Kershaw Flitch Knife Review

Kershaw Flitch

Kershaw Knives was started in Portland, Oregon in 1974 when knife salesman Pete Kershaw left Gerber Legendary Blades to form his own cutlery company based on his own designs. This company was started with the vision to design and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to own, carry, and use. Early manufacturing was primarily done in Japan.

In 1977, Kershaw became a wholly owned subsidiary of the KAI Group. For over 100 years, Kai has been Japan’s premier blade producer. Kai takes an innovative approach to product development based on the close coordination of research and development, production, marketing and distribution functions.   In 1997 the US production facility was opened in Wilsonville, Oregon. Due to an expanding market, the facilities were moved to a large production site in 2003. Currently, Kai USA manufacturing facilities are located in Tualatin Oregon with some good coming from their Japanese and Chinese factories.

Kershaw has collaborated with a number of custom knife makers over the years to produce ground breaking knives. Collaborations include working with Hall of Fame Knife Maker, Ken Onion on Kershaw’s SpeedSafe knives; Ernest Emerson; Grant and Gavin Hawk; Frank Centofante; Rick Hinderer; RJ Martin, and more.

With Kershaw, you get fantastic bang for your buck because even their inexpensive models are impressive. In fact, everything about a Kershaw is solid, crafted, and reliable. That’s why they can back each of their knives for the life of its original owner against any defects in materials and construction. Because yes, people do own their Kershaw for a lifetime.

Kershaw pioneered the use of many of the technologies and advanced materials that are today standard in the knife industry. Their SpeedSafe assisted opening knives were first to market. They introduced the concept of knives with interchangeable blades in their Blade Traders. And recently, their Composite Blade technology, which combines two steels into one blade, gives knife users the best of both worlds by enabling them to use steel known for edge retention on the edge and steel known for strength on the spine. And they have a commitment to keep on innovating, bringing new and better technologies, and materials to today’s knife making industry and knife using public.

 

The Blade:

8Cr13MoV steel is what the blade on the Flitch is made out of. This steel is a popular budget brand of knife steel, which is made in China. In its formula, this steel is close to the Japanese steel AUS 8. Because the blade has been made out of this steel, it will keep sharpening well and will easy to sharpen. Plus, the Flitch will be able to have highly aggressive cuts n softer materials. This steel is well balanced in regards to strength, cutting, and anti-corrosion properties. In the Cr series of steel, 9Cr steel is the top end of the series and is really good. Next up is 8Cr, which is the more common formula that you are going to find. If the manufacturer gives this type of steel a good heat treatment, they will bring out all of the best qualities that this steel has. And lucky for us, because Kershaw has taken this steel thorough a heat treatment to bring out the best in this top value steel. The biggest advantage that this steel boasts is its inexpensive cost. However, you do need to keep in mind that this is still considered an average grade steel. So while it will get most jobs done, this blade is not going to excel at anything.

This blade has a stonewashed finish. This finish is created by tumbling the steel around with small pebbles to create a textured look. After the steel has been tumbled around, it is removed, smoothed out, and polished. This style of finish gives you a very rugged, well-worn look. This style of finish easily hides scratches, while also providing a less reflective nature than a brushed or satin finished blade. There is actually wide variety of stonewashed finishes because the look is based upon the abrasive shape, tumbling motion, and the type of finish the blade started with. The biggest benefit to a stonewashed finish is that they are low maintenance and preserve their original look overtime. The stonewashed finish also easily ides the scratches and fingerprints that can occur with use over time.

The blade has been carved into a modified drop point style blade. A regular drop point blade shape has the back, or unsharpened, edge of the knife running straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. On this modified drop point blade shape, the back does not move towards the point in a slow curve. It starts off with an upward slant and has jimping on it to provide you with more control over your cuts. Then the blade does have a slow curve down for about a third of the blade. At this point, it almost resembles a clip point lade shape, because the curve meets an angel, which then slopes downward towards the tip. It is this lowered tip that provides more control and adds strength to the tip. And while the tip on a drop point is not as sharp as the tip on a clip point, it is much stronger. Because of this tip strength and the ability to hold up to heavy sue, drop point blades are a popular option on tactical and survival knives. And because the point is so easily controllable, a drop point style blade is also a popular choice on hunting knives. One of the other reasons that a drop point blade is so versatile is because it sports such a large belly area that makes slicing a breeze. The Flitch even has a bigger belly than you would normally find, so slices are not going to be easier than when you are attempting them with your Flitch. Because of the large belly, this knife makes for the perfect everyday carry option.

