Category Archives: Folders

Understanding how an automatic folding knife works – Kershaw Launch 1 Disassembly and Re-Assembly

In the last post, I showed you a bunch of photos of the Kershaw Launch models 1 and 13. In this post, I am going to take the Launch 1 apart so you can see what it looks like inside. So, let’s get into it.

Tools Required

You will need #6 and #8 Torx bits. Something to pry the blade up and tweezers might help. For me, I have a large Strebito tool kit with a ton of precision bits, handles, tweezers and pry bars designed for electronics that has worked amazingly well for me when working on stuff with small fasteners.

Disassembling the Launch 1

Safety brief: Just remember, you are working with a very sharp spring loaded knife blade. It wants to open. Handle it accordingly and play it safe.
All of these screws use a #6 Torx bit. I removed the clip first and then the three screws holding the handle halves together. Note how the axle bolt is held in place by a hex head on the left. You don’t need to do anything from the side with that bolt – I’m just pointing out it is nice and secure. If you look at the screws at the bottom – especially the one to the right, it looks like some medium strength thread locker was on them.
I missed it on first glance – this is the other half of the axle bolt – kind of like a Chicago-screw or post-screw. I saw the decorative half circles and wondered how they removed it and then I noticed the hole in the center and looked more closely with a flashlight – hidden down in there is a #8 Torx screw.
There must be some thread locker on this as it took some torque to break it free. I didn’t need to use a wrench or heat – I just had to turn more firmly and it came loose.
Looking at the white/grey stuff in the threads – there probably was just a bit of threadlocker to keep it from coming lose but I am not certain. I would tend to think there is because you can’t crank that screw down or the pressure will keep the blade from opening.
At this point, all fasteners have been removed. Notice how I have it turned over so the push button is up – you will want to do the same.
So the scale lifts straight up and off. It is a snug fit on the axle bolt so it may take some wiggling to get it off. Now I need to point something out – look how clean the machining is and the finish is consistent. So many tools and knives look like crap inside due to an “out of sight out of mind” mindset that it is refreshing to see how well this is done. Kudos to the folks in the Oregon Kershaw plant!
The top pin to the left of the push button is hand press fit in place. Pull it out first and the blade will want to rotate clockwise and then the big hole will present itself to the push button and the push button will lift out.
Yes, in the photo above I said remove the pin and then the push button. In my case I was taking pictures and wiggling the blade round – the push button came out on its own. At this point the spring tension is being taken up by the pin. It’s not a crazy amount of spring tension the blade open but it is trying to go a bit further so be careful. This photo also lets us see the removed push button assembly. Normally, the fat bottom portion is engaging one of the cut outs in the bade. Either the one at the top that is keep it closed or the one at the bottom that locks it open. When you push the button the fat piece slides out the way and the blade is released to either open or close. Note, the spring is not sitting properly in the base of the push button in this photo.
I would not have needed the little blue pry bar if I knew the stop pin simply pulls out. If I had slightly closed the blade to take the pressure off the pin, I could have easily lifted the pin out, then controlled the few more degrees of rotation the spring had left in it and the blade would have lifted right off.
The torsion spring is what provides the power to flip the blade into position. The act of the user closing the blade rotates the spring’s coils and store the energy waiting for the button to be pushed spring back into the relaxed position. One leg of the torsion spring sits in the channel of the handle and the other sits in the blade. In this photo I have laid the blade 180 degrees opposite of how it normally sits in the handle so you can see how the torsion spring sits in the two parts. It’s elegant. Notice the ample grease – I think it might be silicone grease. Anything that causes the blade to bind will slow or even stop deployment.
Here are the parts and you can see the nicely done flat torsion spring. Again, I should have removed the stop pin, then the push button and the blade would have lifted right off the axle bolt. This is it other than removing the stop pin which plays into re-assembly.

Re-Assembling the Launch 1

Putting it back together is pretty straight forward. In hindsight I would tell you if something seems complicated, you missed something. That was exactly my thoughts as I was trying to the the torsion spring oriented with one leg in the handle and the other in the blade.

