Kershaw is known for a lot of things—all of which have to do with how innovative and quality their knives are. They were founded in 1974 to design and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to own, carry, and use. his has meant that every Kershaw knife must be of the highest quality. Whether it’s a hardworking pocketknife, a hunting knife, or a special collectors’ edition, Kershaw always chooses appropriate, high-quality materials and is dedicated to intensive craftsmanship. Along with extremely tight tolerances and state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, this ensures that Kershaw knives provide a lifetime of performance.
Plus, they have a serious commitment to innovation. Kershaw pioneered the use of many of the technologies and advanced materials that are today standard in the knife industry. They say, “Our SpeedSafe assisted opening knives were first-to-market. We introduced the concept of knives with interchangeable blades in our Blade Traders. Recently, our Composite Blade technology, which combines two steels into one blade, gives knife users the best of both worlds by enabling us to use steel known for edge retention on the edge and steel known for strength on the spine. And we will keep on innovating, bringing new and better technologies and materials to today’s knife making industry and knife-using public.”
Kershaw Knives is a brand of Kai USA Ltd, a member 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. While many of Kershaw’s quality products are made in Kershaw’s 55,000 sq. ft. facility in Tualatin, Oregon (just south of Portland), they also draw on Kai’s resources to provide the very best for the customer.
Kershaw says, “If this is your first Kershaw, be prepared. You just may be back for more. If it’s not your first Kershaw, welcome back. We’ve got some cool new blades to show you—along with a wide selection of your favorites. For design, innovation, quality, and genuine pride of ownership, Kershaw is the one.”
Today we will be discussing the Kershaw Fatback folding knife.
The blade on this knife is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. You may have heard that 8Cr13MoV stainless is basically the equivalent of AUS8A. And it’s true. For everyday use, even a serious “knife knut” would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a well-made 8Cr13MoV blade and a well-made AUS8A blade. Nevertheless, there are slight differences in the steel formula. While most other components are relatively equal, 8Cr13MoV has slightly more carbon for hardness and wear resistance and slightly less nickel. The key to blade performance for both of these steels is manufacturing quality. That’s where Kershaw’s expertise comes in. Kershaw precision heat-treats 8Cr13MoV steel to bring out its best high-performance characteristics: the ability to take and hold an edge, strength, and hardness. Kershaw says, “8Cr13MoV is top-of-the-line Chinese steel and, we believe, offers our customers an excellent value.” This steel is hardened to a 57-59 HRC.
The steel has been coated with a black-oxide coating. The black oxide coating is a chemical bath that converts the surface of the steel to magnetite. Kershaw sues this coating on some blades mainly for appearance, although it does add some corrosion resistance. Because this is a coating, it is going to prolong the life of the blade because it is a barrier in between the steel and the environment. That being said, because it is a coating, it is going to scratch off after time or even just after some heavy use. Once the coating has been scratched off, you aren’t going to get any of the good benefits that come with a coating. You win some, you lose some when it comes to the coating on a blade. Lastly, the coating is a deep black that cuts down on all glares and reflections, which is great if you are in the field.
The blade has been carved into a modified drop point shape that has some dagger blade shape inspiration. The drop point is an all-purpose blade shape that is also super tough. This is also one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use today. The blade is formed by having the back edge of the knife run straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow, curving manner, which creates a lowered point. This lowered point provides more control and also adds strength to the tips. Normally, drop points have a broad tip, but the Fatback has a finer point because of the dagger point inspiration that it does have. While a typical drop point is not as sharp as the tip on a clip point, this one is almost as sharp as a clip point, which means that you are going to be able to pierce much better. That begin said, because it is finer and sharper, it is not going to be as strong as a typical drop point would be. Lastly, a regular drop point has a very large belly, and while the Fatback does have a belly, it is not as large as your regular drop point blade.
This knife does have a plain edge, which is going to give you cleaner cuts. The plain edge is also going to be easier to sharpen, although it will need to be sharpened much more frequently. The plain edge also equips you to take on a wider variety of tasks than a serrated knife would.
