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The fall of Emerson Knives

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by BloodyDonnie, May 30, 2020.

  1. P2P

    P2P Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 24, 2010
    I would never pay NIB prices for one. I had an opportunity to get a CQC-13 from a member on here for a great price, so I had to give it a shot. I was reluctant due to my past experience with a liner lock wearing out on a Commander model within like 2 months time.

    For the used price I got it for, it’s amazing. Deep and solid lock-up, but it hasn’t worn out over the few months I’ve had it. I’ve always love the design of the the 13, nothing else out there really like it. The only thing I would change would be to put the chisel edge on the other side. Also, I think they have about the best pocket clip design out there.

    I’ll keep my eyes out for a used CQC-7B. Probably the only tanto design I would want. I wouldn’t want to pay much over a $100 for it though.
    Therom likes this.
  2. Zerobladeplay


    Sep 13, 2019
    Based on their materials, poor fit/finish and chisel grinds I don't see how people can pay the prices asked for them. To each their own though. If I want a reliable self defense knife I'll spend less on a cold steel with better materials.
  3. kylemiller

    kylemiller Basic Member Basic Member

    May 18, 2016
    I've never got my hands on a real Emerson but if the consensus here is true than Kershaw did a great job matching the "real deal". I had a CQC-6K I used everyday for a summer of pretty hard OT and it worked it's way off center in a way that I've never seen before. I think the pivot or stop pin bent from waving it out fairly hard several times a day. Kershaw replaced it and I wore the next one out even faster with the exact same failure condition.

    If I could get my pick of the litter I wouldn't have a problem with the prices. I can do $230-ish for USA made with those materials no problem. I wanna try that chisel grind for myself on the CQC-7. I understand the criticism theoretically, but I'm still curious. Would love to find one used in the $150 range.
    Therom likes this.
  4. marrenmiller

    marrenmiller Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 6, 2017
    I think what drives sales of those knives are hype and feelings, rather than good knifemaking. So many people out there think that because Emerson makes a knife that's rough around the edges, that knife must be better for "hard use" than a prettier knife. In my experience, the poor fit and finish on an Emerson is not solely in "unimportant" areas but instead affects almost everything, from the fitment of the locks to the washer dimensions to the threading of the screws in the liners.

    The three I owned were among the most disappointing folders I've ever had. Leaving aside subjective design choices like a left-handed chisel grind on a right handed knife or the poor slab handle ergonomics, my knives exhibited truly appalling lock stick (requiring pry bars to unstick), soft detents, gritty pivots, lame waving action compared to any other company making licensed wave knives, bad build quality with nothing wanting to go back together right, and unfinished edges and surfaces everwhere. One brand new 2019 model locked up at 100% out of the box, only for the liner to start moving past 100% after a few openings. All of them had bad cutting geometry. All of them used 154cm despite CPM-154 being a viable and affordable upgrade in every measurable way. That these continue to sell is IMO a testament to how well EE markets his knives, rather than the merit of the knives themselves.
    miso2, Quiet, Therom and 3 others like this.
  5. glockfire

    glockfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Ahhh, Emerson, the knife brand that I hate myself for buying every time I do it. Like a dog returns to its vomit, so do I return to Emerson.

    Since 08, I will buy an Emerson of some variety, hate it with great passion for being an incredibly subpar product, sell it for a loss. Wait a few years, and then repeat. I even did it two months ago with a Gentleman Jim, and it was easily the worst knife purchase I have ever made. Somehow, I am sure I will forget all of this on 2023 and buy another EKI....
  6. Therom


    Nov 13, 2013
    LOL I felt the same u TIL I found some good ones this years.
    2 kid and 1 not bad in a row ... shall be a lucky year for me despite all the mess in the world ;)
    KELAMA likes this.
  7. V-1


    Apr 14, 1999
    LOL! Same here. I picked up an Emerson Commander when they first came out. Loved the design and ergonomics. But within a couple months the liner lock walked across the tang and it developed blade play. Sent it back for a replacement and sold it. I've been down the Emerson path a couple more times over the years with the same exact results. Liner lock walks across tang and develops inconsistent lock up. I wish it was just lock stick which I don't mind at all. It's the loose slipping that drives me nuts.
    That said, my favorite Emerson Wave models are made by Spyderco. I've used them for years and the lockbacks always engage and engage tightly. I haven't tried the new Spyderco Waved Paramilitary 2 yet but it looks sweet. Whenever anyone is looking at an Emerson model mainly because of the wave, I always recommend Spyderco.
    Edited to add:
    I'm sure I'll pick up another waved Emerson model in the future. Another couple years and I'm sure I'll break down and snag another one.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
    marrenmiller likes this.
  8. PiterM

    PiterM Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    Well... there's something really special about CQC7 and I like it, sorry ;)

    I don't carry one to use everyday, it must stay ultra sharp, just in case. And Ernie is a great buddy as well.