Because this is a great everyday knife, the Flitch sports a plain edge. This style of edge is the more traditional edge that you are going to find and it is more equipped to take on a wider variety of tasks. The plain edge is going to give you cleaner cuts while excelling at push cuts, slicing, skinning, and peeling. Some people worry that because the plain edge does not sport teeth, it is not going to be able to cut through thicker and tougher materials. While serrations definitely help to saw through the thicker and tougher materials, when your plain edged blade is sharp enough, it will be able to manage.

Kershaw Flitch
Kershaw Flitch

The Handle:

The handle has been made out of Glass Filled Nylon, or GFN. This material is basically the off brand of Zytel. GFN is a thermoplastic material which is super strong while being resistant to bending, abrasion, and it is practically indestructible. As a total bonus, it is a cheap material to purchase. This is an inexpensive material because it can be injection molded into any desired shape and textured in a multitude of ways in the production process. All this lends well to high volume manufacturing and hence low cost. This material is practically indestructible because the nylon fibers are arranged haphazardly throughout which results in it being strong in all directions. Similar materials such as G10, Carbon Fiber, and Micarta have their fiberglass strands aligned in a single direction. This means that when the strands are being stressed in the direction they go, the material is going to be extremely strong. But, when the strands are stressed in other directions, the material is going to start to breakdown. That is why those other materials are brittle. Because GFN’s fibers are arranged so haphazardly, it doesn’t matter which way the fibers are stressed, they aren’t going to break down. The Flitch has been designed to take a beating.

To give you a comfortable grip on the Flitch, even after periods of heavy use, there is a deep finger groove and then two more shallow finger grooves that follow suit. This gives your fingers a comfortable place to rest. To keep your fingers safe, there is a thick finger guard so that your fingers can’t slip and get cut. While the top of the handle is slightly curved, the butt of the handle is all angels.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The clip on this knife is a deep carry pocket clip. This means that it will be easier to conceal your knife snugly in your pocket. You also won’t have to worry about your knife falling out during all of your daily tasks. The knife has only been designed to be carried tip up, but the clip is reversible on the left and right sides, helping to make this knife more ambidextrous.

 

The Mechanism:

This is an assisted opening knife. It is Kershaw’s SpeedSafe assisted opening mechanism. Kershaw was the first to bring SpeedSafe assisted opening knives to market, launching a revolution in opening systems—and winning numerous industry awards along the way. This mechanism was originally designed by Hall of Fame knife maker, Ken Onion, and the knives with this mechanism flew off the shelves. Today, almost all knife companies offer some sort of assisted opening knife, but none matches the popularity or proven durability of the original. SpeedSafe is a patented system that assists the user to smoothly open any SpeedSafe knife with a manual pull back on the flipper. The heart of SpeedSafe is its torsion bar. Closed, the torsion bar helps prevent the knife from being opened by gravity, it creates a bias toward the closed position. To open the knife, the user applies manual pressure to the thumb stud or flipper to overcome the resistance of the torsion bar. This enables the torsion bar to move along a track in the handle and assist you to open the knife. The blade opens smoothly and locks into position, ready for use. And while it performs as smoothly as a switchblade, a SpeedSafe knife is not a switchblade. There are many unique features of SpeedSafe knives that make them quite different than knives that are considered switchblades. Unlike a switchblade, SpeedSafe blades do not deploy with the push of a button in the handle or by gravity alone. Instead, the user must overcome the torsion bar’s resistance in order to engage the SpeedSafe system. Because of this SpeedSafe knives fall fully outside the Federal definition of a switchblade.

The Flitch features a flipper. To use a flipper, you hold the knife handle in one hand with the butt end resting firmly in the palm of your hand. You place your index finger on the highest point of the flipper. You push down strongly and quickly on the flipper and the blade will move out of the handle and lock into place.

The locking mechanism on this knife is a liner lock. This locks the blade open during use; one side of the knife’s steel “liner”, the steel plate to which the handle scales are attached, moves into position behind the blade to securely lock it open.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife is 3.25 inches long with an overall knife length of 7.75 inches and a closed length of 4.6 inches. The Flitch weighs in at 4.7 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

A bold blade and contoured grip could make the Flitch your new favorite EDC. With a modified drop point blade, top swedge, and strong finger contouring the Flitch offers a tactical look at a value price. The eye catching blade is made out of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel, which can take and hold a sharp edge, yet resharpens easily. Then Kershaw’s heat treatment brings out the best in this top value steel. The blade is stonewashed to help hid hard use scratches. The result is a very distinctive looking blade that performs well, too. The handle is glass filled nylon, textured, and chamfered for a solid, comfortable grip. Pair that with the deep finger grooves on the underside of the handle and the Flitch offers an exceptionally secure grip. A sturdy liner lock keeps the blade in place during use, then releases easily when you’re ready to EDC it. Pick yours up today at BladeOps.

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