The handle on this knife is made out of Glass-Filled nylon, or GFN. This is a thermoplastic, synthetic material that is almost impossible to break. While GFN is similar in structure and characteristics to G-10, Micarta, and Carbon Fiber, it is much stronger and not prone to breaking. This is because in the other materials, all of the fibers are arranged in a single direction. This means that while the material is going to be strong in that direction, it is not going to be super strong in any other direction. This is where the brittleness comes in as well as the ability to bend the other materials. GFN has all of its fibers arranged haphazardly, which means that the handle is going to be strong in all directions instead of just one. This is why GFN is not brittle, and is resistant to bending and abrasion.
Plus, GFN is a cheaper material because it can be injection molded which means that the manufacturer can texturize the handles throughout the process and can produce a lot more all at once. This leads to a much cheaper material. That being said, some people do feel like it has a cheap plastic quality to it and it does not give as much texture as a G10 handle would.
To help with grip the belly of the handle has plenty of ridges. There is a large finger guard that is enhanced by the flipper which will create a safer grip on the knife.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip is black, which matches the hardware, the handle, and the blade on this knife. It is kept in place by two small screws. This is a deep carry knife, which is a great option for you to keep your knife deep inside your pocket. It also helps you to conceal your knife better inside of your pocket if you don’t want anyone to know that you have one.
This is also a 4-position pocket clip, which means that the user may position the pocket clip for tip-up or tip-down carry as well as for left or right-handed carry. This is the ideal option when it comes to pocket clips because it allows the user to use this knife in the most comfortable position possible.
This is an assisted opening knife that has been equipped with a flipper, a SpeedSafe Assisted Opening mechanism, and a liner lock.
The flipper is a protrusion on the back of the blade that the sur can pull back on, or flip, in order to move the blade easily out of the handle. The flipper enables a fast and easy one-handed opening as well as being ambidextrous, which makes this knife the most comfortable and the easiest to use for its users. To open this knife, Hold the knife handle vertically in one hand. Place your index finger on the top of the flipper or thumb on the thumb stud. Gently apply downward pressure on the flipper or push outwards on the thumb stud. SpeedSafe opens the knife quickly and easily, and the blade locks into place. Keep fingers away from blade edge while closing.
The SpeedSafe is a patented system that assists the user to smoothly open any SpeedSafe knife with a manual push on the blade’s thumb stud or pull back on the flipper. SpeedSafe is built into many of Kershaw’s best-selling knives. 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. SpeedSafe® was specifically designed for sporting, work, or everyday situations where one-handed opening is preferable and safer. It’s safe, efficient opening has made it a popular choice for hunters, fishermen, and those who require the one-hand opening function on the job-site.
The liner lock is the most common of today’s blade-locking systems. In knives with locking liners, the handle consists of two metal (usually steel or titanium) plates (the “liner”) on either side of the blade. Handle scales, which can be made from a variety of materials, such as G10, aluminum, plastic, or natural materials like wood or bone cover the plates. When the knife is opened, one side of the knife’s liner, often called the lock bar, butts up against the backend of the blade (the tang) and prevents the blade from closing. The lock bar is manufactured so that it angles toward the interior of the knife, creating a bias for the locked position. To close the knife, the knife user applies manual force to move the lock bar to the side so that the blade is unblocked and can be folded back into the handle. The liner lock provides a secure and convenient way to make using a Kershaw folding knife even safer.
The blade on this knife measures in at 3.5 inches long with a handle that measures in at 4.25 inches long. When the Fatback is opened, it measures in at 7.75 inches long. This knife weighs in at 3.6 ounces.
When Kershaw is talking about this knife, they say, “No, the Fatback does not have a fat back. In fact, it has a rather slim handle. But to ensure you always have an extra secure grip, it does have some extra fat texturing on its glass-filled nylon handle. Actually, we call it the Fatback because it’s one very tasty knife. Like bacon.
The handsome blade is a modified drop-point with a dagger-like shape. The 8Cr13MoV blade steel, with Kershaw’s precision heat treatment, provides long-lasting edge retention, as well as strength and hardness. Black-oxide coating offers an additional measure of blade protection and non-reflectivity.
The Fatback opens with Kershaw’s SpeedSafe assisted opening for smooth, one-handed opening. The pivot is oversized and decorative. The handle is drilled to support our four-position pocket clip—so you can carry tip-up/down, left/right, whatever your preferred carry position. And finally, the Fatback’s deep-carry pocket clip lets the knife ride securely and comfortably low in the pocket.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.