Category Archives: Folders

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 🙂

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:


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 🙂

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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.

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.

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

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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.

800Red Label31
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 🙂 I hope you found this helpful.

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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.

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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.


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 Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

How to Lubricate a “Flipper” Folding Pocket Knife

I really like assisted opening folding knives.  For example, I routinely carry either a Hogue X5 that my wife and kids bought me for Father’s Day or a ZT 350.  I am working all the time and often find myself needing to cut something.  In the old days, that meant I would have to fish out my pocket knife, open it with two hands and get back to work.  Now, I find the knife, open and cut all with one hand – it’s way more fast and efficient.  There’s one catch though – you’ll notice the action can get slower/less efficient with time whether it is spring assisted or not.

There are two likely causes for this – grit/dirt/debris working into the action from your pocket and just plain use as well as a loss of lubrication.   This is actually really easy to remedy.

First, if a knife was oiled, I like to use brake cleaner to remove the oil or it will just attract more dust and debris in the future.  Brake cleaner cuts oil and grease quickly and does not leave a residue.  Now, be careful on real cheap knives.  Some plastics do not like brake cleaner but you will not run into a problem with materials like metals, epoxy laminates such as G10, Micarta and so forth.  The cheapest way for you to get brake cleaner is from any place that sells car parts – Auto Zone, Pep Boys, O’Reilly, etc.

Second, I blow out the mechanism with compressed air.  Since I have an air compressor, doing this at 60-90 PSI is really easy.  If you don’t have a compressor, a can of Dust Off or something like that will also work.

Third, I lubricate the blade mechanism with Dupont’s Teflon Dry Film aerosol.  This stuff is just what the doctor ordered to lubricate a pocket knife.  You see, oil causes dust, sand and other junk you do not want to get stuck in the action.  In short, yes, oil helps the blade open and close easily but stuff will stick to it.  Instead, use a dry lubricant.

Dry lubricants leave some form of slippery substance behind that is not a liquid.  In the case of the Dupont branded product I use, it leaves Teflon behind.  So the Teflon is suspended in a liquid that then evaporates away and leaves just the Teflon.  I spray it into the action, work the action to get it everywhere and evenly distribute it.  I then use a cloth to wipe off the extra.

The above three steps works great for me.  The one caution I would give you is to make sure whatever dry lubricant you choose to use really does leave a dry residue.  A while back I did some testing and found that the “3-in1” brand product does not leave a truly dry film behind for example.

I do the above for all my flippers and find it really helps.  I hope you find it useful as well.


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 Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Got a Hogue X5 3.5″ Pocket Knife with a Wharncliffe Blade for Father’s Day!!

Well, my wife sure surprised me this year — she bought me a Hogue X5 pocket knife (SKU 34569) at Smoky Mountain Knife Works when we stopped at the store on Father’s Day. I carried it every day until we returned home on Wednesday.  For some reason I did not get more photos of the knife new out of the box.  The photos I am showing are all after 2-3 days of being in my pocket with keys walking all over the place.

I must say that I am disappointed that the finish on the frame scratched in a few places but this knife was always intended to be a working blade and not a shelf queen.  Standing up to keys is the least of my worries really.  It is interesting to note that the top of the blade that was exposed to the keys also shows zero wear relative to the frame.   We’ll see how the finish holds up over time.

I’ve been a fan of Hogue knives for a while – especially after a good friend bought one of their fixed blade models.  I had a chance to look it over carefully when it was brand new about three years ago and it was very well made.  He took it to Alaska and California used it a ton camping and climbing.  As for me, I’ve wanted a Hogue but the right opportunity never seemed to pop up until now.

So this is a almost new out of the box review 🙂  Let me start by saying that the X5 family of blades are very well made.  I was trying to decide on whether to get another Zero Tolerance (ZT), a Benchmade or the Hogue and finally settled on the Hogue that you see.

The 3.5″ blade is 0.15″ thick and is made from CPM154.  This is the CPM manufactured version of Crucible’s 154CM that folks into knives like – it’s relatively easy to sharpen, tough and corrosion resistant.  In short, the business end of the knife is made of excellent steel that is 57-59 on the Rockwell scale hard.  The blade was cryogenically treated and then finished in a black Cerakote.  By the way cryo treatments are fascinating.  Click here to read a great write up about them.