I spent about 5-10 minutes trying to get spring in and had my “duh” moment. Given how the spring sits, no tool so going to fit in there. I thought to myself “I wonder if that that stop pin can pull out?” And it did.
Wow!! Removing that stop pin made it sooooo simple. Rotate the blade such that the torsion spring legs are seated and you will feel the spring working. Then put in the push button and its spring followed by the stop pin.
I wish they designed the spring to snap into the button but they didn’t. An old trick that I used here was to fill the cup of the push button with silicone grease. The grease in turn holds the spring while you install the assembly.
Rotate the blade just enough so you can install the push button in that first large semi-circular opening. You can then push the button down and rotate the blade into the next notch which is the normal lock open moment. In this photo the blade is at a funny angle because the stop pin has not been installed yet.
Notice the blade is pushed all the way down on the axle bolt. To install the stop pin, push the button, carefully close the bade and release the push button. It should engage and hold the blade in the closed position. This presents the hole for the stop pin wonderfully as you can see in the photo and you aren’t fighting the spring. Literally, the pin goes right in.
I put a light coat on silicone grease on this side of the blade as I had wiped most of it off fumbling around. I did clear the silicone out of the bolt if you are wondering. You can also see the stop pin is in its hole.
The handle half is reinstalled. I carefully held it in place and tested to make sure the blade still pivoted and the push button worked.
When you reinstall the end of the axle bolt, you will need to see how much to snug down the screw. I found that if I made it too tight that the blade would not fully deploy. After experimenting, you may want to put just a bit of medium thread locker on the screw to keep it from working loose.
Re-installed these too and with that am done.

Summary

Kershaw did an excellent job on this knife. I thought about doing the same with the Launch 13 and it looks to be the same mechanism so I didn’t bother.

If you are looking for an automatic knife, I am very impressed by the Launch 1 and 13. I suspect the whole line has similar workmanship. I’ll post links further below.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Reviewing the Kershaw Launch 1 and 13 Automatic Knives

Growing up as a kid in the 70s and 80s you’d see some guy in a move whipe out a switchblade and you’d know a world of hurt was coming. For years, I wanted one but couldn’t own one. Now that I own two, I’m trying to figure out how they factor into my collection to be quite honest.

I’m not handicapped so I can’t speak to how they would use one but other than the “coolness” factor, I don’t see the point compared to the tons of flippers / assisted opening knives that I already own. To be clear, I am not bashing them but I won’t be buying any more either – my curiosity is satisfied. Please note – I am impressed by the design and the manufacturing but have decided they just aren’t my cup of tea.

With that said you are going to get my honest opinion.

Some Background

I like Kershaw knives in general so an ad for their Launch series of automatic openers caught my eye. I’ve always wanted to try a “switchblade”, or more appropriately termed an “automatic”, so I shelled out $114 for a Kershaw Launch 1 and $125 for a Kershaw Launch 13. I figured that would let me try a couple of different designs and they have a number of Launch models for you to choose from.

One thing that appealed to me with both of them is that they are made in the USA. Kershaw has a production facility in Tualatin, Oregon, that makes these models as well as a number of their higher end Kershaw and Zero Tolerance blades. Part of the premium pricing reflects being built in Oregon vs. China.

Note: You need to know the laws and regulations governing automatic knives in your area before you buy one. The American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI) maintains a page that can help at a state level but you still need to confirm about your county and city just to play it safe.

The Launch 1

This is a good size knife. The slightly “humped” design enables it to fill your hand and be held very nicely. Let’s talk specifications:

  • Blade length: 3.4″
  • Blade profile: Drop-point
  • Blade steel: CPM 154 – it is a tough stainless alloy that also holds an edge fairly well while being moderately easy to sharpen
  • Blade finish: Black Wash
  • Blade thickness 0.121″
  • Closed length: 4.6″
  • Handle material: 6061-T6 aluminum
  • Handle finish: Black anodized
  • Handle thickness: 0.47″
  • Overall length when open: 8″
  • Weight: 4oz

Pros: Weight and size are good, blade flips open with a snap when you push the button, very nicely made.

