another seventy, eight, a hundred bucks, and I can get a really nice knife new, or on the secondary market." That's where I'm at with it. As is, I'm not here to really debate or defend a brand I enjoy, because I am able to enjoy it regardless, so I'll step back from the derail.
    grownstar likes this.
  12. SpySmasher

    SpySmasher Lead Guitar

    Sep 1, 2016
    That would be awesome! It would also be outside their refined and well-defined design language. (HA! :D) That's why, it would be nice for Kershaw to up their game for once. :)
    palonej likes this.
  13. SpySmasher

    SpySmasher Lead Guitar

    Sep 1, 2016
    I'm at the same spot. I'll also save up for a "midtech." For better or worse, though, I can't afford the $2-5 grand custom where some of the really neat engineering lives. I'd skip lunch for a year if I could get my grubby hands on a NICE production or midtech Stan Wilson Non-flipper Flipper. :)
    Quiet likes this.
  14. GB940Rookie

    GB940Rookie Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 19, 2016
    Your right about the clip. Surprisingly after 15+ years of carry, I can't remember it ever falling from my pocket.
    Doesn't mean it didn't happen though. Probably did and I don't remember.:)
  15. T.L.E. Sharp

    T.L.E. Sharp I support the 3rd amendment! Platinum Member

    Jun 30, 2016
    Mine did. Bounced down some stairs and broke the tip off. Oh well.
  16. GB940Rookie

    GB940Rookie Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 19, 2016
    Whoa, yeah that's a little pricey. I bought one for my brother a long while ago and I believe it was like $55.
  17. GB940Rookie

    GB940Rookie Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 19, 2016
    Ouch. What a horrible feeling, watching your knife bounce down the stairs.
  18. midnight flyer

    midnight flyer Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    I think a good case in point would be the ZT 0909 to make my argument. A knife DOES have to have a bling factor to be successful today. The 0909 is a great work knife, absolutely no frills. Well thought out, it has heavy enough jimping to be useful when you are wearing work gloves, the blade steel is excellent, and it has G10 handles on both sides. Frame locks are awful to use for long periods of heavy use for me (XL hands) as the overall thickness is too small, and the lock side is slippery and uncomfortable when my hands are really sweaty. The 0909 solves this with G10 both sides, and the small, but completely competent pocket clip that doesn't dig into you hand with use. I like it enough on the job site I bought a spare!

    So what was the downfall of this knife? I read it here, read it on independent reviews, etc., and all the same thing: not enough flash, not enough bling. Reviewers said the jimping was too heavy and didn't look refined but more like an afterthought. The black only G10 was a turn off to some. People complained loudly about the size of the pocket clip and it works just fine, but too small for their design tastes. Few liked the hex nut on the pivot, but I though it was a genius touch to enable easy field repairs. Some thought it was too heavy and could have benefited from some aggressive milling here and there, some titanium, and anything to make it more pretty. I think the knife was one of KAI's shortest run ZTs.

    It seems to me most people here are collectors. ZT now offers limited run editions with peacock colored titanium, bizarre blade shapes, "peep eye" see through pivots, carbon fiber scales on knives that were already lightweight, and pocket clips that get attention to let folks know you are carrying a ZT. The Kershaw branded line has even more collectors. Great designs, great distribution, pretty good quality and reasonable price. With new designs all the time, it makes them a perfect knife to collect. If your highest use if a knife is described by "it is one of the smoothest flippers I own" or "it flips faster than my XXXX" then a knife if more of a toy or fidget spinner than a tool. And how many here judge a knife (just look at the posts) by how well it flicks/flips...

    Gimmicks sell, especially to collectors. New colors, a new feature, etc. Look how many here have multiple versions of the same knife and are proud of it!

    I am disappointed that Kershaw and CRKT don't offer more steels. But I certainly think they know their markets, and seem to be doing fine without catering to my desires. But there have been some epic designs from both that have begged for better steels... just begged... and not only do I think they would have had a great seller, but would have made a knife that could be made for many years.

    Why can't someone like KAI do what they did with the Blur? It started out with some steel I don't remamber. Then went to SG2. I bought one in 420hc many years ago and it was a helluva buy. There was something in between, maybe more than one steel. They now offer it in 14C28N and S30V. They have offered that knife serrated, satin finished, stone washed, and DLC coated. And too many colors of handles to count (someone here has posted all of them). All of them sell or they would be discontinued.

    I agree that CRKT is the worst. They do a lot with their steel (I say steel as there is predominately only ONE) but for those of us that like a particular design, especially one that is useful (like the Carson designed hunting knives) it would be great to have an offering of better steel in this day and age.

    Like many here, I am passed the baseline performing steels, even though in truth I have used them for years. But now, life for me is too short for "OK" steels unless a knife is purpose bought for a specific reason. And truthfully, with all the CNC, wire cutting, plasma cutting, heavy duty stamping, automated grinding and injection moldings I don't understand why it is so hard or expensive to make multiple offerings of the same knife with little problems. I don't get it because even though I like today's knives as work knives a great deal, in reality (skipping all the business about a knife having a soul like your favorite hunting dog) it seems to me that today's knives aren't much more than a pile of screwed together pieces that should be pretty much interchangeable within a manufactured model.

    rje58 likes this.
  19. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
    I've got all sorts of different brands. the Kershaw blur is a decent knife have it in s30v. had a skyline in cf and s30v also and those are probably the most used Kershaws I have. rest are rather cheap.

    zt doesn't really make work knives so even tho they are cool and great I've switched to spyderco for my users. as well as my sebenza too.

    another good option is cold steel, American lawman for example.

    yes it would be awesome if zt, kershaw and crkt could make an equivalent knife/tools with higher prices and better quality and construction for more money... but they don't. they fill their neash market.
  20. basmca


    Aug 1, 2017
    trust me it's worse when you're watching it from downstairs.
    palonej and GB940Rookie like this.

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