The profile is a stunning looking wharncliffe style.  Wharncliffe profiles have always caught my eye and there is a bit of history to them.  The Viking Seax blades are the first knives I have seen with this profile that is the reverse of most knives.  In terms of the name we often use today, the first Lord of Wharncliffe came up with the design in the 1800s and had Joseph Rodgers & Son him some pocket knives.

The blade is a spring-assisted flipper and it opens very smoothly.  You can see the round blade release button and a sliding lock behind it.   When the lock is engaged, the button can’t be pushed and blade is securely locked open.  I like spring-assisted blades by the way as I am always in some weird position trying to open boxes, working on machines, etc. where I can only get one hand free.

The frame of the handle is aluminum with a black G-mascus  G10 insert.  When closed, the knife is 4.75″ overall yet weighs only 4.66 oz.  I really liked the combination of size and light weight. Plus, the frame is remarkably thin so it fits in your pocket nicely and doesn’t feel like a boat anchor.

Now this knife is pretty new to me right now.  I haven’t cut anything yet but definitely will be as I have quite a list of stuff to get done and I’ll be cutting open boxes, plastic tubs, etc.  I’ll post updates plus I want to compare it to my ZT 350, my favorite EDC blade but I want more mileage on the X5 before I do that.

6/28/2018 Update:  Used it to cut 4″ diameter corrugated drain tube and a bunch of boxes.  It is very sharp – I didn’t touch the blade up.  Still going strong.  Like all flippers, when I got dirt in the action it wouldn’t flip until I blew it out.  Last comment – it has a real nice feel when I am using it – not awkward at all.  I wear XL sized gloves just for reference.

10/6/2018 Update:  This blade rocks.  It has really held an edge and the finish on the blade has held up remarkably well.  Only the handle shows evidence of scuffing so far.

If you are interested in how I lubricate my flipper knives, please click here.

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 Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

April 2017 – My EDC Knife is a ZT 0350BW


A while back I screwed up the blog and re-posted an old post about my every day carry (EDC) knife being a Kershaw Compound.  While that was a great knife, I did eventually replace it – with my daughter’s approval.  I have always liked Zero Tolerance knives.  Think of them as a higher end brand to Kershaw.  Both are owned by KAI USA, so I think it is fair to say that.  In the past I owned a ZT 200 and that was just way too big to be an EDC.  It’s a huge folder but not something I wanted to lug around in the shop all the time.  I actually sold it and wound up buying a ZT 350.  The 350 is way slimmer and lighter but still has assisted opening.  It’s a hair over 4-1/2″ long when closed and about 7-5/8″ when open.  It’s about 0.518″ wide not including the belt clip and my digital scale says it weighs 6.2 oz.

Size and weight are important to me because I keep this in my front pants pocket.  I don’t want a ton of weight dragging down jeans, sweats or shorts nor do I want to have it really noticeable or uncomfortable.  On that last note, big and heavy knives suck in the front pocket – they need to go in a belt sheath, which I don’t want to wear unless I am camping or hunting.

The knife is designed by Ken Onion, who happens to be one of my favorite designers.  In addition to the very ergonomic handle he designed, the blade is made from S30V steel, which is excellent.  Now this is not a safe queen.  I dug back in my records and I’ve been using this since 2015.  I can’t tell you how many boxes, cords, ropes and plastic pails this thing has opened.  I don’t recall ever using it to pry things open but suspect it would hold up pretty well.  The following photos are of the blade in April 2017 and I didn’t bother cleaning it up.  The ZT black finish has held up remarkably well.

The S30V steel really holds an edge but it can be a bear to sharpen.  If you want a working edge, a Lansky Blade Medic pocket sharpener or diamond rod can help.  If you want a razor edge, I would recommend a Ken Onion Work Sharp (KOWS) belt sharpener or it will take forever by hand.  I use my KOWS all the time because it is quick and easy but do take both the Blade Medic and the rod on camping trips.

If you are interested in how I clean and lubricate my flipper knives so they continue to open smoothly, please click here.

So, there you go – that is my current EDC and I highly recommend it.

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 Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.