Cons: I honestly wish there was a safety. This thing opening in a pants pocket is going to really suck fast. Kershaw says it is “low-profile” to make it harder to trigger but even so – you push that button and it will open fast.

Launch 1 closed. Like the US flag. Lines are nice, clean and flowing. All of the screws on this side are T6 Torx. The handle is 4.6″ long, 0.47″ thick, 6061-T6 black anodized aluminum.
At the left are the two screws if you want to move the ciip to this side. The axle pin the blade rotates on is held in place by a T8 Torx. You can see the recessed push button that does dual duty both to allow the blade to flick open and also to unlock the blade once it is locked open.
Good view of 3.4″ CP154 blade with a blackwash finish. The blade is 0.121″ thick so just under and 1/8th inch that would be 0.125″.
Here’s a view of the other side. Note how the axle bolt uses the handle scale to elegantly hold the hex head in place so you can tighten the axle pin from the other side.
From top to bottom: 1. Kershaw Launch 1. 2. Kershaw Knockout with a Damascus steel blade.. 3. Kershaw Blur and 4. ZT 0357. These are all excellent blades. My favorite is the ZT0357 and the Knockout. All are made in Kershaw’s Oregon plant with excellent machining, fitment and finish.

The Launch 13

I like unique looking designs and the Launch 13 immediately caught my eye due to the futuristic look and wicked Wharncliffe style blade. It looks odd but it actually fits my hand very surprisingly – better than I thought it would actually. Let’s look at the specifications:

  • Blade length: 3.5″
  • Blade profile: Wharncliffe
  • Blade steel: CPM 154 – same as the Launch 1
  • Blade finish: Black Cerkote
  • Blade thickness 0.121″
  • Closed length: 4.5″
  • Handle material: 6061-T6 aluminum
  • Handle finish: Black anodized
  • Handle thickness: 0.471″
  • Overall length when open: 8″
  • Weight: 2.4oz

So, it is just a tad shorter but quite a bit lighter than the Launch 1. With all of the angles and skeletonized scales, I didn’t think it would be as comfortable as it is.

Pros: Light, A Wharncliffe style blade

Cons: Even though the push button is recessed, I am fearful of it opening in my pocket.

The scales are nicely done and are machined from 6061-T6 aluminum with a black anodized finish. The small screws are all T6 Torx and the nut on the axle bolt is a T8.
You can see the push button that both allows the blade to spring open and to unlock the blade once it is open. Interestingly, the axle bolt’s head is triangular instead of a hex head like the Launch 1 uses.
The Wharncliffe-profiled blade is very sharp. Yes the grind is simple but it’s a Wharncliffe ๐Ÿ™‚
Here’s a view of the Launch 13 open from the other side.
The Launch 13 at the top and the larger Launch 1 at the bottom.
Notice the different handle angles when you get the blades in about the same plane.
From the top: Kershaw Launch 13, Launch 1, ZT 0357 and Kershaw Knockout with a Damascus blade (they also make one that is not Damascus wo that’s why I am pointing it out)
And the other side from the top: Launch 13, Launch 1, ZT 0357, Knockout with a Damascus blade.

Summary

The Launch blades are very well made. Of the two, I am partial to the Launch 13 because it is lighter and has a Wharncliffe profile blade – again, I like Wharncliffes. I can cross having an automatic knife off the bucket list but plan to stick with assisted opening flippers like the ZT 0357.

Would I recommend either Launch knife to someone wanting and automatic – yes, I would. The build quality is definitely there. How can I prove it? In the next post I will take the Launch 1 apart and let you see it.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


The Knife I Carried The Most In 2022 Was A ZT 0357BW

I have a collection of good pocket knives including some I will not lose sleep over if I lose one. On the good scale that I would hate to lose are a few Zero Tolerance, Hinderer and US made Kershaws (they and ZT are both owned by KAI). At any rate, when I look back on this past year and think about what folding knife did I carry the most and the answer would be the ZT 0357BW.