  9. W. Anderson

    W. Anderson Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 22, 2016
    Like poetry, man. Like poetry.
    GIRLYmann likes this.
  10. Officer's Match

    Officer's Match Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 23, 2013
    I've been fortunate enough to have (or have had) a lot of nice knives. Emerson knives are easily my favorite.
    KELAMA, VernonRemington, rpn and 2 others like this.
  11. whp


    Apr 26, 2009
    I was wondering when someone was going to bring up Cold Steel.
  12. Seth Green

    Seth Green Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 6, 2013
    Over the years I've had 7 or 8. 4 were terrible fit and finish, pitted easily, were harder to sharpen than most. One had a stop pin break opening a bag of plastic stakes. The wave destroys pants. The disc isn't always reliable when trying to flick open.

    The others were good. Had a converted auto and a fair bit of work was done to make it operate properly. 2 were good but nothing special(they worked as a folder should). One was awesome. Perfect detent, drop shut action. Fit and finish was too notch. Loved that knife. Wish I would've kept it.
    KELAMA, marrenmiller and Therom like this.
  13. RustyIron


    Dec 4, 2019
    When you see him, tell him that Rob is really irked about a knife that I waited over a year for Emerson to make.
  14. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    This ^^^ I agree 100% . :cool::thumbsup::thumbsup:

    I respect Emerson for the "wave" and being at least one of starters of the "hard use " and SD weapon / tactical folders .

    But the value for price is just not there ,IMO , compared especially to Cold Steel . Stronger and just better in every way and much less expensive . :)
    lonestar1979 and John_0917 like this.
  15. John_0917

    John_0917 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 15, 2014
    Well Ernie just stepped in it big time on Instagram...even Benchmade will think that was dumb!

    Regardless of your opinion on the topic at hand, it’s very ironic that he comes out now in support of a topic around equality when he’s written numerous times and promoted various things with minimally veiled anti-Muslim and anti gay under currents.
  16. jfk1110

    jfk1110 Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 9, 2013
    I've always liked the cqc 8 since I saw one in the early nineties, so eventually I got a super 8 and I really have no complaints! Every once.in a while I like a design, but not enough to buy it!! Save the ZT 640!!! I'd like to see ZT do a bunch more of his designs! IMG_20200216_172814.jpg IMG_20200128_134833.jpg
    KELAMA likes this.
  17. Yo Mama

    Yo Mama

    Sep 25, 2011
    Come on, let's be real here, you clearly just dislike Ernie fine. Don't be over dramatic. The ig post shows like 2 people that won't buy Enerson any more, and they probably didn't to begin with. The post also showed tons of support for the message he wrote.

    You trying to prove that he is some kind of closet racist is beyond disgusting and disrespectful to say the least.

    For anybody who wants to know the person Ernie is I have attached the post from yesterday on Instagram.

    DocJD, Philalethes, KELAMA and 8 others like this.
  18. Officer's Match

    Officer's Match Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 23, 2013
    Based upon my usage of multiple dozens of Emerson knives, the boldened portion above is frankly difficult to believe - no disrespect intended. 154cm at EKI's heat treat with a chisel edge would have to be one of the easiest blades to sharpen (by intent BTW) in a modern folder. And I've literally NEVER seen a broken stop pin even on ones "hard used" to the point of literal abuse. Sorry, I just don't believe that.

    Pretty much straight up slander IMHO. :thumbsdown:
  19. simple6


    Oct 6, 2002
    Emerson didnt evolve.

    The couple of Emersons I tried 15yrs ago were the worst fit/finish I've ever seen. A $30 Kershaw blows away an Emerson.
    John_0917 and jeepin like this.
  20. GlockMonster30


    Nov 19, 2008
    The CQC8 saved me a good deal of money. Had to try an Emerson design for myself, they're certainly not for everybody. I know people have gotten bad examples and I don't blame them for being disappointed. I've carried the 8 for 2 years without change and haven't purchased another knife in that time.

    Personally I wasn't swayed by the tactical or self defense angle . Just wanted a new knife for work and it's performed perfectly for me so far. It's only a small sample but I'm happy I gave Emerson a try.

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