You will find these in my pocket a lot – my ZT 0357BW and one of my Streamlight USB rechargeable 66608 Microstream LED flashlights.

The ZT0357 was a 2020 model year release from Zero Tolerance and became popular right away due to its ergonomics and the CPM20CV steel. In regards to that alloy, it was designed by Crucible Industries to have excellet edge retention, corrosion resistance and toughness. By the way, those first two terms are self explanatory but toughness refers to a steel’s ability to absorb energy and deform without breaking/rupturing. My experience is that the 0357 holds an edge amazingly well based on my cutting open tubs of plastic, tape, boxes, and wire insulation.

Here’s the other size of my my 0357BW. You can move the clip to either side if you want. Personally, I don’t use the pocket clips but a lot of guys do.

Specifications

This is a very pocket friendly knife in terms of size, weight and shape plus the blade is amazing. Here are the details for you:

  • Overall Length Open: 7.625″
  • Overall Length Closed: 4.4″
  • Weight: 4.3oz
  • Blade Length: 3.25″
  • Blade Thickness: 0.121″
  • Blade Style: Drop Point, no serrations
  • Blade Alloy: CPM20CV
  • Blade Hardness: 60-62
    • Blade Grind: Flat
  • Blade Finish: Black Wash (they also make a plain version)
  • Handle Material: G10
  • Handle Color: Black
  • Handle Thickness: 0.47″
  • Action Type: “SpeedSafe” Assisted opening / flipper
  • Lock Type: Liner Lock
  • Country of Origin: Made in the USA – Tualatin, OR
    The knife shapes your hand and has a very handy thumbrest on top to give you more leverage if you need it.

    What you wind up with is a very eronomic knife with an amazing edge. Now I don’t try and use a knife for something it’s not like being a substitute for a big crowbar but I did use it real world and found it to be great – that’s why it kept winding up in my pocket.

    It’s both thin and light without sacrificing strength when it comes to using the knife as a knife and not a crowbar – it’s not mean to be a crowbar!
    Here’s a view from the top and you can see the thumbrest with serrations called “jimping” designed to keep your thumb from slipping.
    I really like the SpeedSafe flipper mechanism that Kershaw and ZT use. It allows you to open the knife with one hand very easily but I have never had one open accidentally in my pocket. Years ago, I had a Gerber and that thing sprung open a few times in my pocket and I have no idea where it is now – the trash maybe.
    I don’t know what the Blackwash process is but I can tell you it holds up remarkably well.

    Now, I do have one not-so-happy moment to share. We were headed down to the Smokies this past fall and somewhere between Michigan and Tenessee the knife fell out of my pocket. It could have been when I used to to cut open a package of CR2023 batteries for my van’s tire pressure sensors or even some time when I was getting gas … I don’t know but I hope it found a new owner who realizes that he found an excellent knife.

    So, what did I do? I actually bought another I liked it so much and it is still what lands in my pocket the most in terms of seeing actual real world use.

    Conclusion

    The ZT 0357 series are great knives. My blackwash knifes – the first one I lost and the new one are great. I can carry it without feeling like I have an anchor in my pocket and the blade length is great. If you are looking for a new folder, I’d highly recommend it – Like I said, I went so far as to buy a second when I lost the first – that’s how much I like mine.

    I hope this helps you out!


    Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

    If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


    The Kershaw Knockout Folder With A Damascus Blade – Wow!!

    Last year, I bought one of the Kershaw Knockouts and really liked it. The fact it was one of their models that is made in the USA, the heft, the blade contour and how well it held an edge rapidly made it my EDC. Seriously, it’s a lot of knife without a lot of weight and I did a blog post about it – click here. I was reading on the web and came across a version of the Knockout with a damascus blade – I had to order it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Basically, the 1870OLDAM is just like the 1870OLBLK but with a damascus blade. The name, “knockout” has to do with the riveted blade lock they insert in the handle. This makes for a knife that is slim, very easy to open but locks solidly open.

    Here are the stats:

    • Length when open: 8.875″
    • Length when closed: 4.625″
    • Blade: Damascus
    • Blade length: 3.25″
    • Blade thickness: 0.12″
    • Handle: Aluminum colored olive drab
    • Liner: Stainless steel
    • Handle thickness: 0.40
    • Weight 3.88 oz

    I bought the 1870OLBLK – the one with a monolithic blade – in December 2018 and have used it a ton. I bought the 1870OLDAM in March 2020, and so far it is holding up well. I’ve used it but not to the extent I have the older one.

    Click on one of the thumbnails below to see the full size photos:

    Summary

    If you want a really useful knife that is made in the USA, get a Kershaw Knockout. If you really like damascus blades, get that one … or maybe both ๐Ÿ™‚


    If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



    A Kershaw Knockout Knife and Streamlight Microstream LED Light Are In My Pocket These Days

    I have quite a selection of folding knives that I use all the time for work – cutting open boxes, plastic pails, insulation, tubing, etc. It’s funny but I wind up rotating through them for one reason or another – it may be because one needs to be sharpened and is too dull (my ZT 0350 is that way right now) or because I just pick up the blade that is by my desk and drop it in my pocket as I head out to the shop. The same is true for whatever small light I am carrying. A while back, I posted about buying both a Kershaw Knockout and Streamlight Microstylus. I’m so happy with both that I figured an update was in order.

    Kershaw Knockout

    As mentioned, I did buy this blade some months back and posted about it For the last few months, my goto blade has been the Kershaw Knockout. It is a very decent medium sized pocket knife that has a 3.25″ blade made from Sandvik 142C28N steel. It is holding the edge remarkably well – I haven’t needed to sharpen it yet and am very impressed. Note, I use a Work Sharp Ken Onion edition sharpener to true up my blades and it can handle any steel.

    The handle is very comfortable, The Knockout gets its name from the cut out in the handle where they rivet in the blade lock. It makes for a very easy to operate locking mechanism. I always like the flag they add to their American made knives also.
    The blade is holding up great. You know, I don’t know the details behind the “Diamond Like Coating” – DLC – process but it is really impressive. I’ve beat my ZT 0350 half to death and that coating is holding up on that knife also. Also, you can see the Streamlight Microstream light.

    The second reason is that it is remarkably light and thin. For its size, it really does not drag down my pocket. At the same time, the hande is big enough for me to get a firm grip to cut open plastic pails.

    The third big reason is that it uses Kershaw’s “SpeedSafe” flipper mechanism for one handed opening. When I am working, being able to open the knife with only one hand is a huge benefit.

    [iframe style=”width:120px;height:240px;” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=ronin03-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00I0RUCXK&asins=B00I0RUCXK&linkId=e1a9411f82a324ac93af61b7f24d6724&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff”]

    The Streamlight Microstream LED Light

    I have bought a number of these little lights – my best guess is 6-8 of them. Simply put they hold up great and are at a very reasonable price especially given the quality. Here’s a blog post that I did after my initial purchase back in 201.

    I have put at least four of them through the clotheswasher and as long as the base is on tight, they survive. If the base comes loose and water gets in then it is pretty much always game over.

    This is a good photo both of the Knockout and the Microstream. The Microstream is 3.5″ long and has a diameter of about 0.6″.

    What I can tell you is that I have never had one fail on me due to worksmanship. Dead battery, yes. The switch, body and LED have all held up just great.

    I really like these lights because they are small, don’t weigh much, use regular AAA batteries and only cost $16.22 off Amazon. I should also point out that they produce 28 lumens of light and that little battery will last about 2-2.5 hours. I probably carry this light even more than I do a blade because it is just so handy and I can’t see as well as I used to.

    [iframe style=”width:120px;height:240px;” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=ronin03-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00R9N4A3Y&asins=B00R9N4A3Y&linkId=77813870fada613ac401f498907564b5&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff”]

    In short, I am so happy with both that I wanted to post the update to you folks,


    If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



    Using my KO Worksharp With Third Party Belts to Sharpen My Three Favorite Flipper Knives – A Hogue X5, ZT 350 and Kershaw Knockout

    As I have written about in the past, I have a Ken Onion Worksharp (KOW) knife sharpener. Folks, I have used the heck out of that little thing and it is still cranking. For example, I used it one time to put the edges on five khukuris from scratch. They were antiques and I used my belt sander to remove the beat up edges and then the little KOW to profile and put the final edges on them. I can’t begin to guess how many khukuris, folders and fixed blade knives have been sharpened on this unit.

    At any rate, the one thing about the KOW is the cost and selection of the little 3/4″ wide x 12″ belts that it uses. Worksharp does sell kits with belts in them but its pricey. Happily, as the popularity of the KOW has increased, a number of makers have appeared. I’ve had very good luck with Econaway Abrasives and Red Label Abrasives to name two of them.

    What makes a belt good? I really look at two things – does the belt stay together and does the grit stay on or seem to flake off. I have no means of knowing whether a given declared grit is what I actually get – for example, the vendor says it’s 400 grit but is it really? All I can do is go by feel.

    Leather Belt

    I added a new step in my sharpening – I added a leather belt this year so I could use rouge on the belt for a grit of close to 10,000 for the final edge. I opted for a belt from Pro Sharpening Supplies. It comes with a small packet of white rouge polishing compound.

    Sharpening My Three Favorite Flippers

    Okay, I needed to sharpen my three favorite assisted opening “flipper” pocket knives. My #1 favorite is my 3.5″ Hogue X5. The other two tie for second place at this point – my ZT 350 and my Kershaw Knock Out.

    If I had thought about it, I would have put them in order of being my favorite. Purely by coincidence they are in order of age – the Knockout I bought near Christmas 2018, the Hogue was Father’s Day 2018 and the ZT 350 was purchased in 2015.
    Guys, I love that Wharncliffe blade profile on the Hogue. You can use it to scrape stuff as you have a flat edge.

    It had been ages since the ZT350 was properly sharpened, the Hogue needed a touchup and my new Kershaw Knockout did not have as fine of an edge on it as I wanted. The ZT was part of what motivated me to buy the KOW years ago – The ZT uses S30V steel which is very hard and takes forever to sharpen by hand. I had been using a Spyderco Sharpmaker to that point and decided it was time to buy a better sharpener. The KOW has a wider 3/4″ belt and a bigger motor than it’s predecessor, the basic Worksharp unit. I’ve never regretted the purchase.

    The KOW is adjustable so I use this brass guage made by Richard Kell in England to determine what to set the KOW at. The blades were 15 degrees or less with the Hogue pretty much being right at 15. The other two, I’m not sure. They were more accute than the gauge supported.

    A Richard Kell blade angle gauge.

    Belt Details

    I bet everyone has their secret formulas for sharpening blades and odds are they all work. Since these were all touchups, I started with a 320 grit belt. See, I don’t want to take off any more than I have to so I’d rather start with as fine of a grit as possible.

    GritMakerPasses/SideSets
    320Econaway32
    600Econaway31
    800Red Label31
    1200Econaway31
    5000Red Label31
    10,000Pro Sharpening32

    Comments on the Leather Belt

    Okay, it through parts of loose leather everywhere when it first started just like when you start a new cloth wheel on a buffer. It did stop after a bit. By the way, safety note – you should always wear safety glasses and a dust mask regardless – this just reminds you of the need.

    The second comment is that it did not stay centered on the wheels of the KOW and traveled to the left when looking down from the top towards the front edge. It did not seem to harm anything but the whole point is that it really should have stayed centered on the wheels. No harm done and since I will not use it a ton, I am not going to worry about it.

    Photo of the belt up on the left edge of the front lower wheel. Note all the junk on the mat. Good reminder to wear eye protection and a dust mask *always*.

    Lesson learned for me, dial back the speed on the KOW from the get go when doing the leather belt.

    Sharpening Results

    All three knives are wickedly sharp now. I’m very pleased with the results.

    Cleaning and Lubrication Comment

    Whenever I sharpen a flipper, I blow out the insides with compressed air and then lubricate them. My preferred lubricant is Teflon/PTFE. Because it dries after application, it does not attract and hold dirt. Thus, I applied it to all three knives like I normally do.

    It’s common for things to feel gritty until the fluid evaporates but the Hogue didn’t get better, it got worse. I’m not sure what Hogue uses to lube their knives but the solvent in the Dupont spray must have cleaned it off and the dry Teflon wasn’t enough. Conversely, the ZT 350 and Kershaw Compound worked great. It’s not unusual to see something work with one mechanism but not another so it was time for plan B.

    Okay, plan B. I started using Super Lube this year on firearms and really like it. Basically, Super Lube is a synthetic lubricant that includes tiny PTFE particles in it. So, I applied it with a pen dispenser and it works great. Way, way better.

    Final Result

    The knives are all very sharp and they are flipping smoothly. Time to keep using them ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you found this helpful.


    If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



    The Kershaw Cryo and Cryo II Are Elegant Small Pocket Knives

    Without a doubt, Kershaw makes a ton of interesting knives. Many times they bring in design talent such as Rick Hinderer. I’ve been a fan of Rick’s work for years and own a number of his designs plus I had a huge surprise one year when I happened to meet him on a flight! He was wearing a Hinderer T-shirt and I couldn’t help but tell him while we were waiting to get off the plane that those were great knives. He turned and said “I’m glad to hear that – I’m Rick Hinderer.” We chatted for a bit as we walked through the terminal and he really struck me as a down-to-earth guy.

    The Kershaw Cryo 1555TI – a 2.75″ Blade

    At any rate, I was surfing and saw the Kershaw Cryo. It’s not a new design by any means – It got Best Buy in 2012 by Blade Magazine. For whatever reason though, it had never caught my eye until that point. Specifically, the 2.75″ model with a Titanium Carbo-Nitride coating did. I was looking for a small light knife and it was affordable enough to simply order one in and I am glad I did.

    With the Titanium Carbo Nitride finish, the knife is a nice grey-ish color and the black hardware contrasts nicely.
    The clip can be moved around to suit the user.

    Boy does it look nice. Right out of the box I was stuck by it being a modern day gentleman’s pocket knife. It was small, light and had a quality look to it.

    The Cryo’s Specs:

    • Blade Length: 2.75″
    • Blade Material: 8Cr13MoV – a decent Chinese steel roughly the same as AUS-8. Kershaw blades make extensive use of it and do a good job of heat treating it to a hardness of 58-59 Rockwell.
    • Closed Length: 3.75″
    • Overall Length: 6.5″
    • Weight: 4.1 oz

    My Take

    I really like it for those cases where you want a pocket knife just in case you need to do something light duty but don’t want it really weighing down your slacks or whatever. Honestly, Amazon has it for a great price.

    The Cryo II – 1556BW – a 3.25″ Blade

    I actually bought these knives, it’s not like someone asked me to do a review. In this case I bought both the Cryo and Cryo II because I couldn’t decide which I would like more and they are both very affordable.

    This is also a Hinderer design and is 20% larger than the original Cryo. The Black Wash finish mutes the shiny grey steel considerably without going completely black.

    The Cryo II’s Specs

    • Blade Length: 3.25″
    • Blade steel: 8Cr13MoV – Kershaw makes extensive use of this mid-range stanless steel and heat treats it to 58-59 Rockwell hardness.
    • Closed Length: 4.4″
    • Overall Length: 7.75″
    • Weight: 5.5 oz.

    My Take

    Yeah, I like this one also. I wind up leaving knives scattered all over so I bet there will be times I am using this one also. It definitely feels beefier than the Cryo but is still very easily carried.

    Comparison Photos

    I figured this would be a great chance to let you visually compare the Cryo and Cryo II to one another as well as my Kershaw Knockout. In the photos below, I tried to be consistent – the Knockout is at the top, followed by the Cryo II with its Blackwashed finish and the Cryo with its Titanium Carbo-Nitride finish at the bottom.

    In Summary

    I didn’t review the Knockout in this post as I felt it really was for a different intended type of use. The Cryos are lighter and more elegant. I’m glad I have all three and have no reservations in recommending them at their respective price points.


    If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



    Kershaw Scores a Knockout!

    I’m pretty pragmatic when it comes to pocket knives. Looks matter but the knife must also be something I can use as a tool. For me, I am always having to cut down boxes, cut plastic, strip wires, and so forth and a knife may well get wet from rain, snow, or plumbing. Furthermore, I need something that I can readily carry in a pocket. Kershaw has made a knife I really like with their 1870OLBLK Knockout. Let me take a few minutes of your time to say why I am impressed.

    Made in the USA

    The first thing I noticed when the knife arrived was Kershaw’s proudly placing the USA label on the box. Many of Kershaw’s blades are made in China but the Knockout is made in the USA – Tualatin, Oregon, to be specific.

    Usually, I get excited and forget to take photos right after I pull a knife from the bag. This time, I had the camera ready and took the following:

    The olive drab handle and blackwashed blade really make a good looking combination. You can see the holes for the pocket clip if you wanted it positioned up front on the nose. There’s a generous thumb stud and the Speedsafe flipper lever protrudes from the bottom.
    Here’s the reverse side with the clip plus use can clearly see the black colored sub-frame lock. The handle has three positions drilled and tapped so you can move the clip around. The stylized US flag is a nice touch just under the clip plus you can see “Made in the USA” on the blade through the sub-frame.

    Specifications

    The Knockout has some nice stats:

    • The blade is 3.25″ long
    • The blade steel is 14C28N. I appreciate blade steels and this is a pretty decent middle-of-the road steel made by Sandvik. It can take a keen edge, is corrosion resistant and holds up pretty well.
    • The blade is colored black using the DLC – Diamond Like Coating – process.
    • The handle is made from 6061-T6 anodized aluminum
    • The handle is colored an olive drab green
    • When closed, it is 4.6″ long
    • When open, it is 7.9″
    • Overall weight is 3.4 oz.

    The Feel

    It’s fairly thin and light. I wear XL-sized gloves and the knife fills my hand very nicely. The combination of a relatively tall blade and the weight of the handle gives it both a good heft and a balance that I like. It does not feel cheap by any means.

    The flipper mechanism is solid and does a good job. The sub-frame lock does its job firmly yet is also is easy to unlock. You can’t say this for all frame locks – some can be more cumbersome to move out of the way than others. By using the sub-frame they can get the right geometry and tension to do the job yet also be easy to move out of the way to unlock the blade. This cut out, or knock out, that they did in the frame to hold the riveted in sub-frame is actually where the knife gets its name.

    Look carefully at the handle and then look at your hand with the fingers bent just a tad. The handle’s curve and the bumps will conform to most hands very nicely. Your hand will index on the big finger groove they made for your index finger – no pun intended. In other words, your hand’s position will begin by putting your big first finger in that groove.

    Kershaw’s Overview Video

    Kershaw actually has a short overview video so you can see the blade at different angles.

    Comparing the KnockOut to my Hogue X5 with a 3.5″ Wharncliffe Blade

    Now, so you have a comparison, here’s the Knockout next to my Hogue X5 with a 3.5″ Wharncliffe blade, which is my most frequently carried blade now. I’ve given up saying every day carry because I seem to be rotating through a few but more often than the others, it’s the Hogue. We’ll just have to see if Knockout dethrones the X5 over time.

    The Hogue X5 3.5″ Wharncliffe is striking to look at but let me tell you something really cool – the CPM154 steel is really excellent and the profile of the blade makes it excellent for scraping a surface with a relatively straight edge.

    In Summary

    It arrived quite sharp and I just did a few test cuts. At this point, I need to see how the Knockout holds up over time. As far as first impressions go, I really like it and will keep folks posted.


    If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.